Guerilla Warfare in the City that Never Sleeps
Crytek has once again delivered on some pretty big promises. With Crysis 2, they deliver to the world their brand new CryEngine 3 simultaneously debuting on PC and consoles. Additionally, for the first time, Crytek is headed out of the tropical jungle and into the urban jungle of New York City. The result is a FPS experience unlike any other, providing Crysis’ unique gameplay and impressive visuals with a fantastic atmosphere that sets the benchmark for the entire FPS genre.
My favorite part of Crysis 2 is, without a doubt, the Hans Zimmer score. It adds a sense of emotion to the game that the story isn’t able to convey on its own. While the tale of Alcatraz, the marine sent in to New York City with nothing but a Nanosuit, is better than most stories we see in shooters, it isn’t able to capture the player without Zimmer’s score. You get a sense of desperation and gloom, similar to one found in Halo: Reach, but without the full frontal depression.
Speaking of the Nanosuit, Crytek has made some adjustments to the way it performs. Fans of the original Crysis will no doubt remember the armor and stealth abilities, which still do exactly what they imply. Speed has been changed to be a simple sprint option; when you hold the shift key to sprint, it will drain energy from the Nanosuit. Power has been removed and adjusted; if you hold the melee button, you’ll be able to do either a powerful melee attack or move certain objects, such as cars. There have been several additions to the Nanosuit. First and foremost, there’s the option to customize it so that you can gain certain perks and bonuses in different areas, i.e. armor upgrades, longer camouflage time, and so on. These customizable options not only add different ways to play through the game, similar to customizing plasmids in BioShock, but they also allow for tactical advantages in combat.
Speaking of tactical advantages, the next new addition is binoculars, specifically ones that allow you to survey the field of battle before rushing in. Often, you’ll be prompted to pull out the binoculars and highlight different locations in your field of view, whether its crates of weapons and ammunition, or various areas that’ll give you tactical advantages, such as a ledge for sniping or an area to flank the enemy. This blends in perfectly with the style of gameplay Crysis 2 offers: guerilla warfare. Crytek has done an excellent job keeping New York City in tact to the point of it still being recognizable.
You’ll need to master guerilla type tactics if you want to progress through the campaign’s two enemies: the human based CELL, who really don’t like you, and the aliens invading the planet. The two enemy groups play differently; CELL is tactical in their approach: running for cover, bringing in support, and flanking you when given the chance. The aliens also enjoy using cover, but they’re more apt to be aggressive, either using their enhanced speed or superior armor (which is saying something since CELL troops can take multiple shots to the head and shrug it off).
It’s this combination of the Nanosuit’s superpowers and the tactical guerilla warfare that mesh so well together to make an FPS experience unlike any other. There’s no squad to help you out: the game is all about Alcatraz doing things on his own in a fantastic environment.
Somehow, CryEngine 3 is able to squeeze even more power out of less hardware. Running an i7 930 processor and an NVIDIA 8800 GT graphics card, the game runs on Very High settings at a solid 30 FPS, never dipping. Extreme tops anything seen on the market, period, but sadly my computer wasn’t able to handle it. Regardless, even on Very High, Crysis 2 is one of the best looking games out there.
The breakout star of the game, aside from the previously mentioned musical score, is the game’s multiplayer, completely retooled. The easiest way to explain it is that it’s essentially Call of Duty, but with a Nanosuit. Multiplayer modes are standard fare, from death matches, capture the flags, and point defenses. Honestly, they’re more fun than they should be, thanks to the Nanosuit abilities and map designs that allow for Crysis’s tactical gameplay to occur. Sadly, at the time of this writing, multiplayer servers aren’t fully reliable; from time to time games won’t start due to server errors.
That isn’t Crysis 2’s only shortcoming, as I’d be out of line should I not mention the numerous bugs I’ve encountered. Far too many times have I seen dead bodies or weapons float in mid-air, or not have the ability to melee no matter how hard I jam on the button. Worst of all, there’s an occasional lag that happens when I attempt to switch weapons and sometimes they won’t even switch at all. For a game that features quick thinking in its campaign, this is a gigantic problem. Ironically, the more I played through the game, the bugs started to disappear, save for an occasional enemy AI hiccup, which is a shame since more often than not, the AI puts up a great fight.
Still, despite this list of bugs, Crysis 2 is one of the better FPS experiences on the market. The campaign offers one hell of an action thrill ride, despite its somewhat frustrating and slow start. Once it gets going, however, it doesn’t let go. Enhanced by a surprisingly addictive multiplayer and absolutely beautiful graphics, the benchmark for the FPS genre has been set. Crysis 2 is an experience worth playing.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 5.0 Graphics
If they’re not the best graphics on the market, I’d like to see better. 4.0 Control
Not as smooth as the original Crysis, but once you get used to them they allow for great flow. 4.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
I can’t stop raving about the Hans Zimmer score; it’s that good. VO does its job. 4.2 Play Value
An experience unlike any other in terms of gameplay, but the bugs drag the score down. 4.3 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|