System Rift is the first piece of story DLC for Square’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. System Rift seems to take place during the course of the main campaign. The timing is ambiguous but you are given some context clues from the dialogue. It’s approximately 2-3 hours long and is fun until about the last half hour.
The pack starts with everyone’s favorite cool guy Adam Jensen relaxing and watching a baseball game . I swear he almost cracked a smile for what seems like the first time in the franchise when the game was interrupted by an incoming transmission causing Jensen’s face to resume that ever-so-familiar scowl we’ve all come to know and love. He answers the transmission to reveal it’s none other than a fan favorite from Human Revolution, Francis Pritchard. Without delving too far into spoiler territory, Pritchard informs you that he needs help “vetting” a company’s security, because that’s always totally legit. This starts you down a path of what is essentially a heist mission. You begin the mission with a couple basic augments and a few praxis points to spend. Given the brevity of the pack, there’s not a lot of opportunity to level up, so this initial boost of praxis allows you to create a decent build from the beginning.
System Rift is everything an additional story pack should be from a narrative standpoint. It is relevant enough to fit seamlessly within the established story, yet independent enough that it feels like a supplement rather than a missing piece the game. System Rift feels very much like Deus Ex for the most part, boasting its own side mysteries and various paths to explore so there’s no disconnect or sense that it’s watered down.
Upon reaching the deeper levels of security within the facility that you’re breaking into, you encounter a new form of security to the franchise in the form of thermal sensors that can alert security devices to your position even if your cloaking augment is active. These sensors are large red boxes that could be used as cover in a pinch. The sensors add an extra wrinkle to the formula but aren’t unbeatable. The thermal sensors only serve to alert the already active automated security devices around the map. This behavior means that should you disable these devices via hacking or shooting, you would also essentially cripple the sensor.
At one point I found myself in an area where there were no human guards, and only automated defenses to protect my objective. Because I prefer a hacking build in Deus Ex, I was able to deactivate all defenses in the area with relative ease. With all the defenses shut down, the mission was obviously easier however the tension that was to be associated with being neck deep in a high-stakes heist dissipated as I casually strolled from vault to vault, searching for loot with no real consequences.
Towards the end of the pack is a strange hacking sequence where you take on the role of Adam Jensen’s virtual avatar in similar fashion to the NSN sequence in the main game. The difference this time is that, instead of puzzles with a strong emphasis on hacking, the emphasis is placed primarily on platforming. It’s at this point that System Rift overstays its welcome. In some games, platforming can serve as a solid primary mechanic, but it simply doesn’t work well in Deus Ex or, in my opinion, any first-person game. The inability to see your character’s feet makes first-person platforming a frustrating experience. Even though the sequence wasn’t very difficult, I was left asking myself “why?” Why would a game that boasts brilliant stealth and cover systems and allows the player to choose any number of paths and play styles try to incorporate platforming in such an obtuse manner? The answer still eludes me.
Thankfully that segment was rather short and the rest of System Rift is just as the core game is. Thanks to its initial praxis boost, its fun premise, reintroduction of a familiar character, and the addition of a new security measure, Deus Ex: System Rift makes for a memorable and welcome addition to Mankind Divided.
Make sure to check out our review of the full game Here.