The Crysis franchise has become synonymous with being the test subject for newly built PCs. Even so much as the first achievement I got in Crysis 2 was titled “Can it run Crysis?”. The game is a technical showpiece. Even on console, Crysis 2 is easily one of this generation’s best looking games. That’s about it, unfortunately. Like that girl in highschool, this game is all about looking good but offers little beyond eye candy.
Crytek’s latest is all about big-budget action. There are a ton of dense environments for you to shoot dudes in, and the game’s mechanics are well designed overall. Crysis 2 is virtually the perfect offspring of a generic “how to make a AAA game” manual. The game contains a fully featured multiplayer that offers the obligatory Call of Duty features, the campaign clocks in at around 12 hours, the visuals are top quality, there are massive set pieces, and you’ll kill a lot of dudes by utilizing a massive array of modern weaponry.
The problem is that the best thing Crysis 2 has going for it is the customizable weapons on the fly and the ability to turn invisible for more tactical opportunities. Outside of simi-original mechanics, the game contains a plethora of issues that severally cripple the experience. First and foremost, throughout the game I encountered nearly a dozen game breaking bugs. These range from being randomly teleported across the level, to the sound effects of my weapons not working, and of course the game freezing and forcing me to restart my console altogether.
Encounters in Crysis 2 boil down to two types that are evenly split throughout the game. First, you have your tight corridor action in which you’re virtually on rails, walking straight, and shooting everything that moves in typical first-person-shooter fashion. Then you’ll be thrown into tactical situations. The game even clearly says “hey, you should be tactical here!”. Then goes as far to point out specific sniping positions, ammo points, and general tips on how to go about the encounter. These segments are where the abilities such as cloaking become the star of the show. In a lot of cases, however, these tactical segments just turned into larger firefights. You can approach it with some strategy, but it typically works out better if you just go in guns blazing.
My biggest issue with the game is the pacing. Due to being a silent protagonist, there isn’t much clear motivation or character development. Games such as Half-Life 2 clear this obstacle by having the player link up with well-realized characters that explain plot points and do a good job in involving Gordan. Crysis 2’s characters are just people talking into your earpiece telling you to go to different places to shoot dudes in. The environment doesn’t do a good job with expanding the game’s narrative or being interesting, at all. Most well-designed games break up the action with puzzles, exploration, or cutscenes, Crysis 2 is simply “go, go, go, gooooo”. Going through similar encounters over and over with nothing in the middle made the game really dull and put on spotlight on the repetition.
Crysis 2 is ultimately about showing off tech. The game itself offers no character and doesn’t do much to make itself standout. On a basic level, the shooting feels good. Which is the most important part. But everything else about the game is very rote. The voluminous bugs are inexcusable for a retail game with this budget. If you're simply looking for another shooter, look no further. Crysis 2 specifically delivers on the conventions its genre is known for, nothing more.