-By Mike Bezek
Akira, Blade Runner, Deus Ex, The Matrix. We have all been exposed to the oft-overused, fan-fiction filled universe that is cyberpunk. In these worlds, mankind has submitted his own humanity to accept the higher calling of machine assimilation in order to achieve a supposed greater plane of existence. E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy is a game that tries to mesh these worlds together by injecting a bit of philosophic zealotry and extensive back-story, which rarely seen in games nowadays. And much like real-life zealotry, it is hard to get on board with a game that shouts its rhetoric at the user, but never gives a reason to stay convinced and convert.
I’m Putting The What In The Where?
E.Y.E. places the player as a high-ranking member of the organization call Secreta. You do not have a name, nor do you have an identity, as your face is shielded by a mask that seems to borrow a lot of inspiration from Dead Space. This lack of identity allows the player to create your own character, allowing them to truly fill his shoes, as any game claiming to have RPG elements should. The first thing you will encounter is a character interface which allows you to dole out attribute points and to decide how you are going to perform in the game. Some options include a stealth camouflaged hacker/sniper, or a heavy gunner capable of mowing down anything in your path.
The opportunity to choose how you want to play your character is always a welcome system in games; however, when the game presents it through a horrid, ill-advised user interface, it becomes near impossible to understand how to use this effectively. Instead of being presented with in-game tutorials on how the mechanics of the game work, you are instead given 23 badly translated video tutorials that leave you with more questions than answers. While you may get a basic grasp of the game from these rudimentary tutorials, a large amount of the game is left for you to figure out through trial and error. This seems to be an acute case of the developers trying too hard to focus on other areas of the game instead of core mechanics, which presents the player with an aggravating experience from the start.
I figure that a game with such heavy focus on the ability to customize your character and play experience would also have a highly polished combat system. Unfortunately, the combat fun is all but diminished by an incredibly sloppy AI system that is seemingly omnipotent to your position unless you are using the invisibility ability. Encounters boil down to you pulling out your long-range weapon and picking off enemies before they have the chance to blindly charge at you, Serious Sam style. Melee combat relies on your ability to be able to pinpoint the small area the developer decided to use for collision detection, leaving you looking like a hulking behemoth attempting to swat a fly with a sledgehammer.
The Dissonance Of Satisfaction and Depression
E.Y.E uses the Source engine for the graphics and while it still produces some great textures and atmospheres, it is also starting to show its age. While the character models are sharp and hauntingly designed, the world textures are bland and stitched together. Every part of the game appears to be painted upon a huge shadow, and I was forced to turn my gamma setting as light as possible just so I could see where I was going. While I commend the small development team for being ale to provide such a large and detailed world to play in, it likens the gameplay to a blind person bumbling down halls firing a gun in hopes of hitting something.
The visuals are somewhat redeemed by E.Y.E’s very impressive sound design. The impact sound your suit of armor makes after a jump is incredibly satisfying, and the gunplay is supplemented with a visceral, violent resonance. While a large amount of shooters nowadays focus on the realism of a gunshot, E.Y.E provides a deep, guttural explosion that truly translates the power of the weapon.
Maps are supplemented with a very dark and melodic overtone that really brings players into a universe depleted of all flora and fauna, replaced with the oppression of an over-reliance on technology. Streum On Studio really understands what it is like to audibly convey such a depressing and mysterious atmosphere.
Asimov and Card Are Amateurs
E.Y.E. offers a back-story in spades. Almost from the get-go, you are presented with names, places, people, organizations, locations, factions, and lore at a dizzying pace. Thankfully, the developers provide a large library in the main hub of the game, where instead of playing the game, you can spend time reading about people, places and things that may or may not even be integral to the storyline. It is way too easy to get completely lost and confused by E.Y.E.’s massive and lengthy story while playing the main game. I was often unable to understand actions to take because the game relies on terms and phrases that are not properly explained (or the shoddy translation muddles the explanation). This results in the completion of many objectives without any grasp on why you are completing them. I found myself constantly revisting the Library to try to eke out a small understanding of what exactly was transpiring in the game. Yet I came to the ultimate conclusion that key storytelling elements in a game such as this should not be forced reading.
It is such a shame that such a massive and detailed universe never seems to rise above high-grade fan fiction. Some sections and plotlines feel as if a struggling freshman in college produced it, and characters often suffer from this faux aggression and immaturity that would give the impression a younger crowd was attempting to convey very adult themes they did not know how to express correctly.
Somewhere in this game is an excellent and intriguing story, but it needs some serious trimming and streamlining in order to keep the player engaged. I could have enjoyed the story if I was not bogged down with the staggering amount of information that was thrown at me left and right.
Final Thoughts/Is It Worth Your Money?
E.Y.E presents like a game that was rushed out of the door before any polishing and preening could (and should) have been done to make the experience a worthwhile one. There are a lot of great and interesting concepts that exist in this game, but they are overshadowed by game-breaking bugs and the atrocious user interface. When I first played the game, I saw the promise of an interesting story, and fun combat system neatly wrapped up in a dystopic future. What I was left with was a bad taste in my mouth that made the experience never rise above utter mediocrity.
What is needed right now is a large patch including fixes on translation issues, world lighting, plot objectives, and a total overhaul of the UI. But until then, it’s hard to not point users in the direction of the latest Steam Sale on Deus Ex. -End
E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy Summary:
- Time Played: 7 Hours
- Widescreen Support: Yes, up to 1920×1080
- 5.1 Supported: Yes
- Bugs: Many
- Control Scheme: Customizable Keyboard
- Acquisition Method: Review Copy
- Worth Your Money: No
If Streum On Studios releases a major patch that addresses the issues within this game, we feel it would only be fair to re-visit the world of E.Y.E.
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