Review – Crysis 2
You don’t know how to ease my pain. You don’t know.
Times like these take me back to the Book of Revelation; looking around today one may expect to find mass looting, war on a global scale, religious hysteria, famine and pestilence or other apocalyptic signs, the main one being when a PC game series makes its way to the consoles. Yes of course the fanatics will go on about how it will run the better on the PC and certainly look the most pretty (an easy feat if you’re mad enough to upgrade your machine every year) but, when it comes down to it, is the game any good?
As you may guess I’m not a PC gamer and as such never played the first Crysis, unfortunately this made trying to figure out what was going on a might difficult. You could argue that it’s an FPS and as such I shouldn’t be worrying about the story, but the game is clearly trying to be more of an ‘immersive experience’ – scenes where you have to sit though quite a lot of unskippable dialogue, sections where you have to push a button to reach out to something during a cutscene, areas where you have to holster your guns and just walk through, soaking up the chaotic ambience etc. All’s I’m saying as that a little recap of the first game would have been nice seeing as theyre already putting a bit of effort into the story.
Ok, you play as Alcatraz – the new and unwilling owner of the Nanosuit 2. You wake up with your new toy in a somewhat evacuated New York in which there’s been some sort of biological attack (which I think is) extra terrestrial in origin. You have to make your way to some Scientists to try and get the answers but there’s a whole load of PMC bad dudes (the Cell) who have orders to reacquire your suit, added to the aliens that show up – the Ceph (who I was calling the Seth for the longest time) who just want to wreck your (and humanity’s) shit in general.
Ostensibly the game is of course an FPS but the main selling point seems to be the way in which you can play more tactically. Your in built visor can highlight such options to you be they, re-supply crates, a stealth entry point, a super weapon to collect, a turret to use etc. Unfortunately I never really found these ‘clearly highlighted tactical options’ to be as essential (or fun) as thinking tactically and looking for more subtle environmental features to exploit in a game like Hitman. You can pretty much play the game however you feel like, run and gun, shoot and soak, sneak and snipe.
Your Nanosuit doesn’t just look good, it affords you three main ways to dish out death, your standard Weapon mode is where you will spend most of your time as your energy reserves recharge, Armour mode will drain your energy but allow you to soak up a little more damage and Stealth mode is exactly what you would expect, you get invisibility but the faster you move the faster your energy drains – likewise for shooting your guns whilst invisible. Killing more of the aliens affords you the ability to upgrade your suit, enhancing your stealth, armour etc, a nice addition which encourages you to stalk all of the squid you can find.
The game borrows more than a few elements from recent FPS’s, some good like the stick-to/lean-over cover mechanic from Killzone and its ilk, others not so good like the pointless user input sections from Call of Duty – ‘press RT to crawl along the floor while your guts fall out’ (tasteful indeed), they’re like QTE’s but worse because you can’t fail them.
Unfortunately the game isn’t as technically magnificent as the rest of the gaming world would have you believe – either that or I have a dodgy copy. Now I know that nearly all footage the media uses is from the PC version but speaking as a purely console gamer it is still a mighty fine looking game, however graphically is not where my beef is (beefs are?).
The enemy AI is frankly bipolar for sizable chunks of the game – one minute they will be sniping your nose from a mile off, the next they will be stuck in an endless loop – running back and forth – one minute detecting you when behind cover (in the next room), the next they are running into and partially phasing through a wall – one minute going on alert for seemingly no reason and the next they’re talking a suicide dive form the edge of a sofa (yes actually). In addition to this context sensitive actions don’t always seem to work, namely when trying to stealth kill someone from behind or grappling and throwing enemies, I can understand the reasons for the AI occasionally seeing through my cloak but frankly all these tiny issues started to add up into annoyance.
Secondary Review (PC)
Wow, this is a tricky game to write about, especially on the PC which has until now been the home of the Crysis series. On the one hand it’s a more than competent FPS but it just doesn’t fill me with the same sense of awe that the original Crysis did. The biggest culprit is the game’s lack of scale, whilst the original was built on huge sprawling landscapes that where filled with alternate routes and hidden paths this time it’s a succession of very small areas that herd you from one set piece to another. So how does this change the game? Well now that there’s far less ground to cover your suit’s stealth abilities are far too over powered with you able to dispatch scores of enemies in no time by repeating the same tactic of cloak-dash-kill-cloak-dash unlike before where intelligent use of cover was needed lest your suit power run out at a critical moment leaving you exposed.
Now I’m not going to make crass generalisations about the game being “dumbed down” for console owners but for an experienced gamer like myself it’s annoying when the game insists in treating you like some armour plated sheep needing to be shepherded around. At no time does the game leave you in doubt what you have to do next thanks in part to the extreme linearity but if you’re still getting stuck stuck for what to do there’s a new vision mode that points out alternate routes and things like ammo dumps or extra weapons (god forbid you have to use your initiative and find these yourself)
So is it a bad game? No, it’s all well and good but if you’re used to the full fat original Crysis experience you might not find this diet Crysis to your tastes with its compromises in scale and graphical excellence making it more or less like every other FPS released in the last two years.
Secondary Score: 7/10
There are also issues with how the game is scripted, that is the order of events the developers have in mind for you. On repeat playthroughs of levels you quickly realise that on virtually every occasion you need only get from the start to the end of the map, the hud will tell you to observe the enemy movements, help the squad of marines, defend an area but frankly just running past this is usually all that’s required, the game never seemed to mind when I left people behind – throw in your ability to stealth and a very lazy gamer would have virtually no challenge (thankfully I discovered this after the game completed). For a game that seems to be doing its damndest to make you feel like part of the story it just seems very cheap that there is even the option to chicken out.
Now I know these may sound like the pedantic ramblings of a critic but frankly for the polished and waxed triple A title that the media has tried to convince me this was, I could not stay blind to the faults at hand.
The multiplayer component to the game is solid enough, custom classes, perks and upgrades – so far, so CoD but with the addition of your stealth and armour options. This is all fair enough but frankly of all the game modes possible only the Deathmatches are available form the off, by putting in the hours and experience to level up, further modes are unlocked. I, like many gamers perhaps don’t want to play the DM’s that only reward the camping, sniping, cheap gits and their oh so many kills, I prefer the objective games because I’m normally quite competent in them as a team player. Even after several hours I was still stuck with the DM’s and as such this turned me right off ever going back to MP – a cardinal sin form which there is no redemption.
With its 10 hour campaign and the 40 notes I dropped on this sucker I was quite disappointed. The game is perfectly playable, enjoyable even, but numerous technical problems and limited lifespan has turned this gamer to other, cheaper thrills on the Xbox360. Crysis 2 is a one for the inbred CoD gamer looking for something slightly more open ended and tactical. I bet they’ll love it!