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SummaryThis can't be good now, can it?
- Impressive visuals despite downgrade of previous engine, surely the best in the industry.
- Top notch production values i.e. Voice, music and sound.
- Cinematic Hollywood-like presentation.
- Simplified controls work well surprisingly.
- Forgettable story and characters. Lack of connection with the prequel.
- Games length is extended in cheap ways such as stretched out checkpoints, dragged missions and defend the location (whack the mole) type segments.
- The Visor is just a way of spoon feeding modern gamers. Too many ammo crates not to mention hidden briefcase in the form of souvenirs.
- Stripped away gameplay. The game is now very linear and resembles most shooters especially Call of Duty and Halflife.
- Terrible and clumsy A.I.
- Boring, uncreative weaponry and enemies.
- Lack of destructible environments and no use for vehicles.
The Bottom LineAhh Crytek the company behind 2 great shooters, Farcry and Crysis. These games are known for always benchmarking visuals and for their open ended, tactical gameplay and also being based on tropical islands. Crysis however took things to the extreme. You had a pretty cool nanosuit concept which is just a simplified version of augmentations from Deus Ex/System Shock. Then comes the visuals almost no PC could run on the highest, it was just too ahead of it's time. But there were other nifty features like destructible structures where you could use the maximum strength power to break a house down or just blow it up. Most important is however you had various ways to engage the enemy or get about the level thanks to the open-endedness.
Crysis 2 however needed to go multi-platform, which means a lot of sacrifice as current console hardware is around 6 years old. But Crysis 2 surprisingly still looks good and since graphics are not important to me and probably 50% of gamers, I could careless about if Dx11 and other stuff are not implemented in yet. But what does suck however is that the options menu is so limited this time; you can just set resolution and overall graphics. The irony is that the prequel allowed you to tweak a lot of the graphic options right out of the menu. It's an important feature as some people would for example prefer compromising on shadows for higher textures and vice versa .
The game already gives a feeling of disappointment when you can't skip the company logos and are then, presented with a pointless “press enter to continue” screen. Getting into the game, it all starts off promising with the submarine scene. I'll have to admit Crytek can always pull off beautiful cinematic presentations especially in the cutscenes mostly happening from first person perspective. There are scenes which will make your jaw drop just because of the visual quality; for example, the first time a bridge collapses in front of you causing a dust cloud; the way the graphics, physics and particle effects come together is perfect. The first half hour of Crysis 2 is actually interesting. It slowly builds up but then it goes nowhere. You are presented with a generic shooter pretty much in the lines of Call of Duty. In fact if you dissect the stomach of Crysis 2 you'll find Call of Duty, Half Life, Halo and a lot of modern shooter cliches swallowed up in there. 80% of the cutscenes involve your character is falling of a height or getting flung somewhere. Some modern gaming bullshit makes its way in here too, with interactive cutscenes and hidden briefcase (in the form of NYC Souvenirs). Why the fuck would the protagonist collect this shit when the city is under attack? A good new feature however is the statistics on how you've played, like what weapon you use the most, how accurate; I found it mildly entertaining.
Weapon Modification is back baby! But sadly is as useful as a pen in a gunfight thanks to the gameplay changes. One gameplay change I quite liked was that maximum strength and speed always being on. So sprint is now maximum speed and strength requires you to hold the required button down. For e.g. Holding space down results in a high jump, holding meelee down will result in a powerful blow. I do prefer the way the previous game handled the nano suit but I wont dismiss the changes as stupid or anything. The nano suit now can be modified by picking up a certain amount of alien catalyst. Upgrades for example are lesser energy depletion while in armor mode or less footstep sounds in stealth mode. Most are pointless and some makes the game far too easy like the Upgrade in battery depletion in cloak mode. With that upgrade I was able to run through the last parts of the game with ease as I was too fed up with the terrible action the game provides.
Which leads me to why the game doesn't succeed. It's basically run from area to area and eliminate or try to cloak your way through. Obviously missing all the action would be boring, reminding that you're wasting your 60$ purchase so you may decide to shoot for a while. Sometimes you need to kill certain enemies to progress, mostly being the large mechs which act as mini bosses. But there are these annoying “whack the mole” parts where you need to stick in an area for a certain time limit and keep shooting the spawning enemies. It's really an easy way for developers to extend the game's length. The tactical gameplay is pretentiously there but in actuality it's non existent. So every time you enter a new area you'll get a notification that tactical assessment is recommended. Which means you need to activate your visor. The visor spoon-feeds you all information about the area; where are all the ammo crates, where you should flank from, where to throw a grenade. Speaking of which Ammo crates are all over the place, so you're never really short of fire power. Also if you were to try and be tactical it's all pointless as the A.I is clumsy and just downright terrible. There were moments I saw the Cell soldiers walk into their own grenade. Sometimes they'll just be running around or taking cover even if you're just besides them. You could play the Benny Hill theme and it would fit in perfect. Most of the time you'll be wielding a sniper or machine-gun other than that the weaponry wasn't very interesting, considering this is Sci-fi they could have done a lot more with the prototype weaponry. There are vehicles you can use but they are the most useless things in the game as you can just move them 10 feet ahead since there are barriers and invisible walls all over. The mounted machine gun on them cannot be used as you can't change seats like you could in the previous game. This sucks because the vehicles could at least have some purpose in the game.
The weak story was expected as Crytek are known for bland storylines with few good ideas thrown in. But this time they go “let's change a lot of things and maybe no one would notice”. One thing though why are the aliens different? What happened to the cool freezing ones in the first game? The new aliens known as the Ceph are mostly humanoid, resembles a mix of Halo's Covenant and Half Life's Combine and not just that their names start with a “C”. The Cell agents look like the Hellghasts from Killzone. Crysis 2 takes place in NYC, starts of with protagonist Alcatraz getting rescued by Prophet who's been hunted by a Private Corporation known as Cell for the reason being that he's infected by the mysterious virus caused by some alien invasion. He puts you in a nanosuit, records a briefing into it for you to hear when you wake up and then blows his head off so he can get away from this boring plot. Other characters are so typical and plot is very predictable. No development in characters except one interesting thing that the protagonist “Alcatraz” is dying and the suit is merging with his body to keep him alive. Other than that he's silent throughout the game and no history behind him. The mission which acts as the story telling throughout is very poor. First hour or so of the game, you're busy tracking down a conspiracy theory enthusiast Gould because prophet tells you in the recording. Every time you reach the destination Gould tells you meet him at, he evacuates as the Cell agents are about to intercept his location. So you keep moving from place to place wondering if the prick is trolling you. From there it's the same thing, go from point “A” to “B” hit switch bullshit which plagues shooters in general. But with the closed up environments what else was I to expect.
Crysis 2 is not a poor game because they had to release it on consoles, although the limitation of consoles plays a small part of this. It's just that developers treat console gamers like kids often making games less complicated to the point it's bland. Rainbow Six was an example of this. They feared the people playing this on console would dislike the tactical gameplay of the first, so they watered it down to look like popular games on the platform. It tries to be like other shooters rather continuing on the innovations it set; A smart kid who decides to ditch his values and opinion to be “in” with the crowd, eventually he's a tool and that's what Crysis 2 is.