"I could never get back up when the future starts so slow..." is a line from Future Starts Slow by The Kills. This alternative, low-fi music seems to have nothing at all to do with a cyberpunk, cybernetic, post-humanist video game like Deus Ex: The Fall, but it has everything to do with it.
In Deus Ex: The Fall, a game unleashed first on mobile phone users, with an iOS and Android "preview" of what was to come with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the game offers a startling glimpse into the events that led to the future worlds we would explore in the other games of the series.
As an ex-military aug named Ben, you are placed for the majority of the game in Panama. Thrust into action by the need for anti-rejection drugs to suppress the body's response to "no, augmentations bad!" you start to unveil a conspiracy that spans to the globe, like typical Deus Ex games - the only difference is, in this title, you'll spend most of the time in one location.
This is an unintended consequence of the rise of augmentation, and tends to place an artificial cap on the numbers of people who can press ahead with augmentations, due to supply constraints on the live-improving drug. It's a future scenario where the world is not yet quite ready.
"No longer will I curse the bad I've done, If there's a time when the feelings gone, I wanna feel it" continues the Kills song, which is completely unrelated to the game in any intentional way. You can change your mind, you can be the bad guy, the good guy, the stealth guy, the violence guy. All the choices known to you in a Deus Ex game are available, the only difference is it happens on a smaller scale.
Playing this cut down and streamlined version of the game on PC shows several shortcomings of the port itself, and lots of simplifications to the game play model necessary to adapt the game to mobile. Some of these get in the way.
One of these is the control responsiveness - it is not as fluid on as other titles - with there being a noticeable delay between click and your action being registered - this is most noticeable in menus and the hacking minigame.
Another is the obvious drop in graphical fidelity between Mankind Divided and The Fall. This manifests via lower resolution textures, lower quality sound effects, and clunkier animation.
The menu systems are also very touch optimised, which makes them a bit of a struggle to navigate via mouse and keyboard.
Yes, there's even references to Australia!
The game is rather easy, allowing you to step through the story as it unfolds, which thankfully, doesn't pad out its game play length like so many titles with traversal mechanics where you must walk across three quarters of a continent without fast travel to obtain a marketing figure of ninety hours of game play. This title gets straight to the point, often cutting out these boring traversal parts, which would normally add no narrative detail or world-building.
Instead, you've got a decently paced experience that distils the essence of Deus Ex into a cliffhanger ending - that leads to disappoint. The moment you're engrossed as much as you possibly can be, is the moment when it all ends, and when the game's difficulty curve also sweeps upward at an alarming rate.
This is an overall decent companion to the Deus Ex series, but I wouldn't class it as a full game. If you've got a mobile phone and you've never experienced Deus Ex, I would recommend playing this there, where it was originally intended. If you've got a smart TV, screen mirror to it, and you'll get a full blown gaming experience that until only just recently, only consoles and PCs could offer.
You'll only get about four hours worth, but its a good way to kill an afternoon or an evening.
all screenshots in this review taken from the Steam store page for the game