Way back in 2010, I remember seeing trailers for a game. This game in particular stood out from the rest as its trailer, shown at that year's Game Developers Conference, focused so much more than others on the awesome technology that would go into making one of the best-looking games we'd ever seen. Then, as more trailers were released, I began to realise that not only was this game boding to be a technological masterpiece destined for fantastic graphics and superb performance on all platforms, but it was to be Crytek's cinematic pièce de résistance. It would have a sci-fi story that was not only epically exhilarating, but was also to tie up many of the loose ends left over from the game's predecessors Crysis and Crysis Warhead.
Man, I was excited. I was more excited for this game than any game announced at the time. You see, I had been a huge fan of the original games in the series, and I expected that Crytek would not forget about their original, core audience; PC gamers. I was one hundred per cent certain that they would not abandon not only the technical aspects of a good PC game, but the awesome gameplay features that had made the original games what they were. I had faith in this company. As it turns out, my faith was rather erroneously assigned.
On release, Crysis 2 was an ugly, boring, buggy mess, with fairly bad AI and the most unengaging first few hours of any game I can remember. The terrifying-looking aliens of the trailers were nowhere to be found, and instead we were presented with inept soldiers who seem intent on defining the billion-dollar material from which our "highly advanced" Nanosuit (more on that later) is made as "tin". "Fuck you, tin man!", they cry, in there panic-stricken, strangely generic voices. Ugh.
Then there's the suit itself. Despite Crytek is insisting the suit is an upgrade on the one provided in Crysis and Crysis Warhead, it seems they had console gamers in mind when they were designing its functions. In case you don't know, in C1 and CW, the suit had four modes; Armour, Strength, Cloak and Speed. This modes were change between by using a five-point system brought up by holding the mouse wheel in. This was excellent. While I can understand Crytek's attempts to streamline this system in Crysis 2, I am quite confused as to why they made them worse. For example, the Nanosuit in Crysis 2 moves considerably slower than that in Crysis; just being in Nanosuit 1.0's speed mode (which used no energy) would have you moving nearly as fast as the battery-hungry sprint feature in Crysis 2, and sprinting in Crysis's speed mode would have you moving so fast it felt like you'd just been hit by a Korean who just had a chicken thrown up his arse (one of the many hilarious feats possible in Crysis). The same follows for all the other "modes" in Crysis 2. While the controls were streamlined, which makes playing the game with a gamepad quite a smooth experience, the modes themselves feel underpowered.
In fact, vulnerability seems to be a major theme in Crysis 2. While I can understand this from the perspective of the story – why am I always falling over? And why is the suit still vulnerable to EMP blasts and other electricity-based attacks? I have no answer to this. It is the fault of the story, I suppose. The suit and it's previous wearer had been through a lot, and you, the current wearer of the suit, were put in it pretty much dead. It's bound to have some problems.
I suppose that makes a good segway for my complaints about the game's story. It is a pretty cool story as far as science fiction games go. The alien "Ceph" (from "cephalopods") have unleashed a virus in New York that melts human flesh down to a conveniently easy-to-clean liquid in order to regain their control of the earth. The Nanosuit 2.0 worn by the player has used its immense computing power and semi-biological construction to develop a resistance against the alien spore, and the player needs to get into the middle of the alien nerve centre in order to distribute this resistance. Like I said, a fairly neat little premise, there. However, looking further into it, the story makes so little sense. I will say now that I have consumed a few other pieces of media based around the Crysis universe. I read Crysis: Legion, the novel written to accompany Crysis 2, and I had a brief glance at the comic book that was supposed to link Crysis to Crysis 2 in a more conventional nature. So, where are Nomad and Psycho, the heroes of Crysis and Crysis Warhead? Nomad is apparently dead, and we are left as yet unsure as to what happens to Psycho. All we know is, the only character from the original games left standing is Prophet.
This decision is perhaps the most dumb they made when they wrote Crysis 2. We only heard from Prophet for the first two hours or so of Crysis, after which he was stolen by aliens. We next hear from him right at the end of the game when we have to take part in a somewhat irritating defence mission; Prophet's Nanosuit is malfunctioning and he has to stay in the warm (as a huge section of the previously balmy tropical island has been frozen over by the alien mothership), while you defend him from oncoming waves of powerful alien enemies. My most recent memory of Prophet before playing Crysis 2 was being annoyed by him while he complained of being a bit chilly. So, not the best way to start off a new game.
I'm thinking I should probably wrap up here, as this has already become too long. There's so much more to say; the multiplayer was and still is broken, the aliens are terrible, the game is easy (with even myself, a fairly terrible FPS player, having finished it on the highest difficult without dying once), and what the hell happened to the total freedom of the much touted sandbox gameplay? All I feel is necessary to say, though, is this; I really hope Crytek learn from this, and make Crysis 3 the awesome game it actually looks like it might be.