Published on March 29th, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Crysis 2 Review
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC
MSRP: US $59.99
Reviewed: Limited Edition
What do you get when you’ve got the CryEngine 3 pumping on all cylinders? Crysis 2 happens. The lighting effects alone give this game stamina and stature. While the game has been out for almost a week, there are still naysayers and doubters alike not willing to take the journey into the nanosuit. Based on trailers and screen shots alone it should have been an easy decision. While the trailers and screenshots pictured an almost too good to be true atmosphere for the games release, the graphics alone were enough to bring in players to at least get a taste for the second addition to Crysis and find out exactly what all the hype was about.
The game’s story picks up where the first Crysis ends. Right away we enter a war-torn city that is being bombarded by continuous attacks. We are also introduced to a presumably doomed New York City and learn the identity of our protagonist. A marine identified by the last name Alcatraz becomes our lucky suit bearer and must take on a newly given role of alien ass kicker. Wielding the power of the suit in the efforts to stop the Ceph, the aliens who are bullying Earth’s civilians, it now becomes the duty of Alcatraz to find out why exactly his body was uploaded to this walking death deliverer.
The gameplay in Crysis 2 was done tastefully. Players not only have the option of a familiar first-person experience, but they now have suit meters to toy with. This brings a great balance of gameplay and also provides us with a unique experience. The powers allow for storyline depth and give attack options other than the old stick it to ’em tactics we find in the FPS genre.
When entering each sticky situation, it was not common that you were going to fully have to “figure this one out on your own.” Tactical options not only aided the assessment of each run in with deafeating enemies, but it also helped in the variations of player types. From “I just want to run in and blow their heads off” to “I’ll see how long I can survive and then take another stab at it,” there were enough options to venture out and try each one. If you are like me and like to resupply, observe the options and then lay down some heavy fire, the tactical visor was there to help in doing so. Although it was a lot of fun to go head on guns-a-blazin’, it was equally satisfying strategically taking out enemies while cloaked for the assassination. This use of the tactical visor also identified ammo and painted enemy targets for takeout.
Some other options that were very useful for offing enemies were the upgrades to the suit itself. These upgradable modules that were available in the multiplayer demo were also found in the campaign mode. Faster cloaking, tracker options and the ground slam were things that could be unlock expending the Nano Catalysts that are collected throughout the game from slain alien bodies. Easier-to-kill enemies piddled out the smaller amount, while some larger defeats gave them in the thousands. Getting to know these options made for an easy transfer into the multiplayer which hosted the same type of features.
Out of the gates, the Crysis 2 multiplayer already had a handle on my trigger finger and was ready to wear the batteries down in my controller. The first time I had laid hands on the game was at an EA-hosted event in San Francisco mid-January. With many other big names in the industry floating around and jumping right into the action, it wasn’t long before I too was dealing death blows and popping candidates with the power option in the nanosuit. Fast forward to the demo release on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and there I was again ready to lay into unsuspecting players signed in only to be taken out.
It was something that not every company does, but in my opinion should. The release of a multiplayer demo only allows for them to perfect the gameplay before the release as well as give the developer some time to debug any last minute problems. It was not long before the games release was just a few days away and I was ready to get my hand on this monster of a game supported by the CryEngine. The graphics were nothing less than gorgeous and the multiplayer shined through-even with the negative backlash from some gamers deeming it a “Call of Duty knock off.” There are plenty of upgrades for your suit as well as weaponry options like shotguns for the bottom and scopes for the top.
There are also plenty of statistics to keep you occupied. Leaderboards are well organized and the all important K/D ration is strongly represented. Experience points are earned through each match and dog tags from opponents can be collected through each match. Hidden challenges also allow for unlocking dog tags which can be entered in your display. Some unlocks are available based on the map you play.
Although two of the maps were previously seen in the multiplayer demos for consoles and PC, they are still well represented in the final piece. The other maps range from spacious to too close for comfort. They vary enough to not get repetitive, and voting for them is simplified by a RB or LB tap.
With all of this positivity, you might ask “Is there anything they didn’t do great?” In a sense, yes. There are a few things that I did feel were lacking and that did provide somewhat of a hindered experience over all. By no means did Crysis 2 fail, so don’t get butt hurt just yet.
While the team at Crytek and EA did focus heavily on the multiplayer, there were some things in the story itself that did, no pun intended, bug me. Some small things that might be fixed by a simple patch were easily caught and sometimes, more than once. While Crysis 2 is by no means perfect, these are some issues that should have been caught.
While excited that I was finally making some progress on the nano suit itself, I was ready to put all of my hard earned Nano Catalysts to good use. The upgrade screen for the modules is Alcatraz’ left hand that has the nano modules stemming from each finger. The upgrades can be accessed by pressing the back button and activated with the RT. It was really exciting to know after finally making it through that opening where you dropped a bunch of alien scum that you finally had enough for the next upgrade. There were a few times during heavy battle scenes that the options were accessed, but the hand with the options stayed on screen. Not only did it stay on screen without the options, but I was unable to change to my weapon with the Y button. After pressing back multiple times and pausing the game, my hand finally returned to its normal upright pistol holding position. It did however leave Alcatraz to become another casualty of the Ceph strike.
There were also a few other firing issues that left me to get killed in the heat of battle. A sniper rifle may not be my weapon of choice, but when used, it better work because I’m resorting to it for a reason. I believe it was during Dead Man Walking in the campaign, I was on a rooftop firing on some enemies below. While they had a turret able to hit me, it was easy to duck and fire. The button layout of choice was the “alternative” setting. This left the RS to duck. While this worked great during the game, when using the sniper rifles, this was also the option to zoom in. This left me ducking/zooming, either of which never the first action I wanted.
Something that players might not also want to see would be enemies spawning right in front of their eyes. During Gate Keepers, while inside the graveyard, I had alerted the guards by setting off some cooked grenades while cloaked. After hiding behind a crate, a guard spawned right in front of me while crouched and cloaked. While this surprised me the first time, it was no surprise after the third and fourth time.
During one of the last scenes of the game, there is quite a battle that ensues. The enemies that are after you need to be slain in order for Alcatraz to carry on and finish the mission. After offing the first couple of bad guys, I was left wondering where exactly the other was hiding. The enemy was blatantly on my radar, was able to hear him running, but could not identify his location. After jumping the high areas, I started to look a little closer to the ground. This cloaked alien was found caught in a non-stop treadmill like run on a pipe drain. Even after firing a few shots, this Ceph was stuck in the one position.
There is no doubt that Crytek and EA crafted a spectacular sequel. The game’s weapons were familiar, but they were not too far off where they didn’t make sense. The gameplay was fun and balanced with the use of the nanosuit. The storyline was impressive and longer than expected. It was great to come home, kick off the work shoes and chisel away at the campaign. There were some similarities to games of the same genre. Some instances reminded me of Call of Duty, Halo, and even The Conduit. To say the least, Crysis 2 is human. It features some of the most impressive graphics to be seen on the Xbox 360, but just like any other title out there, it did suffer from noticeable issues. The multiplayer alone could have easily taken the money straight from my budget, but the campaign was worthwhile for the purchase. The limited edition also had some nice bonuses that simply made sense.
+Variation in gameplay
+Variations in Weaponry