During my original playthrough of Deus Ex: Human Revolution back in 2011, I completed the game before its story DLC, The Missing Link, was released. I’ve had it in my Steam library for years, but never got around to playing it.
One reason was because of its strange disconnected format – it wasn’t integrated into the main game, you had to launch it separately, and I’m not sure if it took into account your save state.
That all changed when Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut was released, featuring all DLC and including The Missing Link as a fully integrated part of the story.
Mind the gap
During the main story in DXHR, Adam Jensen’s quest to find the kidnapped Sarif Industries scientists (and ex-girlfriend Megan) leads to a Belltower dock in Hengsha, China. Adam enters a stasis pod in a cargo container and stows away aboard a cargo ship, telling tech support frenemy Frank Pritchard that he’ll be going off the grid for a while.
Everything goes black and a few days later, Adam wakes up in Singapore and Pritchard asks what happened. It felt like there was something missing there, a gap that needed to be filled, a lost part of the story…
That’s The Missing Link. It turns out Adam had quite an adventure out in the sea between Hengsha and Singapore. During my playthrough of DXHR Director’s Cut, it was all new content for me and I had no idea what to expect.
[SPOILER ALERT] If you haven’t played it before, be warned now of spoilers galore as I delve into details.
It turns out Adam boarded the wrong ship. It’s headed to a detention facility in the middle of the South China Sea run by Belltower Associates, the private security firm that you encounter back in Hengsha and know are corrupt and immoral.
Adam is discovered and captured (in an off-screen encounter that makes him sound like a badass, requiring several men to take him down). The story begins with Adam being interrogated by two Belltower officers, Pieter Burke and Netanya Keitner.
After trading a few barbs, Burke leaves Keitner in charge of getting some answers out of Adam by using his face as a punching bag. She tells Adam that he’s strapped into a chair with an electro-magnetic field generator that suppresses his augments and reverts them back to a factory zero inactive state.
This was significantly jarring for me, as I had put a lot of effort into getting as many praxis points as I could and building up an impressive array of augmented abilities for Jensen. Suddenly, they are all gone – no cloaking, no social enhancer, no punching through walls or super strength for picking up vending machines – all stuff I had become accustomed to relying on.
On the other hand, it’s a unique opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, building a new Jensen and maybe trying something different.
Out of the frying pan
After Keitner is done interrogating, she leaves Adam to cool off. Suddenly, Adam’s restraints are released and he receives a garbled message through his infolink telling him to get to the bridge.
All of Adam’s gear is gone, but you learn that some of it is being held on the floor above. It’s quite exciting to have nothing but basic abilities available while sneaking around inside the ship. You’re able to retrieve Adam’s weapons and body armour, along with a small amount of praxis kits to begin reactivating some augmentations.
I had to make some on-the-fly decisions about what augments to activate, based on what I needed to progress. For example, upgrading hacking skills when I encountered a terminal I couldn’t access, or enabling enhanced jumping when I needed to reach a high up place. I’m talking about my own play style here – being a Deus Ex game, you’ve got an open choice about how to approach a situation, what augments to use and there are multiple paths to reach a destination.
When Adam reaches the bridge, you learn that you’re being aided by a mysterious male voice with a Russian accent, and that you have to get off the ship and onto Rifleman Bank Station, the Belltower detention facility where you’ll meet an ally who can help.
Good cop and the bad cop
After boarding Rifleman Bank Station, you reach the rendezvous point and in a surprise twist learn that your ally is Netanya Keitner, the station’s commander. She’s actually one of the few uncorrupt Belltower soldiers around and is working with Interpol to investigate shady operations aboard her station, being run by Burke in secret.
Adam agrees to help Keitner get to the bottom of what’s going on and she directs him to meet her engineer, Garvin Quinn, an opporunistic Irish bloke who runs a black market shop at the bottom of the station. It’s always great to have a place to buy and sell equipment, after all.
While you investigate the restricted areas of the station, you learn that some very dodgy things have been going on. You meet a young woman called Nina Sullivan locked in an experimentation room, who explains that most of the prisoners being detained as terrorists are actually just regular innocent people who were kidnapped off the streets. They’re being experimented upon by scientists doing unethical research into turning people into living computer processors, something you will recognise later on as being part of the Hyron Project at Panchaea. Nina begs for Adam to free her, but heart-wrenchingly Adam has to leave her behind, as he can’t have her running free and alerting guards to his presence.
Adam confronts one of the scientists, a woman named Tiffany Kavanagh, who is sympathetic to the plight of the prisoners and abhors the high death rate of the experiments. She agrees to escape the station with Adam’s help and go to Interpol as a whistleblower.
All of the above
Adam has to return to the central security hub to enable Kavanagh’s escape via mini-sub, but on his way back there, Keitner’s cover is blown and Burke initiates a lockdown. Keitner is mortally wounded by Burke’s men, but before she dies warns Adam that Burke has initiated a scorched earth protocol to wipe away all evidence.
The shit hits the fan when you learn that the prison and labs are filling with poisoned gas and you have only ten minutes before everyone dies. The mysterious Russian man contacts you again and says that you can save either Kavanagh or the prisoners by redirecting the gas from one part of the station to the other.
The choice is a tough one. You need Kavanagh alive to testify to Interpol against Belltower – but saving her means condemning Nina Sullivan and the hundreds of other innocent prisoners. Saving the prisoners lives means killing Kavanagh, one life for many, but then what happens to them later with no way to expose Belltower’s deeds? Time is ticking away… doing nothing will mean that everyone dies. It’s a dilemma that reminds me of Virmire in Mass Effect, where you can only save either Kaidan Alenko or Ashley Williams.
But of course – this is Deus Ex – Adam Jensen settles for no compromises! If you’ve explored the ventilation ducts of the prison during your investigation, you may have found a ventilation hub. Rushing there, you’ll discover another hidden option to destroy the poison gas generator and save everyone. A “fuckin’ brilliant” solution, as Garvin Quinn will tell you while you’re on your way to confront Burke.
One of the choices you can make in DXHR is to play Adam Jensen as a pacifist, never resorting to lethal means against enemies. This isn’t true for the boss fights, where your only option is to kill, and this was one of the criticisms people had about the gameplay. Missing Link’s boss fight against Burke is different though – you do have the option to take down Burke and his men non-lethally.
After defeating Burke, you finally meet the mysterious Russian who’s been aiding you. Surprise twist number two, he’s Garvin Quinn, who it turns out isn’t Irish at all and probably isn’t really named Quinn. He’s played everyone, even Keitner who had no idea Quinn was her anonymous Interpol contact. Quinn isn’t even part of Interpol – he’s part of a group of hacktivists called the Juggernaut Collective that works against the Illuminati in an invisible war.
Quinn takes care of the cleanup operation at Rifleman Bank Station and returns the rest of your gear and equipment, then sends you on your way on the correct boat headed for Singapore to continue the main story.
Never stop looking
The Missing Link delivered a great story and experience. You get to redefine Adam Jensen’s abilities from scratch and really re-examine which augments you feel are important.
You’re caught up in an intriguing investigation with twists and turns. It fills in more back story about the Hyron Project and explains where the women they slave to the computers at Panchaea come from.
You’re given freedom of choice when it comes to deciding how to deal with the end boss and also given a way to achieve the super happy ending of saving both Kavanagh and all of the prisoners.
It’s a shame there weren’t any other story DLCs like this for DXHR that expanded upon more of the lore of Deus Ex, but fortunately the adventures of Adam Jensen will continue in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and I’m eagerly looking forward to delving into that.