The premise of Divine Cybermancy seemed like an extremely customizable version of Borderlands, so of course I picked it up and gave it a shot. How could I not? The little demo videos promised neigh endless amounts of solutions to every problem, from using magic to create infinite copies of yourself to overwhelm your foes, to being a badass soldier with a chain gun, to a tech head summoning flying combat drones. You could be a stealth assassin, a bad ass sniper, and even just run up to groups of enemies and make the stabs. It was a no-fail, winning solution. Oh, and you can play it with your friends.
But all of that quickly devolved once I started playing when I realized A) I have no idea what the hell anyone is talking about, B) the game is a might touchy and somewhat glitchy, and C) the learning curve is so steep you’ll have a heart attack before you get to the top of the hill
Divine Cybermancy starts with a plot many gamers may recognize. You wake up in a cave, most of your short-term memory gone and all of your handy weapons missing in action. Some guy will pipe through on your intercom and tell you that “he found you” and that you should make your way back to the rest of your team, picking up weapons as you go. It turns out you are a part of cybermancers known as Culters, who do a lot of mercenary work which is made easier by their constant mechanical augmenting shenanigans.
You, supposedly, are an elite member of this group. Or, rather, you were before you botched a mission and were left in a cave with no memory of what you were doing. The main character seems to have some knowledge, though, and while he’s eager to gobble up any information about how to augment himself (things that anyone who is anyone in this world should already know) he can still greet various NPCs on a first name basis and babble at them in pseudo-techno-religious speak.
There’s also hints of intrigue, plots within plots and warring factions, but I’m not sure what that was all about. See, the problem I have is that I don’t have any clue what these people are talking about. They will candidly talk about wave pulse whatsits and silicon thingamawhoppers, and you’re character, for the most part, will just nod his head, the only dialogue option available to you being “oh yes I understand this completely.” The other problem is that everyone speaks in Japanese, but with subtitles for your benefit. The confusion exists on two layers like a tasty cake you can’t wait to eat if only you could figure out that it is a cake.
But hey, whatever, right? Who cares about plots! What about the shoots?
Your character is completely upgradable, down to his gene structure. Though, if you want to eventually become a total badass, you’re going to need to plan out what abilities and spells you want, put level up points in those categories, and start squirreling away some cold hard cash. Cash, in this game, is apparently called Brouzoufs, which of course I started calling brosephs pretty much immediately. Every time a character came up to me and asked if I wanted to earn some brozoufs, I’d usually shout back “WANT TO EARN SOME WHAT BROLIO” at my monitor and then giggle for fifteen minutes.
The weapons and ammo you have with you depends on what you decide to strap to your body, though you can find more during missions. That being said, I had a hard time with this game, because it is hard.
The first mission in the game was sold to my character as a cake walk to help him get back on his feet after an outstanding failure. I opted to go the cybergeek sniper route, scrambling my enemies AI and combat drones and hacking government software, discretely putting bullets into high-profile corrupt government officials. I would become like a shadow, striking fear into the hearts of those around me.
I took two steps out of the safe room at the start of the mission and was sniped in the head from across the map by some ridiculously aware AI. By the time I realized where he was shooting from, my character was literally hemorrhaging blood, and I was unable to stop it before I died at the feet of my cold, uncaring mentor.
I eventually progressed beyond the first room, and actually made it into the city proper by playing my cybergeek like a warrior and bludgeoning over a hundred and fifty people to death. I eventually found an ATM and decided to hack it for some free brosephs. The hacking mini game isn’t very flashy. It’s actually just you sending viruses and fending off the viruses being sent back to you. These games are all also very irritating and can take way longer than you want to spend, when there are a hundred dudes breathing down your neck. If you lose these games, you could take damage, get hacked yourself, set off an alarm or die. Yeah, death seemed kind of overboard to me, too.
The second mission was just as bullshit. I joined a merry band of scavengers, and had to venture out into the tunnels surrounding the compound to do various objectives. The problem here was that an endless amount of crazy nightmare monsters were coming out of those caves. They would not let me pass, even though they were running right into a meat grinder operated by my scavenger friends. I eventually just had to run, which really didn’t do much for my self-esteem as an elite cybermancer.
I tried playing the game a bit before writing this article. This time I tried to jump over one of my allies back at base, and landed on his head, scoring a critical hit (I… wasn’t aware I could attack that way…). The rest of the base freaked out and murdered me hardcore. Hooray.
Divine Cybermancy is one of those games that has a lot of potential. If you look at the list of upgrades you can buy and research you can perform, it seems like an endlessly wonderful game of character development… but… at level 16 I STILL didn’t have enough brosephs to buy anything good. The items I could buy I couldn’t equip because my character build was wrong for it. It was just hours of me running from one bad situation to another, no better or worse than I was when I started the game and no real sense of reward for putting up with it.
But it does make you feel like a badass fighting for the brosephs. You picking up what I’m puttin’ down, Broptimus Prime?