Deus Ex Human Revolution: Hacking Made Easy

2011-09-02 by . 10 comments

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The hacking mini-game in Deus Ex Human Revolution is quite entertaining and is a great way of getting into places that offer more experience and loot as a reward.  Here are a few tips and tricks that can be used to greatly improve your chances of breaking into a system and getting the goods.

If you enjoy hacking, it should be a rule of thumb that you hack everything, even for workstations and pinpads where you already know the password.  Each successful hack grants you experience, and you have the possibility of obtaining additional goodies such as credits and virus programs to use in future hacks.

Every hackable object in this game has a minimum security rating required before hacking is allowed.  Higher security ratings will typically mean a more difficult hack by having a larger and more complicated network, a faster AI to trace your IO port (the amount of red stacks, higher means faster), and fewer total attempts allowed.

Only two tries allowed for this lock.

Thus, a lot of preparation should be done ahead of time to maximize your chances.


Tip #1: You can hack more than 1 node at a time

The basic hacking tutorial in Deus Ex can be very misleading to some people.  It often gives new players the impression that you can only attempt to hack a single node at a time.  This is simply not true.  At any given second, you can perform as many hacks, fortifies, and programs as you can manage to click on.  On some maps, multi-tasking is the only way you can get the bonus and complete the hack.

Tip #2: Fortify those nodes

Fortifying your nodes is a great way to slow down the network trace subroutine designed to kick you back out of the system.  Some networks are designed in such a way that the AI has a short and direct path to your base.  In those situations, its often helpful to simultaneously hack in the direction of the AI in order to fortify those nodes as a way to slow it down.

Tip #3: Pay attention to the API nodes

Spam nodes lower the enemy trace level, making it slower.  Clearance nodes lower the capture cost of certain nodes, and transfer will move points between nodes.  Good use of the API nodes will make hacking even easier.

Tip #4: Take your time evaluating the network

The clock doesn’t start ticking until your hack is detected.  This may not happen at all during a hack attempt if you are lucky or have high hacking augmentations.

Tip #5: Counter attack!

On some hacks, you can capture the red node (or nodes).  If you can do this, you will gain the bonus of every data node on the network and complete the hack.

The Trace

Once the trace starts, a red line will appear out of every red node on the network and will attempt to traverse to your blue node.  Once it hacks your node, then you are kicked back out of the system.

A fast trace by the AI

As the trace passes over each node, the defense level of that node is increased by one.  This is especially important to keep track of as it can slow down your hack attempt and may delay you long enough to make you fail your hack.  The STOP worm virus, which you can obtain by attacking data nodes or finding on disks scattered through the game, can temporarily freeze a trace.

Example Hack

Here is an example hack of a fairly large network (security rating 2) with several API nodes, several data nodes, and a lot of one-way paths.

Ready to start

The first thing to notice is that your path to the sphere will take you pretty close to the AI, and that there are several ways of approaching the data node in the middle.  As I start hacking may way to the right, I finally triggered the trace on the third hack.  At this point I immediately start hacking the SPAM API at the bottom to slow down the trace while simultaneously hacking the transfer and clearance APIs and fortifying a key node that sits on the path of the trace.

Once the trace starts, things get really busy really fast.

The SPAM API slows down the trace enough for the transfer API to do its magic and drastically improve the rating of the key folder in the path of the trace.  After this, it is a simple path through another SPAM API to the sphere to complete the hack.

Taking advantage of the APIs.

I complete the hack with full rewards with 23 seconds to spare.

A hack that goes as planned.

With these tips I hope that you too can enjoy the hacking minigame and gives yourself the opportunity to fully explore every nook and cranny of this wonderful game.

Filed under Gaming 101


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  • badp says:

    Your hack was so good, you got a hat!

  • yx_ says:

    lol, yea the images doesn’t fit very well, haven’t quite figured out how to make them scale rather than crop to fit the size. If you click on them you’ll see the entire picture.

  • Dave McClelland says:

    You may also want to mention that you can actually capture the AI node (assuming the path out of it isn’t one way), and that once all AI nodes are captured, the hack is over and full rewards given. I didn’t realize that until I was halfway through the game and it made a lot of hacks much shorter.

    • Mr Smooth says:

      Actually, full rewards aren’t given. When you capture all the AI nodes, you’re given control of all of the nodes IT captured (which most of the time means you’ll get full rewards).

      This is the only way to get some rewards, as there might be only one AI, and a level 5 datastore behind it. Hacking the AI will win you the game with no chance of getting the datastore, so what you do is wait for the AI to capture the datastore, and then capture the AI.

      Generally if one of these situations presents itself, you only have about 1 second to spare between winning and losing (if you’re going for the datastore), but I’ve had datastores worth 500 exp in a situation like that.

    • Raven Dreamer says:

      aSorry, Mr Smooth, but my experience agrees with Dave on this one.

      I’ll also add that the network trace adds its own level to nodes it captures, not just 1. It can be irritating to trigger a level 5 trace, and suddenly find lvl 7 nodes in between you and your goal.

  • Alphaman says:

    Every time I’ve hacked AI nodes I get all the datastores, regardless of it’s captures – I capture it often enough without setting off alarms at all that it hasn’t captured ANY and yet still get the datastore.

  • yx_ says:

    I’ve updated the article to add that bit of information in. Thanks for reminding me about it!

  • Wayne says:

    I’ve read every article on the internet about hacking an I can’t do it. Now I can’t procede in the game any farther. Unless I get some better instructions, I can’t play the game. Any suggestions?

    • rehan says:

      truly, I found just attempting every low level hack, even if you don’t have a clue, led to me eventually understanding it. No amount of reading about it helped, just had to try it again and again, until it clicked. Now I have no problems. also remember you have the multi tool, which can hack any device without needing to do the hack.

  • Karel says:

    same here brother, I just cant understand what the hell is going on. there should be images, stating what each thing is, how to get to that point etc etc. Ive got rid of my game,.coz I couldnt progress any further. Not everyone is able to understand it completley. Like racing games, I would beat most of the ppl here on the monnaco track, in car view, on the highest diff setting, its because we ARE all diffrent.

    So come on guys,ba bit more help on this game. Thnx.

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