Friday, October 14, 2016

James Review -- Deus Ex: Black Light

This week I decided to review Deus Ex: Black Light by James Swallow. 

The story begins more than a year after the battle on Panchea, an experimental weather modification base with dark secrets that served the climax of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the Aug Incident where Hugh Darrow, a mad scientist seeking revenge against those who could benefit from using his creations while he could not, forced much of the world's cybernetically-augmented population into psychotic episodes, often with devastating consequences, leading to widespread hatred and oppression for the remaining Augs. 

Adam Jensen awakes from the coma he has been in since the incident to find himself in an asylum for Augs effected by the incident in Alaska. After befriending Stacks, a former steeljack who wiped out his wife and children in the madness of the incident, Jensen seeks to destroy the Illuminati, which provided Darrow with the means to carry out his plan as part of their own plot to control the world. 

The pair escape the facility and journey to Detroit to make contact with Frank Pritchard, a hacker who had once worked with Jensen at Sarif Industries. Jensen returns to find his home city in ruins, the hope of revival brought by the Aug industry ruined by the incident. The team launches a raid on the remains of Sarif Industries HQ seeking Neuropozine, the drug needed to prevent Stacks from suffering implant rejection. While there they encounter a number of Augs who were driven from an abandoned Sarif Industries factory by the Motor City Bangers, an Aug gang, 

Believing that the Bangers are seeking military augmentation prototypes at the factory, Jensen's team moves to destroy the factory but things go horribly wrong. Stacks sees a room full of failed Aug limbs which triggers a flash back to the death of his family along with a new psychotic episode, leading to him being mortally wounded after killing a number of Bangers. Jensen chases Magnet, leader of the Bangers, from the burning factory but is intercepted by Task Force 29, a covert Interpol counter-terrorism unit investigating his activities and the prototype weapons. 

Jensen escapes but so do Magnet and the prototypes. Jensen and Pritchard continue their investigation and discover that Jensen's security pass was used to enter some of the possible prototype storage sites. This leads them to two of Jensen's former subordinates at Sarif, but one is killed by a hit squad sent by his partner who is then executed by the Illuminati agent who masterminded the plot to seize the prototypes. Jensen tracks to weapons to an airport where they will be handed over to an Illuminati smuggler but Jensen is captured by Task Force 29. After convincing the Task Force's commander that they both want the prototypes destroyed, Jensen is invited to join the raid on the airport as an unarmed observer, but he is forced into action with the raid runs into a trap. 

After the battle ends, the task force team's leader tries to recruit Jensen who declines and departs. But Jensen soon discovers that an Illuminati strike team is planning to ambush the train carrying the prototypes to their destruction with orders to seize the cargo and kill everyone on board. This leads Jensen into a desperate effort to stop the Illuminati from seizing the prototypes and save as many Task Force 29 agents as possible.

I give this book 9 out of 10. The story is well written and manages to stand alone for the most part despite leading into the plot of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The significant characters are developed well and the combat sequences were great. However, there were some plot threads that I feel needed more attention and I wish we had seen more investigative work done during the story.

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