Between the lack of challenge and a lost storyline, you have almost no reason to play Crystal Key 2, not unless someone was to hold a gun to your head, or you really like pictures of sand.
You can work really hard to find gaming reasons to play Crystal Key 2, but, even if you succeed, some lame bug will quickly shoot them down. Crystal Key 2 is the sequel to a dated point-and-click adventure game, and Crystal Key 2 itself is point-and-click. It’s hard these days to speak fondly of a genre that harnesses the archaic technologies of the early to mid ’90s, and does absolutely nothing to improve upon them. There is a story in evidence for Crystal Key 2, but, for the most part, there is no visualization of it. During the first steps of the game, the story is nothing more than an overwhelming barrage of worthless pronouns, and the main character, who’s been freshly sucked through some portal into a world he’s never seen before, seems perfectly fine with it.
There is some gameplay in Crystal Key 2, but it’s strictly limited to mundane and linear puzzle solving. In certain parts of the game there are no tools or methods to help you get your bearings on what to do, and direction is rarely given. You simply have to wander around the environments and try everything possible, and if you do the right thing, then you can advance through the storyline. But the game won’t ever tell you when that has occurred; you simply have to guess.
There is no journal feature in the game; you can’t record notes or places or names. Nor does the game record them for you, so what little direction you do get will become lost if you don’t remember it or have a notebook and pen handy. The game has various scripting bugs, which are irreversible. There was one instance where I needed to retrieve some medicine from a robot; I was subsequently told, by the game, that I’d obtained the medicine?yet it never appeared in the inventory, nor could I re-initiate the dialogue sequence and, since I couldn’t proceed until I’d given the medicine to the person in need, that entire game had to be abandoned.
The graphics for Crystal Key 2 are at least decent. Point-and-click adventures are nothing more than a navigation of pictures of your environments. The ?pictures’ are adequate, most of them are fuzzy and un-detailed, as if you were walking through a cheap computer animation representation of a place, rather than something having even the slightest possibility of being real. There are no animations for water, no sand blowing in the wind, no swaying trees?nothing. The animations of the few people you encounter during the entire game are, once again, saddening; the people won’t move even a millimeter until you talk to them. When they do finally move it’s more like they’re inanimate objects, fidgeting and pixelating as though someone were standing behind them making their mouths move. This aside, the overall graphics in Crystal Key 2 are at least decent and, despite their amateur appearance, they do convey a relative sense of environment, which is more than I expected.
There is basically no sound in the game at all. With the exception of some weak voice acting and occasional sound effects to signify events, you could turn your speakers off, read the onscreen subtitles, and not notice the difference. Everywhere you go there is a similar ambient background static, sometimes overlaid by music that, at best, is barely audible. There are sound effects for things like elevators, but they are all basically the same. Again, there is full voice acting, but it isn’t worth hearing, most of the time player interaction just means more bombardments of the story, which ?exists’ but is worthless in respect to the gameplay. Fortunately, you can always just turn off your speakers and read the subtitles.
The only challenge in Crystal Key 2 is trying to figure out what you’re even supposed to do. There is no direction in the game whatsoever. You’ll have more luck wandering around the map clicking on everything than trying to read into the comments of any NPCs. Many of the puzzles are too simplistic, which hurts the game more than anything else since the entire foundation of the genre revolves around puzzle solving.
Between the lack of challenge and a lost story line you have almost no reason to play Crystal Key 2, not unless someone was to hold a gun to your head, or you really like pictures of sand, among other things. There is no saving grace for the game at all; it buries itself with almost every shortcoming you can imagine, and should you endeavor beyond that, you’re more likely to get hammered by the occasional scripting bug than make any real progress. You shouldn’t even try Crystal Key 2 unless you played the original and liked it, or your goal in life is to own ever point-and-click adventure on the planet. Take your twenty dollars, go put gas in the car or see a movie instead, either option is more enjoyable than a night in the company of Crystal Key 2.