Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crysis 2 - Part 2

After a break, I have returned to complete my review of Crysis 2. Let's start out with the visuals.

Crysis 2 has pretty visuals. There. I mean, that's kind of what we've come to expect from CryTek isn't it? At one point, I thought I was watching a pre-rendered cutscene. I thought my character must be pretty stupid to just stand there. Then I noticed that it was in real time, and I had full control. So yes, the visuals are quite good.

Gameplay-wise, this game feels a little different from the original Crysis. The original Crysis seemed to interact in a way to show how awesome the nanosuit was. In Crysis 2, everybody spends at least five minutes talking about how awesome it is, but it doesn't feel the same. Since the feeling that the suit you're in is awesome has already been conveyed in the first game, the second game makes it feel more like you're actually in the suit.

I like the addition of a visor to replace the binoculars and use for tactical analysis. It's one of those things that makes the suit seem more like a battlefield companion. It's kind of like the new ability to kick cars into the air. They're both things I should have been able to do in the first game. I was always thinking to myself "If I can pick this dude up and throw him through a house hard enough to knock it over, why can't I throw some of these cars around?" That, and throwing cars adds to the awesome macho dude feeling.

Another change to the suit is in power and energy management. You can now use two superpowers at a time, since your suit automatically uses strength to strike and for super-jumps. Of course, using multiple powers will drain energy faster, but it's still a very useful tactical option. Armor mode now drains energy when in use whether or not you're taking damage. If you upgrade that feature of the suit though, it will drain very slowly unless you're taking damage or using a different superpower.

I have to admit that the enemies seem a bit repetitive. I'm not violent to humans IRL, so I was avoiding killing people at all costs(and to see just how open-ended the game really was.) Throughout the game, only 1 person has to be killed by your character. I was enjoying blasting my way through swarms of aliens, but I got sick of it fast enough that I just started cloaking myself to sneak past them all. There are too few enemy types spread out over too much world-space is what I think.

Let's talk about QTE's, or for those of you new to this, quick time events. It's that thing where games play a cutscene and tell you which buttons to push and when to make your character do certain things(usually avoiding death.) Crysis 2 had QTE's, and they're just as bad as ever. Worse is the fact that they seem tacked on like the designers were going through a check-list of features. They seemed out of place in an otherwise glittering work.

While there's only a few interesting weapons, which still fail to be extremely unique, the game does the best cover based shooting I've seen anywhere. That's right, coming from someone who has played whole games dedicated to cover shooting like Mass Effect 2. The problem with ME2 is that cover shooting was all it had going for it. Crysis 2 has a cover system that seamlessly integrates with the FPS-circle-strafing-stealth-ambushing elements of the game.

Rather than gluing yourself to random objects the level designers chose as "cover," Crysis 2 takes a different approach. Simply get real close to almost anything, and you can hold down the right mouse button and move it around to lean. You can lean up, down, left, right, etc. It doesn't matter if you're crouched, or on your feet. It mixes so very well with the other elements, requiring a mix of cover based defence skills, raw speedy action skills, strategic skills, and stealth skills to do your best at the game.

One last thing to mention about Crysis 2 is something that I also found to also exist in the original Crysis. I'm not sure if it's good, bad, accidental, intentional, black, white or anything. I just know it exists. Basically, all enemies take from about 1-5 seconds to recover after receiving an attack. This can lead to scenarios like the end, where I beat the boss enemies to death one at a time with the blunt end of my machine gun. See, you're speedy enough to do a melee in about 0.75 seconds. This gives you the speed advantage you need. Just run up to them and start smacking. This also made several parts of Crysis 1 a lot easier than I thought they were supposed to be. There's a super-climatic part of the game where you have to blast some semi-boss dudes, but it seemed easier than it was supposed to be for this same reason. Just line the four of them up and go down the line shooting them one at a time and they'll all drop without getting in a shot.

So, that's Crysis 2. It's a game with good writing, pretty pictures, and fun gameplay. The hard part here is deciding whether or not it gets my award for being one of the rare sequels which is better than the original. System Shock 2 is the ONLY work on this list to date, game or other medium. Comparing these two is hard. See, Crysis 2 has a better story. However, Crysis 1 feels more free and open, not just from a sandbox point of view. You could even holster all your weapons and break things up Chuck Norris style if you felt like it. Crysis 1 also had some pretty sweet moments that Crysis 2 didn't really match. Then on the other hand, Crysis 2 feels more complete and polished.

All in all, I think Crysis 2 failed to capture the feeling of the original and do something new with it. I'm not saying Crysis 2 is worse than the original, or bad by any stretch of the imagination. You should play both. I'm just saying that Crysis 2 doesn't really seem better than the first to me.

Final Score: 7.5
Why this score?



  1. I think this is a fair review. I've got round to playing both games this week, and though I haven't completed Crysis 2 yet, it has to be said I'm still waiting for it to become as fun as Crysis 1. That's in terms of storyline, missions, and general openness of the game. The first game I guess came out ahead of its time, it became a benchmark, and thus was going to be very hard to top.

    That's not to say it isn't engaging. I kind of like just super-running up to the aliens and grabbing them. Cloaking is cool but I tend to over-use it because like yourself I don't like killing (and am secretly slightly scared of the aliens). And there is a good broad selection of weapons that you can utilize with your nanosuit to assist your playing style.

    The one criticism I have at the moment is how the chapters are connected. You finish one, and then it seems to me there is a massive chunk of time taken out before you find yourself in another without an explanation of what's happened, or why you went there. Also, there's one bit where you head into this alien magic portal, and there was me wondering what was going to be inside (hoping it was like the Core in Crysis 1), and disappointed that it only cut to a nanosuit cutscene.

    I'm going to have to go check out System Shock!

    1. Come to think of it, the chapter transitions did seem a bit sloppy to me. I didn't think to put it in this review, so I'm glad someone mentioned it.

      Enjoy SS and SS2, but be wary that they're a totally different kind of game. ;D