I reviewed Crysis 2 for Killscreen, and in it I said things like this:
Crysis was actually two things: a tech demo, and a sequence of tropical playgrounds built to demonstrate how much fun it can be to jump off rooftops onto the heads of North Korean soldiers while a gentle breeze blows serenely through palm fronds. The game saw generally lackluster early sales, as players struggled to afford the hardware upgrades to run it. Crysis 2 appears to have fallen prey to forces larger than itself, and lost touch with both its tech-demo playground and Club Med holiday simulator.
I was pretty hard on it, I guess, but was I unfair? I don’t think so. For a medium that can very nearly depict any virtual environment imaginable, from the most fantastical extra-dimensional levels of Xen in the original Half-Life to the verdant savannah’s and swamps of Far Cry 2, videogames have just so much potential for originality and sheer aesthetic beauty that it frustrates me to the point of grinding teeth how little of that potential is used. Hence, Crysis 2’s decision to abandon it’s tropical island roots in favour of, let’s be honest, courting the lucrative CoD dollar. In the review I flesh out some of the implications on of this approach and mark the game down heavily for it. For those of us that live in urban environments (and I have only done so technically for less than a year – I used to live in a city in a national park) the natural environment is soothing and restorative, studies have shown that even the presence of potted plants helps restore attention. So here’s a few pictures of the plants I keep on my balcony, in lieu of a pretty and invigorating Crysis 2 environment:
Don’t you feel better already?