Crysis 2 Review: Maximum Failure

Crysis was the first game that simply left eyes on the verge of awe in its strengths of visuals, a sandbox style gameplay, and a decent enemy A.I. set combined with the unforgettable atmosphere of a remote island undergoing an alien invasion. This small island within Crysis, along with the popular Nanosuit, and protagonist Nomad became symbols in video games of a combined level of unadulterated action along with a true visual splendor within good storyline direction to reveal a standard for which future games can strive. Crysis 2 sets an ambitious goal in creating a setting within New York City, thereby hoping to live up to the same standards that made the first title as breath-taking as it was in terms of graphics, gameplay, and moreover level design.  Inopportunely, dull run and gun along with terrible A.I. and a less than spectacular and superficial multiplayer offering makes Crysis 2 something that is only worth a rental at best at the local video store. Sadly, even the visuals and no customization options given mark a lesser contrast in power compared to its former PC title, which is rather surprising but to a level extremely expected given the move to the console market and the port to the PC systems with limited customization options. While it is still visually impressive console-wise and more optimized for PC performance, the visuals detract from the already exiguous offerings of the title. Crysis 2 does offer console owners desperate to play Crysis 2 without spending the money on a mid-end PC card the chance to think they are playing the first-person shooter that PC hardcore enthusiasts and gaming enthusiasts have been harping about since November 13th, 2007, but it will no doubt come to their dismay that they are not playing anything close to the original. Crysis 2 is the perfect example of where a sequel fails on certain levels, especially the basics of offering the same great experience, but instead not giving gamers something more and differently noteworthy to play instead of repetition.  Crysis 2 remains maximally forgettable.

It all starts with the Nanosuit 2. Players will become Alcatraz and will see the benefits of the suit early on into the game, which is a great introduction for console players. Lamentably, the way these elements are presented seem rather rushed and the suit’s power is downplayed to a level where it is not the classic symbol to PC gamers of raw power and carnage. Instead, the suit is a minor storyline element. The suit is explained to be made out of technologically avant-garde armor which has an ability that allows it to adapt and absorb different energies in multifarious forms such as: solar, electrical, radiation, heat, and carbon. This is permitted through the suit is ability to adapt and absorb energy in various forms from heat, solar, electrical, carbon and radiation. CryFibril, the underlying muscle technology converts these energies to allow for greater combat and physical performance such as jumping high, cloaking, having a lot of strength, buffing up the armor resistances, and running at a critical speed. The suit is handed to you by Prophet, a previous character in the series, and the Nanosuit armor is used throughout the game but also in a storyline sense in the aspect that someone who craves power also wants that suit. The storyline along with the exposition of Crysis 2 remains constantly unnerving in its narrative, mainly due to the fact that the storyline is clearly less important in the nature of development, and the side-antagonist seems to have motives that are ridiculous to understand. Someone who is after this suit can afford so many ground troops, but cannot simply bribe anyone in the actual tactical unit to just hand the suit over? Logical inconsistencies along with a clichéd storyline of an invasion occurring with no dramatic twists in a unique and unforgettable way creates a world within Crysis 2 where things such as an invasion and an unimportant antagonist have no importance or purpose in any form of the plot, gameplay, and finally a sequel worth paying to get.

The chunk of Crysis 2 obliterates whatever real gameplay values the original concept of the first title executed flawlessly: sandbox-style gamplay. New York City seems to be the perfect city and a classical alien invasion movie allusion that is made all too often, and to be able to interact with New York City amidst all this chaos is a terrific and welcome idea that Crysis 2 puts to shame. Was a burned Brooklyn Bridge too much to ask? Most of the level designs are narrow CryEngine 3 boxed maps, where the players spend the first few hours in first-person shooter boredom and then finally experience a slight level of decent action before being able to fully use the nanosuit in a sententious expedient.  Levels are not free-roam and while it is important to sometimes approach a game that aims to tell the storyline in a linear fashion, there must be an acceptance that standards have changed to allow more freedom to a point and if not, limitations of area must be disciplined where the storyline is told, assuming the storyline is told in a meaningful way – another failure of Crysis 2’s gameplay and design.

The multiplayer of Crysis 2 is the only aspect of Crysis 2 which comes close to being good, seeing part of Crysis 2’s customization unlockables come alive. The gameplay modes such as Instant Action (similar to Deathmatch traditional mode) and Crash Site are fun to play along with VoIP support for teams on both the consoles and PC versions. Assault and Extraction are other modes which serve to offer modifications of traditional modes, combined with Nanosuit abilities for each player to create battles of great action. Multiplayer is not in any way au courant or inventive, but it stands out as one of the better things in Crysis 2, perhaps because it stood strong to the formula of staying true to the original but with added gameplay through skill customizations.

With Crysis 2, there were two choices: continue to make the game for the PC and specialize in the raw throughput of personal computers that consoles simply cannot offer or hope to garner more sales and sell out to the highest bidder while making a title that still achieves the same standards as the predecessor. Console owners desperate enough on justifying their impulse-bought purchase might delude themselves into feeling like they are playing the next best thing from the same makers of what we consider the best first-person PC shooter of 2007 in Crysis, but the miserably boring and undeveloped storyline, along with gameplay elements that are simple run-and-gun rear their appalling head out eventually as a reminder of where this sequel fails. While Crysis 2 provides a level of action, despite how unbalanced, it is a sad mark in Crytek history of not moving forward with the full capabilities of CryEngine 3, especially for PCs, but rather a strong move backwards in hopes to not lose sales to a particular margin of PC gamers that go on the concept of try and never buy. In this case, however, these specific PC owners have a good reason.

Crysis 2 Review: The Nano-Torture

Crysis 2 begins with a simple control interface, and hopes to provide a level of complexity through the game and the symbolic Nanosuit functions of the lead character: Alcatraz. Crysis 2’s single-player action gives players the special abilities of strength, armor, speed, and cloak to navigate around a ruined NYC landscape where aliens have taken over and the end of the world itself seems inevitable. These supersoldiers are the last elite hope. Controls themselves within Crysis 2 are lacking at best, as sensitivity sees an extreme problem for hardcore shooting gamers. Dismally so, Crysis 2’s gameplay design within the single-player is widely boring at best, with levels failing to garner any real interest or backdrop scenery being any more or less effective than Crysis 1. Even on the hardest difficulty, the game gets incredibly boring considering the A.I. is worse than the first title, if not even less effective at combat. Multiplayer is decent for the most part, but there is nothing new or different from Crysis 1 to make it really worthwhile. Crysis 2 had a chance to build on the first title, but it actually just ends up taking down the pieces and destroying a bit of the reputation created by the first title.

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