Developer: Streum On Studio
Release Date: July 29th, 2011
Available on: PC
My mentor has assigned me to reclaim a cybernetic brain from a group of traitors that stole it. They’re making a trade-off with the Federation, and he wants me to sneak in and steal it. I don’t know why I’m expected to do stealth, I just gunned down a Federation captain in the middle of the street and I’m still equipped with heavy armor, a huge revolver, and an assault rifle. Half way to the place I need to go I spot an open building and decide to take a quick detour. Inside I find a looter who’s willing to chat with me. He doesn’t want to share his exact plans, but after slipping him some cash he reveals that they’re going to attack that same warehouse the trade off is happening in. I convince them to move their plans up to today and sure enough when I get there they’ve picked off the majority of the enemies. They try to offer me the brain at a price, but I’m not having any of that and a few looters are nothing to me. Once they’re taking care of I grab the brain and run back outside to see a four-way war going on. The federation and the traitors have turned on each other, while the looters try to pick them off. My mentor sent an extraction squad though, and they support me as we fight back to base, all while I’m getting yelled at for breaking stealth. This was great, a perfect example on how to create branching mission structure that lets me handle a job how I best see fit.
It’s such a shame then that E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy is one of the most confusing games I’ve ever played, and getting to those moments requires battling your way through a cumbersome UI, unexplained elements, confusing systems, vague objectives, crazy difficulty spikes, and a batshit insane story.
The game even begins with a confusing character creation sequence that has you picking from three words that seem to almost randomly mess with your stats. For the life of me I could not figure out if the things I was picking were good or not and after a few minutes of fucking with it I just settled on three words that mentioned guns positively in it. The game opens with your character waking up in a cave after losing some type of battle, and with some extremely selective amnesia to go with it. You’ll get a brief tutorial on the most basic actions like running and shooting, but anything more advance than that requires watching a series of 25+ tutorial videos. When you open up with that then you’re already off to a bad start, but nothing that happens after really helps at all.
Even just accessing menus is confusing. If you want to get to any menu you have to hold down the C button and move the mouse down to access your abilities page. From here you need to click the “My menus” button to get to anything. You’ll be pulling this abilities page up a lot. Want to hack something? Pull up the abilities page. Want to cast a spell? Abilities page. Want to switch your gun from full auto to semi-auto? Abilities page. It’s aggravating as all hell and while you can equip a limited amount of abilities to the same wheel you pull the abilities page up from, it’s not enough to get all the useful ones in, and also my wheel had a bad habit of deleting itself for no reason. You can also spend some money to ask scientist to research objects you find that may yield some benefits to you. The problem here is that there’s a ton of objects to research and the benefits of them is rarely clear. A lot of them just unlock other objects and I even research one that had no purpose at all: the description even flat out said I wasted my time and money on it. So that was great.
Each level is large and could take an hour or two to finish and features multiple pathways, hideouts, and corners that you can explore. The game is nice enough to often point you in the rightish direction of your objectives, but some times you just need to begin to wander around and see what you find. You have a chance to stumble into side quests, but I never really found any meaningful ones that got me rewards other than money. Some of the objectives are so far apart that it’s just a slog to get to them, and I remember spending a few times walking for a solid 5 minutes with nothing happening. One of the later levels doesn’t give you any objectives, you’re just left to wander to figure out what to do next. This level is full of extremely difficult enemies as well and really made me hate the game.
If you’re bored of playing alone then you can hop online. E.Y.E allows you to play the campaign cooperatively with up to 32 players, something that’s sort of insane and hilarious at the same time. You can also do specific co-op missions that put you on a map and ask you to do a series of objectives. If you want to play against other players then there’s two game modes. Battle Royal is a free-for-all where everyone has one life and spawns with random weapons and armor, while Team Artifact is sort of like a capture the flag/team deathmatch hybrid where your goal is to capture artifacts while wearing down the other team’s lives. Team Artifact is the more interesting of the two, thanks to the more open ended gameplay. Sure you can just kill enemies to lower a team’s lives, but if you want you can also sneak into their base and hack computers to drain their lives. It’s interesting, but both modes carry over your single player character so people who have put more time into leveling up will have a clear advantage over newbies.
I haven’t even mentioned much of the game’s story yet because I honestly didn’t even understand what was going on at any point. The most I can figure out is that you wake up with a case of amnesia after an operation gone wrong. When you get back to base you find out that your group, a weird-ass group of cybermancers named the Secreta Secretorum, is in a war with two other groups. Your mentor wants to make peace with one group, call the Jian whom you have a sorta-iffy trust with, so they can both gang up on the Federation to bring them down. Your commander, on the other hand, wants to pit the Jian and the Federation against each other to wipe them both out. That’s about the most I could figure out. For some reason there’s monsters too and everyone hates them for obvious reasons. What I had a more difficult time figuring out was why I was being attacked by stripper nuns with machine guns at random. There’s also weird inconsistencies in the plot. One mission had me teamed up with a friend named Dutch, who got killed about half way through the mission. The other characters acknowledged his death, so I was surprised to find that he was leading the assault against the Federation on Mars a mission later. I wanted to asked how he was alive, but he was shortly after killed a second time. This time it was apparently more plot important since he stayed dead and I became the commander for the assault against the Federation on Mars. Likewise something similar happened to the Mentor. At one point a character commented on his death, and later he just shows up with his apparent “death” never being addressed.
I want to like E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy. At the beginning of the review I told the story of actual events that happened to me in the game, and honestly I’d put it up there as one of the better ones I’ve seen in a game. The early levels have more of these too, and every time I did one it was great. But there’s just so much bogging the game down that it’s hard to appreciate what it does. If you go into it then be ready to spend a good chunk of your time with tutorials and trial and error with the abilities. Get through that and you may have something fun on your hands.