E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy Review


So, uh…. this is “E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy”. How do I even start this? I’ve heard people call this game “inaccessible”, but that doesn’t seem like enough. Mechanically, this is a pretty complex game. “E.Y.E.” comes with 23 tutorial videos, but you can still get lost. That’s already kind of rough, but it also comes with one of the strangest plots I’ve ever seen in a game. Things are about to get weird… I’ve gotten a ton of requests to do a “Divine Cybermancy” video, and I was already familiar with it, but I can safely say that I appreciate it much more now. I’ve heard people call it a “Warhammer rip-off”, which is true, but there’s more to it than that. Plus, the company admits it’s inspired by Warhammer and other titles, and they went on to make a Warhammer game. “E.Y.E.” is based off a tabletop game called “A.V.A.” You probably haven’t played it. It might not even exist. This is because the developers made it, and I think only they’ve played it. Supposedly, it might have been some weird homebrew version of “Death Watch”, but I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that the studio made a mod called “Syndicate Black Ops” for “Half-Life 1”. So they took the lessons they learned, moved over to Source, and made a new game called “E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy”. It’s a first person shooter sci-fi role-playing game. After you’ve played “E.Y.E.”, that sounds a little too simple for what it is. Love it or hate it, I think if you’ve played it, you can agree that there’s nothing quite like it out there. Let’s start with the visuals. It’s VERY clearly a Source game. It looks and feels like a “Half-Life 2” total conversion mod that went out of control. And seeing as how only about a dozen people made this game, that might be pretty close to the truth. Regardless, this came out in 2011, and it was outdated-looking even then. So, on a technical level, this looks bad. But that changes up when you factor in art direction. A lot of these character designs are outright inspired. The faction you’re a part of has some really interesting designs. It really feels like they’re doing their own thing here, and put a lot of thought into how these guys would look. But this doesn’t exactly extend to the enemies. Almost all of them look and feel like a derivative of something you’ve seen before. There’s even a mission that seems to be a homage to “Space Hulk”. You fight off waves of four-armed enemies in these stone hallways. I mentioned they made a “Space Hulk” game, right? So they’re not winning any points for originality here, but I’m not sure that they cared. This is a game where a werewolf will debate you about why your species is bad. The story is really something, but we’ll get to that soon. The maps also have a strange quality divide. Some look like classic cyberpunk art, with big flashing neon signs and bright lights. And they usually contrast a dark or dirty looking city. Everyone wants you to buy a gun, a burger, or a prostitute. So even though the game takes place in the far future out in the solar system, Americans will feel right at home. If that sounds too fancy for you, you can enjoy these surrealist hellscapes instead. However, a lot of the maps are just downright bland. They don’t feel like actual areas. Along with the fact that a lot of them are covered in fog. I don’t know if this was to make it easier on the engine or what, but it feels like “Morrowind”. These maps are also HUGE. Normally, this would be a good thing, but in the case of “E.Y.E.” it doesn’t work out so well. The tighter maps have a lot more detail, and look way better visually. The rest of my map issues are gameplay-related, so I will wait till that section. So for now I’m going to give the rundown on the story. I’ll save spoiler stuff for the end of the video, so no worries. You start the game inside of a dream, commenting that you killed your mentor, but you are not his murderer. Before you know what’s happening, you wake up in a cave. Apparently, you were defeated during a mission and you now have amnesia. When you get back to your headquarters, your mentor is alive. He doesn’t explain a ton about what’s going on. Your personal servo skull has a message for you, from yourself. You explain that commander Rimanah had sent you on a mission, and that this could happen. Listening to the message from yourself and then talking to the commander gives you a general idea of what’s happening. But he says if your memory is fuzzy, you can go to the archives and catch up on the history. That seems like a good idea. ♪ Qu-qu-qu culture shock, future shock, fuck yourself, choke yourself ♪ I’m not sure the library was a good idea. There’s a story about Shinji and his dungeon, but the background lore is a little bit harder to get to. It also says you shot your mentor, even though you just talked to him and the commander was talking about him. So what’s going on? Well, the first thing you should know is that this game is not in its native language. It’s a French game, and not the best translation. The big positive Is that this makes the dialogue incredibly entertaining. This leads into having some pretty unforgettable conversations. When someone insults you by calling you “the Messiah of Rodents”, you don’t forget it. Or threatening to rip up someone’s face and “wear it as a moron party mask”. It gives the game a lot of charm, but for the story it’s a nightmare. This clip is a good example of what I’m talking about. A character talks about how you, he and your mentor were trapped in a ship for a century. Does he mean that in a hyperbole, like “you were there forever”, or were you literally trapped in a ship for a hundred years? So when things don’t make sense, most people just think it’s bad translation. The history was scattered and inconsistent, but here’s what I got from it: space exploration was going great up until the year 2116. The next 300 years are a blur. At some point, Mars declared independence and waged war against humanity. It also turns out that all of reality is affected by something called a “Meta-Streumonic force”, and demons are real. So between fighting the Space Confederacy and… Satan, 70% of Humans are dead. The surviving planets form the Federation. But the private sector was still worried about the demons, so some big companies created the Secreta Secretorum, and in turn, they created E.Y.E. No one knows what it stands for. It was lost to time or something. Anyways, their sole mission is to fight off demons. Because the Federation rules with an iron fist and the companies want more power, they launch a coup against them. But it fails. At the same time, there are two factions within E.Y.E.: the Culters and the Jian. They’ve been waging a minor civil war on each other. Your mentor wants to bring the two sides together and focus on fighting the Federation and the demons. The commander just wants to exterminate the Jian. The game drops you off in the middle of this. And this is behind levels of intentional incoherence and bad translation. So if someone picked this up kind of casually and wasn’t paying attention, you can get lost quickly and easily. Stuff like the holy CVS receipts are never explained. So let’s get right into the gameplay. Right off the bat, I’ll say the ceiling of fun you could have in this game is higher than in games like “Deus Ex”. At least when it comes to how broken you can make yourself. You can turn people to monsters, throw cars, turn invisible, create armies of yourself, hack into people’s brains and turn them into a puppet. You can even teleport inside of an enemy and blow them up, and that’s not even everything. But this is a role-playing game, so you will have to earn it. Here’s how character building works: When you first fire up the game you have three genes to choose from. Each one affects a different stat. Some might give high bonuses to one but also give penalties to another. So when you roll you can get a balanced character. Or you can just put them all in the meta-gene, then you roll until you’re pretty overpowered. Even if you start with a high stat character, you still have mountains to go. You get experience by killing enemies, or doing missions and then when you level up, you can spend ability points. That’s not groundbreaking, but that’s not all there is. If you’ve played “E.Y.E”, you know what I have to talk about here. For just about everything you do you get a currency. But it’s not credits, it’s Brouzouf. If I mangled that pronunciation, I apologize. I used to be under the impression that it was just a weird sci-fi currency they made up, but after I actually googled it, it turns out it’s an obscure French slang for money. That took me by surprise. The thing is, there’s a world of wonderful things you can do with this Brouzouf. If you have enough money, you can open up your character menu at any time and buy a cybernetic upgrade. These improve your character in just about any way you can imagine. I would advise investing in your legs. More on that later. You can use your money in the temple headquarters to buy new psychic powers, cybernetic powers, or new weapons. All these items usually come with stat requirements, so you can’t buy them all at once. They might also need research. “E.Y.E.” uses a very similar system to the original “X-Com”. When you kill an enemy, they have a random chance of dropping a briefcase. These cases have research items, so you want to grab as many as you can. Research costs Brouzouf and happens in the background, but you can spend more money to assign more scientists to speed up the process. This does have a few catches. First, what you get is completely random, even though some enemies are known to have higher drop chances for loot. The issue with this is that some research requires other research. The game has an entire tech tree. On top of this, some research is completely useless. I don’t mean “tiny bonuses”, I mean, they do literally nothing. And you can’t really tell which research is going to be junk. So don’t spend all of your money on one research. There’s only a few useless ones, but it’s something to keep in mind. It does incentivize playing the game longer, since there’s some pretty powerful endgame researches you can get. Most of the really devastating weapons need them, but having them be from pure RNG is kind of annoying. The max character level is 120, and there are tons of powers and weapons to unlock. So this variety seems good. How’s the gameplay? Well, if you like the original “Deus Ex”, you’ll feel somewhat at home. It’s nowhere near as intricate, but it is familiar. Let me explain. You usually have multiple methods for accomplishing a mission. If you’re assigned to assassinate someone, you could just go and kill them from a window, or you can try a more subtle approach. How about convincing someone to do it for you? How about hacking a security system and turning it against them? What if you just hack someone’s cyber brain, control them like a puppet, and then send them out to do the murder? You have a ton of freedom in how you can do things. With a catch. No matter how you conduct a mission, it won’t really affect the story. The only exception is one planet where you can choose one of three paths to go on. These lead to maps which are exclusive to your decision, but other than that it doesn’t happen anywhere else. So if you like RPGs with big decisions and story effects – that doesn’t really happen here. It makes up for this with all the side quests it offers in the main storyline. As you progress, you can unlock new areas in the temple, and then go back to areas or visit new ones. These will give you a bunch of plotless side objectives. So they’re ultimately for farming and having fun, not more story content. It has an insane plot, but the game is okay with you ignoring it. Even the difficulty settings kind of hint at this. You can crank up how challenging the enemies are, and even their spawn rates. The payoff is you get more xp and Brouzouf when you kill them. In fact, even with a cloak, stealth is pretty hard in this game. You can dumb down their detection AI, but that doesn’t feel very fair. It already has its struggles, since they’re basically multiplayer bots. So, except for mission rewards, everything else is highly encouraging you to kill enemies. They sure gave you a lot of ways to do it… So, how fun is the gameplay? Let me introduce you to a starter weapon SMG. It has two fire modes: full-auto… [automatic fire] …and fuller-auto. [storm of led] This could be the best game ever made. The combat in this game is so much fun. Every single power you get can be hot-keyed Individually. If that sounds like too much, there is a radial menu you can use. Either way, the controls are incredibly tight and responsive. Every single weapon kicks like a mule and feels powerful. The top tier weapon is a revolver. You don’t see that too often. Plus, it doesn’t need research or high stats. You can even wield it (or any other handgun) with a sword. You won’t even care how stupid it looks, because it’s so fun. I mean, as the game would say: “Holy Weed!” So this game can be a blast, but again, it’s an RPG. So there’s some finer details and some problems. Some people stop early in the game, because they don’t know they can turn into Samurai Jack flying around in the Matrix. I know, because I’m one of them. I had tried playing this game twice before and only got a few levels in each time. So here’s what’s happening: The game uses a grid-based inventory system. As long as you have space, you could have any weapon equipped and all the ammunition for it. However, the more you’re carrying the slower you’ll be. Equipping heavier armor and carrying bigger weapons will make this even worse. And like I said before, these maps are enormous. Sprinting depletes the same resources you use for Magic, or Powers – whatever they are. Either way, you don’t want that yellow bar to be empty. You can crouch down to recharge Energy even faster, but it’s still pretty slow when you’re starting out. This is a section from the end of the first tutorial map. Look how far you have to climb down. Look at this walkway! There’s not a set-piece being shown off. There’s no enemies here. It’s just needlessly long. In the first city mission, you might have to cross the map four to five times. The ends of some of these hallways don’t even render. That’s how far you’re going to be walking around. I usually don’t mind this if there’s a lot of atmosphere or things to find, but in “E.Y.E.” it’s just silly. There’s an alternate path in the tutorial where you don’t have to fight any enemies. But I’m kind of convinced it’s a prank. You crawl around in kilometers of vents, you jump down the Tower of Terror, you climb up the biggest ladder in the game… [Metal Gear Solid 3 theme playing]
♪ What a thrill ♪ ♪ With darkness and silence through the night ♪ More crawling, more vents, and guess where it spits you out? At the same side of the walkway you would have taken if you had gone around normally. Who does this?! “E.Y.E.” basically has “the long way”, and “the longer way”, so even if you start the game with really high agility and wear light armor, you still need to put points in those cyber legs. Then the problem isn’t as bad. JOR-EL: “They will race behind you… They will stumble, they will fall…” JOR-EL: “But in time, they will join you in the sun…” JOR-EL: “In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.” It’s going to be a while before you’re there, though… I also know some people who are turned off by the death system. Besides losing health, there are other effects you can have, like going insane or hallucinating. But you can perform maintenance on yourself to fix it for an energy cost. Out of everything, you seem the most likely to break your legs. That slows you down, so you really don’t want that. When in doubt, just press the button until the game confirms your legs are okay. Because if you play through this with broken legs, you’re gonna have a really bad time. You can also heal yourself or others with med kits to regain health, but don’t use it too early. You can overdose on them and die. It’s amazing. You can always die directly the old fashioned way, from some bullets, but there’s also a minigame for hacking, and you can hack almost anything. Instead of just “holding X to hack”, you basically play a turn-based strategy game. There’s some big benefits to hacking, but if you fail, your cyber eyes might get taken over. Or the security system will fry your brain and you’ll die instantly. When you die, a “resurrector” will activate. This will get your body back up where it was. If you manage to run out of resurrectors, it will kick you out a level and shove you into a dream again. But then it’ll pick up your mission from a checkpoint. At first, I thought this seemed way too easy, but these resurrects don’t always go smoothly. There’s a chance of something bad happening, which depends on a karma system, which, frankly, I don’t understand. But if this is triggered, or if you die in a way where your body can’t be resurrected where it lies, you get a fatal wound. There’s a few kinds of these, and they can stack, and they are permanent stat debuffs. So if someone is exceptionally bad at the game, their stats can be reduced down to what’s basically unplayable. That’s a good incentive to not die. The only way to cure them is with researches down the tech tree. They’re fairly rare, expensive, take a long time to research, and there’s a different one for each fatal wound. So a clumsy player only interested in the story isn’t going to get very far. Unless they bring a friend… “And fucking how high you have to be to make this game?” “THIS high…” [NPC speaking gibberish] “Are they saying that in English for you?” MANDALORE: “Yeah, perfect English!” “I… I just…” MANDALORE: “Dude, it’s English!” “Nah, dude, I’m telling you… It’s doing it in different language for me…” MANDALORE: “You guys ever played “Silent Hill”…?” “The fuck…?!” “Why is it dual-wielding hammers?!” This game can be completely played in co-op. It has a 32 player limit. 32! You can use your character from single-player in multiplayer, so you’re building up your character for both modes, no matter what you’re playing. If you’re doing a campaign mode, only one person can get dialogue at a time. So the fun is fighting off hordes of difficult enemies. I was surprised that the co-op multiplayer is still alive. When I played in public servers, there were still random people coming in and out. There are also competitive multiplayer modes, but all the ones I saw were dead. The single-player can be fun but the multiplayer is even better. Ultimately, I think this game’s greatest strength is giving you a fun set of powers to play with and a big playground. So for all its issues, how is the story? Without spoilers, I’ll say it’s interesting and something that works best in a video game. But bad translation is a problem and that fan patch doesn’t fix things. So if you’re ready to embark upon the cycles of guilt, keep watching. Otherwise, go to this time to skip spoilers: You good? Okay. If I had to describe the plot visually, it would be this: Not what I expected. So here’s the details: throughout the game, commander Rimanah sends you on your missions. But most of them are about sabotaging the Jian. You often disguise yourself as one, setting off terrorist attacks or assassinating people as one of them. This is the commander’s way of trying to demonize them so they can be removed. But there are a lot of things that don’t add up throughout this. Your mentor seems pretty suspicious of what you and the commander are up to, but he doesn’t do anything about it. He seems interested in finding out things for himself, but seems kind of powerless to do anything about the events. In a way, so are you. A character died in front of me at one point, but then appeared again in the next mission like nothing happened. He just says “I’m here sooner than you expected, huh”, but then he’s just killed again. You can save him in the previous mission, but not this one. He dies, no matter what. This doesn’t make sense, but characters are acknowledging this is happening. There are conflicting reports about characters being alive or dead, people are speculating on the nature of reality, people remark that you monologue a lot. There’s also a few chatty non-hostile demons. Some just tell stories, but the one who talked about his cycles of guilt was probably the most relevant. After you talk to the, uh… God Emperor on Mars (well, he’s not important), you only have three main options to choose from. Following your commander’s orders means killing off your mentor, followed by assaulting the Jian temple with your Culter allies, order 66 style. Until other Culters come and say you’re betraying the Organization, and that Rimanah is rogue. And, you know, that leads to the best line in the game (it’s debatable). No matter what ending you choose – whether it’s helping your mentor, the commander, or the Federation – it always ends the same way. Your mentor is killed and you have to assault the temple. No matter what, you have to kill Rimanah. The credits to the game are on an altar in the room where he dies. But when you leave it, you’re taken back to the temple. People basically tell you that his office has been empty for years. But if you go back to the room where you killed him, there’s a portal that leads to the weird dream. Your commander, the mentor and a character only known as Mysterious are there. They ask you about learning anything and consequences and the nature of reality. When you leave this dream, guess where you are? It threw you into the New Game+… The only way to get the “true” ending is to beat the game three times with each ending with the same character, so I just went ahead and did that. Each playthrough basically lets you play through one new map. Before you fight the commander, a mysterious character will appear and give you a new psy power. When you restart a game a third time, there’s a portal in the cave that takes you to the true ending. Now here’s where things get really odd. One of the demon enemies is there, but this time it’s a character. She says you should recognize her, but that your guilt prevents you from doing so. What’s this all about? She says that you’re trapped in your cycles of guilt, and unless you were paying attention to the side babbling of some characters, you’re not going to know what’s happening. There’s a character in the temple who’s not flagged for importance called the “Traveler of Worlds”. There was a high priestess who was a wife of an important member of the order, but she decided to dick around and explore the forbidden zone beneath the temple. He then explains that – as punishment – her husband had her eyes put out and then she was tortured to death. It sounds like a recurring enemy. If you decide to find your mentor and talk to him between missions, he mentions talking to your wife. You never see her, and as far as I know, it’s the only mention of her. The traveler mentions that the husband was forever changed by this. So the game isn’t literally what’s happening. You, the mentor and the commander are the same person. You’re the one who’s trapped in the cycles of guilt. A really basic high school philosophy lesson is the allegory of the cave. If you’ve never heard it, to summarize it: some people raised in a cave think shadows on the wall are reality. Except, unlike that story, you never leave the cave. You’re always in the cave. This dude was right about everything. After I did some looking up on the concept, it turns out it’s a far-eastern thing. It’s like reincarnation, but related to Buddhism, and huh… if you change two letters around it sounds like something else. In fact, there’s a lot of anagrams in this game I learned about all these other connections after talking with veteran players, because I couldn’t find it off the top of my head. All I caught was the cave thing and the plot about the wife. So how does that end? Well, you can choose to pass beyond the Frontier to try and find peace. Peace looks like this dump. There’s nothing else here, you have to quit out by yourself, and your wife warned you not to break the seal. So if you break the seal, you escape the isolation… back into the cycles of guilt. I think there’s a few things that could have happened here. The developers might have had a substance-filled night of playing 40k games and then had some kind of spiritual experience. Or they just lacked the assets and budget to make a really good long game, so they just found a way to repeat it and make it interesting. Either way, I haven’t seen something like this in a game before, but I got dangerously close to doing an actual story analysis there, so I have to read this: [shuffling of papers and Mandalore clearing his throat] “Rimanah’s deep and multi-layered character compellingly contextualizes the rest of the experience making it truly memorable…” I feel so sick… In the end, “Divine Cybermancy” is the roughest gem there ever was, but it’s still a gem. It’s still not a game I could recommend to everyone. It took me a few tries to get into it. If you’re willing to pass a sheer cliff of a learning and story curve, you might have a good time with it. It’s definitely worth it for the co-op alone. On Steam, it goes for 10 bucks full price. For someone like me, that was more than worth it. For the next video, I’m still looking at requests. I still need some time with “Elite: Dangerous”. “Excuse me boy, but you violated the NAP.” Maybe a really long time. So, until then, keep giving me ideas of what you want to see. Thanks for watching! “It’s, like, Russian or something…” “You probably fucked up, because this is a French company.”

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