Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Becoming a Cop-Killer

Posted by on Oct 29, 2011 in Commentary |

The first Deus Ex was a remarkable game because of one thing: choices. Whenever it presented a problem it always offered more than one solution. Need to get inside a building? You can pick the lock on the door, get the key from a guard, convince the guard to open the door for you or just blow up the damn door. If you don’t mind doing a bit of exploring you might find a backdoor or a ladder that leads to a vent or an open window. The abundance of choices in the game was unprecedented at the time and has become a hallmark of the series.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is no different. The game allows multiple paths, solutions and approaches like its predecessor. Personally, one quest in the game stands out. It involves getting inside a police station.

My character wasn’t able to talk his way through the front desk so I had to resort to sneaking inside using one of the upper windows. Offensively, my playing style has been to hide behind corners and then take targets out from there, usually killing them through headshots. I applied the same approach here. It wasn’t until I got to the third floor when a real firefight broke out. One of the guards spotted me and called his buddies. By the time it was over they were all dead. Naturally, my next course of action was to loot them. It was then when the horrible reality of what I did hit me.

They were identified them as I approached. “Police Officer”, “Police Officer”, “Police Officer”. All dead because of me. I was a cop-killer.

Normally I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It’s only a game, after all, but Deus Ex has always been about choices. And here it’s showing me that I chose to kill these cops. Why? Because they were in my way. Sure, they’re nothing more than pixels on a screen, dead ones at that, but that doesn’t make them any less than the rest of the choices I made that day.

I could have reloaded but decided not to. I Want to see if there are repercussions later on. So far the only thing I saw was a newspaper that had the headline “Massacre at Police Station”. Oops. Sorry for the casualties, officers. I’m not counting on seeing anything further but I find that the fact that it struck me like that is surprising. I rarely think twice about my in-game actions anymore.