Some of you may remember that my Crysis 2 review was full of praise for the game, hailing it as a well done sequel, doing its predecessor proud. Well I looked back on my review having given more time for Crysis 2 to sink in and have decided that I was wrong. I allowed hype to muddy my opinion of the game and as such I will review it again properly with all the hype out of my mind. I will also make a not to not review games until a decent time has past since I completed them. With that let us continue.
Crysis left us on a cliffhanger with the game’s heroes setting off to the site of a nuclear explosion to investigate the signals being transmitted by the mysterious nanosuit captain, Prophet and we all hoped that some degree of explanation as to what would transpire from there would occur.
Our Hopes were in vain it seems as the game did very little to explain the gap in what I can only assume is a ploy to get us excited for the third instalment. Instead, all we get is a regular G.I. Joe called Alcatraz getting severely fucked up in a battle with aliens in the opening mission and having his body transferred into Prophet’s suit with no advanced medical tools or machinery needed. Now these aliens look absolutely nothing like the ones in the previous game and Crysis 2 passes this off with a rather cheap explanation that different sites for the invasion yield different aliens.
These aliens have caused a spread of disease throughout New York and it is up to Alcatraz to figure out what the fuck is going on with absolutely no personal motivation as he was just forced into a suit and given instructions from the get go. The story unravels with many twists and turns full of betrayal and plot twists of little relevance involving poorly characterised characters who add very little to the game experience. This is all to drive towards the ending scene where some parts of the original Crysis is explained but still didn’t leave me with a clear state of mind. I guess that’s Crytek’s plan to make me play the next game.
In the press conferences before the games release, Crytek announced that the new suit design would give you a greater deal of choice in how you play and I thought this to be the case at first as well but in retrospect it is actually a lot more restrictive. The micromanagement of the minor suit functions isn’t really necessary and switching between them at change of combat pace is a pain in the ass so this basically leaves you with Stealth Mode and Armour Mode while the predecessor had armour as standard with Stealth, Speed and Strength all a keyboard press away to adapt to the situation. Couple this with the fact that Strength and Speed have been considerably weakened to compensate for the fact they are standard mode and add in the fact that bringing down your visor gives you a step by step breakdown of the best path to take in almost any situation makes the game almost insultingly simple but at the same time very limiting if shit gets serious, which indeed it does later on.
One thing I will give Crysis 2 is that it paces itself rather well, starting off much the way Crysis did, with you stealthing your way around, getting the hang of the suit and slowly increasing in pace, building momentum until the explosive finale which does end the game quite nicely. This is achieved more easily by the game being unbelievably short. I buy Games for the Single player mostly and this game only gave me a 7 hour campaign and for £35 that is a fucking joke. This game is actually one of the shortest I have ever played. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it actually looked good but the PS3 version seems to have gotten shafted mid way through development with the poorest visual quality of the 3 platforms and this makes me feel even more cheated since we were promised the best visual effects with the CryEngine 3 being developed for PS3 usage. That is more a development fault than a game fault but I am still going to rant about it.
I won’t even discuss multiplayer as I haven’t played it and don’t really intend to as it appears to just be Call of Duty’s multiplayer in Nanotuits.
My final gripe before I finish this review, the physics and this also kind of goes back to the tactics. We were promised the ability to make full use of New York city, with a great deal of destructibility to help us achieve our goal such as jumping through floors of buildings and such, you know, like what Red Faction: Guerilla was able to achieve and still look good back in 2009. Instead, we just got a bunch of exploding cars and barrels, with detachable machine gun emplacements and a few scripted collapsing or collapsed buildings. Sorry but that is just cheap Crytek, you’d have been as well to come clean and say “sorry guys, we overestimated scale, our bad” and it wouldn’t have felt like such a big kick in the balls. Instead, you did;t tell us and managed to make Crysis 2 feel even more linear if that was possible.
My concluding thoughts here. Crytek, you messed up I am afraid. Your game was not as good as I thought it was and pales in comparison to the Goliath that was the original Crysis. I only hope you can learn from your mistakes and focus more on making a game that delivers compelling narrative and clever gameplay instead of trying to get a perfect scale of New York City.