Honestly Crytek, what the hell were you thinking!?
Firstly lets get the good points out of the way because I want to rant…the game itself is good. It’s enjoyable, the story holds up to the equivalents of a Michael Bay film (which is fine by me when considering an action packed shooter); the AI can sometimes be oblivious to the ones and zeros leaving my virtual gun but generally the bad guys flank around me and flush me out with grenades enough to make me hesitate a little; the controls are solid with easy suit changing access and makes the strategy between battlefields slightly more pronounced then the simple cover-shoot/run & gun ethic. Perhaps grenades are a bit of a shitter to use but nothing that couldn’t be addressed with a simple patch.
It’s also important to congratulate Crytek in creating an engine that runs and acts beautifully on both the PS3 and 360, I honestly can’t say one is distinctly better than the other. They’ve managed to power in a lot of impressive lighting effects and other technical bullocks I don’t understand so the finished piece looks pretty appetizing and for this I give them a gold star.
BUT, the game is a sequel. Many gamers (the console heavy users) see this is a game that pops up after a glorified tech-demo that they never had the opportunity to play; to the PC base, Crytek’s biggest fanbase, this is a sequel to a much loved tech-demo AND game that let you rip through rainforests a la Predator, throw men through corrugated tin shacks, and finally be eaten by sharks.
From a PC user perspective this must be one of the biggest kicks in the face they’ve ever received from a game developer, in the last few years there has been so much debate on how consoles drag down technology to a specific threshold; don’t get me wrong I love my PS3 dearly but there’s a certain amount of truth in what a lot of these PC enthusiasts say. To have Crytek completely fuck over their PC audience with a much downgraded sequel to obviously satisfy EA console desires is a far cry of what PC gamers originally believed of Crytek and serves as an metaphorically overzealous titanium nail in the coffin for what PC gamers can expect for the future of its platform’s games.
To me Crytek were one of the few bastions of developers headed by very capable tech engineers who could create PC content time after time that would completely take the industry’s breath away with expansive environments coupled with eye dazzling visuals and physics that would cause your computer to explode if it tried to load the damn games up. I remember playing Crysis on my PC back in college, my mate looks at the screen in complete awe, “wow, looks like your playing with real life”, I’m pretty certain he wouldn’t say that about Crytek’s recent outing.
As a sequel, its inferior in practically every way, the one thing improved is the sound track, as epic as they come really. If I wore a Nanosuit around the city, shooting shit up and turning invisible, I’d definitely have this playing in my head set…or the Dark Knight.
Perhaps using the city as an excuse they’ve really cut down on the roam around and missions seem a bit tacked together (more of the COD style level progression than the original Crysis which was more streamlined, not Half-Life but still decent enough you knew how you got from A-B). You spend a good half-hour blasting the banjokazooie out of everything that moves, and there are many things that move in a virtual two mile radius, then its the end of the level and from digital map view (they’ve given up with Google Maps 15yrs from now) you see your man wondering across the entire city like everything with a gun has decided to have a coffee break and play dominoes rather than partake in any more of this beastly violence.
So you’d think with smaller environment you would make up for it with an uber-awesome physics engine that would rip the original’s to pieces. Perhaps tear the surrounding buildings apart with shattering windows and flaking exteriors, fell more trees in Central Park and obliterate Central Perk along with it’s albino coffee serving employee…what’s that? No physics, oh ok then, we’ll make do with an exploding car and some signs that deform, slightly. I mean c’mon! Have you seen the stand up lights that litter the entirety of New York City’s virtual underground, you can’t even bloody tip them over, all you can do is pick up random bits of shit scattered around like teddy bears, radios, and hedgehog dildos. My only explanation for the lights are that the Ceph (the alien intruders) arrived and slyly super-glued all the lamps in the metro to confuse the entire metropolitan human race. Overall there is very little destructible/modifiable material, just lots of indestructible and throwable objects like cardboard boxes, yeah great game mechanic, like playing The Sims for homeless people.
Textures are dissapointing, you’d think there’d actually be real life cracks and leaves on your screen since playing the orginal, no, now they’re worse, less detailed, more blurry, as if someone constantly pouring vodka in your eyes. With all the hype initially surrounding this its ended up like a trip to the toilet where you’ve spent half an hour pushing out a turd to find it’s the size of a McChicken Nugget.
I’m trying to hold off completing the campaign as I keep hoping there’ll be a patch, truth is it’s probably not going to arrive through official means, and if it does it’ll probably be pretty unexciting. If Crytek pull off an amazing feat like an incredible patch that improved absolutely everything, including real life, then they’d certainly shut every single whiner like myself up, but I honestly hope they do because this latest outing is insulting to the fan base that most respected them.
It’s no wonder they dropped the sound clip “Maximum Game” at the startup. A bit gutted really.