Review: E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy

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If you ask a young child to tell you a story, you’ll usually get only a minute or two into it before they start adding in dragons and robots and wizards who shoot flaming paperclips from cotton-candy wands. It might be entirely inscrutable to you but to the storyteller, it makes perfect sense in its own way. E.Y.E is what happens when those children grow up, never lose that spark of unbound creativity, and get ahold of the Source engine. It’s Warhammer 40k seen in a funhouse mirror that adds telekinetic werewolves and sniping miniguns. It’s dark and confusing and twisted and chaotic and an absolute fuckton of fun if you don’t let any of the overwhelming weirdness overwhelm you.

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I’m not even going to take a stab at the story here, half because diving as much of it as you can is a major plot point itself, and half because I can’t. I have 20 hours logged in E.Y.E and I still only have the most tenuous grasp of what the fuck is going on, despite there being an entire in-game library you can peruse for insight. For anyone that got nothing from my WH40k reference, you are some kind of psychic cyber-soldier in a dystopian future where an all-powerful government and literal demons from an alternate plane of existence threaten the survival of your organization. In your fight against them you may discover certain secrets about yourself that you tried to forget, and may get the chance to change some of them.

I know this looks like a cyberpunk FPS, but let me walk you through the tutorial level. You start in a dreamspace inside your mind where you generate character stats using three different esoteric genomes. The portal takes you to a cave where you have to learn to use your katana, guns, and cyber-powers to defeat punks and Federal officers who may or may not be kind and loving daddies, and who might drop artifacts you can research. At the end you have to hack a door using a real-time text interface, and if you fail the door may take control of your body or fry your brain. After all of this, you can start your adventures.

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There is shooting in this game, of course, and a lot of it. You get free use of 32-round auto shotguns, a 100-round-a-second SMG, and a minigun with a sniper scope right from the get-go. Those stats I mentioned earlier can also qualify you to use weapons like an anti-aircraft revolver, as well as cyber enhancements and new psionic powers like teleporting inside someone’s body. But even atop all this is more, like the hacking system that can open up new routes through the vast, open levels or the research which unlocks all kinds of bizarre possibilities for your character. It’s all accessed from a big, clunky menu that’s a pain to navigate but also an utter wonder to behold for all the possibilities it offers.

Levels will lead you along a string of objectives that you’re probably not going to fully understand, sometimes pitting you against humans like gangs or soldiers and other times against towering aliens or mind demons. You’ll travel from the blasted slums of Earth to ruined outposts, besieged temples, the surface of Mars, and stranger places still. The whole time you’ll have only the barest understanding of events, thanks to both the extremely rough translations of the game text and the gobsmackingly bizarre story beats the game expects you to handle.

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If you’ve made it this far, you owe it to yourself to pick up E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy right now and dive into it. Seriously, if nothing I’ve said has completely put you off then you have the curious streak necessary to get the most out of this thing. E.Y.E has a lot of rough edges and a lot of unanswered questions that you’ll just have to deal with, but it’s all so compellingly odd and coupled with such interesting combat and systems that it’s absolutely worth working through the bad to enjoy the good. Those with the patience to untangle this Gordian knot of sci-fi and metaphysics will be rewarded with some truly excellent action and revelations that go hand-in-hand.

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