Crysis 2 Review (PS3)
Whenever you cloak in Crysis 2 – which you will do a lot, as it is the most useful power your Nanosuit has – a sound akin to that the Predator makes is emitted. In Crysis 2 you are more like the Predator than you are in Aliens vs Predator. Because of that fact, it’s utterly brilliant.
Coming in fresh from any other FPS there will be an adjustment period where you re-teach your brain how to play like a big metal bastard. Once you’re there, it becomes the game you wanted it to be. Large, open hub-like areas host the majority of battles and it’s up to the player to decide how to take them on.
Do you want to act like Arnie’s nemesis, creeping, stalking from on high and striking out of sight? Or do you want to be a walking, man-sized tank? Do you want to distract, confuse and scare the enemy? The choices are limited, but initially it will seem like there’s so much scope for improvisation that it’s impossible to get bored.
But it soon gets to the point where the novelty wears off; where you can’t be bothered messing about anymore. Yes, throwing a hot dog at a man with a sniper rifle in a successful attempt to kill him is funny, but it’s a mite too fiddly and inaccurate to bother with regularly. And that’s when you get relegated to more standard approaches. And that’s when you realise it’s all a bit overly-simple and quite bland.
It is quite possible to simply walk through entire areas without engaging a single enemy in combat. By this we don’t mean carefully, stealthily working your way through – we mean you hide behind a bin, cloak and just walk through. Again and again, only ever having to fight when the game actually forces you to. We genuinely had just the one fight on the last level, and that was because it’s the final boss battle. It makes you realise that maybe things aren’t quite as tightly designed as they probably should be.
But the problems don’t just lie in questionable design – they rear their heads through some horrible bugs. Now we were playing Crysis 2 on retail code – the exact same game you would buy from the shops – and the bugs were both numerous and frequent. Enemies ignoring you standing right in front of them, patrol routes making characters walk at a wall for a while, glitching through and into walls and objects and – our favourite as it annulled 20 minutes of progress – falling through the world itself.
For a game we were made to believe was a technical marvel, this just verges on ridiculous. None of them are bad enough to be game breaking, it has to be said, but they do rear their heads enough to be more than noticeable.
Then there’s some other plain weirdness on the design side, with Crysis 2 seeming to confuse its own logic a fair bit of the time. We’d already faced a particular enemy, alone, three times – so why were we apparently panicked by its appearance in a cut scene, knowing full well how to kill it and that we could?
Why do Pingers have the uncanny knack to know where you are all of the time (even when – shock! – remaining silent and invisible), thus making battles against them needlessly drawn out? Why is sniping generally pointless? These aren’t the kind of issues we expected to be highlighting here.
As for the story? Oh, the story. Richard Morgan, superstar writer, was going to show us all how videogame stories should be done. It seems this involves writing a narrative that’s as dull as it is formulaic; one you will automatically shut out even when forced to pay attention because it’s so utterly rubbish; a story that just doesn’t matter, but at the same time manages to confuse and annoy in equal measure. That part of the game at least is genuinely bad.
This may seem like quite a barrage of negativity, but it’s just a natural reaction to such a barrage of hype and ego. Crysis 2, as we were told repeatedly throughout the pre-release waffle, was going to be a genre-defining FPS. It would change things, have a worthwhile story and generally make us all realise every other game we play is terrible.
It’s not done a particularly bad job, per se, but the single player game hasn’t done a job to anywhere near the levels we were expecting it to. It’s still worth a rental or a swift borrow, as you can certainly get some enjoyable and memorable moments out of the eight-or-so hours it’ll take you to finish. But has it lived up to the promises made by so many Crytek voices? No. No it has not.
Crysis 2 gets a hell of a lot right and is fun – especially if you’re willing to experiment with your approach. But some poor design choices and a bizarre level of bugginess let the whole thing down. Close, but not quite there.