The Story (Don't worry, no spoilers)
You are the member of the secret society known as E.Y.E. You begin the game with a case of short term memory loss after being defeated in a fight where all your fellow teammates were killed. You learn that Secreta Secretorum, of whom E.Y.E. is a branch of, is attempting a coup against the rather tyrannical Federation. Your missions will have you finding ways to subvert or eliminate their authority through various means.
So far, I have never been blown away by any aspect of this story. It is interesting, but nothing that new. One thing you should know is that this game story is pretty much presented via text boxes. There is a lot to this story that you can learn by reading in the archives and exploring conversations with others. However, if you aren't much for reading then you may be at a loss of what's going on or what to do next. Also, the text dialogue can, on occasion, be laughably bad or generic. Their are also some typos here and there. Overall, though. a decently interesting story.
The game is run off the Source engine, but still looks pretty darn good. In fact, the only way I knew that this was the source engine was that a lot of the sound effects in the game are recycled from the source engine...which bothered me a little bit. For the sounds that aren't recycled, they vary from good to kind of funny bad. I really like the impact sound of when you fall from a fair distance (this results in some smoke and makes you feel like a bad-ass from time to time). The guns sound fine, not too powerful but not BB guns. Then there are a few sounds like the summon partners/clones sound that is almost comical. It sounds like the noise you'd get if you had someone do a "puff/poof" sound into a mic. Now onto places. Many of the locations you explore a very interesting. A lot of the game's areas involve very giant rooms or the streets of run-down cities. These places are rather fun to explore and can often be rather impressive (see screen shots). But, from what I believe being on the Source engine caused, these areas don't really feel "lived-in" or "once lived-in but now abandoned". Sometimes you'll find yourself in a giant room with a walkway and another guy...that's it.
E.Y.E. is an FPS/RPG, so the kind of experience you'll have while playing will vary based on how you upgrade your character.You start off the game by choosing 3 genes (or the same one 3 times if you'd like) from a list that each has their respective advantages and disadvantages. This will shape your characters early traits and faults,however it doesn't lock anything into place so if you change your mind don't worry.
The guns in E.Y.E. are very fun to use and rather diverse, but so are melee weapons. Your character will always have a sword with him and whether or not you use it is up to you and the style of combat you prefer. You have your shotguns, pistols, sub-machine guns, sniper rifles, assault rifles, melee weapons (dual swords, 2 single swords, and a power ax), and heavy weapons (grenade launchers and miniguns). Some of these are available to you right off the bat, and others aren't until you purchase them. Of the guns the are already available to you, you are able to use all of them from the start of the game no matter your gene choices in the beginning. Purchasable guns of state requirements that you will have to meet. I feel that this was a wise choice since you can play with each type of the weapons, and then start to develop down the path you enjoyed the most.
You also have psi powers and implants at your disposal. You have very few from the start, but you can purchase them as you level up. Some of these powers are really cool. For example, there is one where you implode an opponent and the teleport to the place he died. Others create helpers that, based on the traits that effect psi abilities, can be rather helpful. But these helpers can frustratingly get in you way or block you if your (literally and figuratively) in a tight spot. Which brings me to my next topic...
The A.I. in the game has its moments, but isn't really that bright. I'd say they are a little smarter then the bots in CS:S or TF2. While in the E.Y.E. HQ, you'll run into a bunch of NPC's walking into each other and getting stuck on their way to wherever it was they were going. This isn't that big of a deal...you just go around them. But, like I mentioned before, the spawn helpers power usually will block you in unless you're in a very open area. You can tell these helpers to go attack and they'll move...or you can kill them but it is still frustrating when you're being shot at to not be able to get around a corner to heal and not being able to because you're "buddy" is just chillin' in the way. I rated this game as an easy difficulty because it's pretty easy. However, the enemy A.I. makes up for some of it's stupidity by being really accurate and/or persistent. So there will be a fair amount of moments where you're trying to hack a terminal objective then five guys open up on you (very effectively I might add) and just destroy you. This game (rather the NPC's in the game) seem to yell at you every so often if you don't do a mission very stealthily. While there are stealth powers and a stealth mechanic, it's very hard to tell how hidden you are. And once you make one enemy NPC mad, pretty much all the other bad in a few block radius will know where you are and are comin' to kill you. Taking that into account plus the rather large distance between some objectives, it is usually easier just to kill them all as run through the map. Lastly for the AI, sometimes their will be friendly NPC's in the areas you're in. If you accidentally shoot them, however, all of the one's who witnessed it and in the area will hate you from there on in. This is normally avoidable, but big and frantic gunfights break out from time to time and you likely run into at least one case of this happening to you. There is really no way to get out of the situation aside from killing them all. Also, depending on who you shoot, these NPC's can be very strong compared to you.
One of the biggest credits I can give to E.Y.E. is the very interlinked multiplayer to singleplayer aspect. You can start out playing this game either with friends or by yourself, it doesn't matter. All of your character stats and story position are saved. Singleplayer can be fun, but some of the "A.I. ambush and killing your face in under 5 seconds"... surprises can be avoided with having some friends to tag along. Plus, you can really be tactical about how to handle certain areas if you so desire. Also, if you it's really fun to play with bunch of people who have very different styles than your character. These unique aspects don't really start to show themselves until around level 20, but even before that it's still fun to tackle the game with others...and arguably a little less annoying.
This game has it's bland and dry moments. My biggest issue (aside from the A.I.) is that I've never really been able to immerse myself into this games story. I often find myself wondering why I'm performing objective "X" and killing person "Y" (Yes, I've read all the back-story and in game dialogue). Maybe you will, if that's the case good for you. There are also a few instances of getting lost (Most notable for me was once in the HQ). It wasn't really clear what I was supposed to do next so I ended up wondering for a good chunk of time until I found someone to talk to that ended up being right person. Maybe I'm an idiot and this won't happen to you, but I still think it might. This isn't to say this game is bad. One, this is an indie's company first game, and for that I'm impressed. Two, this game is $17.99 on steam right now, and will be $20 normal price. This game has a ton of replay value just based on how many different styles you can approach combat and some missions. But my overall favorite part is feeling are the super soldier bad ass moments. My first character is a very agile, deadly accurate, implant enhanced, and medically inclined character. I love sneaking up (it is possible to sneak up/ambush NPC's, just not easy to navigate the entire map undetected) on a bunch of enemy soldiers (with friends or solo) and silently shooting a few then jumping from two stories down to them and using a shotgun or revolver to eliminate the rest. (How did you finish this review? It's like, 5 pages?! You probably won't hate the reading involved in this game if you read this review haha)
- Inconsistent A.I. that compensates for faults by being very very deadly.
- Deep and interesting story that ties everything together, but never was really that engaging.
- Great variety of weapons to use that feel/sound great and offer many different ways to play.
- Fun to play solo, but with others it can eliminate some of the frustrations of the A.I.
- Seamless character data integration between solo play and co-op play.
- Great (and rather frequent) moments of feeling like a bad-ass super soldier.
I hope this review was helpful to you. Enjoy the game if you chose to pick it up. Personally, I'd say it's worth the $20 if you enjoy RPG's or like killing NPC's with your friends.