A Cyberpunk Shooter Lacking Substance
2084 is a first person shooter, released back in December and developed by Feardemic. With a cyberpunk aesthetic and boasting a fast-paced combat system, 2084 is a fun game that quickly loses its charm. Given the game is still in early-access, it’s worth noting that the game is a little over £7 and if I’m honest, it doesn’t even feel like it’s worth that in its current form.
Devoid of any story, you begin 2084 with a brief cut-scene showing your weapon before dropping you into a futuristic room. This small tutorial allows you to become accustomed to the controls before unlocking an Endless Mode and the ability to continue on with the story. I say story, the game is essentially a group of levels joined together with a short (admittedly well-rendered) cut-scene of your character moving through or hacking part of the world.
The cyberpunk aesthetic does look pretty good and the game is well-rendered
With no explanation over what’s going on and little in the way of exposition to flesh out this world, 2084 feels very reminisce of the zombies mode in Call Of Duty. For those unaccustomed to this game mode, it sees you battling endless hordes of zombies in ever-increasing difficulty while navigating rooms and unlocking different areas for cash. While the actual mechanics are more aligned to a traditional first person shooter game, 2084 borrows some concepts from Call Of Duty as you’ll find yourself wandering the same hallways and into different doors that open up once you hack specific computers in each area. This builds toward an end-boss segment, beginning with a spinning cube and quickly progressing to tougher enemies along the way.
For the first hour or so, 2084 is an absolute blast to play. The atmosphere is creepy, the hacking mechanics are reasonably fun to pull off and the tightly wound hallways and ominous groans from zombies certainly keep you on edge as you play through the game. As the initial charm wears off however, 2084’s problems present themselves.
The tight corridors and creepy atmosphere combine really well at times
Given the sheer number of first person shooters and zombie games on the market, combining them both into a cyberpunk shooter feels very cliche and well-trodden ground. The distinct lack of a story and explanation for just why these zombies are running around really makes the whole endeavour rather pointless. There’s no explanation over why there are tiny zombies, what’s going on in the world or even how you became a hacker. While these things feel a little nitpicky, given the intention on delivering a fast-paced shooter, even some expository dialogue at the beginning of every mission would be enough to satisfy some of these questions and keep you coming back for more.
The controls rely very heavily on the hacking which does grow tiresome after a while. In order to obtain more ammo, heal or hack computer consoles, right clicking releases an energy ball that slows time and gives you a small window to input a combination of key strokes. While this in itself is fine, during tough combat situations when you’re surrounded by enemies, the fiddly controls mean you need lightning reflexes to evade enemies, aim perfectly at that small spot and then fire at different hackable consoles to get what you need. From here you need to freeze, press the four or five directional key-strokes before moving again. This is less than ideal during some of the more difficult segments of the game, resulting in cheap shots and, more often that not, regular deaths.
Hacking while surrounded by swarms like this can result in some pretty cheap deaths
The aforementioned Endless Mode does add a little bit of replayability to the game but not enough to keep you playing for an extended period of time. This mode sees you enter a rectangular arena with various items to hack dotted around and a continuous stream of zombies and enemies thrown at you. This quickly gets very intense and for a few rounds at least, it definitely injects some much-needed fun into the game. It is worth noting though that the unpredictability of spawn points for the enemies does make this mode a little unfair at times. Once or twice I clocked up around 130 kills only to see four enemies spawn around me, preventing me from being able to move and resulting in a cheap death.
2084 is not a bad game per-se but it does feel like an incomplete one. Given the developers made this in a little over 72 hours, the sheer lack of content, replayability and awkward hacking mechanics late on make this a difficult title to recommend in its current state. With a fleshed out story, toned-down hacking and a bit more versatility to the level design, 2084 could be a really solid first person shooter. Given it’s not free and more money than some of the other shooters out there, 2084 is a tough one to recommend, even if it does have a few decent moments of fun.