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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Game Play: Crysis 2

After having second, and possibly even third, thoughts on Dragon Age II - I thought it best to keep trying Crysis 2 for a while before writing about. Truth be told though, it is just simply one of the better shooters I've played.

It's a bit sad, actually, that the release of this game has been mostly centered around whether the PS3 version has the same resolution as the 360 version. My understanding is that it doesn't ... but I really could care less. It's breathtakingly beautiful. Yeah, OK, there's the occasional LOD model jump, or perhaps the infrequent frame rate drop ... but you'll be too busy going ZOMG to notice for the most part.

What's interesting about Crysis 2's graphics is that they're a different kind of beauty from say, Killzone 3. Killzone 3 was an extremely pretty game, but you knew there were sheets of pre-rendered graphics making that happen. That's not a knock against such graphics, I loved Killzone 3 - but Crysis 2 (while yes, I'm sure has some pre-rendering tricks of its own) manages to make an extremely immersive world because of the detail on everything around you.

But really, do you need me to tell you it's pretty? I can confirm PS3 users shouldn't shy away from it. However, outside of the graphics - it is a very tightly designed game. The gunfights are dynamic and fun. The story is inventive and interesting for the genre. The interface isn't terribly intrusive. The AI is very good.

I'm probably only half way through the game at most, and my negative comments on it are short and nitpicky. The voice acting could have been kicked up a notch, especially Gould's. It's not that it's bad, it's just that Gould's voice is pretty constant and so you pick up on artificial nuances about it. The combat is a little repetitive, though this is usually remedied by a changes in the scenario which will force you to shift strategies ... so you can't always sneak/snipe/brute force your way through the game.

Also, and probably my biggest pain - the waypoint HUD is sometimes confusing. There's a random point somewhere, but how to get to it may be a bit of puzzle. When it happens, it's really annoying - but it doesn't happen often.

My positive comments are many. The core mechanics are tight. The combat is fun. The story is interesting. The music is haunting. The environment feels vast and interactive. In truth, this is great shooter bordering on being one of the best ever. The only thing keeping it back is that while it gets high marks for doing many things right, there's not a lot here which feels like pushing the envelope. Even the online modes feel a little Call of Duty like (not that a dozen other shooters don't make the same design choices there).

Definitely recommended.