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What made the first one so great (to me) was the breathtaking tropical scenery, the original idea, the immense amount of detail, the fact that every object could be moved and had its own physics..
This has all been wiped from Crysis 2 and I regret spending $10.10 on it.
I somewhat agree -- and I spent only $7.50 (buy one/get one free, for two used games) on it. It's probably worth the money I spent -- but not much more. Kind of disappointing. The ending in particular was anticlimactic and felt unfinished, but nevertheless made me feel like I should pick up part 3 "just to see what happens."
The other issue I had was, other games have charismatic characters -- both PCs and NPCs. Alcatraz had all the charisma of a ragged shoe lace. And I didn't care for any of the other characters, either.
As for the game physics -- I agree. In the first part, you could blow up all sorts of stuff. That was what really set the game apart. By comparison, while the explosions and motion blur remained the same, the rest of the world map became static -- just like in almost every other existing FPS.
And honestly, as much as I love console gaming, I attribute the drop in those finer aspects of the game to the fact that it was switched over to console. A very high end pc at the time could play Crysis 1 on max, so a console with 2006 hardware simply wouldn't be able to handle it.
To be honest, I never played the first Crysis for the story either. I picked the second one up hoping to be awed by some feature of the game engine, but was gravely disappointed.