Whenever a once pc exclusive is announced for consoles, alarm bells ring, whether it is always justified is debatable. Crysis however, was a different scenario.
From the onset, Cryteks, Crysis was a poster-boy for pushing the boundaries of what pc technology could achieve, becoming synonymous with such phrases as "Can it run Crysis?". By announcing the sequel for consoles, it was less a red flag, and more an outright declaration the game was being held back.
Should the PC consumer have adopted a compassionate view? An understandable compromise? Well, no. It wasn't a compromise, Crysis was highly successful, this was ambition and a sense of entitlement. Crytek clearly felt they sat besides the likes of Halo and Call Of Duty.
Ultimately, for all their ambition and aspirations, we know how this story ends. Not he who knows he has enough is rich, but Icarus falling from the sky.
Is the game itself good though? Well, it's not bad as some would have you believe, just disappointingly average.
It's story, is borderline incomprehensible. Entirely disregarding the first game, acting as a soft reboot for console users. Even then, they, as well as those acquainted, will have absolutely no idea what is going on by the end, a bombardment of set pieces, double crosses, revelations, leads to confusion, bewilderment and eventual irritation.
The first two games also emulated Hollywood blockbusters, but they had simple, easy to follow stories, B-movie schlock', essenailly. Here, it seems to be under the impression the game is some, high concept action thriller. Every character is joyless. Every set piece hallow. Every revelation creating nothing but apathy. To put it bluntly, it's boring.
The visuals, patched up, are not as bad as originally expected, limitations are apparent, smaller levels, less interactive environments and lower resolution textures. But on a whole, it's still a remarkably impressive looking game and unlike the original, running great on mid end machines.
Environments aren't quite as interesting as Crysis. While Crysis started off as a tropical island, morphing into a winter paradise, Crysis 2's New York setting, gets fairly repetitive. The environment becomes augmented like the original, with night and day settings, and giant tentacles terraforming the landscape, but it never feels as spectacular or dramatic as the scenery change as the original.
The human enemies are very uninspired. The opening sections of the game, both in environment and enemy feel wholesale ripped from Halflife 2, with essenailly combine, gunships and a D.r Breen like figure murmuring sleep inducing gibberish. Inspired it may be, emulated well, it does not.
The alien enemies are one of the games only improvements over Cryiss. Rather than the largely unsatisfying Matrix like squids of the first game, they now inhabit a bio mechanical suit. There AI is surprisingly impressive, rapidly moving around the environments, maneuvering over and climbing up topography, searching the environment, charging and engaging in melee combat. Although occasionally the AI will break down into some oddity, it is genuinely impressive stuff and leads to some very fun engagements.
Much like Crysis, the player is presented with multiple options, and much like Crysis, the stealth is massively overpowered. It is always the easiest option. Aside from that, the options presented in Crysis 2 are much more obvious, Crysis felt like you were playing with the environment, Crysis 2 has the game (literally through the UI) point to opportunities. It makes the game as a whole, feel much less organic than Crysis' topical and instead displaying the designers hand at every opportunity.
The suit powers have been streamlined, in Crysis it was a choice of four, now they double up. Making an already overpowered suit, more overpowered. This was most likely to accommodate for the control pad and the console audience in order to make the player feel more empowered, even though, the complete opposite would have benefited the game.
Weapons are largely familiar, but this time upgradable, aside from a neat microwave gun, there is no creativity or any sense of significant variation we would see in a title like Halflife. Machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles and pistols. Slight variation of stats, different models, but largely the same interchangeable thing.
It's a fairly long game, perhaps too long for it's own good. Rather than excitingly working my way to the end, as I did with it's inspiration, Halflife, I began to simply wish it would end,
Crysis 2 is a very difficult game to like for fans of a original, it betrays the first two games to chase a larger console audience while half-heatedly attempting to please the original fan-base. I played through this once, and once was enough. I have played, and shall continue to replay the originals, because in no uncertain terms, they are better games