If Crysis proved one thing back in 2007, it was the extent to which a gaming PC’s performance could be pushed, its awe-inspiring visuals gaining it the title of the ‘best looking game ever’. Its sequel, however, aims to bring the same graphics and experience to consoles, a task thought by many to be impossible.
While Crytek may have defied the odds in this respect, the originality and replayability of the actual gameplay is perhaps left in question.
After an explosive introduction showing from the onset just how real Crysis 2 looks on an HD (or even 3D) TV, the story begins with Prophet, the protagonist of the first game still on the run from a corrupt private military corporation, C.E.L.L, relieving himself of the alien-built supersoldier suit, and passing it on to a new host – a marine codenamed Alcatraz. The alien Ceph invasion is now in full swing, launching an attack on the Big Apple, and the atmosphere of a bustling metropolis in turmoil is spot-on.
Within the ten-hour campaign you’ll fight the Ceph and fend off the pursuing C.E.L.L operatives using the suit’s extraordinary powers of invisibility, armour locking, thermal vision and power kicks. These features are what set Crysis apart in terms of mechanics, but it seems all too often that the gameplay fails to really flesh out these abilities to their potential.
With a stealth system riddled with issues related to poor and over-sensitive AI, combat situations supposedly requiring ‘planning’ and tactics too easily resort to simple cover-and-shoot affairs, and anyone who has played a shooter or two before will have no trouble choosing brawn over brains every time.
That’s not to say Crysis 2 is boring, but such straightforward combat driven by a run-of-the-mill plot isn’t quite what Crysis fans were hoping for.
The online mode is similarly disappointing for all it offers; while it offers a wide range of upgrades and customisation options allowing each player to tinker to his or her own playstyles, and a very polished feel to movement and controls, its flawed at the core in its pacing.
Combining the heaviness and large amounts of health of a game like Killzone with tight, intimate maps like Call of Duty is unfortunately not a formula that works. It’s clumsy, awkward and often frustrating, and while it made for a mildly amusing hour or two, this is not something players will be returning to for months.
It seems the curse of the sequel has struck again with Crysis 2. A beautiful-looking and solid shooter it may be, but for a worthy successor of the original Crysis – gamers may have to keep waiting.