There’s a fair bit of division over Crysis, aka Crytek’s “glorified tech demo”. I feel that people were unnecessarily harsh towards it. The game promised everything that was advertised – open areas, bleeding-edge graphics, solid physics and a suit that made you feel like a bad ass.
Crysis 2 has decided to move on from the jungle roots of Crytek’s original title and into the city. The opportunity for big set pieces and plenty of destruction is plentiful, but from what I’ve played so far it feels a little derivative. I’ve already seen what exploding choppers and crumbling buildings in Bad Company 2. Maybe I’m just a little desensitised after the epic sense of scale in Killzone 3.
The story is pretty bland (but I guess I’m asking for too much when it comes to a semi-decent plot from EA). For some reason there’s a virus in New York City, and the aliens are involved again somehow, as well as an organisation responsible for containment. Furthermore, your suit and the virus are magically connected. (Yeah, I don’t know either.) Naturally, everyone is out to get your ass, but no big deal – you’re more than willing to lay down some . Then again, chances are if you’re playing this game, you’re not in it for the sweeping narrative.)
The suit’s functions have been refined for the better. Gone are the separate strength, speed, armour and cloak functions – now, cloaking and armour are activated using hotkeys. Speed automatically kicks in when sprinting. Strength moves are activated by holding the melee or jump button. It feels much more intuitive and before, instead of doing the “mouse 3 wheel-flick” to juggle between different modes. Granted, a lot of the control is gone as a result – I miss sprinting in Speed mode and throwing North Koreans around in Strength mode – but for the most part the suit is a lot more functional. Perhaps a revision to cater for the console crowd?
As well as weapon customisations, there are suit customisations as well. By collecting Nano catalysts from dead aliens, you can add “perks” to your suit such as silent footsteps and adding tracers to incoming bullets. These customisations almost feel like you’re using a game hack of some sort.
The gameplay has lost some of its sandbox feel, but it’s still quite fun. Skulking around in stealth mode and assassinating enemies is as fun as flipping on the armour mode switch and raining some .50 cal death. Also, while the alien combat is fun, I found it was a lot more enjoyable completely dominating those hapless PMC soldiers. Aah, them crazy kids.
So, the changes in Crysis 2 are generally for the better. There’s enough there to give me that fuzzy ol’ feeling I got from the original Crysis, and yet the new features enhance it enough to convince me that it’s a fresh, new title.
Shame about the writing, though.