E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy is an unusual, engrossing, and maddening game that is unmistakably itself. This first-person role-playing action game may be painted with shades of Deus Ex, but its atmosphere and pace are unique, and this uniqueness keeps you engaged in the face of some uninviting elements. E.Y.E. is ambitious. It hands you guns, swords, and cybernetic skills, and then drops you into a chilling sci-fi world, letting you accomplish your goals in any way you see fit. It’s also confusing and awkward, dropping unnecessary obstacles in your path proudly, as if to say, “These aren’t bugs; they’re features!” And so you might sometimes curse and grit your teeth, but you will also be entertained and perhaps even in awe at times. Once you’ve played E.Y.E., you aren’t apt to forget it. Whether you remember it more for its oppressive futuristic ambience and impressive flexibility, or for how hard it works to alienate its own players, depends largely on how much patience you have.
It’s a shame that E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy demands so much of that patience from the get-go. After making a series of unexplained statistical choices, you awaken on a stone walkway. Obelisks engraved with mysterious runes rise above you on either side. The sky is a yellow hue, but the darkness envelops you as you move toward the only exit you see: a shimmering door shining its turquoise light into the darkness. You’re met by a figure clad in black armor, his helmet crowned with a golden halo. Like every character you meet, he speaks in a rumbling garbled language, translated into sometimes passable, sometimes broken English subtitles. After you enter the door, the first level begins–and so does the confusion. E.Y.E. introduces the first-person shooter basics during this level: how to crouch, jump, aim, shoot, and so on. What it doesn’t do is teach you the important things. This is a complex game in which you hack turrets, research technology, use PSI powers, and suffer from broken limbs. And it takes a while to make sense of these mechanics. Few of these concepts are introduced in any meaningful way, and the included video tutorials are only minimally helpful.