661 of 803 people found the following review helpful
An absolute disaster and a mark of shame for a once great series,
This review is from: Crysis 2 - PC (DVD-ROM)
I will just come right out and say it: Crysis 2 is terrible and typifies everything wrong with PC gaming today. I say this as a huge fan of the original Crysis and Crysis Warhead, which were two of my favorite games. In fact, I just played them both over the weekend on Delta difficulty in preparation for Crysis 2. Despite selling over three million units of the original Crysis on PC, Crysis 2 was clearly developed for consoles first and PC second. This review assumes that you played and enjoyed the original Crysis, and may not be as useful to someone unfamiliar with the series.
The review system here includes two GTX 480 in SLI, a i7 920 @ 4.1 ghz, and a 2560x1600 monitor.
The graphics were one of the main strengths of the original game, and Crysis 2 has turned them into a weakness. There are NO configuration options, just preset settings, and you can only choose from "High," "Very High," and "Extreme." Unfortunately, Extreme looks significantly worse than Crysis and Warhead. Protip for Crytek: calling your graphics "extreme" doesn't make them look any better. As far as I can tell there is no way to force Anti-Aliasing on, and instead Crysis 2 uses its own form of edge blurring that looks terrible compared to true AA. The edge AA was fine in Crysis because the vegetation benefited from it more than traditional AA and it provided a performance boost, but Crysis 2 consists of mostly buildings and straight edges that require traditional AA to look their best.
There are three main pillars to the graphical failings.
----The textures are a major downgrade. It's true that the original Crysis had the occasional blurry rock texture, but most of them were flat out amazing. Crysis 2 throws all that away and replaces them with textures that are very flat and low resolution, failing to make effective use of ambient occlusion like the original game did. The textures now look closer to what you'll find in the very dated looking Call of Duty games than the original Crysis.
----The visual effects are a major downgrade. Crysis 2 shipped as a DirectX9 game, whereas the original Crysis was built in DirectX 10 and it shows. The explosions, motion blur, and particle effects were of amazing quality in Crysis and judiciously used, but on the other hand Crysis 2 tries to obscure the lower quality effects by using them excessively. The motion blur and bloom lighting in Crysis 2 are absolutely out of control. In Crysis, the motion blur was used to good effect by making a demanding game run a bit smoother and also making flying objects look great when they passed in front of you. Crysis 2 is not a demanding game, and rather than using high quality blur on objects for the wow factor, it slathers low quality blur over every inch of the screen when you turn to distract you from the rest of the graphics. I could go down the list point by point listing things like water effects, SSAO, lower godrays count, etc and explaining how they are downgraded in Crysis 2, but that would make the review run too long.
----The environments are a major downgrade. Crysis featured complex, wide open jungle environment with a lot of destructibility and interactivity, and amazing shadows casted by all of the plants. When you blew something up, the explosions would ripple through the tree leaves, shaking them. Crysis 2 throws all of that away in favor of a city environment that features a much lower draw distance, much lower polygon count, and far fewer shadows. The environments of Crysis 2 are very small and restrictive, with minimal opportunities to explore or deviate from the set path.
Aside from the three key complaints above, the config files are locked which will come as a huge dissapointment to Crysis fans. The config culture of the original Crysis was a blast, with the different looks you could give the game providing reason to revisit it. In short, Crysis 2 looks worse than the aging Crysis, and roughly in line with the average recent PC release. It does look nice in screenshots, but play it on a large monitor and you'll see that many assets are of shockingly low quality.
I will not say much about the story of Crysis 2 because I do not want to spoil it (***original Crysis spoilers incoming***). However, know that while Crysis 1 featured an epic cliffhanger ending with NOMAD and Prophet returning to the nuked island to continue the fight, Crysis 2 throws all of that away to go with a different main character and different setting. This was a huge mistake and a slap in the face to Crysis fans, and was probably done because Crytek wanted to cater to the console gamers who did not play Crysis by giving them a fresh start and rebooted plot.
The gameplay also features huge concessions caused by the console-centric development. Almost immediately, you will notice that game-saves have been removed in favor of a console-style checkpoint system. This is bad because Crytek doesn't do a good job of spacing its checkpoints. There have been times where I have cleared an area of enemies, received a radio transmission and new objective, then moved on to a new area only to die and be put back at the *very* start of all that. Most games would put a checkpoint after you've completed an objective, but Crysis 2 often doesn't, which is quite annoying in a game that has more than its fair share of cheap deaths.
The levels have been vastly decreased in size as well as enemy count, taking away the sandbox feel. Crysis 2 now plays like your typical on-rails, scripted, Call of Duty game. The enemy soldiers you fight are now generic and *ultra-serious*, a far cry from the humor of stalking the hapless and hilarious North Koreans of the original Crysis through the jungle. Vehicles also fall by the wayside and are used much less even though the strategic options they offered were a strength of the original Crysis. Think you're going to hop in an APC and mow enemies down with the turret like you did with Crysis 1 jeeps? Think again, you'll be ripped to shreds by enemies in a matter of seconds because they are extremely accurate even over long distances.
The opening of the game is hugely consolized to the point that it's an embarrassment. You watch video cutscene after video cutscene and then are thrown into an on-rails tutorial level where the nanosuit stops you every 3 seconds to troll for its various features. When I finally got to control my character and saw that SLI wasn't working, exiting out of the game to fix it and then restarting made me rewatch the unskippable cutscenes. By contrast, in Crysis you jump out of a plane and get to start playing, and it is a real level rather than the obligatory "tutorial level" common to console games.
The nanosuit has also seen some huge downgrades to make it easier to use with an Xbox 360 controller. Speed mode and strength mode are no longer selectable. Instead, they automatically kick in when you run or jump. This is a huge design flaw, because there will be many occasions where you want to run without draining your suit power and you can no longer do that. Even worse, the "speed" running in Crysis 2 is barely faster than normal running in Crysis 1. Any time you want to move faster than a walk, you are draining your armor. The armor mode is no longer the default suit mode when you run out of energy and need to replenish. Instead, all suit modes are turned off, and in fact when armor mode is turned on it drains your energy even if you aren't taking damage. This makes the main character of Crysis 2 much weaker than NOMAD and Psycho, and that combined with the tiny environments means even someone who mastered Crysis will get mauled in this game on the harder difficulties. The enemies have solid AI, but they are prone to glitches and can sometimes see you through walls and cover when they should not have line of sight. The only real improvement in Crysis 2 is that you can now pull yourself up on to ledges, which is a welcome addition. Another new feature is that holding the right mouse button when near the edge of a wall or crouched behind a barrier will allow you to peek out and shoot. For some reason it does not work with the vast majority of the environment though, so it can't be relied on and you'll quickly learn to ignore it.
To "compensate" for the many downgrades, Crysis features the timeless console trope of Collectible Dogtags! Because collectable dogtags were what we all wanted and not DX11, tweakable graphics, sandbox gameplay, and a true sequel to Crysis.
I saved the multiplayer for last because I did not play it in the original Crysis and have only played it in the demo of Crysis 2. There is not much to say about it though. It features small maps, low player counts, Call of Duty style killstreaks, an annoying lobby system, and rampant hacking. You already know if that type of game interests you or not. Assuming you aren't in the target audience for this, I would suggest the excellent Battlefield Bad Company 2.
Crysis 2 is not a broken game, but there are many embarrassing bugs that should have never passed QA. With moderate frequency, dying and reloading a checkpoint will disable your melee attacks entirely, causing nothing to happen when you press the melee button. The only way to fix this is quitting the game and restarting. I have also seen this bug reported by several others. Several times, the crosshairs of my gun scope have disappeared entirely, possibly caused by reloading checkpoints or alt-tabbing. Again, this can only be fixed by restarting the game as far as I know. Lastly, my gun disappeared entirely once, although switching weapons restored it.
If Crysis 2 had been marketed under a different name or was a totally new IP, I might have been able to give it two stars. It is at its core a below average and utterly forgettable FPS. However, Crysis 2 is not a random game, it is the sequel to Crysis, and must be judged in comparison to the original. As a sequel to Crysis, it fails spectacularly, offering massive downgrades and concessions to cater to consoles rather than improvements to the original. In short, Crysis fans now have their Command & Conquer 4. Amazon describes the criteria for one star reviews as "I hate it," and boy do I hate both this game and everything it represents to dedicated PC gaming.
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Showing 1-10 of 126 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 23, 2011 5:19:49 AM PDT
Almost all the new FPS cater to the consoles now and PC gamers have become second hand citizens.I never liked playing FPS consoles and always bought the PC version but now the PC versions of FPS are dumb down buggy mess with little to no support.
Posted on Mar 23, 2011 6:21:18 AM PDT
Great, in depth review - and in line with what I've been reading across the PC forums. Crysis was one of the best PC games ever released - Crysis 2 is an inferior second cousin.
Posted on Mar 23, 2011 6:26:07 AM PDT
thx for the frank review.. lemme guess it takes Crysis 2 five secs to load where original Crysis loads in 20+ secs? Same as the dif in Dragon Age vs Dragon 2 - lol
Posted on Mar 23, 2011 7:07:25 AM PDT
M. MacMahon says:
Well-written summary of the flaws of the game and the fact it's a PC port. You forgot to add it has excellent and fun gameplay though, that's worth at least 3 stars I would think.
Also you do a normal jump by lightly pressing space and not holding it at all. I've done it a lot. That's also a console thing because they don't have two buttons available for jump, so you press and hold for power jump and lightly press for normal.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2011 7:51:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2011 7:54:12 AM PDT
PC Gaming Fan says:
Yeah Catherine, I figured that out about the jump and edited the review but it hasn't posted yet and I also fixed a couple of other minor inaccuracies that came from not messing around in the menus enough.
I disagree on the gameplay though. With maximum armor no longer being the default mode and energy not restoring in armor mode, the character is way too weak. That combined with the small environments means you can't toy with the enemies. You're basically forced to constantly retreat into cover, whereas in Crysis I could fight large numbers of enemies out in the open even on Delta because I was good at conserving energy and moving in and out of stealth to take headshots. Crysis 2 I'm constantly waiting around to recharge and the enemies see through the cloak way too easily.
It would be one thing if you could keep a handle on where everyone is, but I can't even count the number of times I've cleared an area and advanced to the next group of enemies only to have 5-6 enemies spawn out of nowhere in the recently cleared area and gun me down from behind instantly. When I go to check out where they came from, there's usually no feasible way for them to have gotten there. They just warp in. It's like monster closets in an old Doom game.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2011 8:16:06 AM PDT
M. MacMahon says:
It's a much different game for sure. In my review I compared it to F.E.A.R., which I think is generally accurate. I guess my point is that despite some disappointments and it not being the same kind of playground game, it's still a fun FPS game and much better than a CoD campaign or something like Homefront. So... one star seems a little low for me.
If you really didn't enjoy it at all though, hey... that's cool.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2011 10:27:26 AM PDT
Frederick T. Matson says:
Your likening it to F.E.A.R. is right on the money. I thought the same thing. C2 is a fun fps even if it has glaring differences from the earlier titles in the series.
Posted on Mar 23, 2011 11:22:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2011 11:25:36 AM PDT
J. Morrison says:
HAHA CryEngine 3? Might as well just made the game with the CryEngine 1 because that is how this game plays. I knew this game coming out on console was going to **** us PC guys. Off to play Crysis (no mods the main story is that re-playable after 3 years) and not the store to get Crysis 2.
Posted on Mar 23, 2011 1:38:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 23, 2011 1:41:58 PM PDT
Frankie Boy says:
An excellent review and sums up why I will NOT be purchasing Crysis 2 despite buying several copies of Far Cry for my friends and family, Crysis, and Crysis:Warhead. I knew CryTek was going downhill when two things happened:
1. In an interview during Crysis 1 development, the CEO Cevat Yerli said that the dev team had "learned from the mistakes of Far Cry and would not repeat them", and that one major mistake was to turn Far Cry from a strategic FPS to a run-n-gun monsters game after the mutants took over. Personally, I enjoyed both parts of Far Cry but sure enough, Crysis did the exact same thing - first you fought human A.I. (not as fun as Far Cry but close), then you fought aliens without A.I. (abysmally painful, I've only been able to suffer through the monster-fighting portions of Crysis/Warhead once each despite playing other parts of the game repeatedly). So WTF was Yerli talking about? He went out of his way to say that they would NOT switch the gameplay midway (into something worse) then did exactly that.
2. Crysis had, IMHO, outstanding multiplayer IF you played the power struggle mode. However, there were still some glaring bugs that CryTek never fixed, they said they would fix them then decided to scrap development of Crysis to focus on Warhead. Then they made the same mistakes in Warhead and again, instead of fixing the rampant cheating, the bugs, and imbalances, they punted and decided to make Crysis 2. I guess they figured we already bought their game, they couldn't get any more money out of us, so why fix their (unfinished) product? Stupid move on their part, I no longer believe CryTek when they say they'll add features or fix things later - THEY WON'T. So when I read a review like this of Crysis 2, I already know that CryTek will not fix all of these issues, the'll add the DX11 patch then move on to another project.
CryTek, pls go.
Posted on Mar 23, 2011 4:41:20 PM PDT
T. Brownstead says:
I have a small tear in my eye after reading these reviews-I had hoped for a better game for I was one of the original Crysis fans that played with you guys.