It's been a month since Deus Ex: Human Revolution arrived to rock our collective socks off with its intriguing transhumanism ponderings and a design that let players decide whether to charge in with guns blazing, or sneak by with little more presence than a ghost. As is inevitable these days, DLC is now on the way for Eidos' magnum opus, in the form of The Missing Link. This DLC presents a new chunk of story and a chance to begin anew, after a fashion, and we've been allowed to play through the first couple of hours to get a handle on what it's all about.
The Missing Link, as its name implies, takes place in a period of missing time Adam Jensen experiences towards the end of Human Revolution, as he departs Hengsha by stowing away on board a ship. Adam is soon found by the crew of the ship and promptly tortured for information on who he is and why he's on board, stripped of all his armor and augmentations and even forced (shock horror) to take his shades off briefly. We won't spoil too much else of what goes on after this, but suffice to say that Adam escapes this predicament through the help of a mysterious benefactor, in exchange for doing their bidding as he explores the ship.
So right off the bat, you're taken back to square one. Your hacking upgrades, cloaking system, soda dispenser - all gone. You're on your own for the first section of the DLC, as you make your way out of the interrogation chamber and towards a location where some of your equipment is stored. Stealth was the obvious choice for this part, although we did first try to gun our way down the ship's hallways after stealing a gun off an unsuspecting guard - it didn't end well. You're much better off taking things slow, moving through the multiple prepared ventilation ducts and waiting to make your move, lest you set off one of the many cheaply placed laser detection systems.
After a bit of exploration, you do eventually recover your armor and some equipment, along with an amount of Praxis points (we got 7, but we're unsure if this changes if you've played through the single-player and acquired more) that you are free to spend on any augmentation. This gives you the opportunity to change things up and focus on abilities you may have overlooked on your playthrough of the campaign, although as we mentioned stealth and mobility seem to be big parts of The Missing Link and what you'll most likely want to spend on upgrading.
There isn't just one single objective in The Missing Link, as your mission log is constantly updated with orders from the bizarre voice instructing you over the radio (not Pritchard), and there are secondary objectives that occasionally crop up, which you can attend to or not. One saw Adam discovering the ship's hold full of cryogenic storage chambers, one of which had become unplugged and bereft of a power supply. With no information on who's inside, it's up to you whether you can be bothered fixing it up or not, in return for that warm and fuzzy feeling you get inside (experience points). Like Human Revolution, The Missing Link also monitors your playing style, and you will be chided or congratulated on your ability to avoid enemy forces by your phantom ally.
The Missing Link feels like more of the same, but that's a good thing for any fan of the terrific Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It appears to fill in some story details that may or may not have been bugging players who beat the campaign, although we can't help the feeling that by the end there may be greater revelations in store. While we played stealthily, it's certainly open to other approaches as you see fit, and all in all, we'll be looking forward to checking out how this missing mission resolves itself when The Missing Link is released in October.