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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Atari / 1C

 

Developer

Digital Spray Studios

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 16, 2007

 

 

- A very cool and detailed environment

- Stylistic cutscenes

 

 

- Brainless enemy AI

- You can't run!

- Puzzle solving is extremely thin

- Lots of bugs, particularly with the sound

 

 

Review: Half-Life 2: Episode Two (PC)

Review: Portal (PC)

Review: F.E.A.R. Extraction Point (PC)

 

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You Are Empty

Score: 3.0 / 10

 

The first time I saw You Are Empty, I think was at 2004ís E3 in Kentia Hall.  It grabbed my interest because it was set in the drab confines of Stalin-era Russia, with propaganda posters plastered everywhere and the almost palpable feeling of dread.  And that was without actually showing any of the enemies or weapons!  I followed its development off and on for the last three years and after playing the game there's not a lot that has changed from that that initial tech demo, aside from the fact the landscape has been populated by mutant poultry and other brainless enemies. Also, you have an arsenal of weapons so generic it almost hurts.

 

you are empty          you are empty

 

The landscapes are very reminiscent of Half-Life 2's desolate Eastern European civilian architecture, and that's about all the good you can say about You Are Empty.  The only unique highlight is the artistic lines of the cutscenes, which are 

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cobbled together with about six different animation styles.  It's an odd combination but it works and it also got my hopes up for the game before it even started.

 

After a very stylish opening, which establishes your character as some kind of solider in the military who is hit by a car on his way from work, you

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wake up in a trashed hospital.  It's currently run by buxom nurses with exposes dental work and straight-jacketed gimps.  Things are obviously not as they should -- even Communist Russia didn't have to deal with cleavage-wielding nurses.

 

you are empty          you are empty

 

From the outset you're funneled from place to place along a linear path, with little in the way of actual problem solving.  For the most part, enemies run straight at you requiring you to backpedal while shooting or swinging whatever weapon you have equipped.  To make things harder, at least a little bit, your character can't run anywhere and you move at a slow, frustrating pace.

 

There are other problems that don't help You Are Empty.  The sound cuts out intermittently and some of the in-game cutscenes, which might have made the story interesting, no matter what I did I could never hear the characters.  Then there's audio that just seems like it's completely missing. (Note: A patch has been released which resolves most if not all sound issues experienced during the review.)

 

You Are Empty is four years too late.  With games like Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Quake Wars: Enemy Territory, Call of Duty 4, and Crysis available, there's no reason for even giving You Are Empty a first glance (forget second glance), which is too bad because the setting of a Communist Era Russia has a certain allure.

 

- Omni

(November 15, 2007)

 

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