It's been around a week since Crysis 2's release and so the question remains: "Does it live up to the hype or has Crytek failed us?" I shall answer these questions with my review.
System requirements (minimum):
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, & 7 with necessary Service Packs
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0GHz (or better) or AMD Athlon X2 @ 2.0GHz (or better)
Memory: at LEAST 2GB
Storage: at LEAST 9GB
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8800GT (512 MB) or ATi Radeon 3850 (512 MB)
Now, you're probably reading the requirements and thinking: "That's all that this game requires?" Well, it's not that simple since these are minimum specs and even then, these specs won't be able to run the game smoothly even on the lowest settings. If you really want a good gaming experience with Crysis 2, my suggestion would be to pick up a quad-core CPU coupled with at least 4GB of memory and a GTX 460 or ATi equivalent (Radeon 6850.)
The year is 2023 and all of Manhattan is in chaos due to a mysterious viral outbreak. You are Alcatraz; a U.S. Marine sent with your team to secure a Crynet researcher named Gould. Upon your arrival, you and your team are heavily bombarded by an unknown force. With your team wiped out and you on the brink of death, a mysterious figure in a nanosuit fishes out of the water and desperately tells you to find Gould, since he might be the only one who can explain what is going on.
Now, we all know that the 1st game's story was under-whelming. Crytek took that whole-heartedly and hired a professional novelist to pen up the story for Crysis 2. While I did find the story interesting as a whole, there were a number of plot holes and "what the fuck" moments. This games does stretch the story from the 1st game by answering a few questions that some gamers might have had but Crysis 2 adds a new layer of questions that need answering. Also, the story does develop rather slowly and the 1st half of the game seems like a drag. Now, I didn't find this to be too much of a bother because once the 2nd half hits, everything goes into full speed and you'll find yourself getting caught up in the story.
Gameplay is very familiar to the 1st game and there are a few noteworthy additions. First off, you can finally upgrade the nanosuit to tailor your style of playing. Whether it's taking everyone out with stealth or going "Rambo" on their asses, Crytek has given players options to best fit their gameplay. Another thing that Crytek did to tweak the nanosuit's options is that they keyed 'E' and 'Q' for stealth and armor; respectively. This dramatically decreases time to search for a wanted option and thus, making the firefights more intense.
Another nice feature they added is the ability to peek around corners to kill your targets. Get near a corner or a barricade and press the corresponding key and your character will be able to fire from a covered position. Note that you aren't 100% covered but enough to have you shoot around your cover. This helps players fight strategically rather than having to do some crazy ass maneuvers all the while dodging incoming fire. This can also backfire on you since your sight is limited and enemies will flank your ass. So, use the cover option wisely.
My favorite add-on is the ability to slide and shoot. If you press the crouch button while sprinting, your character will slide across the ground. While you're sliding, you can take aim on your enemies and spray them with lead. Perfect for those that love to flank the enemy in a corner.
While your nanosuit may have had a nice upgrade, the opposing aliens have also. In the 1st Crysis, most of the time, you were fighting only 2 types of aliens: the ground ones and the big flyers. In Crysis 2, the types of aliens has grown. There are at least 5 different types of aliens and each has a special style of fighting. Most of these aliens are also susceptible to headshots this time around and can take a HUGE amount of punishment before going down. You are also given C.E.L.L security guards to fight but they fight and die just like any normal human being in a video game (1 shot to the head = instant kill.)
My only complaint about the gameplay is the A.I's level of intelligence. It's truly a joke at times because there were times when the enemy would look straight at me but not fire, thus ruining the immersion. Also, some enemies would get stuck in a corner and never get out, thus having a stutter-like look. Also, another thing to comment on would be the semi-linear path of the game. In Crysis 1, you were free to move around anywhere and not have to worry about hitting an invisible wall. In this game, you can't really move far out. You can take your own route but just not FAR FAR out.
Now here's where a lot of the negativity about this game comes into play. For those of you who have played Crysis and Crysis: Warhead, you all know that the graphics were superior to any other games of their time. Well, Crysis 2 is a gorgeous game but there were times where it seemed like the textures were just truly hideous; like they were a rushed job. I'd say about 75% of the game is gorgeous while the remaining percentage, the game suffers from rushed-like graphics. Clipping issues were also very obvious in certain areas as well as a few graphical glitches (floating dead body, floating grenade, graphical stutters, etc.) On the positive side, the graphics were toned down a bit so that even mainstream systems could run the game.
While I haven't played too much of the multiplayer aspect of Crysis 2, I have read that there are already hackers and cheaters. Aim bots are running rampant, infinite cloak while shooting, and so much more. The lack of ANY anti-cheat system in Crysis 2 is what lets these idiots run rampant and it's a serious shame that Crytek didn't implement 1 at the release of this game. This and the lack of DirectX 11 compatibility clearly shows that Crytek rushed this baby out the door and tarnished the Crysis name. Hopefully Crytek will release patches QUICKLY to alleviate all the pain that's been caused to a great game like Crysis 2.
Crysis 2 is a gorgeous game; and I mean gorgeous in terms of DirectX 9.0. This is sad because it is 2011 and we are at DirectX 11.0. Although I won't get a full answer on why Crytek decided to release this game in such a piss-poor state, most gamers are blaming consoles as an answer to the poor quality of the PC version of Crysis 2. For those of you that don't know, the 1st Crysis was a PC-exclusive title. With a lot of developers jumping on the bandwagon to make extra dough from console sales, PC game quality has been reduced to console ports. My answer is that while consoles are partly to blame, I put most of the blame on poor game testing and poor gaming development. Sure the Xbox and PS3 versions of the game will run on a PC but what about the limits of a hardcore system? Why not test out the limits of a hardcore gaming system? While most of us don't have $5,000+ systems, it wouldn't hurt to try and see what kind of limits a PC has. Consoles, in my eyes, are the bastard children of the PC. Anyways, that's going off topic and so to finally conclude, Crysis 2 is a great game with several flaws that need to be quickly addressed. If you aren't that picky about graphics and want a game with a good amount of action and if you enjoyed the 1st Crysis then this might be a game to pick up. Some will argue that the 1st is better than the 2nd but that's graphics-wise. Story and action-wise, Crysis 2 does it better.