Crysis 2 (Crytek/EA)
I had expected Crysis 2 to wow me the most (according to the developer, even James Cameron was very enthusiastic about the game's 3D implementation), and at first it did. Smart heads-up display design gives the illusion that ammo readouts and the mini-map are suspended an inch or two into your TV. If you’re equipped with the Threat Tracer Nanosuit upgrade, the experience is a little surreal. Whenever an enemy fires at you, ghostly blue tracer streaks light up the screen, letting you know exactly where those shots came from. In 2D the effect isn’t nearly as striking or useful – tracer beams all seem to blend together and it’s hard to discern what’s coming from where in the thick of a nasty firefight. But in stereo, distinguishing a sniper laying down fire on your left from the dude brandishing an assault rifle slightly behind him is as easy as can be.
Handling the weapon models was similarly impressive. Each firearm feels like it has spatiality and weight. Looking down the iron sights of a Feline machine gun and seeing the butt, front and rear sights occupy different planes of depth is beyond cool. The red dot in the reflex scope feels great, too, not like it’s just a thin, stationary couple of pixels — it feels like it’s actually projecting into the environment.
Walking down the street and watching as two attack choppers chased an alien dropship through the vertical concrete and glass jungle overhead made a hell of a first impression. But nonadjustable motion blur left my mind a bit scattered, especially when dealing with lightning-fast aliens up close and personal, though. And it’s just too bad that the environment itself —beautifully illustrated though it may be — feels mostly flat.
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