Hey, I was a big fan of the first game, I've spent dozens and dozens of hours on it, and I was waiting for the sequel like the second coming of christ, and now that it's here.. I have to say I'm quite disappointed. If this was a race, S1 would be almost at the finish line, and I expected S2 to be getting about ready to start running, but nevermind being in the same race, these games aren't currently even on the same PLANET. S2 feels like a strict downgrade on almost everything, and that's a huge shame. It does not feel like a game I would expect after the first one, even considering it's EA right now, it has so many issues.
I'll try to list stuff I have issues with, ranging from the objectively bad to quite subjective.
It doesn't work, it doesn't show relevant information, it's awful in every way.
HUD is bad, you can't see your cooldowns, key bindings don't update, Heat is hard to see, I don't see why the ammo etc. had to be moved to the right side, S1 wasn't perfect either, but it was a lot better than 2. You had everything relevant on the middle and left of the screen, now it's all over the place, and somehow still harder to see, not good.
Enemy HP doesn't show up sometimes, and it's hard to tell if enemies are alive in general, they need an outline or something when they're hidden behind walls.
It also somehow feels very hard to tell if you're getting hit, I don't know what's different from the first game, sometimes it just feels like I die randomly because it was hard to tell I was getting hit.
The game runs like absolute dogshit, I'm running an i5-7600K and a GTX 1060 6GB, so on the older side, but there is no reason why a game that looks like this should run so bad, when I can run games 10x the scale and better visuals just fine at 60fps.
The enemy AI is staggeringly bad, I'm sure this is being worked on, but man, it's so bad.
They don't patrol anymore, they don't follow sounds very well, half the time they just stand still when you shoot at them from afar.
Some of the enemy designs are a bit iffy, the dogs and melee dudes who run at you are at times completely useless, and at times they just kill you and you can't do anything. I feel like there's a better balance to be had than what they are currently like, perhaps making their attacks more telegraphed, but less frequent, hard to say without testing.
Enemies with shields can be a huge slog, both the ones with actual physical shields(and armor), as well as those with the blue energy shields as a mechanic. Depending on your weapons, it feels like you blow through most enemies instantly, then spend 20s shooting at the shielded enemies from range where they can't retaliate, there has to be a better balance to be found here. I know about weak points etc. but in practice it just feels bad.
https://i.imgur.com/XN36LwG.png These fucking guys, I don't know who OK'd them, they need to either face you when shooting, or they need to go.
Class Design and Balance
The class design is.. interesting, but ultimately feels flawed, and very unbalanced. I can't comment on most, as I haven't played enough to unlock a lot, but the base classes and what I have so far is already pretty iffy. S1 had so much variety with perks, memory modules, items etc. that it feels like in S2 you have next to nothing, doesn't help that most stuff currently just doesn't work or is so weak as to be pointless.
Riot Guard is a relatively working and efficient package, having the shield as a skill is nice, even if on a long as fuck cooldown. Methadone B is one of the most frustrating skills, I'm not a big fan of the chest resupply, I'd have liked to see a way to implement it without relying on chests, perhaps a charge based system with a very long cooldown, or make it only work in combat to prevent cheesing health, but it's not a big deal. I don't know if the Team Player passive actually works, I've never seen it activate.
Riot Guard Disruptor is where things fall apart, Shock Masterkey is the most inconsistent thing I've ever seen in a video game, at times it blasts away everything even remotely close to where I'm pointing, and at times it has trouble killing one weak enemy, I don't know if the issue is with janky hitboxes or the damage is somehow not applying, but it needs to be looked at. I don't know if the admittedly amazing damage even when it does work warrants THAT long of a cooldown, though. Shock Trophy System.. I'm not a big fan. It feels too strong against weak enemies at the start, and completely pointless after a few stages as it's melee range and dies incredibly easily, I hope you tweak it somehow, lower the cooldown or grant a way to gain more charges if nothing else. Like the Riot Guard, I've not seen the Multi-Dimensional Traps passive ever activate.
Grenadier feels strong only because of Explosive Run. Power Kick is DOA, just make a new ability, it feels awful, and I don't think it will feel good even once it actually works as it's supposed to, at least increase the size of the hitbox. HE Grenade pretty bad sometimes, the projectile is hard to see, and it seems like it randomly just decides not to hit enemies. Pretty sure Field Supply sometimes just doesn't do anything either. Still my favourite class overall, though.
Grenadier Rocketeer.. isn't really a class. The class Rocket Launcher is bad, the guidance thing just makes the shots miss randomly, it doesn't do enough damage. He doesn't have the best part of the Grenadier, the Explosive Run, Blast Wave is like a version of the Power Kick with ~10x the cooldown, and for some reason his Perk thingy gives him Reload speed, firerate and Recoil Control, when he's clearly supposed to be about the explosives. Still has Field Supply too, feels bad man. Having essentially the same shit as Grenadier(but worse) but on different hotkeys is pretty disorienting too.
Chrono Trooper feels like he was designed for a YOLO playstyle that might work out in Synthetik 1, but doesn't have a place in 2 atm, but I might be wrong, I have the least playtime on him.
I can't say much for these as it seems like this game as maybe 1/100th of the items the first one does, at least I keep getting the same 10 or so over and over. Can't say much atm.
I only added this section to complain about the DMR Sentry Turret, which feels AWFUL in this game, it has awful range, it still has a massive cooldown, it activates on combat start so it blocks you in all the time, especially on the maps with tiny walkways. I've only gotten this item a few times, but I have NEVER seen it get off more than a single shot due to it's slow attack speed. This used to be one of my favourite items in the first one too.
So far it feels like having all items be passive/activate only on certain skill types feels like an absolute failure to me.
Zones feel massive and empty, and you get lost without a map, it's not great.
Fighting large packs of enemies also seems quite rare unless you deliberately let alarm drones go off, which seems like quite a shame.
Weapons and Gunplay
Something feels off about the way guns work compared to the first game, the accuracy seems all over the place. Sometimes weapons just seem to miss despite you being right next to the enemies, it doesn't feel natural, like if the enemy is right next to you, it shouldn't matter that much that your accuracy(Aiming circle) is awful due to movement or whatever, as the enemy is right there, there's nowhere the bullet should be able to go except the fragile robot body of the enemy, and that's the way it works in Synthetik 1 for the most part, but it feels like in the same situation in S2, the bullets just fly right through them. I don't know if this is a real difference in the way the games handle aiming, or just a placebo effect, but that's what it feels like to me.
The tracking stuff on rocket launchers doesn't work, they go all over the place for no apparent reason. The tracking also works through multiple levels, so if you're on the lower level of a stage, and there's a platform above you, it will try to track to the higher level, and explode on the wall.
A lot of the guns also felt quite bad to me, some not as good as one would expect for their rarity, and some just plain unuseable.
The absolute no-go weapons:
1: The Tear Gas Shotgun, it feels worse than the starting pistols
2: The Shock Grenade Launcher, even after the buffs(?), it still feels like absolute garbage, it feels like a literal dice roll to use it on whether or not it's going to hit, despite the projectile clearly hitting the enemies, not to even mention the fact that it seems to collide with the environment all the fucking time too. The damage isn't too amazing even if it does hit. Slow reloads, it's bad.
3: The Three Shot Fusion Shotgun, I don't remember the actual name of the weapon, it has three shots, does fusion(or Ion?) damage, characterized by the awful accuracy, shoots a massive bolt of lightning. I tried it twice and I felt like I'd rather just use the pistol both times.
4. The new Industrial Breaching Cutter, I'm not sure if I got bullied by the weapon maker, or if it was just bugged, I got it once, and it was nearly unuseable, I could kill MAYBE two standard enemies before it overheated, considering the limited range, it seemed extremely underwhelming.
The underwhelming for their rarity weapons:
1: The Nemesis, How the mighty have fallen, in Synthetik 1 it was such a powerful weapon, but it doesn't really feel that amazing anymore. It felt perfectly useable, but not anything too amazing considering the rarity. You also don't get the piercing fun anymore since large packs of enemies are non-existent in 2.
2: The Double Shotgun Revolvers, Underwhelming for their rarity, the damage isn't what you'd expect from such a low range weapon, especially considering it runs out of ammo VERY quickly.
I'm sure I forgot a lot of stuff too, but this is all off just a few hours of game time, and I imagine I won't be playing more until a lot of stuff gets fixed and more stuff added. The game obviously has potential, but it needs A LOT of work, I can only hope it gets better.
As a closing note, I must say I will really miss the Specialist from the first game, having an army of minions as an Engineer, or blasting everything away with the Demolisher was great, and it doesn't feel like Riot Guard or Grenadier combined with the limitations of the new item system will fill that hole adequately. I want Spider Mines back, I want Seth's Suitcase turret back, I want the Missile Drone, I want the Engineer Turret back, pls send help ;_;