Theoretically, porn should be exciting to the point we spend our entire waking lives drooling over images of deep buttock cleavage and areolae. But we donít, because after a while porn loses its allure.
Oh, we know itís still there. We might dip into it when weíre feeling randy and have the house to ourselves but after a while the penises and supple thighs that were once so exciting all blend together and form a bland miasma of skintones and tramp stamps. We start yawning at the sight of yet another pair of huge pornstar balls. It all becomes a bit boring.
is porn. You could probably claim most modern shooters are like pornography thatís grown stale through over-familiarity, but even if you did, Crysis 2
would still be one of the porniest.
Donít get me wrong, Crysis 2
is widescreen gaming at its most cinematic. The visuals are staggering, the action is fierce and the set-pieces, well, if youíve ever wondered how an ocean liner would look with its bow embedded in a skyscraper, youíre going to love this game.
For a while, anyway.
A Watershed for Xbox Graphics
But let me open on a positive note: Crysis 2
looks incredible. One of the pre-title splash screens reads Ďachieved with CryEngine 3í and when they say the gameís an achievement, they arenít kidding.
This is a watershed for Xbox graphics, a high tide leaving flotsam and spume of graphical delight washed high and away from the pretenders to Crytekís crown. And if that sounds a little like poetic licence, itís not: the waves in Crysis 2
literally wash bits of junk up on its shores.
Itís a graphical marvel indicative of the gawp-worthy detail the gameís filled with, I spent the game wishing it was a tourism simulator instead of some Call of Duty
nonsense with extras aliens. Its wonders range from the tiny - fully rendered vending machines with little crisp packets and twisty coils inside! - to the gargantuan.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about it is the game never rests on its laurels when it comes to breathtaking spectacle.
Youíll gasp when your submarine starts flooding in the gameís opening sequence.
Youíll gasp when you emerge from darkness into sunlit Manhattan and see Liberty Island out among the waves.
Youíll gasp when youíre stuck in a glass-fronted office block submerged beneath flood water.
And when youíre flying between alien tendrils emerging from the city streets like Arakeen sandworms, youíd better have your asthma inhaler on hand.
Every Whomp and Alien Whoop
The soundtrack is just as impressive. Every whomp and alien whoop is rendered with startling realism. Shattered glass tinkles and crunches underfoot. Sirens blare out, bullets ricochet. Even as it crumbles around you the city comes to life in a magical sound shower. Itís easy to overlook the sound mix when the visuals are as impressive as they are, but this is one youíll want to get a digital surround sound amp for, just to do it justice.
The action, though it takes a little while to get going, comes into its own a couple hours into the game when you start upgrading your nanosuit. In the opening chapters youíre trading gunfire with Cell agents, hiding behind barriers and popping up to shoot tiny clusters of pixels from three hundred metres away. Itís a lot like Call of Duty
, and as such, just a little bit dull.
Itís when you encounter the invading Ceph aliens and retrieve nano-clouds from their corpses, the combat lurches into gear. The nano-clouds act as currency with which to upgrade your stealth, defensive, tracking, offensive and motion capabilities. You can only use one upgrade at a time, but you can alter them on the fly.
Your suitís HUD offers tactical suggestions as to how to get through each encounter. If you want to take the enemy head on, use the deflection upgrade to turn your suit into tank, and wade into battle. Whether you want to out-flank, stealth past or parkour your way over the enemy, you can switch your load-out to accommodate it.
Your arsenal is just as customizable. At any point you can change your weaponsí accessories, swapping silencers and scopes for semi-automatic fire and ironsights, and use the same gun for both long range sniping and close combat.
Squid Guts Vomit on Your Pumps
But itís your suitís basic functions youíll use the most. Hit the left bumper and the nanosuit hardens to form a protective shell ideal for firefights. Hit the right bumper and youíll become invisible, able to creep up on enemies and stick a knife through their throats.