Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – System Rift Review

November 22, 2016

I was a big fan of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided when it released earlier in the year, loving the story it presented, the customisability of its character builds and the freedom it allowed in how to tackle its missions and areas. When my time with it came to an end, I was left craving more, and with the release of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – System Rift I could take on the role of Adam Jensen one more time.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – System Rift takes place early in the main story of Mankind Divided, seemingly between your infiltration of the Prague bomb scene and the ghetto of Golem. While System Rift may take place during the main game’s timeline, its presented as a separate side story that doesn’t impact the overall story and isn’t itself meaningfully impacted by the main story. Once again you are Adam Jensen, international man of mystery, as you seek to infiltrate the most secure data bank in the world at the behest of old friend Frank Pritchard. The story is smaller and more personal in scope compared to the main story of Mankind Divided, but its maybe due to that fact that it feels somewhat more cohesive and well realised. Focusing on only a small number of characters means that their motivations are clear and can be fleshed out with minimal fuss. Alongside Pritchard and Jensen come ShadowChild, the ever-present Ripper who is the face of the Breach mode within the game. Her story and presentation are the most interesting of the lot, with her fervour and motivations incredibly engaging, especially when it is bounced off the Jensen’s isolationism and Pritchard’s seeming lack of concern for anyone beyond himself. I enjoyed the story content that was there, but ultimately it proved to be a very short-lived adventure, more akin to a short episode than a full-length feature. It quickly goes from introduction, to further explanation and then straight to the final action and was over in 1 to 1.5 hours. While it certainly didn’t overstay its welcome in that time, it would have been great for it be a bit more fleshed out and last a while longer.


While the combat encounters in System Rift feature the same freedom that is found in Mankind Divided, there are only two of them in total. The first is a relatively small affair with some Xenophobes that is over in a matter of minutes and the other is the actual infiltration of the Palisade Blade. Once again you are free to progress however you like, with my preferred choice being a stealth majority punctuated with short, sharp combat encounters. While you always have freedom to proceed as you want, your abilities don’t come over from the main story and you’re only given 13 Praxis points to customise Jensen, leaving you relatively under-skilled for the large scale of front on combat encounters within the Palisade. What results is a larger emphasis on stealth than in the main game, as you can quickly become overwhelmed by the automated robots that are called whenever the alarms sound. It feels a bit more restrictive because of it, and players who prefer combat may not appreciate being hemmed in.

The level design and encounter design within the Palisade are excellent, with many hidey-holes, vents and cover points, as well as multiple enemies on each floor and several different routes through everything. Once through the several floors of guards, automated cameras and robots, you find yourself in the most conceptually interesting piece of the game, the NSN within the Palisade Blades servers themselves. What proceeds is a clever section full of puzzles and platforming that make use of Jensen’s abilities and mechanics within the game. While the concept is intriguing and the content interesting, they are let down by the controls. While Jensen handles well enough for a shooter or stealth game, he is found extremely lacking in precision when needed to make timed leaps and jumps. It was frustrating to miss jumps because the controls and character weren’t created with these sort of precision actions in mind.


Altogether, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – System Rift is a short mission that presents a more personal story than the main game, but it is over all too quickly. ShadowChild is a great introduction and her character is the most engaging of the entire affair. Combat and levels continue to be just as open and multifaceted as you remember, but the sparse amount of Praxis keeps you hemmed in and stops you from being able to truly customise Jensen to your liking. Some interesting platforming and puzzle sections are trialled, but the controls aren’t responsive enough for what is required. If you already have the season pass, then Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – System Rift is definitely worth downloading and playing, but if it’s a new purchase for you than I would suggest waiting for a price cut.


- More concise story and characterisation
- ShadowChild is an excellent addition to the cast
- Levels are still open and well designed


- Customsiation is hemmed in by artificial constraints
- Controls are not good enough for the platforming section
- Is over too soon

Overall Score: