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2084 is a Visually Pleasing but Empty Cyberpunk Shooter

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2084

Science fiction horror games are a dime a dozen, but 2084 tries not to be like the others. The gameplay holds back the amazing environmental art, but lays the groundwork for what promises to be a fairly unique game in how it treats science-fiction horror. However, from simplistic enemy design to bad spawn points, the game requires a lot of work before leaving Early Access.

2084 is all about exploration, hacking, and shooting. Throughout each level are various items that need to be hacked. Some other hackable objects will shock enemies—who look to be deranged hospital patients—within a certain radius, stunning them for a short period. Hacking is made novel by the developer’s non-traditional approach to the practice; the player can shoot a blue light that allows them to abuse electronics from afar and not have to run up to the object.

Another aspect of hacking is that time slows down; while this quality may sound helpful, a moment of slowness can still get the player killed as mobs of enemies may get close. The time to input the code is so short that one mistake can be unrecoverable. If hacking allowed a bit more time and a stronger slowdown, the game would feel more forgiving, especially because getting cornered almost guarantees death. The game spawns enemies on both sides of the player when unlocking doors the same hacking items, creating unfair and repetitive gameplay moments.

The audio design is distinctly creepy and can be used in companionship with enemies to scare players into a fight-or-flight situation, which would be better suited with unlocking doors to better scare players as opposed to pincering them into unfair traps. Other occasions will have enemies spawn in unending mass numbers, making the player fire off their ammo quickly.

2084 offers a self-aware narrative. Cinematics take place in a ‘real-world’ setting, while the protagonist dons a VR headset that sends her into the FPS action. Early in the game’s story, after the player has killed many of the zombified hospital patients, security staff come to the player’s apartment and tell them that a lockdown has gone into effect. How the lockdown and the world outside affects the part of the game that the player is in control is unknown, leaving more questions than answers. The lack of communication creates more confusion about what the player is doing. The mystery of nanobots and outbreak is far more intriguing than the zombie-like killing and environmental hacking.

One great approach to the weapon functionality that character wields is that, when overcharged on ammo, it shoots at a faster rate, which is great for mowing down the masses of enemies and more incentive to keep refilling ammo. The enemies are not all that distinctive as the developer has included only one design. So far, the adversaries vary in size, but not appearance. Furthermore, the enemies seem little more than bullet fodder, offering nothing unique in the way of AI or abilities. In some aspects, 2084 feels like the ’Zombies’ mode in Call of Duty without the multitude of guns.

The game features amazing environment art; aside from being a little dark in places, the levels look spectacular. The developer has done a stellar job of blending the cyberspace world into a rundown and decrepit concrete environments using geometric design and the aesthetic of a stereotypical backend of a digital world. The world is a pleasure to look at and explore, but, sadly, the same can not be said about the enemies and bosses.

The first boss was the most unique of the three: a cube that shoots lasers from the side and needs to be hacked to expose the weak spot. The second boss is extremely difficult, requiring players to hack his armband to lower the shield while fending off a horde of ever-spawning enemies. The third boss was extremely easy: just avoid and shoot to win.

2084 is a solid base to build the rest of the game off of, issues and all. Given that the projects had begun in an internal game jam, these problems are understandable. As it stands, 2084 is a prototype with a great mystery to the story. However, the gameplay needs an overhaul to enemy spawn points, combat, and monsters to be redone or added to before being something special.

For more coverage on your favorite single-player games, as well as new and exciting upcoming releases, stay connected with OnlySP on Facebook and Twitter.

A graduate of Game Development with a specialization in animation. A true love for all things creative especially Game Design and Story.

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E3 2019

Biomutant is Vibrant, Unique, and a Hell of a Lot of Fun

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biomutant

THQ Nordic had a bevy of games available to play on the show floor at this year’s E3. While some attendees eagerly lined up to play Darksiders Genesis (as our own Michael Cripe did), others sought to finally get their hands on Experiment 101’s highly unique Biomutant for a hands-on, 30-minute demo. Thankfully, Biomutant’s E3 demo is more than enough proof that the will end up being something truly special.

After selecting their preferred language, players were given the option to recode their mutant’s DNA, serving as Biomutant’s version of a character customizer. The customization options were satisfying. A circle graph appears on the screen with five key skills the player must find their preferred balance between: strength, agility, intellect, charisma, and vitality. A sixth skill, luck, was also present, but it was not one that the player could influence from the circle graph. This graph not only influences the player’s mutant’s skills but it also directly changes the mutant’s appearance.

Other customization options included determining the mutant’s fur length and primary and secondary colors. Once these options were set, the demo thrusts the player into a mission that begins with riding a hot air balloon  while the narrator speaks of the excitement of an adventure. Enemies begin firing to bring down the hot air balloon and the player is dropped into the action.

Biomutant

The world of Biomutant immediately pops, as the colors were sharp and invoked thoughts of Ratchet &Clank with a slightly more comic-book style. The visuals reflected the conditions of the area, too, with vibrant reds representing intense heat being a memorable example. The first thing that stood out about this sequence was how great the combat felt. Similarly to Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Rocksteady’s Arkham series, sliding through an enemy’s legs while kicking, punching, and shooting felt tight and familiar. In some instances, the game slowed down when a knockout blow was dealt, which was a nice cinematic touch.

Progressing forward saw the player in an area with additional enemies with a larger, more intimidating foe acting as the main objective. This section introduced the Super Wushu attack, which varies depending on the equipped weapon. The most rewarding of these attacks was with the Klonk Fist which was obtained later in the demo. The Klonk Fist offered huge gauntlets that could pummel multiple enemies by mashing the action button.

The key to unlocking the Super Wushu attack involves stringing together combos which felt fairly easy to do. I do not recall ever losing my combo to an enemy attack, as I obtained the special attack fairly often. The combat allowed for those who wished to mash the melee or firing button but also rewards the players who are more tactical in their combos while mixing in shooting with melee attacks.

Biomutant

With the tutorial for the demo out the way, the game continues by having the player go to a different part of the planet. This new area showcased the vibrant greens and life that contrasted the overheated reds from the previous area. After some platforming, the demo descends the player down into the world where Gizmo the Greasemonkey resides.

Biomutant NPC dialogue is spoken by the narrator from the beginning of the demo while the player’s character makes vague sounds during the conversation. This exchange felt a bit underwhelming for the action-RPG as options did not hold any consequences for how the next section plays out and can be skipped without missing out on much of the story or mission objective.

After descending down and exiting an elevator shaft, the player enters a dark, oil-spilt area. The color palette here reflected the same pop to its visuals as the other sections. A mech suit, which was required to clean up the oil, controlled fine, though combat definitely felt better out of the mech suit than in it.

A final enemy awaited which served as the boss fight for the mission. This fight contained three phases with the enemy adding a new attack method from in the second. The third phase, however, took place inside the creature. After taking him down from the inside, the planet’s Tree of Life becomes more alive as indicating a reversal of destitute for the planet.

The demo confirmed the anticipation OnlySP had for Biomutant. The combat felt great and the visuals really popped. THQ Nordic and Experiment 101 may something special on their hands if the rest of the game plays as the demo did.

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