I'd already been dragged through more cutscenes than gameplay (the series' usual stealth-heavy FPS, with RPG elements) and the game - such as it was - had begun to rub me the wrong way. Using very coarse sandpaper wrapped around a porcupine that had rolled in a trough of broken glass.
The problem, see, is Adam Jensen - your character in Deux Ex: Mankind Divided. If he walked into a pub everyone would nudge their mates and go "Look at that wanker", while surreptitiously trying to take a photo of him on their phones - so that they could upload it to Instagram with the caption "Look at this wanker".
Jensen would stride up to the bar in his black leather, and funny little sunglasses, and carefully-gelled hair, and sculpted goatee, certain that everyone was watching him thinking how cool he was. And maybe a couple of them were. The rest were all rolling their eyes, or looking on in sympathy at this evident middle-aged cry for help.
Thanks to the internet, and the rise of alternative comedy, we live in a post-Gawker world that, for the most part, gets irony. We've moved on from cyberpunk, and we don't like celebrities who think they're more famous or better than the rest of us. Adam Jensen is - there's no other word to describe him - rather desperate, a check-me-out arsehole of the highest order, and potentially the single most risible games character since Bubsy the Bobcat.
There's an enormous amount of story in Deus Ex, albeit mostly rendered through a lot of dull talking/swearing, and newspaper articles, and journals.
Weird, isn't it, how it's only in games that you find people's diaries? How everyone keeps one, and just leaves them lying around the place.
If the same happened in the real world you could expect to find at least a couple of diaries every time you left the house. They'd be left on garden walls, or park benches, or in the back room of a shop you've just broken into.
Regrettably, the story here isn't very good. Or it might be good, but because I wasn't given any reason to care about the story - due to the risible Jensen - I couldn't engage with it. I merely got bored of the swearing paramilitaries, and drug-addled cyber-archetypes.
There's some sort of heavy-handed metaphor about the persecution of augmented humans, and terrorism, and there are a few twists along the way, but unfortunately it's all delivered via Jenson. He's our substance-free road into the story, and I just didn't buy it.
More importantly, I didn't engage with the message. It's the same reason I struggle when rich, famous, pop stars try to tell me about starving kids in Africa. It always rings false and hollow. People who are no more intelligent or enlightened than most of us - frequently less so, due to having been more consumed with their rampant narcissism than learning about the world - lecturing others so that they can appear more compassionate, for their own self-serving end.
The self-absorbed Adam Jensen preens and poses his way through Mankind Divided, failing to involve us in the over-important message of his story, without a shred of self-awareness or self-depreciation. He's the Annie Lennox of video game characters. Rather than make you care about what he's got to say, he leaves the viewer with a knot in their stomach, having had their intelligence insulted.
There are other issues. Right at the start of the game, when you first arrive in Prague - the beautifully-realised central hub location - I took ages to get going on the first proper mission, because I couldn't believe that, ten minutes in, I was expected to hop on a loading screen to another part of the city.
Other early missions are problematic in how they expect you to, say, backtrack to your apartment - which is at the top of several flights of stairs - to have a wholly dull conversation with someone via videophone. And that's outside of the cutscenes. For lots of Deus Ex, it's just plodding along.
Like its predecessor there's a decent amount of side content - NPCs to engage with, various places to explore and pilfer from - but too much of it feels like it leads nowhere. There's a sense that there was more to the game which got cut out: it seemed to me that I must've been halfway through when I was told abruptly that it was over. Locations, characters, missions... it feels as if too many of them are under-utilised.
It's not all bad. When Deus Ex works it really works. The series' mix of stealth, hacking, and cybernetic enhancement is as successful as ever - when you get to employ it. Working out the best, and quietest, way into an enemy installation is great... until you realise that there's not a lot of challenge in doing so. Too early on, Jensen becomes virtually unstoppable, with his upgradeable weaponry and bionic limbs.
If all else fails, and you can't, or can't be bothered to, make your way through one of the many ventilation ducts which seem to link every room in Mankind Divided's world, there doesn't seem to be any reason to stop you going in all guns blazing. It's just too easy.
I was in a bit of a weird place when Mankind Divided's predecessor came out.
I was temporarily staying at my sister's house - literally a weird place - while trying to find somewhere for my daughter and I to live.
I spent a lot of that time sequestered away in the box room, playing through Human Revolution - and loving it. At the time, I was feeling adrift, and Human Revolution helped ground me. If it's possible to feel gratitude towards a game, then I am hugely thankful to Human Revolution for getting me through an unsettling transition in my life.
Though I'm willing to concede that my sense of the game might've been rather skewed due to my transience, I don't remember feeling it had any of the above issues. In fact, I'm pretty certain it didn't, and it wasn't all down to me. Maybe I ignored Adam Jensen's many faults due to my emotional vulnerability - let's face it: we've all done it - but it was what I needed at the time.
Mankind Divided feels like a Deus Ex game - or, more accurately, part of a Deus Ex game - but somehow without the depth, intellectual or otherwise. The character which Adam Jensen lacks is partly made up for in the character of Prague itself, but the ease with which he cuts through its underbelly, and the curtailed length, somehow makes it feel slight. All the overly long cutscenes don't help, and come across as padding. Potentially, that's why Jensen grated with me: he was left exposed.
I've no issue with games offering short and sweet experiences - frankly, most games are too big these days to ever been completed entirely - but if you're going to do that, they need to satisfy. Deus Ex still works as an idea - there's life in it yet - but a bit of humour, and more organic storytelling goes a long way. This has none of that.
SUMMARY: Dew Sex Manky-D (if I did).
SCORE: I dunno. Something out of something.