Sunday, June 5, 2011

You can shine that turd up all you want

E3 is coming and I am honestly not that interested. There will be veiled talk of a new console from Nintendo console, but after the silliness of the Wii it would have to shine like diamonds, not have motion control, and be forward compatible with whatever the next audio/visual fad after 3D is to get my attention. Regardless of whatever wiz-bang technology they put into it, the same games will appear in shinier renditions, and I am no longer interested in Mario or Zelda (or even Metroid, as hard as that is to say). Nintendo can pledge greater third party support all it wants, it will never actually happen. When the next boxes roll out from the other big two you can bet that the Microsoft offering will be easier to develop for and the Sony machine will remain a vast reservoir of untapped potential. In other words, nothing is going to change.

Speaking of things looking better while getting worse, Crysis 2 has been started and really needs to be finished before AE comes out. Crytek hit on something with Far Cry. It was a relatively open ended shooter running on a en engine that only the biggest and nastiest computers could handle. With the exception of the final act it was excellent, featuring frighteningly intelligent enemies for its time that required quick thinking and creativity. It was the first time that I remember AI opponents using suppressing fire on me while their buddies flanked me. The game fell completely apart when the monsters showed up, but that it was god mode is for.

Crysis continued the trend of hardware nerds wringing their hands over what resolution it could be run at, but there seemed to me to be a definite trade off between graphics and game play. Sure, Crysis looked amazing, but it just was as good of a shooter as Far Cry was. Combat was still open ended, but the levels themselves were smaller. Stealth was less viable in spite of being able to turn invisible for short periods of time; most encounters devolved into turning on max armor and running to battle. Plus, it still featured a total third act collapse and non-ending even worse than Far Cry.

Which brings us to Crysis 2. Lets go through the check list. Does it look better than Crysis or Crysis Warhead? Definitely, and I am not just saying that because I am playing it on a console this time. Does it strip away even more of what made Crysis and Far Cry interesting shooters? Yup. Levels are linear in nature with enemy spawns that belong in Doom 3. Suit powers beyond extra armor are less important. Enemies take a silly amount of damage to kill. Instant death moments abound right before checkpoints (which are much to far apart as it is. Where is my god damn quick save?) It is not fun to walk around the corner into a tank that kills you and start over twenty minutes earlier.

The first achievement unlocked (for watching the intro, by the way) is called 'Can it run Crysis?' It can, but I don't really care.

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