The original Crysis was quite a special game, like the jumbo jet or double-decker bus it became the host of superlatives, setting a new yardstick not just in PC gaming but gaming in general. Yet although it was critically acclaimed, it wasn’t a mainstream success. Not through any fault of its own it was confined to high-end PCs and didn’t enjoy a console release. It therefore seems a somewhat unlikely candidate for a sequel, especially with the lead skew towards consoles.
Enough of my curmudgeonly scepticism, it was time to play the PC version. After a fairly lengthy loading screen (well, black screen with white pixel in top-left) the juicy CryEngine 3 dawned on me. Considering this game shouldn’t be as component demanding its amazing how Crytek have improved on the original. It brings to mind the early current-gen graphics with it’s crazy attention to reflections and how everything is kinda shiny (in a good way).
If I had to pin a single word to Crysis 2, it would be streamlined. Rather than having 5 separate suit powers from the original, Crytek have combined certain powers to give your nano-suit a themed set of complimentary abilities. One hopes this will enhance your feeling of superiority and not leave you short-handed in the heat of battle. And I can confirm those battles will be super-heated, the annoying extra-terrestrial floaty gits of the first are to be replaced with agile stalker aliens whose powers match your own.
My curmudgeonly self must resurface, it wasn’t all good news. Straight after leaving the PC station I swaggered onto the console version. The overriding themes of shiny blackness were in abundance, but here the similarities end. Considering the press releases allude that the console version is the lead skew, it staggered belief how shoddy it was playing. I’m a reasonable man, but there’s no way Crytek should’ve showcased Crysis 2 on console when it just wasn’t ready, especially in a convention saturated with other first person shooters, this shouldn’t be the first experience console players have with Crysis. Apparently a major decision for having a city setting was to ease the load on the less powerful consoles, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. The main offender was the frame rate, at times of heavy stress it seemed we were approaching single figures. To disguise this slightly however, a heavy motion blur was used to deliberately obscure the definition.
People who’ve read my work in the past could claim I’m biased towards the PC, and I would fully agree, but I am really not needlessly dumping on the console version. I want it to be good, I’m sure it can be good. I just wish Crytek didn’t have to showcase the console version at Eurogamer.
Crysis 2 has a confirmed release date of 25th March 2011 across PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. It is also set to feature 3D support across all platforms.