I sure have been kept busy this year! Here’s my take on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided now that it’s out for Linux.
I thought the recent port of Mad Max to Linux was our highlight of the year, but Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a whole ‘nother level of fun.
I have to say, I’m damn impressed at not only how many games Feral Interactive have ported this year, but also at the fact that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided came to Linux so soon after the original Windows release! Not quite the day-1 releases we need, but damn close.
I played through and completed the previous game in the series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, back when I still had an Xbox 360, so I’m already a big fan of the setting.
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Note: AMD GPUs aren't supported. The likely reason is that Mesa doesn't officially have high enough OpenGL support (the new release doesn't officially expose 4.4/4.5 yet), and it may have some performance issues to sort out.
You will need plenty of space, as it’s around 55GB.
Intel Core i3-4130 or AMD FX8350 processor
2GB Nvidia 680 graphics card (driver version 367.57)
Intel Core i7-3770K
16GB RAM with a 6GB
Nvidia 1060 graphics card (driver version 367.57)
It’s an incredibly CPU-heavy game, so I needed to re-compile FFMPEG with Nvidia’s NVENC support to be able to record anything from it. Without doing the encoding on the GPU, recording while playing made performance really bad (the only game to ever give me this problem). Thankfully, doing so was actually quite painless.
This is my example of how not to be stealthy, spoilers may be found:
All benchmarks done using the built-in benchmarking tool. To find it, go into the “Extras” menu.
I should note, that general gameplay can be very up and down and will differ quite a bit to the benchmark. I’ve seen gameplay performance go much higher than the Max FPS the benchmark gave me.
All benchmarks ran multiple times to ensure their accuracy. Also, I wouldn’t put too much thought into comparing my benchmarks with others, unless they have the exact same setup. My test machine isn’t top-end, but it’s certainly not low-end either. I run it on a slower CPU than what’s in my main machine to give you a better idea of what you’re likely to get.
Using my test machine: Ubuntu 16.04 64bit, Intel i5 4670K, 16GB DDR3 RAM, Standard Hard Drive, 1920x1080 resolution.
Note: The Ultra setting requires more than 4GB VRAM.
Linux comparison - average FPS
Windows was tested on the exact same test PC, using the latest available driver 375.70.
Linux vs Windows
Holy loading times Jensen!
Prepare a coffee, as the first run takes a few minutes to load everything in. It seems it’s doing some sort of optimization and cache, so it will take about 3-ish minutes to even load enough to get to the Feral Interactive logo screen. This usually only happens once, but in some cases it may happen more often.
When you initially load a saved game at the main menu, it will take an additional 2 or 3 minutes of loading to get in, this game seems like it would certainly benefit from being on an SSD.
Travelling between different areas is another 2 or so minutes to load. There’s a fair bit of waiting around in this game.
Performance-wise I’m actually quite surprised considering how heavy the game is on Windows. Do make sure VSYNC is turned off though, as it will utterly destroy the performance.
On "Very High" settings with my Intel i7/980ti on my main computer, I’ve actually been seeing mostly around 60FPS, with a few minor dips just below that. Often well above that, so it’s actually working rather nicely! It certainly feels smooth and responsive, which has enabled me to enjoy it a lot. Do expect to have to turn the settings down much lower if you have a slower CPU/GPU.
The game is also pretty big on the RAM use, playing it on High used up over 6GB RAM for an hour’s playtime, so be careful there if you have other apps open in the background, as you could end up having major issues if you aren’t keeping an eye on it with lower RAM.
The port is pretty stable for me, in all the time I’ve put into it, I've had one single crash on Linux. I can’t say the same for doing the benchmarks on Windows—three crashes in 30 minutes.
Ram use - 1 hour playtime
Very High - 7.6GB
High - 6.3GB
Medium - 6.2GB
Low - 5.8GB
I wouldn't want a lot open in the background while playing this one.
Here’s a look at the graphical options it offers:
There's a lot available to tweak to get the best experience on your machine. It seems the Linux version has the same features available as the Windows version.
I already told you to prepare a coffee for the initial loading time, but you may want a second cup! If you haven’t played Human Revolution, the game offers a 12 minute video to explain what happened and I do recommend it. It will at least give you a general idea of what happened before.
You play as Adam Jensen, an augment, a human with cybernetic implants that enhance your abilities beyond your imagination. Augmented humans are now looked down upon and treated badly after the events of Human Revolution. Even though you’re working for an anti-terror organisation, you will be repeatedly stopped by police to check your papers. You will be also be called an array of colourful names, which is Deus Ex attempting to deal with racism.
It’s feels like being part of some sort of cyberpunk movie, with the interesting story, the great cutscenes and dialog options.
The game is damn exciting from the moment you actually get dropped into it! You’re part of an anti-terrorist squad whose leader doesn’t entirely trust you as you’re the only augmented human on the team. What I especially love is that you’re greeted with options straight away on how you want to go about the mission from lethal to nonlethal, and your choice of weaponry. This will affect how you play the beginning of the game as well, since you keep the weapons you’re given. So, you’re stuck with them until you acquire more by whatever means you can.
The game doesn’t give you separate tutorial modes; instead it merges the tutorial modes into the levels as you play them, giving you the choice to do them or not. Once you finish each tutorial, it will reset you to the start of the room to do it for real. I really like this, even though it interrupts the gameplay, it’s fun to try out your abilities in the actual level without having consequences while you’re learning the game mechanics.
You will come across doors, computers and other devices that are locked down. You can choose to hack them with a hacking mini-game, or gain access by other means, like locating a keycard, a password and so on.
It’s a mix between a first-person shooter and an RPG. There’s a fair amount of augmentation upgrades to spend your PRAXIS points on, which you gain mainly from levelling up:
You can improve your hacking skills, silence your footsteps, gain an invisibility ability and so on. There’s also a bunch of ‘experimental’ augments which require a balancing act not to overload Adam, so you may need to turn off augments you aren’t using.
There are ability upgrades to suit both a guns-blazing and stealthy style of play, and there’s plenty of freedom in how you want to play the game. That’s why I love this game, there’s so many damn options to choose from!
You can even customize your weapons:
I love how there’s often multiple entryways into an objective, sometimes you really do need to spend a while scouting out an objective to be sure you get the best way in. Of course you can go in guns blazing, but that’s often rather difficult, and sneaking in is always more challenging and fun. You do also get extra experience points by finding interesting ways into buildings, so it’s well worth looking around.
Both ways of completing an objective have their upsides and downsides, so it’s more to do with who you want to be as a person. Putting someone to sleep isn’t as noisy as killing them, but they can be found and woken up. Whereas killing them outright is quite noisy. I love the options, as I can pick and choose how I want to deal with each situation. I find stealth to be the most fun; taking down an enemy, looting their body and then dragging them away into a secluded spot is really damn fun. Or taking them down, and leaving their body to be a distraction for another guard, leaving me an opening to take them out quickly and silently too.
It’s a game that will reward you for not rushing anything, take your time and look around for loot!
Graphically, the game is very impressive. It could easily be the most graphically intense game available on Linux right now. The characters faces, the environment, everything is just damn beautiful and Eidos Montreal did a fantastic job in the style department. I much prefer the colouring of the environment in Mankind Divided over the previous game, the yellowing in the previous game looks really odd now.
As a game it’s gorgeous, full of options, and it’s exciting to play and watch the story unfold. As a shooter, it’s easily one of the best shooters I’ve played on Linux—ever. Thanks to the myriad of options in how you play it, it’s also quite replayable. I’m looking forward to doing a proper stealth playthrough, with non-lethal weapons and abilities.
For those worried about the talk of microtransactions by the wider press, don't worry. The only time you see it in the main game is a "shop menu" in the pause menu, which only seems to sell PRAXIS kits which you never need to be bothered about. You unlock PRAXIS as you level up, as it's a normal game mechanic. You can literally ignore it.
I’ve seen two minor issues in my playtime: one is a physics issue, where you can throw a box and it won’t ever land. It just infinitely bounces, making a really annoying noise. The other was when a random NPC got stuck somewhere they shouldn’t be able to go, once he saw me, he just sort of phased through the wall, but that was quite amusing.
The only other real issue I have with the game is just how demanding it is. You really do need a decent rig.
I haven't been able to test out the Breach mode, as it seems to be missing from the access I have. The menu option for it just isn't there for me.
You can find Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the Feral Store and Steam.