Saturday, June 8, 2013

Crysis 2

Crysis 2 continues using the same mold as the previous games with improvements to the gameplay and the engine. The developers evidently thought the CryEngine 3 so impressive that even the lowest graphics setting is 'High'.

And the game looks realistic, sure. However, every place looks the same, not much variation in New York the action takes place in. The graphics stop impressing after awhile when nothing ever changes.

The maps have quite a bit vertical traversing in the shaken up city but they are also much more linear than in Crysis. It feels like you are being led by the nose with how the objective is updated every 100 meters. Occasionally the quite talkative nanosuit -- whose voice sadly cannot be set to female this time -- informs you of there being tactical options available, which is a cue for you to turn on the visor to mark things up. To plan your approach I guess.

I stopped bothering with it after doing it few times and just went right in to discover stuff without goggling. The early levels with human enemies also have a weird thing of starting from a high, inaccessible position with no way for the enemies to reach. Thus you can just snipe the visible map clear and then walk around safely.

I played on the hardest, Post-Human Warrior, difficulty, and I think the enemies had faster reaction times than previously. Uncloaking in their field of view gets you killed quite fast if you don't manage to turn the Armor mode on quickly enough. On the other hand, they seemed to lose the track of you quickly as well if you recloaked behind a cover.

The Ceph, or "squids", were bit smarter and tougher opponents. Assault rifle on semi-auto wasn't nearly as deadly against them as it was against the big helmet marines. I mostly favored the sniper rifle against aliens, with the exception being the devastators that required heavier weapons to take down efficiently.

The large tripod ones felt quite cheap in how they know your general position even if you're cloaked, and how they turn their head towards you when you start aiming at their weak spot after you've managed to sneak behind them. I spent quite some time on the last fight against one who also had two apparently infinitely respawning stalker helpers.

The checkpoint system introduced in Crysis 2 can be rather punishing, and often made me replay parts several times. A common cause for restarting was my greed for rushing to gather the nano catalysts from dead alien bodies, as they didn't seem to stick around too long. Sometimes I was surprised how I made it through from a tough situation, though.

The new stealth takedown was a very welcome feature, as well as the hotkeys for the armor and cloak modes. Making the Strength mode actions context-sensitive was a smart decision, too. Solid game design. The progress system for the nanosuit, while appreciated, wasn't that exciting, though. I think they should've made all the modules be on at the same time and instead make it very hard to get enough points to get them all. I guess they wanted it to be similar to the weapon mods.

In Crysis 2, your character is called Alcatraz, who -- unlike Nomad and Psycho -- is mute. Bit of an accidental hero otherwise, too. But not having a voice makes many parts of the game quite weird when people are talking to you and never receive a single word back. I guess the reason for the muteness is revealed in the small twist at the end when Alcatraz speaks for the first time repeating Prophet's line (and in his voice):"They call me Prophet."

It is also revealed that defeating the Ceph in New York was only a small victory in what appears to be a global war. I guess that's what happens in Crysis 3. But I think I've had enough first person shooters for a while and will return to RPGs again.

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