Most of the things you'll find during exploration are helpful, but not terribly important - an extra item here, a conversation fleshing out the setting there. Every now and then, though, something truly brilliant will happen. The first game is probably still the best in this regard: a thorough exploration of the New York City sewers nets some mind-blowing foreshadowing, and arriving at a well-traversed location from a new direction in a way that makes perfect sense while still being completely unexpected provides the sort of mind-blowing "aha!" moment that the Soulsborne games have become famous for.
Having put around 10 hours into Mankind Divided, I feel like it has built incredibly well on this proud tradition, with areas larger than ever before and spaces that feel even more detailed and lived-in than those of Human Revolution. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the game is freaking beautiful, with some furnishings detailed to the point of photo-realism.
However, none of these locations and spaces are more important than the apartment of beefy protagonist Adam Jensen, not because of the amount of time players will spend in it, but because of what it reveals about our hero: namely, that he is a shallow, vain man, obsessed with his image and with proving his significance to everyone around him.
Our journey into the self-important mind of Adam Jensen begins inauspiciously enough. Like all of us, Adam keeps something to read in bed, as well as a box of tissues for when you gotta have that morning wank. Or night-time wank. Or mid-day wank. Everybody wanks, is what I'm saying, even dour hunks like our man Jensen.
Actually, how does Jensen wank? I know it's gauche to ask about the intimate habits of oppressed people, but I really gotta wonder. Even us naturals have all bruised our intimate parts at some point just by rubbing it too hard, and I've seen Jensen punch through concrete walls like they were made out of cardboard. Even if you get around the problem of bruising your johnson by getting it caught between your mechanical hand's moving parts, you still have to contend with the fact that climaxing could see you popping your ding dong's head right off like it was one of those squeeze toys. Choking the bishop, indeed.
But this is where it all goes off the rails.
And yes, of course Adam Jensen has a mirror in his room. He couldn't go a moment without looking at his own abs, reaffirming to himself how attractive he is. Joke's on you, though, Adam - Eidos forgot to program a reflection for you to look at! Have fun flexing in your bedroom now, you dick.
This is another great example of the attention to detail in this game. Not only does the table look great, the CPU here is so detailed and realistic that I could mistake it for a picture of an actual card. I have no idea why Jensen is tinkering with it, but he's probably just trying to make us think he's so smart and good with his hands that he just leaves stuff like this lying around.
What? Don't you write down Maxwell's equations on post-it notes and hang them around your room? Well, you're clearly not as smart as Adam Jensen! And yes, Adam, I know this is one of Maxwell's equations, but at least I'm not being an arrogant cock about it. Jeez.
I take some comfort in knowing that even a badass android cop needs to make meaningless, stupid graphs that'll just end up in a trash can as part of his job. This is the real Adam Jensen here, folks: a boring guy who makes boring graphs. What a stooge.
Hey, I'm Adam Jensen! Look at all my books! I've read "Life and Regrets" and "Orpheus Slain"! I'm so complicated! But I'm also fun - just look at this one book I've read called "General Tao: the Man Behind the Chicken"! That's not a serious book! Ha ha ha! HA HA HA! HA HA HA!
Well tell me this, Jensen. If you're really such an avid reader -
If you really care so much about books, tell me -
Here I can sympathize with Adam. I dig the hell out of Absinthe, and any fellow member of the wormwood fan club will have experienced that moment where you've had a bit too much and found yourself hugging the kitchen trash can.
Thing is, Adam, you don't need to be so pretentious to get people interested. Just show us some of DAT ASS, man!
Oh boy, I bet we're going to see his bits and pieces!
Ah, you fucking tease.
So as you can see, I was very cross with Adam. Unlike most people, I actually really like both the character of Adam Jensen as well as Elias Toufexis' portrayal of him. For all the criticism of his growly, monotone voice, I find the gruff and terse delivery to fit the character perfectly, and it makes the occasional moment of wit or genuine humanity that much more effective. Serious as he is, Adam Jensen has made me laugh quite a bit - a lot more than characters in other games that were supposed to be funny or charming.
No one is as cruel as a lover scorned, and looking at his apartment, I felt personally - PERSONALLY - singled out and scorned by Jensen. Until I saw this:
Yes, Adam Jensen had a doggie dog, and no dog owner can be that bad a guy. Maybe he can be redeemed. Maybe I can still fix him. So, Adam, if your'e reading this, here's some tips on what you can do to make sure your apartment does not reflect poorly on you.
For example, how about a singing fish? They're cute. They're fun. They say, "hey, look at me, I can be a fun guy. I don't just walk around punching people doing an impression of Christian Bale all the time". (This particular singing fish, sadly, does not actually sing.)
Also, how about folding towels into swans? It sends the message that you're a clean boy, but also good with your hands and possessed of a softer side.
Finally, I know I said I like Absinthe, but having it out in the open does make you come off like a bit of a junkie. How about some Amaretto instead? It's tasty, sophisticated, and if you mix it equal parts with coke, you get an alcoholic Dr Pepper. For real!
Of course, there are some things to avoid.
First of all, elaborate modern art with a name trying to sound poignant just makes you look pompous. No thanks.
Also, avoid using these outdated internet memes. Portal came out 22 years ago, for fuck's sake. And no, it's not funny to say you used to be something until you took an arrow to the knee, either.
Well, that's it for now. We took quite an emotional journey, from loving Mankind Divided, to thinking Adam Jensen is a dick, to thinking maybe we could change him. Only time will tell if opening our hearts and taking a chance will pay off. In the mean time, we can all enjoy playing the game, which is what I could have been doing instead of writing this stupid post.
Hold on, though, is that...
... is that on Xbox?
Yep, definitely an Xbox.