Dex review (Vita)

The release of Dex provides the Vita with another AAA indie game experience, just before the end of the year.

We never reviewed it, but we had our eye on Dex from the moment it launched on Steam. To us, it looked like a combination of Flashback, Blade Runner and Deus Ex – so the news that it was coming to the Vita was definitely exciting. Now it’s here, and the 2.2GB install size was a good hint that the game had been ported without sacrificing too much of the audiovisual aspects that made us interested in the first place. The PC release wasn’t without its problems though, as players initially reported bugs and glitches while playing the game. In that sense, we’re lucky that Dex didn’t come to the Vita until a year and half after – during which a lot of these issues have been patched.

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Dex’s storyline revolves around Artificial Intelligence, and the ambition that one mysterious AI has to try and surpass human intelligence. Your personal quest is to find out more about what’s going on and steer the future in the right direction – making use of an upgrading system that includes various new skills as well as implants you can acquire to augment your character.

What’s nice about the way Dex plays out is that you have a certain degree of freedom when it comes to how you want to play the game. You can opt for stealth, engage in frequent combat, or heavily rely on your hacking skills. It’s too bad that the implementation of these various alternatives hasn’t been done with more subtlety, as the right way to get past challenges is usually quite obvious and very much tailored to your chosen play style. If you’re used to the likes of Dishonored 2 in terms of possible solutions, then Dex might feel disappointing in this regard.

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The combat and platforming in Dex are a bit clunky, especially when you consider how well done Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate on the Vita was done, at least in terms of the combat. Dex’s strongest points are its atmosphere and story, and there’s plenty of it as the story campaign runs for about 10 hours. The RPG elements in the game, which contains both character development and the use of an extensive upgrade system, also add flavor to the experience – with the implant upgrades in particular working well to give off that ‘Deus Ex’ vibe.

If Dex ever gets a sequel that features some more refined combat and platforming mechanics, then we could be looking at an indie classic. For now, this is a great addition to the Vita library – a title with great production values for an indie title, and a unique experience well worth checking out if you’re interested in the works that inspired it. The art style and delivery is spot on, and we enjoyed Dex immensely despite its shortcomings.

Score: 7.5/10

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