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Denny Markovic
30 Mar, 2011

Crysis 2 Review

PC Review | Maximum Presentation, Minimum Scope.
Crytek have a lot to live up to when it comes to their latest game, Crysis 2. Being the kings of crushing PCs the world over with their eye-shattering CryEngine, CryTek first revealed themselves fully with the release of FarCry way back in 2004, which was one of the first games to show off just what Direct X 9 was capable of alongside Half-life 2. Then in 2007 Crytek went even further beyond with the release of Crysis, the critically acclaimed PC shooter that even now is still considered a benchmark for visual fidelity and measuring performance, and was literally the pioneer of some industry-standard visual effects in the gaming industry today. So with so much history in technical wizardry, the PC community is both excited and incredibly worried about Crysis 2, the reason being that it's now multiplatform. Burned from previous companies with many horrible ports, the PC community can rest a little easy with Crysis 2, as indeed it is quite a stunner, albeit with some obvious setbacks.

The story is set three years after the events of Crysis where the alien invasion of the Ceph is now in full swing and its first target is New York. You play as the character Alcatraz, who early in the game is wounded but is swiftly saved by Prophet, a character from the original game who was one of the bearers of the Nanosuit. Prophet puts the Nanosuit onto Alcatraz and then ends his own life due to being infected with the Ceph illness, leaving the message behind to 'find Gould'. From here on in you venture onwards equipped with the Nanosuit, and slowly uncover the stories plot and purpose as you progress through the 12 hour campaign.

Maximum Penetration.

Maximum Penetration.
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While the story can be fairly interesting at points, it tends to fall flat a lot of the time as it feels disjointed from the first game and can be very confusing due to the way it's told. Newcomers to the series will be a bit dazed with whatever is happening at points, with mentions of characters and events from the first game that they'll have no idea about. The game also ends on a bit of a cliffhanger but this isn't too much of an issue as the game overall does feel complete in its progression; it just very blatantly sets itself up for a big sequel. It has moments of sheer brilliance though with scenes that are both impacting and full of adrenaline, and goes by the philosophy of having more empathy for the silent protagonist. A few times you'll realise just how fragile the human body can be, and how powerful the Nanosuit truly is, with it holding together much of the chaos that is thrown at you at almost every angle.

And the Nanosuit is essentially what keeps the entire game together too. Gameplay is similar to the first, in that your Nanosuit gives you multiple superhuman abilities that give you several options in approaching situations. The suit is more streamlined this time round though, where in the first you had seperate selections for Strength, Speed, Armour and Cloaking. In Crysis 2, your two primary abilities are Armour and Cloak, which can be activated with the press of buttons. Speed and Strength are still there too but are integrated into your natural movement; sprinting activates Speed, and Strength is activated when your melee button is held down for a powerful punch, when you want to stabilise your aiming, holding down the jump button for heightened leaps and other such abilities. New abilities have also made it into the game that weren't in the original, such as power sliding across the ground and power kicking heavy items such as cars, which can be awesome tools for use in combat. While streamlining most of it was a good thing, some of the abilities feel noticeably underpowered compared to the original game. Speed mode, while nice, feels pretty much like a normal sprint and nothing more, which was immensely different to the insanely big boost that it gave you in the first. Super punches are a bit awkward in their utilisation as well, but it makes little difference in the greater scheme of things. Crytek did most of it right, but a few things feel too 'ordinary' to feel like true powers. Nonetheless however, with further customisations as you progress through the game with modifiers in the Nano Catalyst, and then adding in the expansive weapon customisation that was also in the original, you have a game that rewards creativity and allows you to shape the enemies behaviour around yours, which is the core of what made Crysis so incredibly good.

Three guys several rays.

Three guys several rays.
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The game has its mishaps however, notably in its AI and to a lesser extent, some of its environments. The AI for the most part is actually quite excellent, especially when facing the Ceph, but at other times can be comparable to that of an orange rolling down a hill. There are moments where the AI has literally sprinted head first into walls and not stopped, completely ignoring our presence, and sometimes not even responding to bullets penetrating their bodies. It's not a common occurence but when it does happen it's pretty bad, and it's a bit weird that Crytek haven't alleviated this as it was somewhat of an issue in the first game too. Next up are the environments which for the most part are designed superbly. And while most of it is good and dandy, there are moments where the game becomes more on-rails and extremely linear, which while sometimes fitting, also feels off with the style of the game. Crysis as a whole has always been known for its more expansive, non-linear approaches to situations, so seeing such heavily scripted, claustrophobic and linear sections in Crysis 2 feels jarring, and also limits the possibilities of what you can do with the Nanosuit. It's a minor hindrance however, as for the most part the gameplay and single player campaign is absolutely superb, with better variety and progression overall than the first.

And the excellence doesn't stop there either, as the Multiplayer is, to describe it, Call of Duty styled gameplay done right. Perk systems are seperated into three modules: Power, Stealth and Armour, and with each power corresponding to the module used in game and effectively, you gain experience points for the module and eventually level up, unlocking more perks for you to use for that particular module. While it sounds like a typical excuse to allow perks into a game, it actually fits into Crysis 2 almost perfectly as the game relies on super powered abilities to succeed. Each perk and ability is well balanced against the other and has a counter (eg, Cloak can be countered with Cloak Tracker perks and the Nanovision mode), so there's no obscene feeling of an overpowered ability unlike that of Modern Warfare 2, which was a mismash of terrible design decisions that essentially ruined the game. Killstreaks are also in the game but require you to collect the dogtag from dead bodies, so campers whoring up killstreaks is virtually non-existent. It's overall well done and a significant improvement over the original game's Multiplayer, which although good in a lot of areas fell short of what it could've been. There are plenty of modes to choose from as well, ranging from Deathmatch to team based modes such as Crash Site (essentially king of the hill but team based), so there's plenty of variety and incentive to play. The only downside however is Multiplayer is currently filled with a fair amount of bugs, such as random disconnections from servers and sometimes not even being able to connect to a server at all, so the fun will only really begin when the frustration of finding a game is over. Hopefully this'll be patched by Crytek soon as well, as it's quite an annoying couple of issues that require a fair amount of patience to deal with.

Customer Service Guarantee THIS.

Customer Service Guarantee THIS.
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Now onto the presentation side of things, which although absolutely phenomenal in most areas, also has some shortcomings to boot for some (likely controversial) reasons. As a whole, Crysis 2 looks incredible. Artistically Crytek have absolutely nailed New York, and it is very easily the best rendition of the famous city ever. The lighting model in use looks stunning and makes everything reflect and look very realistic, and visual effects such as volumetric sun rays, ambient occlusion and motion blur are all apparent and look extraordinary. This applies to both the consoles and PC too, so it's no doubt that Crytek absolutely know how to build an engine and make it scale phenomenally across all platforms.

With that said however, we played Crysis 2 on PC (both on a very high end setup and a mid-range setup), and while Crytek have claimed no compromise for the most powerful platform, there are some obvious setbacks here and there which are quite disappointing to see. There is no procedural destruction; or in english, proper destructibility, which was a huge thing in the original Crysis. It allowed you to punch through buildings and also throw people through walls. Texture work is also noticeably degraded, and a lot are noticeably rehashed from the first game but downscaled. And finally, the game only runs in Direct X 9, which is quite shocking considering that even the first game, which is now coming onto 4 years old, supported Direct X 10. While Crytek have said they will support Direct X 10 and 11 in a later patch, it's quite disappointing to see such things scaled back so significantly with Crysis 2. What should have been the absolute benchmark when it came to PCs is not even higher than its prequel, when it should be the other way around. We definitely don't think Crysis 2 is a bad looking game; quite the contrary really, it looks amazing. But it's obvious there have been setbacks because of multiplatform development, and it's disappointing as it's lost much of the scope and ambition of the first, and with some proper optimisation and support for later hardware, could've been a whole lot more given the time. Most will not be disappointed however, as the game does look beautiful and plays very well too, where maxed out in extreme resolutions our high end setup packed with a HD6990 ran the game effortlessly at over 60 frames, while the mid-range setup sporting a Radeon 5850 ran quite well too at around 30-45 frames in HD resolutions. Not to mention the music and sound effects are also fantastic, with Hans Zimmer taking the lead with the score, and you have a package that is presented beautifully, albeit with some obvious setbacks on the PC side at least.

If you want to know which version is the best version, it is the PC without question. Not only do you get a better looking game, but also better performing and easier to control. With that said however this assumes you'll have the funds for a PC built for such a game, and in many cases people do not which is completely fine, as the console versions are also superbly made. Crytek have accomplished something which everyone said was impossible in 2007; and that's to get Crysis to run on consoles. They've proven the naysayers wrong and done a wonderful job with Crysis 2, as it's not only a very, very good game, but a unique experience that only Crytek can deliver. Console gamers can finally see what the PC side was raving about a few years back and enjoy it just as much, and PC gamers finally get the sequel to their beloved benchmark title, albeit with a few setbacks to boot. Though the game has a few bugs to iron out still and some of the ambition of the first game was lost, Crysis 2 is still a magnificent game that won't soon be forgotten. Recommended.
The Score
While losing some of the scope and ambition of the first game, Crysis 2 is still a phenomenal title which rewards the inventive player and takes FPS into a different direction for the better. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Crysis 2 Content

Crysis 2 DirectX 11 trailer
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23 Jun, 2011 Extra zazz.
Crysis 2 launch trailer
22 Mar, 2011 The reason you upgrade.
24 Comments
3 years ago
nice review I agree with most of it, and I have to say I like the look of it in 3d
3 years ago
PALGN wrote
What should have been the absolute benchmark when it came to PCs is not even higher than its prequel, when it should be the other way around
See, I take issue with this. Crytek afaik have never set out to make this game a benchmark. I guess they wanted people to be able to actually play it on release.
3 years ago
^ That's probably the best point I've ever seen.

I always thought the original was some sort of bad joke to average PC gamers.
3 years ago
Maximum...Penetration O_o
3 years ago
drinniol wrote
PALGN wrote
What should have been the absolute benchmark when it came to PCs is not even higher than its prequel, when it should be the other way around
See, I take issue with this. Crytek afaik have never set out to make this game a benchmark. I guess they wanted people to be able to actually play it on release.
It's not about its performance; it's about its technical ability.

Getting it to run fine is NOT an issue, especially considering the hardware currently available to PC. But when the sequel to the most technically advanced game for the past 4 years can't even match the first in its scope, there's a problem.

Crytek are historically known to push the envelope when it comes to visuals on PC. FarCry pushed things very far especially with effects regarding water. Crysis was literally generational in its leap compared to every other game on the market upon its release. Crysis 2 could've very easily been the prime example of Direct X 11 usage and many other things, but it's not primarily because of scaling back due to multiplatform.

The game still looks gorgeous, there's no doubt about that, and Crytek are still superb developers. But it's blatantly obvious that while a lot of the engine is upgraded (mostly in its lighting which is definitely better this time round), a lot of it has been cut down too and with the time invested, it could've been a whole lot more upon release. Optimisation was never an issue.
3 years ago
^ it's unrealistic to expect a DX11 benchmark title at this point in time. Less than 5% of PC users have Vista/Windows 7 and DX11-capable hardware.

Edit: actually, that's not entirely correct. The 5% figure is DX11 hardware + Win7 only (doesn't include Vista). But still...

Source (cached version, info is a bit over a month old, can't find latest stats)
3 years ago
^It is however realistic to at least support DX10, an API that was native to the original Crysis. Besides, DX11 has been around for over a year now as well, and considering how well supported it was by other multiplat games such as Metro 2033 and Aliens vs Predator, then I see no realistic excuse behind not at least supporting DX11 on launch.
3 years ago
Denny wrote
^It is however realistic to at least support DX10
Not with this title. I understand where you're coming from, as a fan of the original Crysis and a PC gamer. You probably even supported Crytek by actually purchasing the title legitimately. I can understand how Crysis 2 would almost be seen as an insult to you and other legitimate fans.

I'm kinda repeating stuff I've already said in the other thread here, but anyway... Crytek were burnt by the PC market with Crysis. A large group of dishonest gamers ruined it for you guys that are legit. The CEO of Crytek, Cevat Yerli, basically announced after seeing how broadly the game was pirated, that Crytek would no longer be producing PC-exclusive titles.

It seems though, that what he really meant, was that they were switching focus, almost completely, to consoles. Crysis 2 was reportedly designed with Xbox 360 (DX9) in mind, and ported to everything else from there.

PC market pissed the dude off and now he's like "F**K YOU GUYS!" icon_razz.gif
3 years ago
^And sadly, I have to agree with you on all fronts there.

I'm a pure PC enthusiast and yes, I buy all games legitimately and support the PC industry as best I can. I'm an absolutely massive fan of Crytek and their games. The issue behind it however is there are so many self righteous snotty PC users that think because DRM is applied to their games due to piracy, they have every right to pirate the game to 'stick it' to the man. That or the dumbarse excuse of "I want to try the game first so piracy is justified".

I don't get it. It's such an ironic turn of events as many of these PC gamers are the ones that also whine massively about developers not supporting us. Why the f**k do you think? You just stole their intellectual property and gave them nothing for something they spent hundreds and thousands of hours working their arse off on.

DRM isn't a good thing, that's for sure; but combating it by doing the exact thing that brought it to this level in the first place is borderline retarded.

It's pretty sad really. While PC gaming still has the edge visually and is overall still pretty premium, it's also lost a LOT of the steam that was behind it years ago, when games came out and had entire generational leaps in the visual department.

Hopefully Witcher 2 won't get pirated too heavily, because I'd hate to see CDProjekt go down this route too.

Bah. I hate everything.

/grumpymorningrant
3 years ago
Quote
but also better performing and easier to control.
Really... you just had to get that shot in there didn't ya icon_razz.gif

You realize there are people that actually prefer playing shooters on controllers right?

Also I think Crytek bitching about piracy is pretty retarded. They made a game that weather true or not got a reputation as a game that only the best of the best computers could actually run.

I think that had a far stronger effect on there game then piracy did.

To me it seems like they fucked up with there game (In the advertising, or whatever I think Jarrod once pointed out that it scaled horribly on release and had to be patched later to play on lower end systems) and are trying to pass the blame onto piracy instead of admitting there own mistakes.
3 years ago
I do, but it wasn't a shot, just something I noticed because of suit power shifting. Customising and all that is really, REALLY easy to do on the PC, while on console it's like Hold Y for suit menu and then right analog to select a suit power which immobilizes you completely, while on PC it's literally like, one button and you're done. It's a bit cumbersome really, though the game has a lot of different abilities and features here and there so it's not something that I'm going to criticise enormously because it's pretty much like MGS. PC simply has fully customisable and easier to handle control schemes. And if you really wanted, you have the option of using a gamepad.

Also, the reputation behind the original Crysis of it being unplayable is false. It was just that a lot of the PC community had very unrealistic expectations of what could run it max out. Crytek had always mentioned that to max the game out you'll need a powerful machine, so surprise surprise, people got the s**ts when their mid-range setup couldn't do it and they had to resort to medium settings.

That's why I upgraded my machine and yeah, I could run it on high/very high. I wasn't expecting it to go super smooth at very high resolutions, and considering 2007 was only just beginning to transition into 1080p let alone extreme resolutions beyond that, it was slightly ridiculous to believe that a future proofed game well beyond what other games are doing at the time would run at such a resolution smoothly.

TL;DR, people bitch too much about everything.
3 years ago
Benza wrote
To me it seems like they **** up with there game (In the advertising, or whatever I think Jarrod once pointed out that it scaled horribly on release and had to be patched later to play on lower end systems) and are trying to pass the blame onto piracy instead of admitting there own mistakes.
torrentfreak rated it the 4th most pirated game of 2008, with 940,000 copies downloaded that year alone (would provide a link, but not sure about the rules here regarding linking to torrent-related sites, so google it if you like).
3 years ago
Quote
Also, the reputation behind the original Crysis of it being unplayable is false.
The thing is, weather it was bullshit or not, the reputation was still there. And I'm betting that had a lot more of an effect on sales.

If your game gets a reputation as being unplayable then people aren't going to buy it weather the rep is true or not.

It always seems like they just latched onto piracy as an easy scape goat instead of actually looking at "Hey, 90% of the PC market were under the impression that they wouldn't be able to run our game... man maybe that had some effect on the sales?"

Don't get me wrong Piracy is a problem, but I think that with Crysis it wasn't the main one.

Quote
torrentfreak rated it the 4th most pirated game of 2008, with 940,000 copies downloaded that year alone
Cod 2 was the number 1 downloaded PC game of 2009 with over 4 million downloads on the PC alone with another 970 thousand on x-box. The game still sold like gangbusters though. There's more to the story of Crysis's failure then just "Oh it was all pirates"
3 years ago
Call of Duty has like, 6-7 years worth of franchise behind it, full multiplatform support from the beginning and astonishingly big marketing from Activision. Compare that to a company releasing its second game on an exclusive platform...big difference.
3 years ago
Like many I never played original as I can't afford capable PC!

Based on other FPSs I am enjoying what I have played so far!

Different from the other kill-everything in site FPSs!

You play in your own accord.

I prefer stealth and in many missions so far I have completed them without firing a bullet or killing an enemy!

Just sneaking by enemies using Nano suit clock!

Really making up for the dissapointing Conviction! I am playing this like MGS or the old Splinter Cell games! I don't think I have killed more than ten enemies in my 5 hours with this game!

My only criticism is that there are form of stats in the campaign to give a better idea of how long you played or so!

WOn't touch MP, single player for me is enough! But this is a top game as someone who never played original!
3 years ago
Denny wrote
Call of Duty has like, 6-7 years worth of franchise behind it, full multiplatform support from the beginning and astonishingly big marketing from Activision. Compare that to a company releasing its second game on an exclusive platform...big difference.
The thing is, it still got pirated more then 4 times as many times as Crysis (5 times if you count the x-box copies)

The amount of times a game is pirated is not equal to the amount of lost revenue a game had from piracy.


The other thing is, Crysis didn't actually do that badly. It didn't sell Modern Warfare numbers or anything but it hardly bombed. It sold over a million copies in Q3 of 2008 alone, it exceeded the sales expectations EA had on it.

Yeah I'm sure piracy had some effect on lowering it's sales. But honestly I think there are other things at work here and just blaming piracy is incredibly short sighted.

On an unrelated note though.

No Eyefinitiy screenshots?
3 years ago
It's definitely not just piracy, but Cevat has mentioned multiple times in nice terms that piracy is one of the bigger reasons. It's why they released Warhead; it was their final game to test sales with it, to justify whether or not to go multiplat or stay exclusive. Ultimately it comes down to money and money making, and yeah, money making is mainly on the consoles.

And nah no eyefinity screens; not for the review anyway. When I get home from work I can take a couple of screens if you like and put em up in this thread. It looks pretty insane in Eyefinity and runs crazy well to boot.
3 years ago
Denny wrote
And nah no eyefinity screens; not for the review anyway. When I get home from work I can take a couple of screens if you like and put em up in this thread. It looks pretty insane in Eyefinity and runs crazy well to boot.
See that's why I couldn't write reviews, my review would consist of Eyefinity screenshots and me going "na na na na, it looks better on my computer then it does on yours"
3 years ago
Ahaha, it's certainly tempting that's for sure. Just post screens and comment "we ran it on a system you'll never have and it was smooth.", but yeah I resist these elitist urges.
3 years ago
Denny wrote
Crytek are historically known to push the envelope when it comes to visuals on PC. FarCry pushed things very far especially with effects regarding water. Crysis was literally generational in its leap compared to every other game on the market upon its release. Crysis 2 could've very easily been the prime example of Direct X 11 usage and many other things, but it's not primarily because of scaling back due to multiplatform.
Oh, they pushed the envelope alright - just not on the PC ;)

I don't think it'll be topped on the 360, graphically.
3 years ago
I still thought gears of war 2 looked better on 360, each to there own I guess.

I tried Crysis 2 on Ps3 & 360 before I decided to purchase and it looks like I should of got it on PC. To be honest I think both console versions are a let down. KZ3 looks better than Crysis 2 on PS3. Ive stopped halfway through and went back to Warhead on PC I still think I like the jungle better too.
3 years ago
I've been really enjoying it, but the gun customisation is a bit lacking this time around. You cant put silencers / laser sights on everything like you could in the first game! Why, oh why crytek? All I want is a silenced SCAR with an assault scope and cool laser sight to be stealthy like in the first game, is that too much to ask?

Also, it's better that ammo is everywhere this time around, and that there is general ammo for all guns. I never had ammo for the sniper or SCAR in the first game.

About all the graphics, will people, when describing a new PC, say 'Can it can run Crysis 2?' (Probably these days, it's more like, 'Can it run Starcraft 2?', not because it's a benchmark like Crysis 1, but more that it's more popular).
3 years ago
I think another thing that alot of Dev companies who game series began on PC should realise is that, sure if they need to go multiplatform to get the sales and continue making the games then do that, it is still no reason not to have the PC as the main platform to design for.

This is what DICE are saying they are doing for BF3 and I applaud them. I still feel a bit jadded that they are designing it for PS3 & 360, but hopefully the PC release should not show any short comings (ie. as pointed out for Crysis 2, DX9 only support) because of the console port/developments.

I did look forward to this game but I do not have a computer to run it and I am waiting for closer to BF3's release date to buy a new machine so will try it then, hopefully when it's also a little bit cheaper to. Sad to hear that is seams to be a back step, not visually but behind the scenes from its predecessor 4 years ago.
3 years ago
Even if it's scope and scale isn't as impressive as the original, the sequel is a much better game, IMO. Almost every facet of the gameplay trumps it in my eyes.
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