This review is actually a surprise compared to many others...but let me explain some things that don't really cut it. 1. Death isn't a huge deal; until you suffer from one of the 5 Fatal Wounds that present a stat penalty. 2. Resurrecting on the spot is ridiculous but its justified; a Resurrection is a cocktail of drugs that inject the player when he shows signs of rigor mortis. Although this review is proof that you haven't fully explored every aspect of the game's potential; the review is surprisingly accurate or at most predictable in (What would an ordinary person see through playing this game?) king of way. Considering that this is gamespot its actually saying something.
The ambitious and atmospheric E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy will enthrall you, if you can overcome its harsh edges and convoluted mechanics.
- Flexible gameplay mechanics that let you play the way you want to
- Eerie sci-fi atmosphere
- Branching mission paths invite replay value
- Enjoyable arsenal of guns and powers.
- Steep learning curve made steeper by the confusing interface
- Frustrating AI
- Annoying array of fundamental issues.
E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy is an unusual, engrossing, and maddening game that is unmistakably itself. This first-person role-playing action game may be painted with shades of Deus Ex, but its atmosphere and pace are unique, and this uniqueness keeps you engaged in the face of some uninviting elements. E.Y.E. is ambitious. It hands you guns, swords, and cybernetic skills, and then drops you into a chilling sci-fi world, letting you accomplish your goals in any way you see fit. It's also confusing and awkward, dropping unnecessary obstacles in your path proudly, as if to say, "These aren't bugs; they're features!" And so you might sometimes curse and grit your teeth, but you will also be entertained and perhaps even in awe at times. Once you've played E.Y.E., you aren't apt to forget it. Whether you remember it more for its oppressive futuristic ambience and impressive flexibility, or for how hard it works to alienate its own players, depends largely on how much patience you have.
It's a shame that E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy demands so much of that patience from the get-go. After making a series of unexplained statistical choices, you awaken on a stone walkway. Obelisks engraved with mysterious runes rise above you on either side. The sky is a yellow hue, but the darkness envelops you as you move toward the only exit you see: a shimmering door shining its turquoise light into the darkness. You're met by a figure clad in black armor, his helmet crowned with a golden halo. Like every character you meet, he speaks in a rumbling garbled language, translated into sometimes passable, sometimes broken English subtitles. After you enter the door, the first level begins--and so does the confusion. E.Y.E. introduces the first-person shooter basics during this level: how to crouch, jump, aim, shoot, and so on. What it doesn't do is teach you the important things. This is a complex game in which you hack turrets, research technology, use PSI powers, and suffer from broken limbs. And it takes a while to make sense of these mechanics. Few of these concepts are introduced in any meaningful way, and the included video tutorials are only minimally helpful.
The story is equally confusing, though enlightenment does come, at least partially. You are one of these intimidating, armor-clad sci-fi soldiers. You learn of the Federation, a conglomerate of intergalactic societies; of the Secreta Secretorum and the cold war in which its two factions are engaged; and of the conflict between your mentor and your superior. This knowledge doesn't come without effort. The dialogue doesn't always give much information, or indeed make much sense (probably due to a confusing translation from the original French). At the E.Y.E. temple, you can read up on all the backstory, which sheds light on the circumstances. But the dry accounts aren't likely to inspire any emotional connection to the tale.
You needn't know a lot of the particulars to get drawn into this world, however. Each level has a remarkable sense of place. You explore stone sanctuaries on a dusty planet's surface. You seek an important contact in a shadowy industrial zone lit by neon signs and billboards for weird television shows. A hovering dropship cuts an imposing silhouette against a neon green sky. All the while, an electronic soundtrack pulses and drones, taking the place of ambient noise in this eerily silent universe. The graphics, powered by the Source engine, aren't cutting edge. Textures are lacking, and the dim lighting is a frequent frustration, making it difficult to see important things like hidden entrances and grotesque creatures about to maul you to death. Nevertheless, the freaky language, the synthesized musical murmurs, and the orange computer terminals loaded with unintelligible text all add up to a singular and peculiar vision of the far-flung future.
The gameplay will draw you in as well, if you give it an hour or two. E.Y.E. seems like a first-person shooter at its outset, only to transform into something a lot more flexible--and a lot more intimidating if you don't take the time to experiment with its confusing array of menus. There are tons of stats to consider: agility, hacking, medicine, and psi-force among them. There are assault rifles, sniper rifles, melee weapons, and more that you can grab from armories. And you can't just load up on stuff: each item, including ammo, takes up a particular amount of space in your inventory. Among your many skills are a cloak to make you less visible to enemies; ghostly decoys to summon; and a triangulation attack that does extreme damage to your enemy, but comes with its own health risk. You can hack turrets to disable them, or even turn them against their former masters. Or maybe you'd rather snipe them and get it over with.
This is a lot to consider. But before you've gotten used to this smorgasbord of options, you're thrust into the action and discover that E.Y.E. is paced differently than most action games. Levels are large, and many objectives either send you across the map or require free exploration. As the tense atmosphere intimates, you aren't running and gunning through a horde of suicidal targets. Off the bat, you're pelted by bullets from enemies you probably didn't see through the oppressive jade mist. You learn to tread carefully and take advantage of all those cyberpowers lined up in the labyrinthine menus. Activate your cloak and sneak past, if you must. Peer down the sights of your sniper rifle and assassinate targets before they get the chance to do so first. Close to death? Convert dropped ammo and weapons into health. As you skulk through claustrophobic sewers or hide from a gunship raining death on you from above, you encounter a number of interesting enemies--some humanoid, some not. They aren't bright foes; you won't see any clever use of cover or tactical flanking. The AI does cheat, however, with all enemies in a certain radius becoming keenly aware of your presence whether or not you are in their line of sight.