Developers at Eidos Montréal must have a fascination with prisons. A Criminal Past sees Adam Jenson recounting an undercover assignment in the “Penley T. Housefather Correctional Facility”, nine months prior to the events of Mankind Divided. Unlike the secretive black-ops prison in Human Revolution’s “The Missing Link” DLC, the “Pent House” is a government-mandated high security prison for augmented criminals, established after the Aug Incident. Adam is sent in to extract another deep-cover agent who may have information on impending anti-aug terrorist attacks.
Adam recounts his mission to the Task Force 29 psychologist, which provides a great way of hinting at the possible outcome of decisions.
You start out trying to blend in with the prison population, having had your augmentations supressed, but things eventually escalate and it’s not long before you’re creeping about through vents and over rooftops, avoiding guards, security systems, and rioting prisoners. What starts as a fairly typical extraction mission, by Deus Ex standards, devolves into a protracted endeavour as the situation in the prison deteriorates further and you quickly discover all is not as it seems. Even if you blitz through the mission in open combat, you’ll still discover few characters can be trusted. However, if you invest time in exploration and hacking every device in sight, you’ll get a much better understanding of events and the opportunity to alter outcomes near the conclusion.
In the opening hour, the cell blocks appear small and movement restrictive. Before long however, you’ll find yourself sent to every corner of the facility to escape.
There are only a few major decisions to make during this DLC, but these are made more interesting thanks to the constant interjections by the Task Force 29 psychologist to whom Adam is recounting events. It provides an intelligent way to indicate major decision points or question the dangers of certain actions. Unfortunately, only one decision truly affects the difficulty of the mission by altering the balance of power in the prison. On the upside, the game does a fantastic job of portraying both sides as a mix of bad eggs and innocent bystanders. The final outcomes are limited and feel a bit underwhelming, but regardless of the choices you make, the ending scene ties into a mid-credit scene from Mankind Divided and should have fans even more interested in the events of the inevitable sequel.
One of the highlights for me was the inclusion of more robots, drones, and power suits. At times like these, you’ll regret trying a “no augmentation” run.
If you have played the base game — and you should before playing this — there is little to say about gameplay because it does not deviate from the structure of the original game, nor introduce any new mechanics. You’ll still have the choice of shooting, stealth-ing, or hacking your way through missions, your route determined by how you distribute a limited number of “Praxis Kits”. The restrictive opening scene aims to limit your possibilities, but you can quickly subvert the suggested route if you keep an eye out for hidden stashes or vents.
What starts as a fairly typical extraction mission, by Deus Ex standards, devolves into a protracted endeavour as the situation in the prison deteriorates further and you quickly discover all is not as it seems.
The restrictive opening scene aims to limit your possibilities, but you can quickly subvert the suggested route if you keep an eye out for hidden stashes or vents.
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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PC, PS4, Xbox One
17 February 2017
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