You Are Empty Reader Review
A day having your ears drilled into. An hour drowning in raw sewage. Ten minutes stuck in a lift with Uwe Boll. Or 30 seconds with You Are Empty. Your call. But if you choose the latter then trust me, you are more a masochist than I am.
The problem with You Are Empty is, from the outside, it LOOKS like a nice, interesting if perhaps a bit bland and dated title. But that would be the big mistake. Believing the cover. Seriously. I'll pay someone to come and burn my copy. With fire.
It all seems to start innocently enough, in one of those lovely alternate universe twists - that the Russians create a lovely virus to convert the world to communism and the Russian way of life but all the virus does is make monsters out of everything and everyone that is alive, so you as one of those annoying people that seems to be totally immune to the virus need to go around and kill things. Well, it's kind of a plot but I sort of lost interest, it's all an excuse to shoot mutants and the like anyway, right?
Shall we start on the good first because I do have two nice things to say about this game. First, the cutscenes in this game, despite making about as much sense as Heather Mills, are quite cool. And secondly... err... the boxart. The boxart is pretty. And interesting.
Okay, I'm done being nice. Can I stop being nice now?
It's pretty clear from the off that You Are Empty is... well. A game done on a shoestring, if I'm going to be nice. If I were to be nasty (and I'm going to be) I'd say the people working on the game were monumental idiots who were possibly drunk throughout the whole development. There isn't, as I've found yet, one aspect of this game that isn't broken in some way, that isn't flawed, that works well or hasn't been patently and obviously ripped off from more popular, better games on the market.
First of all, the graphics. Now, it's not all terrible because actually on occassions the graphics can be quite nice. But... we're talking a very, VERY small proportion of this game. The art, the textures, the build, the enemies, the animations, there's not really a single part of this game that really seems well designed, well built or well executed. There are moments where it appears to be quite nice. But those are usually the moments where nothing is happening.
Monsters include a strange array of mutants, from firemen to turkeys to nurses. Err, yeah, go back and read that again. The problem with You Are Empty isn't just the enemies aren't exactly the prettiest of things, but you see for example a nurse. And you're like, "Oh! I remember those from Silent Hill!". And unfortunately it's kind of the same for everything else. Originality isn't really a big part of You Are Empty, and it doesn't seem ashamed ever to be ripping something off, at every point in the game. Whether it's enemies, weapons (Which have all the originality of a game from the PS1 era when everyone was sort of borrowing from everyone else), environments or just generally sound effects, there's always that sense in this game that quite honestly, the developers probably played far too many games in their offtime and tried shoehorning bits in for some bizarre and unknown reason. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but the fact you notice basically makes you feel like they just ran out of ideas and couldn't be arsed.
And who's idea was it to give you and all the enemies in this game the movement speed of a dead deer on the side of the road? I've seen people with two broken legs in A+E move faster than half the populous of this game universe, heck - my grandfather moves faster than the main character. And he's had a stroke and is partially paralysed. Seriously, the pace of You Are Empty is... well. Slow would be an understatement, especially after playing something like Crysis or Bioshock. You can't run, and when there's not really a lot of action not being able to get to action fast enough is... well. I'm sure you guys can make a reasonable assumption here.
It's not as if it does a Doom or a Serious Sam either, the decent thing that any close-to-average FPS does and throws a buttload of mutants at you to keep you occupied, moving about for five minutes, saving and reloading regularly. You don't face many and even at the forced slow pace this game runs at, you can more than fend off things. You wonder if this was meant to be an action shooter FPS or a horror FPS with some weaponary? Because somewhere along the line someone got the ideas mixed up and what we got was the worst of both worlds.
Which is the real problem of You Are Empty. It never seems to know what it's trying to do. Is it trying to be a horror game? Is the warped and twisted and convoluted story some anarchic or comedic take on modern conventions or Communism in general? Was it meant to be an action-paced game? Or something else? It's really quite difficult to tell. There is one thing you can say about the game though. Four letters, starts with S, ends with T and isn't Soot.
If you haven't quite yet guessed, I don't particularly like You Are Empty. It's got some nice ideas in there, a sufficiently weird setting and some good ideas buried in there in places, but the problem is every aspect of the game has been done before. And done better. And then better by someone else. It feels so dated, behind the times, and really is as much fun to play as having your appendix removed. Slowly. And without anesthetic. It's so forced and painful.
Had it been pacier, had more enemies, or just generally a little more time nipping and tucking and work on the environments, settings or weaponary and You Are Empty... well. It'd have been average, but at least it would have been an interesting little title if you could pick it up for a couple of quid. Because there IS something to be said for the general concept - the idea may not be clever or sensible or original but it does have that kind of madness to it that is appealing. As a game, I wouldn't recommend you part with 20p for it. Slow, dull, and with all the imaginational flair of Gordon Brown, You Are Empty is the kind of idea that could have worked and in your head, should work, but clearly no-one gave a toss about it.
So neither should we.
2 / 10