The Digest: Crysis 2 has arrived and has done so in style. Crysis is not a recognizable name in the console world, but it does in fact have its roots over in PC gaming. The game was noted for its exceptional graphics and story mode that went the complete opposite direction, but above all, mind blowing graphics. So much so that it is still used as a benchmark title for new hardware in PC gaming.
THE FACT SHEET
RELEASE DATE: March 22, 2011
ESRB RATING: “M” for Mature
It’s 2023, terrifying alien invaders stalk the New York City streets. Only you can prevail, wielding the supersoldier enhancements of Nanosuit 2.
BE STRONG – Take on multiple enemies with Armor mode, mince them with heavy weapons or squash them by kicking cars.
BE FAST – Get to the action quickly, then powerjump, ledgegrab and slide round the environment with amazing agility.
BE INVISIBLE – Use Stealth mode to set traps or hit and run your enemies, or snipe from a concealed position.
BE THE WEAPON – With the Nanosuit, you choose how you want to play.
With such a heavy-weight title promised to the console market, many had concerns about its transition. It’s one thing to build a game engine that’ll bring the best gaming rigs to a crawl, but how would one manage to deliver that to a console? Fortunately, the folks at Crytek knew the answer to that question.
Crysis 2 is stunning eye candy. It cannot be over-stated how breathtaking the visuals are in this game. This time around, the game takes place in an urban environment, and not just any urban environment, but New York City to be exact. To add some fuel to the fire, it’ll be a freshly invaded and war torn New York you’re navigating.
As you progress through the game, you’ll be stunned fairly often at the game’s beauty. Besides the fact that the game engine is amazing, the almost spot on portrayal of New York throws it over the top. Even if you are not a New Yorker—like me—running down the FDR highway while it collapses beneath your feet is always a sight to see.
Crysis 2 feels and controls like a next generation title should. From the very first time you touch the controller, the game just feels right. It does not feel like Halo, Call of Duty or even Battlefield—it feels like Crysis. This is a huge accomplishment, as the industry is flooded with titles that are too similar to one another. Jumping, running, aiming, shooting and even swimming or throwing around useless objects all feel unique!
The sound effects in the game are on par with the game’s phenomenal graphics. The sound of weapons being fired, bouncing off of walls and echoing through hallways are excellent. Environmental noises and even AI chatter are done extremely well. Hearing the building you’re standing in make noises as it is crumbling around you is always a plus, and a great way to immerse the player!
While it’s great to see that Crysis 2 offers the same visual treats from the first installment, it does offer an additional treat. It contains a much appreciated, enhanced game play element. While the first Crysis wasn’t anything special, here, you’ll find just about the most balanced gameplay elements to date, even one that will rival the mighty Halo!
The character you control is wearing what’s called a Nanosuit—a super soldier suit of sorts. You have three attributes at your disposal: armor, stealth and power. Armor can be engaged by tapping the LB button. This offers an over-shied with an extra layer of protection to your health. Stealth can be activated by tapping the RB button—this makes you invisible. Power is represented by your jumping and running abilities.
These three abilities have been done before, but they are almost perfected by Crysis 2. It’s not as simple as using them how and when you want, there is a catch! Your suit has a limited supply of energy – once depleted, you are unable to use your abilities. This is indeed a genius tactic to ensure balance. Because of this, you won’t be running around the game with your armor constantly on, or be invisible to enemies for as long as you please.
Keeping an eye on your available energy and how you use your abilities becomes a required strategy. You’ll find yourself in intense fire fights with a depleted energy bar, unable to engage your armor, cloak or even run! After this happens one too many times, you will quickly learn how to manage them all together.
Crysis 2 also provides you with what’s known as “tactical options.” Before you head directly into battle, you are given a few options on how to approach the situation. You might be able to start from a high vantage point to snipe, sneak around a perimeter cloaked or even go in guns blazing with your armor. Because of the huge scale of the environments, both vertical and horizontal, these options work very well.
It is worth noting the AI does some really wacky things during the campaign. I’ve seen them running into walls, standing around screaming random obscenities or just not moving when I run past them. I also noticed on the harder difficulty modes, they will spot you from a good distance away, even if they do not have a direct line of sight.
A decent story mode is also present here. There is a multi-level plot at play. Some sort of private military seems to be looking for you in the middle of a strange virus outbreak. As if that wasn’t enough, there is also an alien invasion in progress. It takes a while to figure out exactly what is going on, but once you piece it together, it only gets more interesting.
Crysis 2’s multiplayer is a pleasant surprise. First off, it is amazing to see the graphics make it to multiplayer fairly untouched. The online maps are equally as beautiful as their campaign counterparts. The same vertical scale you will have enjoyed during the single player is also represented online. This makes for some very challenging multiplayer gameplay.
Also present are the three abilities from the single player. Again, I was surprised to see they all worked the exact same way they did offline. Armor, stealth and power are all governed by your suit’s energy bar. I had some very real concerns about this, but it all works almost flawlessly. As in the single player, the energy bar doesn’t allow you to abuse either of these abilities. But as you play more, you will notice some nice little tweaks that give the online gameplay incredible balance.
For instance, while invisible, it is fairly hard for your enemy to detect you. But once you fire a shot or even perform a melee attack, you are immediately uncloaked. However, it doesn’t stop there. Not only do you lose your cloak, your energy bar is also depleted to zero. This is a very clever way to avoid abuse of the cloaking system, and a much welcomed one too.
As with any modern first person shooter, perks are here and accounted for. You’ll have standard FPS perks like better accuracy when firing from the hip or increased armor abilities. And then you’re treated to some really smart perks like the ability to see cloaked enemies. As you would expect, these perks are unlocked by XP points. So the more you play, the more you’ll earn to unlock the cool stuff. Weapon upgrades and attachments are here as well. Red dots, 4X zooms scopes, shotgun attachments so on and so forth are all done at your preference.
The game modes are all fairly standard. Death matches, territories and one or two other modes are pretty much what you’ll find. Although there is nothing ground-breaking in this department, given how well everything else works, you probably won’t be bothered by this.
Conclusion: Crysis 2 delivers a much needed breath of fresh air to the genre. Amazing graphics was to be expected from the franchise, but the gameplay, presentation and execution is what makes this title something truly special. Although it has its fair share of glitches and bugs, they are quickly overshadowed by the game’s other features. I can’t help but think that a co-op mode would have thrown this game into a category all its own. What you’re left with is a blockbuster title that is worthy of any gamer’s library.
|- Top Notch graphics
- Solid gameplay mechanics
- Well balanced gameplay in both multiplayer and campaign.
|- Story takes a bit too long to develop
- AI does some weird things sometimes
- Co-op mode would have made the game even more complete.
Single Player: 9/10 | Multi-Player: 9/10