Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Map Review

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“Deus Ex: Mankind Divided,” developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by Square Enix, continues the legacy of the “Deus Ex” series by immersing players in a richly detailed cyberpunk world. One of the key elements that define the game’s experience is its intricate and well-crafted map design. The game’s environments, primarily centered around the city of Prague, offer a blend of open-world exploration and tightly controlled spaces, each brimming with secrets, stories, and strategic opportunities. This review delves into the map design of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided,” examining its layout, interactivity, environmental storytelling, and the overall impact on gameplay and narrative.

Overview of the Map Design

“Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is set in a dystopian future where societal tension between augmented and non-augmented humans has reached a boiling point. The game’s primary setting, Prague, is meticulously designed to reflect this world, capturing the essence of a city divided both physically and ideologically. The map is divided into several districts, each with its unique character, architecture, and atmosphere.

Districts and Key Locations

The city of Prague in “Mankind Divided” is split into distinct districts, each offering different visual and gameplay experiences. The key districts include:

  • City Center: The heart of Prague, featuring government buildings, offices, and commercial areas. It is a bustling hub of activity, showcasing the stark contrast between wealth and poverty.
  • Čistá Čtvrť: A residential area with a mix of middle-class apartments and luxury residences. It reflects the more personal aspects of the city, with numerous side missions and hidden stories.
  • Golem City: A segregated district designed to house the augmented population. It is a grim and oppressive environment, highlighting the social disparity and unrest that pervades the game’s world.

Each district is interconnected by the city’s metro system, allowing players to travel seamlessly between areas. This structure not only provides a realistic representation of an urban environment but also enhances the sense of immersion and continuity within the game world.

Environmental Design and Aesthetics

The environmental design in “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is a critical aspect of its immersive quality. The game’s art direction and attention to detail create a believable and atmospheric world that draws players in.

Visual Style

The visual style of Prague is a blend of modern and traditional architecture, infused with a cyberpunk aesthetic. The city’s design reflects a society grappling with technological advancements and deep social divisions. Sleek, high-tech buildings stand alongside historical structures, creating a visually striking juxtaposition. Neon lights, holographic advertisements, and intricate graffiti contribute to the game’s cyberpunk vibe, while the oppressive presence of security checkpoints and police patrols underscore the tense political climate.

Lighting and Atmosphere

Lighting plays a significant role in establishing the game’s mood and atmosphere. The use of dynamic lighting and shadows creates a sense of depth and realism, enhancing the visual impact of both indoor and outdoor environments. Nighttime scenes are particularly effective, with the city bathed in a neon glow that accentuates the cyberpunk theme. The atmospheric effects, such as rain and fog, further immerse players in the world, making exploration feel more engaging and authentic.

Interactivity and Exploration

One of the hallmarks of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is its emphasis on player choice and exploration. The map design supports this by offering numerous interactive elements and hidden paths that encourage players to explore and experiment.

Verticality and Multiple Routes

The map design in “Mankind Divided” emphasizes verticality and multiple routes, allowing players to approach objectives in various ways. Buildings and environments are often multi-layered, with rooftops, balconies, and underground passages providing alternative paths. This design encourages players to think creatively and use their augmentations to navigate the world. For example, Adam Jensen’s Icarus Dash ability allows him to reach high places, while his hacking skills can open up new routes through locked doors and security systems.

Hidden Secrets and Side Missions

Prague is filled with hidden secrets, collectibles, and side missions that reward exploration. From secret stashes and hidden apartments to underground bunkers and off-the-beaten-path alleys, the city is designed to be thoroughly explored. These hidden elements often contain valuable resources, narrative insights, or side missions that expand the game’s story and provide additional context to the main plot. The side missions are particularly noteworthy for their depth and variety, offering meaningful content that enhances the overall experience.

Environmental Storytelling

“Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” excels in environmental storytelling, using the map and its details to convey narrative and thematic elements without relying solely on dialogue or cutscenes.

Narrative Elements in the Environment

The game’s environments are rich with narrative elements that provide context and depth to the story. Graffiti on walls, propaganda posters, and the placement of objects all contribute to the storytelling. For instance, the pervasive presence of security forces and the ubiquitous anti-augmentation posters highlight the societal tensions and oppressive atmosphere. The state of disrepair in certain areas contrasts sharply with the pristine conditions of affluent districts, visually representing the social divide.

Interactive Objects and NPCs

Interactive objects and NPCs (non-playable characters) further enhance environmental storytelling. Players can hack computers, read emails, and listen to conversations, gaining insights into the lives of Prague’s residents and the broader political situation. NPCs react to Jensen’s actions and augmentations, adding a layer of realism and immersion. The diversity of NPC interactions, from casual conversations to hostile confrontations, enriches the game world and makes it feel alive.

Gameplay Impact

The map design in “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” has a significant impact on gameplay, shaping how players approach missions, engage with the environment, and experience the narrative.

Stealth and Combat

The map’s layout and design cater to different playstyles, particularly stealth and combat. The availability of multiple routes and cover options supports a stealthy approach, allowing players to avoid detection and navigate through hostile areas undetected. Conversely, the detailed environments and strategic placement of enemies provide opportunities for engaging in combat. Players can use the environment to their advantage, setting traps, finding vantage points, and using augmentations to gain the upper hand in battles.

Mission Variety and Replayability

The diverse and intricate map design contributes to the variety and replayability of missions. Each mission can be approached in multiple ways, depending on the player’s choices and playstyle. This flexibility encourages experimentation and replayability, as players can revisit missions to try different strategies and uncover new secrets. The map’s design ensures that no two playthroughs are the same, enhancing the game’s longevity and appeal.

Technical Aspects and Performance

The technical execution of the map design in “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is crucial for delivering a smooth and immersive experience. The game’s performance and technical aspects play a significant role in how players perceive and interact with the map.

Load Times and Streaming

Efficient load times and seamless streaming of the game world are essential for maintaining immersion. “Mankind Divided” generally handles these aspects well, with minimal load times when transitioning between areas. The game uses a combination of preloading and streaming techniques to ensure that the detailed environments are rendered smoothly as players move through the city.

Optimization and Hardware Requirements

The game’s optimization and hardware requirements are important considerations for players with different system configurations. “Mankind Divided” is known for its high-quality visuals, which can be demanding on hardware. The game offers a range of graphical settings that allow players to adjust the level of detail and performance based on their system capabilities. While high-end systems can enjoy the game at its fullest visual potential, players with mid-range or lower-end hardware may need to adjust settings to achieve optimal performance.


The map design in “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is a masterclass in creating a rich, immersive, and interactive game world. From the detailed environmental design and atmospheric visuals to the emphasis on exploration and player choice, the map plays a crucial role in defining the game’s experience. The city of Prague, with its distinct districts and layered environments, offers a compelling setting that is both visually striking and deeply engaging.

The map’s design supports various playstyles, providing numerous routes and opportunities for stealth, combat, and exploration. The inclusion of hidden secrets, side missions, and environmental storytelling elements adds depth and replayability to the game, ensuring that players are constantly rewarded for their curiosity and creativity.

Technically, the game handles the complexity of its environments well, with efficient load times and optimization options that cater to a wide range of hardware configurations. While the high visual fidelity can be demanding, the game’s graphical settings allow players to find a balance that suits their system capabilities.

In summary, the map of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is a testament to the game’s design excellence, offering a rich and immersive experience that enhances both gameplay and narrative. Whether navigating the neon-lit streets of the city center, uncovering secrets in the residential areas, or exploring the oppressive confines of Golem City, players are treated to a meticulously crafted world that invites exploration and rewards engagement.

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