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Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
I have to give credit to Crytek. They managed to give me my biggest personal surprise of the year thus far. I’ll freely admit, I wasn’t looking forward to Crysis 2. Not that I thought it was going to be an ugly or painful experience, mind you. It’s just that as far as I was concerned, I didn’t think Crysis 2 would offer up anything more than a run-of-the-mill First Person Shooter. You know, a four hour campaign with a heavy focus on big explosions and, of course, the multiplayer. It seems like that’s the new cloth that all FPS games are being cut from. I had yet to buy into the Crysis hype and all my hands-on time with the game left me more lackluster than anything else. However, after spending my weekend blasting through the remnants of New York City, I’m very pleased to say that “lackluster” certainly doesn’t apply...
Crysis 2 picks up a few years after the first game (one that many of you may not have played due to it’s high PC spec requirements). While the original was set in a fictional jungle island environment, Crysis 2 drops the player right smack dab in the middle of a completely emasculated New York City. Most of the population has been evacuated and those that are left are locked in as the whole city is a quarantine zone. A virus has spread throughout Manhattan Island (which we know to be of alien origin) and so those left within the confines are suffering the effects while also dealing with “rumors” of an alien invasion.
The game begins with the player assuming the role of Alcatraz, a US Marine who, along with his squad, is sent into New York to retrieve Dr Gould; someone they hope will have some vital information about how to combat the alien invasion. As can be expected with any title set in the middle of a war, be it of extra terrestrial origin or not, things won’t quite go as planned. The submarine carting the squad through the harbor is attacked and most of them are killed before making it to shore. Even our hero Alcatraz is mortally wounded.
Every FPS has a hook of some sort, be it a given setting, a certain weapon, or in this case: A Nanosuit. Once worn, the suit provides its occupant with a variety of combative powers. That was the core of Crysis 1 and for the sequel, the Nanosuit is back and ready for action, albeit in its 2.0 form. Prophet, the current suit holder, finds Alcatraz and essentially saves his life by giving him the Nanosuit; entrusting him to carry on his mission. The Nanosuit is the only thing that can stop the Cephaloid invasion. Prophet subsequently shoots himself in the head.
I’ll stop with the stage-setting right here as the tale that is about to unfold is one of the highlights of the game. While the writing isn’t quite as impactful as we have seen in other games recently, it is certainly a solid effort that is both well scripted and well acted. The pacing is set in such a way that you never go far without forward narrative momentum. I can’t say I was really hooked in the sense that I couldn’t put it down, but I was never bored and looked forward to seeing where it would take me. You will face off against the Ceph and the Cell (a human private military force) as you make your way across Manhattan and back again in an attempt to fend off the occupation.
The action, of which I held little expectation, is considerably deeper than what what the genre has offered lately. The Nanosuit 2.0 provides multiple features such as enhanced jumping, armor, and even stealth camouflage. This, combined with the multitude of weapons scattered about the levels opened up the gameplay options quite a bit. Want to run-and-gun, hit your armor and go for it. Want to channel your inner Sam Fisher? Hit the camo and sneak up behind your foe, exacting some nasty assassinations to end their ET (or human) existence.
Facilitating these combat options is the level design. While the game is still linear, as First Person Shooters typically are, most areas are opened up in a way that allows for the player to tackle their progression with multiple options. Be it left or right flanking along open storefronts or coming up behind the enemy through the sewer pipes, how the player pushes forward is pretty much up to them. In fact, the game even prompts you to pause for a minute and open up the visor (a tactical viewpoint) to survey the battlefield ahead, noting various ammo dumps, enemy locations and allowing for you to plan your assault. Where Halo Reach basically scuttled the player forward from zone to zone and Black Ops forced the player to play follow-the-leader, Crysis 2 says “Here, this is what you are up against, make the call”. And best of all, even with the various options at my disposal, I still found each aspect to be equally balanced. Not one way favored over the other in terms of difficulty. This lets you play through how you want to, not how you HAVE to.
Also of note, no matter if you are in the afore-mentioned visor mode or in the heat of a firefight, you can’t help but notice how gorgeous this game is. The level of detail is nothing short of fantastic. Burnt out cars, decimated streets, spires of rebar and concrete indicating a building once stood there, soda machines, newstands, advertising signage, even functioning office equipment (which can be used to lure and distract your foe), Crytek made certain that every flying piece of paper and every bit of ruble looked as real as the hardware would allow. The only part that didn’t quite hit the mark was the water effects. They weren’t bad, per say, but we have seen better. In all honestly though, you would really need to be picking this game apart to notice.
As expected, there is a multiplayer component that will keep players coming back for more after the 8-12 hour campaign is completed. All the standard features are there including persistent character leveling, unlockable perks, weapon challenges, so on and so forth. There’s 12 maps to play around in across all the standard modes we’ve come to expect from a FPS multiplayer experience. It’s serviceable, it’s fun, and makes a nice extension to the core game.
So, as I said, kudos to Crytek. I expected very little from Crysis 2 and ended up getting much more than I bargained for. It even addressed one of my biggest complaints about the genre as of late: Campaign length. While Reach can be knocked out in 6-8 hours and both Black Ops and Homefront clock in at 4-6 hours, having something that will break the 10 hour mark is a bar that every other title should strive for. And that doesn’t include all the unlockables and various collectibles that can be found (there’s even unlockable music tracks). The story, while not riveting, still manages to keep the interest from beginning to end. The visuals will make you gawk and the tactical options feel like a breath of fresh air when compared to the stifling format we’ve been shoveled of late. There will always be room for improvement, but Crysis 2 has managed to surpass its competition in almost every category. There’s little here that will convert non-FPS players, but fans of the genre would be doing themselves a disservice if they missed out on the Nanosuit 2.0.
+ Lengthy campaign
+ Tactically deeper than most of its peers
+ Visually stunning
- Minor AI issues
- Minor (and rare) collision issues
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Release Date : 2011/03/22
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : Crytek Studios
Category : Shooter
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
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