Remember that scene from Terminator 2 at Cyberdyne Systems where Arnold kicks the office desk through a window with a mini gun in hand and began laying waste to the police vehicles below? Crysis 2 may be the only game that can recreate that sequence in its entirety using in-game mechanics.
Think about it. Ripping off a stationary machine gun, power kicking the desk and using armor mode to absorb enemy fire. I can even do the whole scan for life signs through smoke using the “Nano Vision”.
Crysis 2 would have been a great Terminator game.
But let’s talk about what we have on hand and not what could have been.
Let’s get the tech ogling out of the way first. Killzone 3’s campaign had sharp visuals and delivered it at a nice steady 30 frames per second. Crysis 2 had the looks, but delivered it less gracefully. Sluggishness and slowdowns occurred far too often for my liking.
Despite running at a sub-HD resolution and the less than ideal framerate, I was still impressed by Crytek’s console effort. New York City was incredibly detailed, furnished and far more open than anythineg Killzone 3 showcased. I was also particularly taken by the amount of detail with objects up close. I think the only thing which stuck out like a sore thumb was the occasional citizen I ran into during my travels. The words “high resolution PlayStation 2 model” isn’t that far of a stretch.
But as good as the Xbox 360 version looks, I cannot wait to see how the PC version fares. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for the eventual Steam sale though. For now, let’s talk about the game itself.
Many people seem to be of the mindset that Crysis was an open world game. It had open spaces, but I could not realistically approach any objective from where ever I wanted. No, Crysis and Crysis 2 are more akin to Halo and its approach to mission and level design.
Crysis 2 appeared to be more constricted at first glance, but many objectives contained just as much variety as its predecessor — or even more in some cases. Instead of creating a giant forest of nothing, Crytek layered different approaches on-top of one another. I appreciated this decision a lot.
This game refined what I enjoyed from the original and the expansion; the use of suit powers in different combat scenarios. This was Crysis’ strength and I was so pleased to see them improve on this. A handful of suit powers in the original Crysis were triggered with dedicated button shortcuts with the rest stored within a menu. Crysis 2 had no suit power menu. Armor and cloaking powers were featured prominently on the shoulder buttons while speed and strength abilities were regulated to certain situations or pared down significantly. I missed running at super speed, but I would gladly give it up for the myriad of other options Crytek introduced in Crysis 2.
I’ve played my share of first person shooters and I’ve never seen one pull off the range of mobility options as well Crysis 2. Super jumping and pulling myself up over ledges felt exhilarating and empowering. Sliding into cover has been done before — Killzone 3 had it — but sliding while shooting? That was new, but ultimately useless outside of showboating. They also included a cover system, but it too was an option I used infrequently because I was never able to get it to work consistently. Besides, most of the of time, I rather turn invisible or take the bullets head on.
When it came down to taking out bad guys, I had plenty of options at my fingertips. Straight up bullets to the face, stealth kills from behind, kick a car into them, the old grab and toss and even death from above via air stomp. But did I need to utilize all of these options? Not when the enemy was too busy running into things.
The A.I was already lacking in Crysis, so it was disappointing to see that it was lacking and broken in the sequel. I was able to cloak and stealth kill folks in front their compatriots with nothing more than a glance of suspicion coming my way. But that’s minor compared to the other A.I issue. The occasional lapse in path finding is forgivable, but Crysis 2’s enemies encountered so many problems navigating cover! It didn’t matter if they were humans or aliens; chest high walls and other obstacles befuddled them equally. Just walk around it!
The aliens reminded me of the Covenant from the Halo series; different classes of enemy ranging from the standard grunt to a hulking bullet sponge with a large gun. Nothing about their designs were particularly interesting nor creepy. At least those giant flying squid ships from the original were a bit unsettling at first. In Crysis 2, everyone looked like humans wearing Halloween costumes.
I feel like I should mention the audio in this game simply because of the soundtrack. It wasn’t Hans Zimmer’s best video game soundtrack — that was Modern Warfare 2’s — but it established the mood of each scene and battle very well. If I was supposed to be feeling empathetic towards the infected citizens of New York City or totally amped up for ass kicking , Hans was there to make me feel it.
What I wasn’t feeling was that suit’s voice. The suit in Crysis 2 talks and talks a lot. He provides mission updates and suggests opportunities to bust out tactical vision in order to mark enemies and scout out the area. I didn’t listen to him very much and I wish I could have turned him off or at the very least: change the voice to the British female voice from the original.
Crysis 2 was a bit of a slow ramp up in the beginning. The uninteresting alien invasion storyline got in the way of the action since they were trying to set the atmosphere, explain what was happening and teach the game mechanics at the same time. The game didn’t really open up until the actual aliens began making regular appearances. But once it did, the game was a treat to play. My hat’s off to Crytek. They successfully got a Crysis game to run on consoles. They managed to create one of the looking console games to date. And most importantly, they made a game. Not a tech demo, but a genuine game!
Now make one with proper A.I.
For more information on Crysis 2, visit the official website.