Review by Fefnir679
"With all the drama, Crytek has made an amazing game, not just a benchmark"
I'm currently writing this review after finishing the campaign on Hardened (2nd hardest difficulty) and about 3 hours of MP, along with about 10 hours of MP from the demo. My computer is a 2 year old laptop with a 9800m GTS, Core 2 Duo at 2.26, and 4gbs of ram. Nothing amazing by today's standards but it does her job. The game ran VERY well on high settings at 1680x1050. Crysis barely managed 30fps at 720, Warhead atleast was playable at 720. This says quite a bit to me about the power of the cryengine 3 and its pc optimizations. There have been some cuts though which I will get to soon. All in all, if you want a simple answer before I get going, if you plan on taking advantage of the multiplayer, do yourself a favor and buy this.
Single player/Overall gameplay
The campaign is one of the (2nd) best shooter stories I have experienced and I was pleasantly surprised at most everything the plot threw at me. You start off as a marine, apparently hung over, and within minutes you find yourself being attacked. I don't want to go into anything plot related, but the story unfolds through short flashbacks that never stay longer than they are welcomed and in game cut scenes. The beauty of the story is that they never drag you out of perspective, no narration. What your character knows is what you know and you find yourself asking questions about people and their motives. It fits the silent protagonist and really does a good job at allowing you to fill in what you think is going on. The antagonists that you find yourself up against are the C.E.L.L., a group of ex soldiers with varying motives (listen to their dialogue) and the ceph, the aliens that we say in the first game. Thankfully, it appears the ceph have evolved, are more humanoid and much more intelligent. They don't detract from the experience like they did the first time around.
As for gameplay, I have seen a lot of love/hate opinions. I believe that Crytek did a phenomal job at balancing open gameplay and progression. Warhead did a very similiar thing but still left us with a lot of open spots where nothing was happening. 3-5 minutes running down a highway really did interrupt the flow of the game to me and that is no where to be seen here. Many of the fights start with giving you a great view of the field to plan your next attack. The game even gives you tactical advice in many situations, such as good entry points for stealth, points out turrets for powerful offensives, or optimal flanking and sniping postions. I never felt they were pushing you to do only 1 tactic, every battle I was able to try different things. The game also introduces a cover system which is very easy to use though doesnt always act as you would hope. Simply pressing mouse 2 behind cover will go to normal down sight view but you will be ducking down as much as possible for the angle you are aiming. Aim up and you are better covered, aim straight or further down and you will stand up more. It worked great when I used it but on occasion I would simply stand up or I wouldnt be able to see properly. A few tweaks and I believe its one of the best cover systems out.
Last thing, the new Nano suit! I love it! I had gotten very good at the mouse 3 and flick. Speed to run up, flick to strength, jump, flick to defense, grab baddy, throw, flick to speed, run to cover, etc. It worked great and allowed for maximum control, but what if you want to do more than one thing at a time? Stealth and super jump just wasnt happening. The new suit only has 3 options; Armor, Power, Stealth. Armor and Stealth are the only 2 that you actually have to activate though, power mode is normally applied by holding shift. With stealth activated, holding space to jump will super jump for you. If you arent in either mode, holding shift will give activate speed mode, though its not the blinding fast run of the first crysis, but certainly useful as its faster than running in stealth or armor mode by quite a bit. Simply put, the new suit allows for all the same tactics as before, easier to pull off, and more options available. I wouldnt think it is a console-ified thing either, playing crysis with my xbox controller worked great by pressing a button and moving the right stick to the proper mode and I was able to do everything (except lean) that I could with a keyboard.
I'm going to keep this short. The story is NOTHING like a CoD game other than you have a gun and play in a first person perspective. The gameplay is very different than CoD as well minus being a shooter. The ranking and weapon system though? Ripped straight from CoD. I personally can't complain about this but its not really a plus when there was very little originality applied. Its good incentive, its not grinding, it doesnt work against you and its better than nothing. You are granted points based on how well you do and how you play. Get a kill, 100 points, headshot, add another 50, etc. If you use armor mode, you increase your armor experience to unlock different attributes (use less energy, an ability to ground stomp, etc) Simply put, it works. The fact that the game so far seems very balanced (minus that stupid HMG...) only makes sure that I will be playing this for a good time to come. It beats the original Crysis multiplayer in every possible way.
So, the biggest question that every pc fanboy was asking. "Will this game look better than crysis 1 and better than real life itself?". Simple answer right now is.........no. Technically speaking, the game actually doesnt "look" as good as the original crysis (I'm not including the mods either). But that is actually a HUGE plus. The original crysis was essentially a sandbox buffet of beauty that very few got to enjoy. The texture resolutions are not quite as good and there are not as many things to interact with (you can't cut down trees with bullets). However, my 2 year old laptop managed to play through the game at a very respectable 45-50fps about 90% of the time and it looked MUCH better than crysis on the lowest settings at a much lower resolution. You don't need a $2000 rig to play this which means anybody that has bought a decent gpu in the last 2 years will be able to enjoy this game. My buddy has a single 8800gt and runs the game great. I believe that Crytek wants to be known for making a great playing game, not just a great looking game. They have achieved just that. There are rumors of a DX11 patch for pc and I have every right to believe that the engine they put together is more capable than the last and we could see the insane graphics that many pc players seem to demand over gameplay. I think crytek was actually smarter though to release the game as is to get it into more hands so more people are able to enjoy it. Graphics aren't everything and I'm sorry if you believe you should HAVE to spend thousands of dollars to enjoy a game.
I love this game and believe that any fan of any shooters should DEFINATELY buy this. Even with all the complaints of being "console-ified", I firmly disagree and believe that many of the changes directly effect gameplay for the better, not simply the platform. At the end of the day, the pc version is and will be many times better than the console version anyways be it better graphics, mods, or dedicated servers. A very solid 9/10. I'll even be putting TF2 away for this.
+Great shooter at the basics, diverse guns, good A.I., interesting story, fun multiplayer
+VERY well optimized, should run okay on most computers built in the last 2 years
+Single player is well paced with minimal interruptions and thrives on diverse tactics
+Multi player is deep enough to last for quite some time
-Its not the pc benchmark that the original was and what many expected
-Multiplayer ripped directly from CoD
-Does not (currently) fulfill promises of DX11 and clearly superior graphics to its predecessor
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/04/11
Game Release: Crysis 2 (US, 03/22/11)
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