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2084 Early Access Review

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

A WHOLE NEW SENSE OF SPEED

2084’s strength lies entirely in its mechanics — primarily the remote hacking. Glowing blue objects litter the dark corners of the narrow hallways, indicating objects that can be interacted with. A right click of the mouse fires off a small orb, which, if it hits its mark, will begin an extremely fast hacking mini-game that just asks for directional inputs in a specific order. It even works on a few enemy types. That might not sound like a very involved mechanic to base the whole game around, but the way 2084 uses it makes all the difference.

Being primarily a horde-based shooter with limited health and ammunition works perfectly with this hacking mini-game in creating an ultra-fast flow of managing resources, stunning enemies, and hacking turrets — without which you will not survive. Planning out your attack and locating all the health, ammo, and defensive hacking points are the keys to success, but 2084 is coy with this information. Starting off, you're dropped into a decrepit apartment complex with hordes already upon you, making you think this is going to be a run-of-the-mill shooter. It took me multiple deaths on the second boss fight to really begin to respect the value and necessity of the environment. That is where 2084, for me,turned from a shooter into one of the fastest strategy games I’ve ever played. Bouncing around the dark hallways, quickly scouting the enemy positions and hackable tools, while landing perfect shots of the hacking orb to refill your ammo or activate a turret is one of the most pulse-pounding experiences I’ve had from a FPS in quite some time.

A LITTLE TOO CRAMPED

Where 2084 falls short appears to be a side effect of the games it borrows assets from. The other primary game mechanic is a short dash on cooldown that serves to get you out of sticky situations, but the dark and cramped hallways of Observer kneecap this ability out of the gates. Dashing will almost invariably ram you into wall, enemy, or other environmental object, leaving you grasping for a point of reference to reestablish your location and surroundings. Pairing this with the darkness that permeates the entire length of 2084 can lead to some very disorenting moments and even caused me to get lost in a nearly linear section. Levels do open up a bit later on, but it was too little too late, especially considering the brevity of the campaign.

The second half of the issues stem from the same roots: collision detection. Everything from enemies to walls feel as if they have invisible layers of material over them, considering how often the hacking orbs gets caught, missing the target and triggering a cooldown before another can be fired. Some of the time it feels fair. If you shoot for a health pack on the opposite end of the hall and the orb clips an enemy, stopping the orb in midair, you can only fault yourself. However, there are far too many times, even at short and point-blank ranges, where the orb will just stop midair, inches from the target, as if an invisible force thought it would be some sort of cruel joke to prevent you from healing or refilling your ammo. This isn’t always the case, nor does it seem to occur all that often in life-or-death situations, but 2084 is so short and focused that the times it does occur stick out like a sore thumb.

IT’S STILL EARLY ACCESS

2084 really is a fantastic shooter, although there was never a moment through the entire campaign that it felt like its own game — but this may only be because I have played Observer. It feels as if the levels need to be built from the ground up, or at least tweaked enough from the source material, in order to give both the gameplay the room it wants and the environment an identity of its own. These problems, including the collision detection, may be fixed in later versions or the full release, but it’s never easy to say with Early Access titles. If they are, this is going to be a truly amazing shooter. If not, it’s good, but squanders a lot of its potential on reusing already-made assets.

5

The Verdict: Fair

2084's core is amazing because there is so much potential in this cross between shooter and strategy, but as long as it's hindered by the environments inherited from its older siblings, it will not live up to its full potential. Given the chance to outgrow them, 2084 will truly shine.

Coal Fire
Written by
Monday, 07 January 2019 17:16
Published in FPS

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CoalFire is an enthusiastic gamer who has spent the last few years digging for the hidden gems of indie gaming. A scientist by education, he breaks down the components of games sorting out what works, what doesn't and how it all works to create a cohesive experience. When he's not analyzing them, he's still playing.

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