Procedural rhetoric of Deus Ex: Human Revolution
[Continued] Page 2
While we get to see the optical augment in Adam’s discussed debut, we don’t see Adam’s other enhancements just yet. The reason is because his augments are locked. As Adam gains experience by completing quests and exploring the world he can use the experience to upgrade or unlock his augmentations. The experience that Adam earns is his strength; the stronger he is the more augments he is able to handle. It’s a fairly simple idea translated into compelling rhetoric. After all, if one is now powerful enough then they cannot handle the power given to him or her. The process of gaining experience is quintessential in demonstrating that you must first build yourself up before you accept the changes that your body can handle. The idea of augmentation is once again the focal point here as you learn first that while they may grant new abilities, you must first have the aptitude for it.
The strongest procedural rhetoric that exists in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the ability to play with or without unlocking and upgrading your augments. While the previous two procedural rhetoric depicted what augmentations can do and what is necessary to maintain it, this last example is the rhetoric of difference. I’ve mentioned that there are differences in ability to those that have the augments and not but the game doesn’t demonstrate it using the processes that are embedded in it. By the end of the game you would have multiple augmentations at your disposal for various situations. For instance the ability to see through walls, detect enemies and an expansive map allowing for tracking of personnel make infiltrating areas easier. Not only that but it allows for you to avoid firefights and reach objectives in a less complicated manner.
However, if you choose to not get these augments that allow you to maximize your stealthy encounters, it will make navigating areas difficult in a quiet fashion. Having augments at your disposal just makes life easier. What if you didn’t have them? If you so choose, you have the ability to run through the entire game without upgrading or unlocking any of your augmentations. The game becomes extremely difficult, gunfights are excruciatingly painful, and the stealth aspect becomes challenging. Put yourself in shoes of two different people. One who has augmentations like Adam and another as yourself, a normal human. Who would have an easier time running away from enemies that are chasing him? Who would be able to survive in a gunfight longer? Who can maneuver around buildings and sites better? Obviously, you who is augmented will do much better. Procedural rhetoric at its finest in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is its ability to demonstrate the difficulty of the game depending on whether you are augmented or not.
Even if you don’t have the right augmentations for certain situations, just having them is a reassurance. Take for example if you’re stealthily circumnavigating a rundown building and suddenly you get caught and it’s inevitable to fight. If you happen to have combat augments then this will be the perfect time to make use of them. Augments enhance you regardless of what happens and the game wants to rhetorically show this using its gameplay mechanics.
Procedural rhetoric is a strong type of rhetoric since the processes that you carry out yourself is a form of persuasion. In the case of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the rhetoric of augmentations becomes more clear with each conscious action you take as Adam Jensen. You are suddenly involved in a world where augments dictate a person’s ability, strength, and prowess. To know that this future is possibly ahead of us and what happens in the game could very well happen in the future is something else entirely. Even so, what the game attempts to do by revealing to us what augmentations truly are using a powerful form of rhetoric is refreshing.