The Joy of the Replay: Deus Très – Part Two
Ok, when we left off last time I had two play-throughs down and one to go. I managed to stuff up some achievements, which provided the basis for my next play-through and the inspiration for some original thinking in the strategy department. But could I do another non-lethal play-through without repeating myself? Well as it turns out, I could.
Play Through Three: Leaf on the Wind
Strategy: No one can see me. No one can hear me. I was never here.
Weapon of Choice: The Save Button
Augment of Choice: Cybernetic Leg Prosthesis
Attempted Achievements: Pacifist: Finish the game without killing anyone (completed), Foxiest of the Hounds: Finish the game without setting off any alarms (failed)
Ok, non-lethal play-through take two! This time, it's personal.
Learning from my mistakes the first time around, and on a lower difficulty, I set out to get the two achievements I missed with a whole new strategy – don't get seen by anyone. Ever.
Delving deep into hacking augments and augmentations to reduce the noise I made while walking, running or jumping – I set about finding the “ghost” routes through every area I visited.
And frankly, was amazed at what I had missed the first two times. I climbed through hidden vents I had never seen, found doorways behind breakable walls and – much more often – walked in the footsteps of a guard so close behind him that a real human would be able to smell my aftershave (Canabol for Men).
I also failed often, and saved even more often (roughly once per 3-5 minutes for a 10 hour play session – yes, this was serious business).
But still the differences surprised me. I was wielding no weapons, and yet I managed to talk the man with the hostage out of killing her – he even ended up giving me the security codes to another hide out. He wasn't such a bad guy after all, sorry about the head shot buddy.
Remember the door with the prostitute I knocked out? Turns out the apartment next door was open – and I could just jump across from balcony to balcony.
I even followed a guard through a laser grid, walking so close to him that I almost tripped on his ankle a few times.
The ironic thing was, I barely used the stealth upgrade, instead focusing on thinking outside of the box and anticipating my enemies actions – and it felt amazing.
I finished the game in record time (admittedly skipping a few side quests) and watched expectantly for my achievements. Pacifist came up (duh) and... no alarm achieve?!
Even though I got ghost for virtually every area I visited, some sneaky alarm system had caught evidence of my passing. I failed Sensei.
Still, I think this was my favourite play through yet, somewhere between the tense stealth segments and all of the new areas I was forced to find just to get past the guards – it really showed me how much I had missed on my first couple of play-throughs. And how much I had left to find.
Conclusion: Different is good.
I really was impressed with how my understanding of the game, and the situations involed, changed as I played through. It's strange to think that after over 50 hours in a game which can be completed in 8-10, I was still learning, but really I think I could go through it again and still find something new – which is honestly rare for a single player title.
Oddly enough, my first two play-throughs were more similar than my two “non-lethal” ones – and they weren't very alike. If anything, these play-throughs taught me that replaying a game can sometimes increase your engagement – sure the dialogue will stay (mostly) the same, but as long as I'm playing a different way and testing out new strategies, my own ingenuity (that makes me sound very self-obsessed, after all I'm only discovering paths the developers included, but the shoe fits) will carry me through without getting bored.
I'm already considering what to do (and fix) the next time around - Foxiest of the Hounds you will be mine).
Oh, and did I mention that Ubisoft just trademarked a name which hints at a sequel? I'm already imagining how many play-throughs that will take...