Crysis 2 Review

Difficulty played on: Veteran (Hard) and Super Soldier (Very Hard)

Hours played: Roughly 20 hours in single-player and 15 hours in multi-player

Console played on: Xbox 360

            It’s pretty rare nowadays to find an FPS that focuses on the single player campaign more than the multiplayer component. Crysis 2 is just that, and it is one of the best FPS experiences out there because of it.

            As a heads-up, I did not play the original Crysis. I went into this game with very little knowledge about the series mechanics and story, so don’t expect any comparisons between the two or any discussion about what the game should be. I’m going in blind.

            Crysis puts you in the shoes of a mute soldier named Alcatraz, who is given a Nano-suit and is tasked with finding a certain Doctor Gould. As Alcatraz goes through the levels, he is given various tasks, from outrunning an organization called CELL who wants his suit, to fighting off hoards of aliens in an attempt to save New York City. As you progress, you learn more and more about the importance of your suit, and the imminent and lethal threat of the invading alien race known as the Ceph.

Theres a crumbling buliding in front of me, but Ill look back anyway.

Crysis 2 does a decent job of bringing new players up to speed with the game’s plot. It feels unfocused and convoluted at first, but if you make the effort to pay attention, you will get a hang of the game’s story rather quickly. However, it isn’t particularly a story that’s worth hearing. It isn’t bad. It does a good job of explaining why you are where you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing. The dialogue is fairly well written, and the acting is also top-notch. The things the hold the story back is the fact that Alcatraz is a mute protagonist with zero-personality, and the fact that the plot has a few blatant plot holes. It’s hard to care about a story when you don’t care about the lead character, and it’s hard to enjoy something that ignores logic for no reason. It isn’t a quality story like Half-Life 2 or Bioshock, but it does a decent job of putting the game into context, and it does it better than most FPS’s.

But it’s easy to forgive a sloppy story when a game looks as beautiful as Crysis 2. At first glance, the game doesn’t look that special; the textures can be blurry, small objects are significantly less detailed than bigger ones, and a few other minor annoyances. However, once you step outside for the first time, the game hits you square in the face with its visual prowess. Technically speaking, the game looks really good, and is good enough to stand alongside the likes of Uncharted 2 and God of War III (remember, this is for consoles), but definitely not above them. But artistically speaking, this game is just plain beautiful. The lighting is brilliant, taking effect every time you exit or enter a building and it breathes life into every object it touches. Although the game takes place entirely in the city (more on that later) the plant life you do see is truly a sight to behold. There was one moment where you are in a park, and of in the distance you can see an alien spire surrounded by trees. I stood there and just stared at the way the trees swayed realistically, and how the spire just towered ominously over everything, like Saruman’s tower from Lord of The Rings. Throughout the game there are things that can’t help but take your breath away. It isn’t perfect though. The game can drop in frame rate occasionally, and as mentioned earlier, some textures just look blurry and jagged. All in all though, the game is an absolutely beautiful piece of art, and even though it may have been dumbed down on consoles for technical reasons, it’s still among the best both technically and artistically.

If graphical awesomeness wasn’t enough, the game also boasts an awesome audio component. Each weapon has a unique sound, adding a bit of personality to each weapon. The sound of an explosion going off or a tank bursting through a concrete wall is fairly well done in the game, and is made so much better with a quality surround-sound system. But what really makes Crysis 2’s audio is the ambient noise. It’s so immersing to hear the rustling of leaves and sound of gunfire going off in the background as you prepare to assassinate an enemy. It’s also a special kind of fun to hear the human enemies talk about seeing or hearing something, or having them react hysterically to your actions. The music is also fantastic, as it always seems to have the perfect track for each moment. However, the music can be a bit out of place at times, and you’ll occasionally be walking through an empty battlefield with epic music playing throughout. It’s still great though, and it even seems to add a little to the game’s already stellar graphics by helping to create such a believable environment.

Its more than just eye candy.

Even if everything else about Crysis is great, the combat is the most important aspect of any shooter. And Crysis 2 absolutely delivers. The game has the familiar and standard control scheme that so many shooters have, the game has the standard weapons like assault rifles, shotguns, and snipers, your health is rechargeable, and a HUD shows you your ammo, weapon and other important information. The two things that make Crysis 2 stand above most other shooters are its use of the Nano-suit and its myriad of tactical options. The Nano-suit basically allows the player to choose between the powers of increased armour, increased speed, or increased stealth at the touch of a button. Each ability drains the same energy-bar, however, preventing the player from spamming abilities and missing out on any challenge. Each ability allows the player to play the game in many different ways, from a gun’s blazing shooter similar to Halo, or a stealth shooter more akin to Splinter Cell. Each combat zone has many tactical options that allow the player to take advantage of any situation they’re in with any power they want. These aspects are done so well that no matter how you decide to play; each option is both challenging and fun. There is so much freedom and balance throughout the game that you will find it hard to find yourself where you are bored of the combat. On top of that, the controls are very smooth and precise, the guns are both standard and unique, the levels are well paced, and the game boasts an 8 to 12 hour game, depending on the difficulty that is chosen. Crysis 2 does what so many other shooters are afraid to do: it offers something unique. Crysis 2’ campaign is one of the most enjoyable FPS campaigns in recent memory, and it should be one of the best shooters to come out in years.

            Notice the word should. Although the campaign is generally spectacular, there are a few flaws that bring the game down. In the campaign, the only real problem is the AI, and it is a definitely problematic. When it works, it works well; enemies react to your movements and actions realistically, they chase you and try to search for you when you fire at them, they hear footsteps and they can see your shimmer when stealthed. But when it doesn’t work, which is very often, the AI runs in circles endlessly, they run into each other, they’ll see you and attack you even if you’re in stealth mode, and sometimes they won’t react to you all. It really takes away from what would normally be a very immersive game. The environments also began to get repetitive near the end. It isn’t a big issue, but the game could have used a few more varied locals rather than the endless wave of cityscape. Another aspect where the game doesn’t fare very well is the multiplayer. Now don’t get me wrong, the multiplayer is good. It’s fun, deep and full of content. However, there are a few technical hiccups and problems that threaten to ruin Crysis 2’s multiplayer experience. Firstly, the hit detection is all over the place. I found myself often shooting an entire clip into an enemy player’s back, only for them to turn around and kill me in a few shots. I would check the replay, and it showed that my bullets were missing him completely, passing by his right shoulder, which is never what I saw on my screen. Due to the fact that the game has hosts, matches can be extremely laggy, worsening the already terrible hit detection. However, the online is still pretty fun to play, put it is nowhere near the level of quality present in the single player campaign.

All things considered, Crysis 2 is a phenomenal game that takes the risk of trying something different, and it definitely paid off. Although the multiplayer is merealy average and the AI can be idiotic at times, the single player is just so fun, engrossing, challenging and unique that it’s hard not to adamantly recommend.

Pros

–          Game looks beautiful

–          Dozens of ways to approach combat

–          Fantastic level pacing and design

–          Nano-suit is unique and fun

Cons

–          AI is stupid

–          Multiplayer isn’t as a good as the campaign

Overall: 9/10

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