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previews
2084

2084 - Early Access Impressions

From three-day jam session project to early access game, 2084 is a fast-paced shooter set in a cyberpunk universe and we've played the Early Access version.

Originally the product of a 72-hour jam session with Perception-publisher Feardemic and people from their fellow Kraków based studio, Observer and Layers of Fear developer Bloober Team, 2084 emerges from the private computers of said participants onto the Steam page as an Early Access title. How much can one expect from a game conceived in three days, you might ask? Well, we've played the game in its current state and we're here to lay down the facts, the feats, and some impressions.

2084 is a fast-paced shooter with a cyberpunk feel and design to it. The game is heavy on its hacking-mechanic (every one of the player's actions except for the shooting revolves around hacking) and the levels complement this mechanic well with its Blade Runner-esque surroundings. Speaking of the visuals of the game, the game heavily relies on the assets of Bloober Team's latest psychological horror game Observer (or >observer_ as it's stylised as) with Blade Runner actor Rutger Hauer doing the voice acting for protagonist Daniel Lazarski. If you played Observer prior to picking up 2084 you'll without a doubt notice quite a few similarities. The narrow corridors of the main apartment building in Bloober Team's science-fiction experience, as well as its other locations, are almost identical to the corridors of this shooter, however, the layout of it all is different, either randomised or put together as a different puzzle with the same pieces.

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When starting the game you get to witness your playable character (you won't see her much, this being an FPS and all, so take it all in while you can), a blue-haired badass lady, grabbing a brew out of the fridge straight out of bed on her way to get to work - work being to eradicate a cyber-threat in a VR simulation. When in said simulation the player gets an ominous message to his or her person stating that the company's senior network architect Robert Bartos has been terminated and that his assignments are to be covered by an Anna Zima and from here on out you're off on your adventure without much explanation of what has actually happened or why you're stationed where you are.

After taking a stroll through the run-down apartment complex you get familiarised with the hacking mechanics of the game. The healing action, getting ammunition for your one and only gun, opening doors, taking down tech enemies, and hacking terminals as well as your surroundings in combat, requires you to press your right mouse button, prompting a timed directional key sequence to press in quick succession. For us, the left and right directional keys didn't work for this purpose so we used the W,A,S and D keys to hack (which was easier anyway, to be fair). This mechanic is simple enough and pretty straightforward, making getting into 2084 an easy task.

Feardemic's shooter gives the player a single gun to use; an automatic rifle with an electro-shock and a grenade launcher attached. Regular fire is used with the left mouse button (while holding it triggers the hacking mechanic), the shock with the right, and the grenade with a press of the mouse wheel.

Moving ahead through the narrow corridors of the game's introduction you're quickly overrun by mindless zombies to an intense electro music track. The first thing going through my mind was how much this fast-paced game reminded me of old-school shooters such as Quake and Doom, especially the latter.

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The single player campaign is relatively short, which isn't necessarily an issue, however, it's possible more campaign elements will be added further down the line. The main attraction is not the campaign though and it shows in the lack of focus in the story; the one to play is, instead, the game's Endless mode. This is exactly what it sounds like, an endless horde mode in the 2084/Observer universe with the same hacking mechanics as in the story mode. It's in this mode where the game seems to shine. For what it is, the horde combat setup and its bosses, the speed of play, the level design and the weapon handling makes sense when it's in endless mode.

With no bugs or crashes noticed during our time with the game so far, 2084 is definitely a stable experience in its current state apart from a couple of frame-rate drops. We can't wait to see what the future holds for the Feardemic title when it launches because there's a whole lot of potential here.

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