Aloha fellow readers! We have a new contributor to this blog, his name is Subhadip and I’ve asked him to write because he is an ‘Ill Gamer’ and he can really bring in some perspective. Please welcome him.
Crysis 2 has been out for almost two months now, and since we loved Crysis 1 so much we had to do a review on Crysis 2, and who else can do it better other than Subhadip. Taking a trip down memory lane, I remember, my Asus A8Js laptop was seriously underpowered when Crysis launched. I couldnt even manage to run it on Low settings. Subhadip, had specifically upgraded is already monster rig with a brand new nVidia 8800 GT, just at the time of its launched. He finished Crysis, and he was kind enough to allow me finish the game on his rig. Both of us hold the game at the highest standards, not just for its graphics, but for its really intense gameplay. So here we go, for the Crysis 2 Review (PC).
If you are tired of the barrage of run-and-gun corridor shooters (such as the Call of Duty series) or cover-and-gun shooters (most Unreal Engine 3 games), Crysis 2 offers several breaths of fresh air. Run-and-gun tactics are simply not going to work for Crysis 2, even on normal difficulties. At the center of it all is, of course, the Nanosuit 2.0, streamlined from the original Nanosuit from Crysis. Setpieces require considerable planning to navigate through, switching between the nanosuit’s modes on-the-fly. The Stealth mode seems a bit imbalanced, i.e. it lasts too long. However, it is helpful in battling the aliens, whose heads are heavily protected. Their weak spots, tentacle-y bits normally found at the back of their heads – which is the new headshot. The AI is excellent – when it is working. In a couple of occasions, the AI broke down to the level of a farce, but to be fair, these bugs will likely be squashed in patches, if they haven’t been already.
As evident from the tactical visor, Crysis 2 simply is not as open as Crysis, there aren’t as many options or possibilities, it feels a lot more linear. This has a lot to do with the setting – cramped urban spaces versus open tropical forests. However, it is still far from a linear corridor shooter.
If there’s one area where Crysis 2 fails to break free of first person shooter clichés, it is the Narrative. Formulaic characters, contrived plot twists, a heavily fragmented narrative – it is all there. However, Crysis 2’s narrative does have its strong points. Despite everything, it kept me intrigued all the way through. The Nanosuit 2.0 is cleverly integrated as an interesting narrative device, leading to a rather cool ending. Without spoiling too much, it plays on a valid loophole to personal persistence theories. There are a lot of unanswered questions and ambiguity, which will surely be dealt with in Crysis 3. While this can intrigue some, it can often frustrate others.
It is the pacing where Crysis 2 differentiates itself from the slew of first person shooters. Crysis 2 is a long game, and is much more calculated in its pacing. There’s no attempt to maintain a relentlessly high tempo, as in most FPS. Instead, there are peaks and troughs, climaxes and drops, more like a TV mini-series than a 90 minute action movie. It is a bold move which could alienate gamers looking for ‘instant gratification’.
There’s no two ways about it – CryEngine 3 is in a league of its own. Crysis 2 is easily the best looking game on the consoles, but PC is where Crysis 2 truly shines. The lighting is especially remarkable. However, it isn’t the quantum leap that Crysis was. Affected by the (unfair) criticism for Crysis’ heavy hardware requirements, Crytek has chosen to play it safe with Crysis 2’s default presets. Even the highest setting trades AA for an edge blur, which adds a diffusion filter effect. While some may argue this suits the urban setting, many will prefer the sharp, clean visuals of Crysis. The upside is that remarkably, pretty much every mainstream rig will be able to handle Crysis 2 at good visual settings. For folks with high end hardware, luckily, there are several tweaking GUIs available (these settings should have been available within the game’s menu) to take Crysis 2’s visuals well beyond the default highest setting. Also, Crytek has chosen to release the game as DX9 only, with a DX11 patch coming soon – hopefully unlocking a fourth highest quality preset. Crysis 2 is visually stunning on stock presets – it is sometimes hard to believe there is even more potential with tweaks and the upcoming DX11 patch!
Crysis 2’s visual prowess is not just about technique, but also some formidable world design. The beauty of it is – it feels spectacular, awe-inspiring, but it always feels grounded, feels like New York. At every corner, every step, there’s a tremendous amount of depth and detail – clues to the story, the city, the time, etc. Crysis 2 is a game that really rewards attentive gamers, much like GTA IV. This sets up an incredible atmosphere – one of the strongest points of Crysis 2.
Relative to the otherwise superb visual design, the alien character designs are disappointing. Gone are the floating aliens from Crysis, replaced by human-like bipeds. Most of the standard aliens look very similar to each other – which adds to the chaos to an extent, but after a while just gets repetitive. The aliens are simply not as interesting as they were in Crysis.
Crysis 2’s sound design is just as rich and detailed as its visual design and contributes just as much to the atmosphere. From gentle breeze to leaking water pipes to alien reverbs in the distance, Crysis 2 boasts a wide soundstage. The voice acting is mostly solid, with some uneven performances.
The OST is absolutely fantastic. An eclectic mix of electronic and orchestral compositions makes for a truly memorable soundtrack that lingers long after the game finishes. Hans Zimmer pitches in with one of the most iconic main themes in gaming. It is unique, wild and strangely addictive, inspired by and arguably outdoing his own work on Inception. Crysis 2 is worth the play through for the soundtrack alone!
Crysis 2 is a spectacular first person shooter that takes considerable risks and substantially differentiates itself from the crowd of first person shooters. It’s a worthy sequel, but doesn’t quite achieve the lofty heights Crysis did in 2007. It promises to be an even better game on the PC – with bug fixes and DX11 patch incoming. Finally, play Crysis 2 on the PC – it feels like a different game to the consoles!