The title makes Human Revolution's first DLC pack sound like it's been ripped from the narrative mid-flow, a sizzling, raggedy lump of cyber-tissue, indecipherable without reference to the whole. In fact, The Missing Link is an elegant, self-contained campaign-in-miniature that packs almost as many options and exactly as much atmosphere into a third of the space.
The tale kicks off after Adam Jensen's explosive visit to Heng Sha, though you can pick up the thread direct from the front-end care of a "previously on" sequence. The angular hitman has stowed aboard an ocean facility operated by mercenary corporation Belltower, only to be discovered, trussed up and stripped of all but his most basic augmentations.
Jail-broken by a mysterious figure who spends most of the plot breathing static down a comm channel, Jensen must recover a few of his gizmos, unravel the facility's quickly deepening mysteries and, just maybe, find out how all this relates to his broader quest for redemption.
The latter two objectives take five to seven hours, the first objective around 30 minutes, thanks to Jensen's mysterious benefactor, and herein lies the brilliance of The Missing Link: it's a chance to redo your augment set without labouring through the campaign from scratch.
Praxis kits and XP points are ladled out generously: by the final battle, we'd maxed our cloaking, Typhoon and hack capture abilities, with a few points left over for armour, strength and speed upgrades. Combat, stealth and hacking are definitely the way to go, as you'll rarely get to smooth-talk the facility's troops (or for that matter, the wobbly robots who serve as endgame heavies), and The Missing Link's failure to signpost this counts among its few real failings.
It's no open world, but the Belltower facility is drenched in the trademark Human Revolution slew of loose objects, diaries and emails, with an audio diary or two for Bioshock fans. There are a couple of side-missions to uncover, one culminating in a tasty rocket launcher, and a couple of Big Decisions to make.
The plot that branches from these elements isn't as dazzling as Human Revolution's, thanks to a toothless bad guy and some patchy dialogue animation, but as DLC episodes go, it's solid gold. Whether you've polished off Eidos Montreal's latest or no, the Missing Link is an essential purchase.
Not the Weakest Link
- Make-your-own-Jensen 2.0
- Plenty of hours on the clock
- Sneakers, fighters and hackers welcome
- Weak-kneed baddy
- Not that chatty