C2 is one of my favorite 'flow shooters' ever. You perform a core combat loop over and over and over and the feel of that loop is just excellent. The game looks awesome and the core actions of using your guns, hitting enemies, and traversing terrain feel about thirty times better than Crysis 1, where you're more of a floating camera than a massive embodied soldier.
C2's writing and story are also, in my opinion, leagues and leagues beyond C1's. C1 is a popcorn summer blockbuster thriller with spectacular environments. C2 is a deeply cynical and metafictional exploration of an 'alien invasion' in which humans are basically rats and all the real action is going on between supersystems.
Since I love debating these things, I chime in here.*Gameplay:*
I think C2 is deeply flawed. While I agree on a good core combat-loop with better moment to moment gameplay compared to C1 on a basic level, it comes at the heavy cost of player choice and flexibility. It even goes so far as to explicitly spell out the combat sandbox via the "tactical visor" and compared with several idiotic design decisions, such as the useless car-kick, it ends up being way weaker than C1. Many players, including myself, blame the "console-dumbing-down"-thing here. I always had the feeling that the game tries to reach for a Halo-like loop and simply falls flat. Most of all, at least to me, it is not endlessly repeatable due to low variety. It also fails to integrate vehicles sensibly.
Why can I not kick other heavy things by the way? sure, tech-reasons but from a gameplay standpoints that is so weird...*Writing:*
I think C1 escalated the stakes very very compitently and married gameplay+level-design with story well, including the switch to more linear last act. It used a lot of cliches and certainly included some weaker dialog scenes but the overall experience was excellent and overcame the individual shortcomings.
I was really excited when I heard that Richard Morgan was writing for C2. Then came the interviews and trailers that showed NY and it failed to connect with me. I thought: How the hell do they want to connect that to the first, which was solid despite being simple. The first game's ending obviously was an issue, with its silly "next time on Crysis"-style, but simply ignoring it and jumping the timeline a few years felt wrong for me too. But back to the writing:
C2 is obviously strongly interested in transhumanism, exploring super-soldier themes for real instead of just dealing with a power fantasy. Fusing technology, brain scanning, cryo freezing, supposed immorality (of at least "something resembling your consciousness"), all great themes. The problem here are the Ceph, who now have a name, and the fact that C2 just plainly does not want to connect to C1. It goes out of its way to not connect to C1. It basically, at least borderline, reconns several ideas and plot points from the first game, ignores pretty much all the alien story beats (who are now just sort of there) primitive as they may be and has a terribly broken messiah-undertone.
Your walking dead-guy character of Alcatraz who lends Prophet his body is but a walking tool who switches his boss every act via agency lacking cutscenes. I never felt as ANYTHING
was propelling me forward, neither from a story nor a set piece perspective as everything unusual allways happens in these cutscenes.
Plus, I am killing tons of dudes and sometimes major antagonists without personally knowing what the game actually wants me to feel here. Am I an anti-hero? Are these people bad? Good? What are they at all? Why the **** am I doing about 50% of this, the only reason the game comes up with is because the boss-character of this act tells me to
and considering that I am supposed to be the technology-messiah who will cure and save all, my character not doing anything of his own intention. I feel Prophet does not even have any intention over at least half the story other than fix-the-world
and absolutely no clue on how to approach that goal.Disclaimer:
I have not yet played the mod (which will certainly fix some of Crytek's design ****s) nor have I played the original dub of the game, it is possible subtext and meaning are lost in the German translation.
I strongly recommend everyone with 1h of time and interest in Crysis to watch Noah's video on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi6yFMaURy0
I agree with most of the points made there.