I’ve been working on a post over the last few days, considering the best-looking games of this current generation. I felt that I couldn’t publish that post, however, until I’d played Crysis 2. Every FPS has to have a gimmick, and the Crysis gimmick is bleeding-edge graphics, and as a self-professed graphics whore, I felt obligated to check it out.
I’ve only played the first 20 minutes of the first Crysis – I really only bought it to see if my new-ish PC could run it, and it could. It looked good. I got a little lost, and kinda didn’t care about where I was going, and never really thought about it again. The big deal with Crysis 2 was that it would be appearing on consoles – indeed, it seemed from all accounts like the consoles were the main focus of the development cycle – and so the big question was, how good (or bad) would it look?
The very first achievement you earn in Crysis 2 – and you really don’t do anything to deserve it – is called “Can It Run Crysis?” Cheeky, to be sure; yes, the 360 can run Crysis, and to be fair, it does look really good. Mostly.
But I’m not so sure that it plays all that well, and it’s more than a little buggy, and it’s most certainly in the running for worst story, worst dialogue, and worst voice acting. Of all time.
It’s shocking how bad the story is. I mean, I don’t necessarily expect all that much out of first-person shooters when it comes to story, but I do at least expect to have a clear motivation for getting from one place to another. And I want to know why people are shooting at me. There’s been an alien invasion of Earth – so why are human soldiers trying to kill me? Or, rather, why are some human soldiers trying to kill me, and then why do other human soldiers need my help? It’s never explained, and if it was explained in the first game, then that would have been nice to know for the sequel, especially since the whole thing about the first game was that hardly anyone could actually play it.
In the beginning of the game, you are told to find a Dr. Gould – you’re led to believe that this mad genius can save the world from certain apocalypse. Dr. Gould communicates with you via radio throughout the beginning of the game. He needs you to come to his apartment. You get to where his apartment is, only to find out that he moved at the last minute, but you still need to go to his apartment anyway because Dr. Gould forgot to turn off his computer. (!) That’s the best reason you could come up with to create a new scenario? Sweet Jesus.
The dialogue is atrocious. It’s just random words placed together in some sort of order, devoid of context or meaning, and delivered without any attempt at coherence.
But, whatever – nobody plays these games for the story. HOW DOES IT PLAY?
It plays pretty well, for the most part. I’ll grant it that. Enemies are somewhat smart, and they’ll sometimes move around and flank, and if you die (which you will) they won’t necessarily be in the same place when you respawn, so you’ll constantly be on your toes.
The game is buggy, though. Guns would, on occasion, not appear in my hands, or in other soldier’s hands – I’d be stuck reloading an invisible weapon for 10 seconds. There was a weird audio glitch that happened throughout my playthrough, where it sounded like something was bouncing, but I could never see what it was. Enemies would get stuck in geometry, or walk in circles. And, also, every enemy could see through walls. One of the first nanosuit upgrades I bought was the ability to see tracer fire – I was pretty terrible at the stealth aspects, so I figured I’d take every advantage I could in straight-up firefights. And so, since I could see every bullet being fired at me, I could see that they were firing at me through solid concrete, even though they hadn’t actually seen me with their own eyes yet.
The checkpoint system, though, is maybe the one thing that finally sent me over the edge. Checkpoints are few and far between – sometimes. Other times they appear right on top of each other, and there’s no real reason why. But it was not uncommon for me to wipe out after a 20-minute standoff because I got blindsided by someone from behind a wall, and then I’d have to do the whole goddamned thing over again, several times. I eventually figured out that if I ran quickly enough, I could just get to the next checkpoint and avoid the whole mess. Not every situation could be handled like that, of course, but once I realized that combat wasn’t necessarily mandatory, I stopped caring. I made it almost to the end of the campaign, but couldn’t put up with it anymore.
I’m going to go ahead and call Crysis 2 my current front-runner for Biggest Disappointment Of The Year.