Saturday, 9 April 2011

Crysis 2 Review!

         
EDIT: Thanks to a particular git who will remain anonymous, i've remembered to give myself a disclaimer. I haven't reviewed the multiplayer because i cannot access xbox live on campus. I may come back and review the multiplayer later in the year when i can get online. Now shut up Andy Fox you massive donk :p

EDIT:EDIT: I've stopped rounding my scores, and as such the score has dropped slightly to 8.8/10.

Developed by Crytek and published by Electronic Arts, this hotly anticipated sequel has a lot to live up to, with the original Crysis being lauded as the most beautiful looking game ever developed. I have to admit that I didn’t play the original Crysis, as my fusion-powered super computer was lost in the mail. However, Crytek have been gracious enough to release the sequel on Xbox 360 and PS3 as well, and so I shall be reviewing the Xbox 360 version.

Story

OK so like I said, without having played the original Crysis, I decided to do some reading and find out what had happened so far. Aliens were discovered. That’s pretty much the gist of it from what I gathered; none of the fine details have any bearing on the story of Crysis 2, so don’t worry if you haven’t played the original as you haven’t missed anything important. You control Alcatraz, a US marine who is given a nanosuit by Prophet, who returns from previous titles. From there you set out into the city fighting against CELL, a private military company working for the nanosuit’s creators, Crynet. Eventually the real bad guys show up in the form of the Ceph, an ancient alien race responsible for releasing the virus.
The characters all do their jobs to progress the story and the voice acting is great, although I have to mention that Dr Gould, your first support character is incredibly annoying and I was very glad when he was replaced. He sounds like the teacher who tries to be ‘down with the kids’ by saying man at the end of every sentence.

Gameplay

Crysis has always been called all style and no substance, but I have to say that I didn’t find this to be the case. The game plays wonderfully, with smooth, intuitive controls which genuinely make you feel like an elite supersoldier. The cloaking ability provides the player with the stealthy option, sneaking up and knifing unsuspecting guards. Alternatively you have the armour ability, which turns you into a tank on legs if you feel like going in guns blazing. These mechanics add variety to the game and prevent it from being another Call of Duty clone. Many have said that Crysis 2 is too linear when compared with the original, but I think this works to its advantage.  The game leads you down a series of corridors, giving you freedom to explore at times but for the most part its just one path from start to finish. But I don’t see the problem with this, there’s no need for this to be a free roaming game. The levels are all wonderfully designed and you never feel boxed in or restricted, the route that makes sense is always open to you. I’m reminded very much of the Half Life games, which are proof enough that linearity isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Despite all this, Crysis 2 has its imperfections. For one thing the AI is cartoonishly stupid at times. At one point I ran up, decloaked and shot someone (missed my headshot like a n00b). He was obviously somewhat upset about this and gave chase as I ran away, cloaked and hid behind a wall. A few seconds later I heard the guard utter the immortal phrase “false alarm” before returning to his post. I’d call being shot more than a false alarm buddy. They are only isolated cases of extreme stupidity, with the AI being competent enough most of the time but it’s still a concern. My only other problem with the game is that the guns and enemies feel a bit generic. There are some very cool guns like the microwave gun which cooks people alive, and some very cool enemies like the three legged alien walkers but for the most part you’ll be shooting soldiers with assault rifles. Aliens have invaded!!!! Where is my laser gun?
Some of the boss battles are awesome, such as our friend here..........
These are minor complaints though and overall Crysis 2 provides an immersive and enjoyable gaming experience at a good length, with the story campaign taking me just over 8 hours to complete on veteran difficulty (why can’t we just call it hard mode anymore?).

Visuals

Do I even need to do this section? Crysis 2 is without a shadow of a doubt the most drop-dead gorgeous game I have ever seen on a console and from what I’ve been told the PC version is even more stunning. It’s not just that the graphics are amazing; everything is put together so perfectly. The cut scenes and set pieces are truly epic, with the most memorable for me being when a soldier rappels in through a window, only for your character to grab him by the throat and dive out of the opposite window, poor soldier in tow. The whole experience is very atmospheric, you really feel like you're there and everything that you see is really happening. New York has been destroyed so many times in games and movies, but I’ve never seen the devastation look as real as this. It genuinely disturbed me a little to see lady liberty’s head lying in the rubble, and I’m not even American.
How the mighty have fallen. Her arm is knocking around here somewhere too.
However, all this beauty comes at a cost. A couple of times whilst playing through the game, if I passed through a checkpoint whilst cloaked and then died, when the game tried to load the checkpoint my game would crash. Resetting my console didn’t fix this and I had to restart the level I was on in order to continue. Crysis 2 really is pushing the limits of what the 360 can do and at times it pushes a little too far. I’ve heard similar problems of crashes and errors on the PC version although Crytek have released patches to fix some of the issues.

Audio

The games soundtrack provides an excellent backdrop for the action, setting the atmosphere beautifully.  The sound effects are also brilliant, with all the guns making all the right satisfying noises and the aliens with their electronic voices helping to make them seem truly alien, as opposed to the English speaking aliens that seem to be so prevalent in science fiction. Sadly though there were some issues with bugs in the sound. One mission had me controlling the turret in an APC and for the entire mission there was the most god awful sound playing, making so much noise I had to put subtitles on to follow what was being said. I went back to the mission and the sound was gone but it’s just annoying to see a bug like this in an otherwise well polished title. Its worth noting that there was a patch released on release day which fixes many issues including the sound and AI which I do not have access to due to my university blocking Xbox live (it’s almost as if they want us to study).

Summary

Story: 8/10 A familiar story but a well told, well acted version of it none the less.
Gameplay: 8.5/10 Solid controls provide exciting and immersive gameplay, but the AI is poor in places and the guns and enemies seem a bit generic.
Visuals: 10/10 Stunning. The best I’ve seen on a console and the best I expect to see this generation as this really does push consoles to their limits.
Audio: 9/10 Soundtrack delivers a strong sense of atmosphere, making you feel hurried when you’re supposed to and slowing down when the game wants you to admire the scenery. A few bugs cost it the perfect score in this department.

Overall Score: 8.8/10 An amazing achievement in terms of graphics combined with compelling gameplay and a great soundtrack. Just a shame about those bugs.

2 comments:

Travis said...

Another fantastic review bro. This game does sound nice

Lee said...

"For one thing the AI is cartoonishly stupid at times"

A bit generous there, I found the AI (and this is after patching) to be woefully stupid almost all the time for the human soliders. The aliens were much better, but they still got stuck behind scenery etc.

A good review though fella :)

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