Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm: Reviews

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.

Crysis 2

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.


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4 Responses to “Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm: Reviews”

  1. Cristian Says:

    I’ll have to stand out and say one thing: I have over 25 original games in my Xbox 360 (yes, I know that you can get this basically for free in my country), and I’ve played around 20 cracked titles with my old Xbox (which was JB’d). And so far, the only game that really made me pick up the story mode again for another round in the story mode was Bulletstorm, why?

    I agree with Julian, the entire skillshot system has nothing to do with the game mechanics, besides adding some style to the necessary killing you have to do, but it sure brings a new refreshing flow to the entire gameplay.

    Bulletstorm it’s another FPS shooter in it’s own terms. The thing about Bulletstorm is that they are trying to be just another FPS game, but you don’t know that until you play it. And the had us confused with the entire Duty Calls ad campaign.

    There’s a point in the story when there is a Deus Ex Machinima event, and the protagonist explicitly mentions it. So… that got me thinking. If these guys know what a Deus Ex Machinima is, then they know at least SOMETHING about storytelling, and therefore… this is all done in purpose. These writers knew what they were doing, and the whole Duty Call thing, it was a way of saying to the COD guys, “we know what you’re doing, and we’re going to take it to the next level… and make fun of it”.

    FPS are all about the thrill of making awesome kills. What videos do people watch? The ones with the amazing kills. They decided to make a game around the entire expirience of delivering awesome kills with every shot. The problem was the marketing. This is not a game about killing with style, you just happen to kill with style. This is an action game in the same way that Evil Dead is a terror movie.

    I am a fan of Epic Games. They are not an innovative company when it comes to game design, but they are amazing when it comes to game balancing and implementation. Shadow Complex, Bulletstorm and Gears of War are fun and well-balanced, and that’s enough to give the game a lasting life inside my console. They may not be the creators of cover mechanics, sidescrolling shooters, or FPS, but they know how to make a fun game.

    The MP was very disappointing. I was hoping to kick players online and shoot them in the groin (this may sound stupid, it’s not). Maybe they’ll add a competitive MP for Bulletstorm 2, I sure hope so.

    Bulletstorm is not an original game in its design principles, but it is original all around the look and feel and the satirical, over-the-top storytelling elements.

    Regarding Crysis 2, the story is so disappointing that the only true achievement was finding out so many ways to leave you stranded around New York. You’re leaving RIGHT NOW every 5 seconds, and then… you don’t leave. Your situation resumes to “go from point A to point B to kill something/someone, reach extraction, mess up your extraction and repeat. Then, credits”.

  2. nicolailobachevscki Says:

    I have to say that your comment made me actually reconsider my position about Bulletstorm, but even though I think the game still has heavy flaws.

    After check again some reviews, some forums threads (with some flamewars on them) and other articles on the web, just about 2 or 3 made that point you have made. The idea you exposed is actually quite brilliant, but nobody seems to appreciate it. It is our flaw that fact?. I think is not.

    Most of the people took it like a big joke, like I did. It is actually the intention as well.

    When you see closely a little bit, Bulletstorm is not a whole made by tiny pieces. Sure it is a balanced games, but if a few people notices the whole joke in context, it’s probably not gamers fault, at least not completely.

    Anyway, as soon as I recover my laptop I will play it again with this new glasses. It will be a shame if I don’t do it under this new perspective. In this case, I focused to heavily on the Skill Shot mechanic and how (at least for me) they wasted it. Game mechanic is the central point, but no the only one. That distracted me of other important issues.

  3. nicolailobachevscki Says:

    Ah!, thanks for visiting, I really appreciate your interest.

  4. Cristian Says:

    Don’t worry, dude. Thanks for writing.

    And for the record, it wasn’t as if I played the game and the first time I figured out this entire approach by myself. I was kinda pissed off too, until at some point I said ‘wow, I’m really having fun.’ And after a lot of thinking I kinda pictured it this way.

    I won’t say the problem is in marketing, it’s all around the product. Bulletstorm is a AAA game, and it’s almost impossible to think about a 60 million dollar satire.

    My advice is to take off the game designer hat and put on the fun hat and have it a go.

    Keep writing!

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