|Platforms||Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|Genre||Attainable Minimum Requirements Shooter|
|MtAMinutes to Action||13|
|Keep Playing?||I guess so|
|Buy from Amazon|
PC game development is hard. Unlike consoles and their mass-manufactured conformity, every PC has a different set of guts, so there comes a time when the development team needs to test their code through dozens of Frankenstein computer setups to make sure the game actually works on an acceptable percentage of PCs on the market.
Crytek had a fairly genius solution to this annoyance: they made a game that no computer assembled in the present day would be powerful enough to process, and figured that the future would solve their problems for them. It was called Crysis; Crytek's prophecy was fulfilled when NASA aborted the space program in order to refocus its priorities towards creating a machine capable of playing this game .
For whatever reason, Crytek abandoned this strategy with the game's sequel. Crysis 2 was created to be played not only on PCs assembled on Earth and before the year 2018, but on current consoles as well. I played a bit of Crysis 2 and got a sense of what the distant future will be like when consumer machinery finally catches up to the original Crysis' requirements.
I recorded the first hour of the game in glorious 480p and trimmed the downscaled footage to give you a taste of the game's opening sixty. A busted monument, superpower lessons, robot spiders, and choke-slams await.
- Thirteen minutes before I get to shoot somebody? That's definitely above the norm for a shooter. The opening minutes were equal parts basic tutorial and cutscenes that really didn't tell me much. I guess Crytek forgot that only time traveling wizards have played the first game, and the rest of us could use a more thorough recap than "I heard it was aliens!"
- Whose voice is that in the tutorials? Is that the nanosuit, talking to me? That scared the hell out of me the first time I heard it.
- The trailers for the game had me expecting the nanosuit to be the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and The Hulk all rolled into one chic garment. Instead, I get Invisible Woman without the force fields, The Thing without any Clobbering Time™, and The Punisher without any sweet skull logo to go with my guns. I can't help but feel a little disappointed that my "superhuman" speed and jumps wouldn't break any Olympic records. And while Captain Crysis' strength seems formidable, his throwing technique and CQC apparently need some work.
- The enemy AI's probably not going to win any awards. That one guy apparently had no trouble seeing me from behind his cover across the alley, but when I jumped across and approached him directly, he seemed to think that hiding in plain sight would keep my hand from clasping around his neck. Similarly, enemies can sometimes see (and shoot!) me through walls. Unless I'm cloaked, of course.
- Where are the aliens? I thought there were aliens in Crysis! Something to look forward to, I suppose.
- The scan visor could use some more colors (or fewer features) in its user interface. Labeling enemies, discarded weapons, and ammo caches with the same shade of neon blue makes it feel like I'm playing somebody's half-assed TRON mod. Other than that, Crysis 2 offers a pretty good example of how realistic visuals can manage to work more than brown and grey into the color pallette.
- The theme music is really unsettling. I can only assume that is its intention, considering its creator seems pretty competent at this whole soundtrack thing.
Minutes to Action: 13
Would I keep playing? I guess so. I'm still getting over the fact that I can't leap tall buildings in a single bound or crush puny humans with fewer than two melee attacks, but Crysis 2 seems to be a pretty straightforward shooter with a couple fun extra abilities that may get more interesting with time. Plus I can't stop before meeting some aliens, right?
Words from beyond the First Hour: I got about halfway through Crysis 2's campaign before retiring my nanosuit.
There's no doubt that my expectations have colored my judgment here. I took "be the weapon" from the game's ad campaign to mean that I'd get some cool and useful destructive abilities to go hand-in-hand with the guns, but even after purchasing some new powers and upgrades with the blood of extraterrestrials, all I really got was new ways to carry the actual weapons (the guns) around. My worthwhile combat options seem to be limited to slitting wayward soldiers' throats one by one or going into the warzone with guns blazing...or sneaking past enemies entirely. Whatever I choose, I'll be waiting for something to recharge behind cover for much of the game.
From my experience, Crysis 2 is a competent FPS with some features that, while not exactly novel, at least give it some character among the tsunami of down-the-sights shooters that has defined this generation. It's a bit tougher than most, has some surprisingly mobile AI in its alien enemies, and looks kind of pretty, but it doesn't seem to be a paradigm-changer or standard-setter in its singleplayer campaign. It's merely pretty good, but perhaps a more unique and progressive experience can found in the multiplayer suite.