Back in 2007 the original Crysis was a massive hit for the PC – for those that could run it. Crysis built itself a reputation for being playable only by those who could afford top notch computers, but following critical success, Crysis went on to have an equally successful expansion and now a sequel that has branched out onto the console market. While some have tiptoed around the idea of Crysis being a console game, it’s meant that those who cannot afford to splash out on a high-end gaming desktop can experience one of the best shooters in a long time.
If you keep up to speed with modern first person shooters, you’ll notice many similarities between Crysis 2 and similar games on the market – the game is a fast-paced, telling of a war torn Earth during an alien invasion. Stepping into the shoes as the new Prophet, you play as a soldier known as Alcatraz who’s in control of a powerful Nanosuit capable of giving the user superhuman strength. It takes a while for the story to kick in, and while it’s a little cliché, it does the job and at times offers a few brilliant twists, but Crysis 2 is more about solid gameplay rather than complex storylines.
It’s easy to draw parallels between Crysis and other modern shooters; the suit alone is reminiscent of a certain Master Chief, but Crysis 2’s gritty and dark portrayal of a city in ruin is miles away from the purple, plasma shooting grunts of the Halo universe. The streets of New York are now a decaying warzone and the tense and atmospheric nature of the environment really is what sets Crysis 2 apart. The city is in the middle of an epidemic, so while many of the streets lie empty, you’ll often find yourself in dark buildings where sick survivors are stricken with illness. It’s altogether a fairly eerie experience, and one that does a good job of setting the scene. The game isn’t overly cinematic in its portrayal, and cut scenes are few and far between, letting the game unfold through gameplay rather than movies.
The suit is a fantastic tool. It grants you abilities, such as super speed and jumping ability, as well as having more tactical uses, such as a scan tool that lets you plan the battle before you jump in and decide how you want to tackle the situation. The scan will highlight any useful spots that may be used to flank enemies and also let you tag things such as enemies and weapons that might not be as easy to spot once the scan is down and the battle is in progress. Other helpful abilities include a heat sensor, a stealthy invisibility mode and an armour mode that allows you to take a shed load of damage. The amount of things the suit can do really does put Crysis 2 at different level; it stops the game being a simple first person shooter and turns it into a tactical adventure that isn’t just about running ahead and shooting.
By collecting sparkly stuff from dead aliens that you kill, you can upgrade the suit as the game progresses. Some of these upgrades can be ridiculously helpful in battles, such as one that speeds up the regeneration of your power, or upgrades that help you identify enemy threats before they get too close. You can also upgrade weaponry that you pick up on the way, picking and choosing at your leisure what your gun is able to do from a list of gun-specific options. Whether you want to attach a silencer to a pistol or a sniper scope, the options are there and you’ll often have to change your weapon combination in the heat of battle, especially later on in the game when you aren’t ever certain of what will happen next.
That’s actually one of the problems with Crysis 2, the game only really becomes its own in the latter half of play. The first few hours are nothing particularly special. You plod along taking shots at enemy soldiers and the occasional alien, not really sure why you’re going to the location you’re being told to go to. The second half of the game is a world away from this though. When the aliens really start to show their faces, the game is fast, exciting and at times absolutely breathtaking. Buildings fall down as dropships fly above sending enemies down to join the fight. Aliens leap from window to window to take advantage of the higher ground, while brutish monsters charge forward throwing cars and rubble at you while they unleash devastating firepower on you. Battles can be incredibly tense.
While most of the enemies can give you a run for your money, sometimes the AI struggles to keep on par with the rest of the game. Enemies will often fire bullets in the wrong direction, walk off when they’re meant to be fighting you and do all sorts odd stuff. These problems are only minor though, and as soon as you get into the swing of things you can forgive Crysis for its minor flaws.
The first Crysis was well known for being absolutely beautiful, and Crysis 2 is no different. The concrete jungle you find yourself in is some of the most spectacular and awe inspiring stuff I’ve seen in any game to date. Thanks to the level of detail and familiar, real world setting, watching the hulking buildings crumble to the ground is awfully creepy. Both enemies and allies have been modelled to great length, and while none of the characters will become as memorable for their personalities as in similar FPS’s, the human soldiers as well as the alien enemies all definitely look the part.
The multiplayer options you have at hand are fantastic and keep the game going long after you’ve finished the campaign. Modes include your standard solo and team player death matches, capture the flag games and other more interesting modes such as Assault Mode – a single life mode where players must download data from a terminal protected by enemies. The multiplayer really comes into its own with the customisation. Customisation options are a lot of fun to mess about with, often making the difference between success and failure in online bouts. In a similar way to the single player, players can configure their suit to give them key attributes that can help in battle. With a rank system in tow too, Crysis 2 offers a lengthy and rewarding experience for those players that like to compete with other gamers.
Crysis 2 has some of the best gameplay that you’re likely to come across for a long time. Sharp controls and well-tuned suit mechanics make it an enjoyable experience and one you’re unlikely to forget. If you can get through the first few hours and really get into it, Crysis 2 is worth every second of your time. The multiplayer is challenging and fun, the campaign will keep you around for a decent amount of time, and with stuff to collect throughout the levels it definitely has replay value. While it’s not without its flaws, it’s one of the best first person shooters to appear in a long time and can easily hold its own against the bigger franchises that dominate the gaming world.
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