Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Everything that Crysis 1 did right, Crysis 2 threw away. Combat scenarios set in open areas you could approach your own way? Gone. Destructible buildings and AI smart enough to navigate it? Gone. Unique, jungle setting? Gone. The resulting game is poorer in every conceivable way.
Crysis 2 is set in New York, albeit a New York that’s being overrun with palm trees and by aliens. Those aliens – who were strange, flying squid-like creatures in the original, now wear robo-suits that make them into bipedal grunts. It’s much more of a corridor shooter than its predecessor, even in moments where you’re on a city street and pitted against enemies that don’t initially know you’re there.
I could guess at the reasons for all the changes, and it’s probably worth doing so to offer some context. The first Crysis took years to develop and apparently burnt out developers Crytek, and so abandoning jungles and collapsible shacks in favour for solid architecture must have felt like a relief. The first game also didn’t sell well, in part due to its high system requirements, but also supposedly because of its perceived complexity at a time when Call of Duty was eating up the charts. Plus no one liked fighting those squids anyway.
Yet it’s a real shame. Crysis 1 is a game worth revisiting even today, ten years after its release. Crysis 2 wasn’t worth visiting in the first place.