Cyberia 2: Resurrection

12Set in an indeterminate future, Cyberia 2 picks up more or less where Interplay’s original left off, with the player teaming up with a tough female commando to take down the crazy baddies who are planning to annihilate the world’s population — the plot (such as it is) is fairly predictable and clichéd, which is strange for a game that spends so much time telling the story. The only real purpose the cinematic sections serve is to ferry the player from one action sequence to the next.

So, what of the action sequences? Well, they boil down to either simplistic arcade shooters or slightly less simplistic exploration and puzzle-solving sections. The arcade sections are all “rail-shooters,” with the computer handling the pre-set path of whatever craft you happen to be in (car, plane or whatever), leaving you with the relatively simple task of defending the vehicle by picking off the various incoming targets with a cross-hair. The targets come thick and fast but don’t generally present much of a problem if you’ve got half-decent reactions — if you’ve played Chaos Control or any other similar game (including the original Cyberia), you’ll have a good idea of what to expect here.

As for the puzzle sections, they have the player’s character wandering around on foot in search of stuff and avoiding the ever-present security guards. Again, much of the player’s decision-making is done for him — the character’s movements are limited to pre-set paths so you can walk in some directions but not others. This limitation is frustrating, but not so much as it is to be constantly killed and sent back to the start of the level for seemingly insignificant mistakes — success in one section, for example, relies merely on sticking closely to the right wall to avoid the attention of patrolling guards. If you don’t do it exactly right, you’ll be instantly picked off and have to start over. There’s not much logic at work here — trial and error reaps the best results, and that’s hardly the most rewarding route to success.

1In defense of Cyberia 2, there’s lots of it — two CD-ROMs of the aforementioned arcade and puzzle vignettes and the cinematic scenes that link them are there to be experienced, providing you have the patience and the resolve to get through it all. I, personally, didn’t, and I have a hard time imagining why anybody else would, either. There’s very little to compel the player to continue, and when the game offers so little margin for error, frustration sets in all too easily.

Special mention should also be made of these cinematic sequences, and why they don’t add particularly much to the proceedings: The rendered graphics work fine for the metallic vehicles and landscapes, but the human characters are dreadfully below par. This has become the norm amongst this kind of game, and it’s puzzling — even Disney’s Toy Story couldn’t produce convincing humans, so why do game developers with a fraction of the graphical power insist on trying? Bad sound effects and a lazy soundtrack complement the graphics.

System Requirements: 486DX/50 Mhz, 8Mb RAM, Win95

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