Lazyness is such a beautiful thing.
Following the footsteps of my last entry, I’m just copying a couple of reviews I did previously in my Tumblr and putting them in here. The Crysis 2 review is this one, and the Bulletstorm one is in here (originally in spanish). No big deal, a few comments about those game I think are worth to save in this blog.
So finally, after a few obstacles with the hardware towards the end of the game, I finished Crysis 2 (Crytek, 2011).
I think that isn’t a good sign when the owner of the company is featured in the opening credits of a game. And founder, president and Crytek CEO’s name, Cevat Yerli, is shown very big in the beginning of this game. And it wasn’t a good sign.
Don’t get me wrong, Crysis 2 is a good game, one of the best AAA game released this year so far. It’s a fluid, entertaining and graphically wonderful FPS. It will be highly hypocrite of me not to reccomend it.
What goes wrong with this game are the details, where the cinematic experience was putted above the game experience, even though Crysis 2 isn’t as much as cinematic as other games in the genre or outside of it.
For example, the use of the visor is never well explained even when it’s crucial for some missions though, and the use the player gives it is very clumsy thanks to the game mechanics: it overlaps the use of guns and the suit’s capabilities and it can be very visually annoying. The goals of the differente stages aren’t also clear all the time. This is due to the open nature of the environments, which is a good thing, but in my opinion a cleaner design was needed. Also, as a consequence of the open enviroments, is quite easy to follow a trivial strategy in all the battles (except the ones in the end of the game): hide, camouflage, run, shoot or hit, hide and repeat. Even the sniper stages are kinda that way. In all games the player can (and should actually) create a trivial strategy to follow, but the enviroments had to be design in a manner which complicates that solution. Crysis 2 fails to do so except in very particular stages. If you are an experienced gamer it could be very frustrating, even more when the difficulty points only to AI.
Another issues are related to sound design, art direction and difficulty curve.
Ah!, and I find the story told very stupid (a thing Crysis 2 writer Richard Morgan criticized to other games). It has some clear structure references to Half Life series, but it never gets quite near of it.
Crysis 2 fails to be a great experience because it the game design wasn’t planned enough (maybe it is polished, but focused wrong), while the cinematic experience intended was a priority just to showcase the new CryEngine 3 features.
It’s fun though. It seems to be enough these days. Unfortunately
I installed the game a few days ago, and I had the very same impression Dead Space (1 and 2) gave me: the game mechanic is totally wasted.
I admit that I have some issue of reviewing games as a Valve Software fan, therefore my critic tends to point at the puzzles a player has to solve with the game mechanic proposed. In general, a game doesn’t have to respond to that idea, but in Bulletstorm (People Can Fly, 2011) it was so easy to create a chain of endless situations where the Skill Shots system can be used as a puzzle solver in order to advance in the game. It didn’t happen. I think it is a shame.
So far in the game [but I finished it to the moment I writing this translation] I could say that the Skill Shot system is just another feature in an usual FPS game. The seed of the game is in there, but thy didn’t work it out in any creative manner.
On the other hand, I add my voice to those reviews that say this title is hipocrite. Do you remember the campaign Duty Calls, a viral game where they mock about those commom places in games like Call of Duty?, well, it turns out that in Bulletstorm they used the very same elements they criticized: a linear story and level design, Quicktime Events, too many cinematics. At least in Call of Duty those things are well done (even when they are abused as well).
Beyond my game designer opinion, Bulletstorm is a fun game and it is worth to play. Its intention of being authentic is praised, which is achieved in some moments. But have this clear, once you finished it, I think you won’t want to played it again. It doesn’t give me that feeling.
I haven’t played the multiplayer modes [and never did], but the comments about it say that is not something new.