Crysis 2 Review: Will you want it to run Crysis
With Crysis 3 newly released I though that it would be an appropriate time to take a look back at Crysis 2, and my thoughts on the 2011 release. Crysis 2 follows in the footsteps of a predecessor that is still hailed to this day as the showcase for PC graphics, and was notoriously difficult to run. Crysis 2 was also on consoles, and swaps the jungle setting of the first game for New York City. So, does Crysis 2 provide another technical showcase, or the “best looking game on consoles”? Well, yes and no. Its a game that has tried to evolve from its predecessor, but in many areas has failed in some fundamental ways.
The story of Crysis 2 is extremely basic. The game begins with New York City in quarantine as a deadly virus spreads, and an alien force called the Ceph ravage the city. You are Alcatraz, a mute soldier who is part of a squad going into the city via submarine to extract a scientist. However, things quickly go wrong and Alcatraz is the last survivor of the group and acquires the nanosuit. From here the story is about finding ways to stop the Ceph, foil the plans of the evil corporate entities involved in the city and evacuate civilians. All this really does though is to serve as excuses to go from place to place and kill enemies. None of the characters are developed or explored in any real way. By the end of the game you will still be completely unattached to any of the characters.
The script is poor and the sequence of events in the game does not even make sense when looked at objectively. Very little is explained and it all seems like the writers were just not very interested in crafting an interesting or meaningful story. The Crysis writers said at some point that Halo had a poor story, but Crysis 2 is a joke in comparison. With the main character being a mute, his role in story is very limited. Where games like Half-Life and Bioshock weave the details of other characters into their own mute protaginists, Crysis 2 completely fails to do the same.
The graphics of Crysis 2 are the best thing about the game. They are beautiful and realistic, with some amazing effects thrown in to improve the look of the environments. Water, dust particles and flashes and blasts all look fantastic. Characters are nicely animated, and the enemies look great, despite being repetitive. The game does have an unsteady frame rate and texture detail on objects will go back and forth depending on the distance you are form them, and some objects even disappear completely. Lighting is the best visual feature in the game, and uses light bloom as a mechanism to showcase the transition from indoor to outdoor areas. Its a great visual feature and adds another level of fidelity to the details of the game. Unfortunately the environments are really repetitive, with most of the game just being in city streets. Its a great looking game, but Crysis 2 dos not blow me away visually, and I feel that the art direction is lacking due to the poor environmental variety, and is certainly not as nice looking as games like Uncharted 2, God of War 3 or even Red Dead Redemption.
The sound is a strange and disappointing mix. The main theme is great, but the rest of the games music is forgettable. The weapons do not sound or feel powerful to use and the characters voicing sounds like it was done in a shed somewhere, with some voicing even being cut off mid sentence. The subtitles do not always match what is being said, and it all feels like a botched job. Other audio areas are also disappointing. Enemies are poorly done, and accents are often strange and stilted, with dialogue being poorly written.
Crysis 2 stays true to most FPS conventions, but has a lot of nice open spaces to do the shooting in. Its not as open as the first game, and has a much more linear level progression, but its a lot more flexible than more scripted corridor games. There are no menus required to do anything that is in game, as all this is nicely integrated into the nanosuit that is at the core of the game.
You use your abilities, weapon augmentations and tactical tagging of enemies all from the suit, thereby minimising the need to pause the action and keeping the player in the game. You can cloak yourself, allowing stealth tactics for combat, or you can go in guns blazing using your amour power. When you kill aliens, you can collect a currency from them that you use to buy weapon upgrades, but I found myself running past a lot of enemies so this is hardly necessary, and is the major problem with the gameplay.
Crysis 2 boils down to a series of combat encounters against the same sets of enemies over and over again. leading to me not looking forward to combat and actively avoiding firefights. While the AI is decent, and the weapons are fine bar not feeling powerful, there is very little fun to be had in killing the foe. The enemies are as repetitive as the levels you fight them in, and its just not a very interesting game. There are some impressive set piece moments like collapsing buildings and flooding, but it loses its shine upon seeing them for a second time. Some times the levels feel like they're jerking back and forth between the small hallways and funnels of a Call of Duty game and the open areas of the first Crysis, making the action feel disjointed for large sections of the game and causing pacing problems within the game.
The multiplayer component of Crysis 2 is heavily based on the Call of Duty games, with killstreak bonuses, levelling up and game modes all eerily similar. The level designs for the online maps are not fantastic, but they do the job. I didn’t play much of the online because its just not an interesting aspect of the game, and the online community for it is already becoming small. There is nothing aggressively bad about it, but its a lot more stiff than the multiplayer portions of some other mainstream shooters. With its limited impact and stilted controls I do not believe that Crysis 2 has long term multiplayer enjoyment to be had. Its also very slow to open up to you, locking down a lot of modes until you reach a particular level.
Crysis 2 is not a bad game, its a very solid game and I think that many people will enjoy it a lot more than I did. However, besides the smart use of the nanosuit to phase out menus from the gameplay, I feel that Crysis 2 fails to differentiate itself from the crowed of the genre, and that its more difficult to access and enjoy than many of them. The levels are bland and repetitive, and enemy variety is uninteresting and poor despite the enemies that are in the game being well detailed. The sound design and audio is very disappointing and the story is very poorly told and shallow. The games campaign is long, clocking in at around 10 hours. The suit abilities do help to make Crysis 2 more attractive by giving you options in how to approach enemies. Overall, Crysis 2 is a solid game but too disjointed to warrant a full recommendation, but you could do a lot worse in the shooting department.
- Great lighting and visuals
- Flexible combat situations that allow for a variety of approaches
- Open environments and a lengthy campaign
- Weak narrative and story
- Subtitles often do not match what is being said
- Poor enemy variety and pacing
- Ugly cutscenes and a silly ending
- The writers of this had the balls to criticise Halo
- 5/10 - Average