My initial impressions of E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy were the following: Cyberpunk, Cyber implants, Psionic powers, Stats and … Iron Sights? Well, sign me up! And sign me up streumon-studio’s did. Quickly loading the game, I fired E.Y.E. up wherein I was tasked with the ambiguously important task of assigning the makeup of my avatars DNA sequence. Reflect on that and realize how heavy this decision is. This is literally the first minute of playtime and I’m already being quizzed on, potentially, my lineage and the repercussions those entail. What happens if I put some glakinknack (not really a gene) in my blood, is there going to be some unforeseen prejudices against me? Meanwhile, the only tidbits of information I receive are vague descriptors that align with stats. Deciding to take a leap, choosing a full bore Assassin build, cultural makeup be damned, I deployed my avatar into the world of E.Y.E. How did things turn out? Read on.
The story of E.Y.E. takes place almost 400 years into the future with “…many wars and catastrophes…” that have taken place during that time. Since the “Era of Darkness” has seemingly ended some 15 years prior to where you start the game, the world is decidedly industrial looking. Large dams have been constructed and tubing is common place outside of your headquarters. Everything in the game seems to be have this piping mentality.
I don’t mean that everything is confined in corridors (though there is that sometimes), but even an expansive city is arranged precisely. All of the venues seems methodical, funnily enough is that safety seems to be a non-issue in the future. Railings? Meh. Dividers? Feh. I suppose since you can be revived and the advent of cybernetic implants, things like falling to your death aren’t a huge concern in the future. But E.Y.E. does an excellent job of portraying a society who’s cares are focused on delivering fuel/energy and developing power than it is about recreation. Bars are dives and… well that is the only type of “store” that I’ve actually visited outside of headquarters. Outside of your headquarters which features a rather ornate statue in the main lobby and other signs of luxury like the archives with a type of architecture that shows intelligence is of high importance, at least with E.Y.E. the armed branch of the Secreta Secretorum.
Outside civilization is cold and dark. Towering buildings and huge warehouses all with a focus on efficient use of space. Outside of the carefully detailed environments, E.Y.E. also pays close attention to detail when it comes to psionic abilities and how they relate and interact with the world. How your vision blurs when augmented with the sprint ability and the disorienting effects that happen to you when you are seized by terror or the hallucinations you manifest when becoming paranoid. There is a very cohesive art direction throughout the entirety of E.Y.E. Thumbs up.
The gameplay has it’s ups and downs. A good portion of this could be alleviated if the tutorial section was fleshed out a bit. The tutorials are presented to you as prerecorded videos, that seem to lack sound and are very terse. I can appreciate that they’re quick because someone that is new to the game might look at the 24 videos and see them as a bit daunting. However, I wished that they had included more videos. For example, there is only one video in the tutorial on hacking, but they don’t explain to you how HP works in hacking or how it affects you. Do you die if it reaches zero? How do you regain hacking health? Since the only way I could learn was by doing, I hacked. Turns out there is a sort of random number generator with many thing in E.Y.E. I first noticed it when selecting genes and also noticed it when hacking. Basically if you just click whatever it is you want to hack over and over again, the parameters change. Which is a really neat idea and I approve. Also you can die from failing a hack. I think if you fail twice on the same object you’re doomed.
A second area that I had a problem with is the class/build that I wanted to go with isn’t working out all that swell. Originally, I wanted to be a stealth assassin class. While exploring the armory, you are presented with a plethora of weapons and armor types. Just messing around I wanted to see how fast I could run around while carrying a ton of stuff in heavy armor, even though I focus on agility. Surprisingly, I still moved rather quickly but I noticed that when I jumped, I made a super large thud sound when I landed. Initially, I thought this thud was indicative that I was weighed down too much, which had me smiling from ear to ear. While wearing this armor, I was noticed rather quickly by enemies and immediately was under fire. I’m thinking to myself, “Oooh, it’s because of the loud noises I made that alerted the enemies of my presence.” Naturally, when you are an assassin the only weapons you need to keep close are a blade and a rifle. Since I was quite a distance away from my enemies, it seemed an opportune time to test out Ol’ Betsy. One of the things, along with the art and sound direction done right in E.Y.E. is the feel and weight of the weapons. Looking through the iron sights of your sniper rifle, the distortion applied around the edges of the magnified image, the kick as you pull back on the hammer and the blood cloud left behind by the fallen… it’s just.. well it’s a satisfying feeling. Never have I grown tired of carefully placing the cross hairs over my enemies head and pulling the trigger. After I gleefully dispatched my combatants, I was on my merry way back to HQ to get out of these heavy clothes and into a more assassinating attire.
This is where things went south. After finding the Armory at HQ, I immediately wanted to go on my next mission and be all sneaky and such. So, I chose light armor and only the sniper rifle. At 7% encumbrance, no one would be able to hear me getting closer, would they? Turns out, it’s exactly the same as me being fully encumbered. And they spot me from well over 100 yards. This can’t be right. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong but it doesn’t seem like it’s possible to be an assassin from the get go. It essentially boils down to the necessity of buying the cloaking augmentation if you want to do any sneaking whatsoever. But it drains your energy pretty quickly which makes me believe that a true Assassin build would dump stat points into endurance, not agility. Perhaps this is by design though? They generally don’t react unless I enter their field of view at a great distance. The only reason I would believe this to be the case is that you have to manage your magazines of ammunition correctly too. If you reload your weapon when you still had bullets in the clip, you forfeit those bullets. And there is no auto reload. While I will say it does make it more realistic, when it comes to AI having literal FoV, it can impact choices one makes outside of a tank build.
Overall, it shouldn’t be understated that E.Y.E. offers a TON of options on how best to handle a situation. Again, perhaps if types of builds/classes were in the tutorial, it might explain what I’m doing wrong. Outside of these two complaints, that might just be one, the gameplay in E.Y.E. is pretty solid. Interactions and reactions from/to NPCs are in regard conversations and factions, even if the pathing is a little sloppy. Way points faithfully direct you in the correct location but could really use some additional information in regards to the level of the location.
We dissect games. Usually it’s far easier to critique visuals, story and gameplay because they are far more macroscopic entities. It’s far easier to notice texture pop up, vertical tearing and other performance related issues greatly because the visual part of the game usually requires hefty number crunching. Same goes for gameplay and story. These are things that are relatively easy to define. Audio, when looked at critically, only has a few stages for me. Is there an absence of sound? Was it adequate? These are two that usually get a red flag for sound. I’m happy to report that I didn’t experience any audio related issues. The other stages for reviewing sound is the music, how well it blends in with everything, but most importantly is there parts of the audio that truly stand out and goes above and beyond to really bring the whole experience together. The only thing I’d like to comment on is the voice work for all of the NPC’s. I’m glad they chose another language besides English. And it’s not all the same, I’m pretty certain I heard something that sounded far more Japanese than anything in origin. So kudos for the voice work. Overall, the sound in E.Y.E. is above adequate. Walking on carpet, tile, concrete all make different sounds. It’s a complete package that gets the job done. Nothing to write home about though.
E.Y.E. takes place on Earth almost 400 years into the future. How the chronology works is like this:
- Years former to 2116: Dark Ages.
- Period from 2116 to 2250: Technological Middle Ages.
- From 2250 to 2379: Era of Darkness.
- 2380: Rebirth and departure of the new era, it’s the new year 0…
- Year 15: Where our story begins.
So in the 15th year of this new era you’re a member of the secret society E.Y.E, an armed branch of the Secreta Secretorum which is attempting a coup against the all-powerful Federation, a coalition of several worlds and planets that rule. There are two factions within E.Y.E.: Jian and Culter who have their own internal conflicts. Throughout E.Y.E. all of the conversations you have with damn near everybody will test your loyalties with your commander, the chief of the Secreta and your mentor. How you answer these questions and the actions you take will dictate your path and the course of the world. Will you reunite the rival factions? Will you obey your commander? The choices are yours to make in E.Y.E. as the non-linear story has ample room with diverging paths.
All told, I really enjoyed E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy. It seems to be a feature complete game that I’d have no problem recommending. Especially at $20 it’s hard to go wrong. The game is ludicrously packed with features AND I didn’t even touch the multiplayer mode which is supposed to be a cohesive experience with the single player. It’s only downfall is the steep learning curve and some AI that is wound too tight. There were a few bugs I noticed that truly were bugs such as, dialog not appearing at all, research incapable of starting and hotkeys disappearing. BUT all of these issues seemed to happen only when I alt-tabbed to take notes. When I didn’t alt-tab everything worked accordingly. If I did experience any of those issues, I just had to restart the game. It’s easy to admit that E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy needs a patch or two before it smooths out these minor rough parts. If/when that happens is when this game will be an absolute gem. Otherwise, just jump into the game, explore and have a fun time.
88/100: E.Y.E jams an RPG into an FPS with a dash of realism and splays it on a CyberPunk future dinnertable.