Crysis 2 Review

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Developer: Crytek / Publisher: EA / ESRB: Mature (Blood, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Violence) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $59.99

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Hi, I’m Rob Smith, and this is the videogame review of Crysis 2. You may not be too familiar with the original since it pushed the highest-end PCs beyond breaking point, limiting the number of potential players in the process. But Crytek has crunched and cajoled the outstanding visuals that caused PCs to wilt under the power on to your favorite console, and in the process delivered the standout shooter of the year. Yeah, you heard that right; the reasons why are right ahead.

Story

If the story of Crysis 2 is a continuation of the original, you have to be a hardcore fan to recognize it. What you need to know is that in the move to New York this near-future shooter becomes more grounded; the setting, in fact, is as much a character  in this plot as you are. Playing some dude called Alcatraz–but thought to be an almost mythical warrior named Prophet–you acquire the Nanosuit that, such is its power, instantly transforms you into the Earth’s savior. From what? Well, it’s a mix of rogue enemy marines and the Ceph alien infestation.

New York has been ravaged by a disease that has debilitated most of the population. This is no zombie apocalypse, but the story does involve a dormant alien species now awakened. It’s actually pretty entertaining, enough to compel you through the eight to 10 hours of single-player campaign.

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Gameplay

This isn’t Crytek’s first outing in the shooter genre, and it shows. Honestly, the developers have thrown every element you could imagine into this mix. The enemies–both the marines and the aliens–expertly use the environment for cover and will move to flank you given the opportunity. Many encounters are large set-piece showdowns with multiple waves of enemies emerging from various spots on the map, which means you have to keep moving and be aware of your environment. To help that your Nanosuit can provide a tactical overlay of important points like caches of ammo, potential dangers like an “Avoid” icon over where an alien Heavy is patrolling, and even routes to flank or stealth past encounters.

But the suit’s most useful abilities are the armor and stealth. You can have one or the other active at any time, which drains power from the suit. So if you’re stealthing through an area, for instance, you need to find cover as the power drains to remain hidden. Sneak behind the marines and even some of the aliens and you can perform a swift, silent execution. Some of the bigger Ceph will charge your position when they spot you. In those cases, hit the armor power-up to go toe-to-toe, and you can even grab at the aliens and then throw them at walls for a quick kill.

The controls are familiar, though given the amount of actions available, you may fumble through some of the selections in the madness of some battles. For example, you need to double-tap Y to access grenades, which is not the most intuitive. Along the way you also collect the “essence” of killed aliens as the currency you use to upgrade the Nanosuit. It’s almost like an option too many, to the point that come the end of the game I realized I’d not even bothered to use those points on upgrades.

But Crysis 2 is an intense shooter experience. There are moments in vehicles, epic showdowns with mech-like aliens that require several RPG shells to take down (or getting close enough to lay C4 under its legs), sneak and stealth moments, tactical battlefield assessments, and tons and tons of gunplay both in the open, from behind cover, sniping from distance, or blasting with a shotgun up close. And it all looks amazing.

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Graphics

No surprise that Crysis 2 looks fantastic. Crytek’s engine crammed on to consoles is not perfect, however. You’ll notice quite a bit of texture pop-in, which was occasionally distracting, but once loaded every area looks spectacular. Some locations get reused, but such is the scale of the environments, the detail on every surface, and the madness of the firefights it never gets dull.

Special effects such as the cloaking on some creatures and the fire in a burning building (that you can survive because of the Nanosuit) similarly look amazing. Plus, you can view it all in 3D if you’re so powered. The PC version (that we saw played across three monitors) is absolutely incredible, the new benchmark in game graphics, and the fact it works so effectively on consoles is pretty staggering.

Multiplayer

Crysis 2 features a pretty robust suite of multiplayer modes, and the use of the Nanosuit does provide a different flavor to the action compared to the many other shooters dominating online play. Though you can choose to play as one of four class types and equip them how you choose, the use of the armor and stealth abilities of the suit make every class a potential sneak or tank. The modes, like Capture the Relay and Extraction follow familiar formats of location protection, but the most original new mode is Assault.

In this mode one side has the use of the Nanosuit but is equipped with just a pistol. They have to infiltrate a building and capture terminals while the other team defends but without suits and using a laser-sighted weapon, which means the infiltrating team can spot where they are aiming. This is a one-life and your done mode and played out with some pretty tense cat-and-mouse tactics.

As is the vogue, you also earn awards every game for kills, deaths, use of stealth, and seemingly hundreds of other in-game events.

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Bottom line

Crysis 2 really feels like the kitchen sink of recent shooters: compelling single-player, interesting multiplayer modes, vehicles, myriad weapons, and the Nanosuit. Plus 3D, stealth kills, grabbing and throwing enemies, sprinting and sliding, using cover, and facing enemies using highly effective AI routines to keep every encounter fresh: It’s all here, every check box of the genre ticked. But this kitchen sink is 24-carat gold plated. Each of those individual elements is expertly executed. It all makes Crysis 2 a complete shooter experience, and one of the best games of the year so far.

9.5 / 10

  1. Very good review, Rob. Nice length and the bigger set-pieces of the games aren’t spoiled, as in some other reviews that I’ve checked out. Look forward to giving this game a spin myself as soon as it’s released in Europe.

  2. Great review. Thoroughly enjoyed the demo.
    Really glad that I upgraded my PC just in time!

  3. We’ll see if Crysis is as great as you describe it to be.
    I think that it will be mediocre and we won’t hear anything about this game after 2 weeks.

  4. This game is incredible I got it this morning and have been having an absolute blast so far. Very nice review.

  5. I never played the original crysis and bumbed into the demo yesterday…i was blown away.
    pure gold imho. the review is quite accurate and u have some good opinions and observations trough-out the text. nicely done…gotta go, theres aliens to be maimed.

  6. Great and honest review. It has seriously changed my thoughts on getting the game. I think I’m gonna pick this up.

  7. It sounds like you are too easily impressed. The game lacks originality, which it left behind in Crysis/Warhead when it decided to redesign itself into Call of Duty: Future Warfare before Activision could make it. This franchise had SO MUCH going for it, on the level of Half-Life, with its original story, groundbreaking game mechanics and machine bending graphics. Argue what you will about limited playerbase, but recognize this game for what is it: A sellout.

  8. @ t3h sourcey your completly wrong, this is not going to be going away, this game is incredible, maby even a cod killer (probly not cause they play very diffrently) and i bet you didnt even get the game

  9. That’s one hell of a high score for what has thus far proven to be a mediocre title at best.

  10. @JadedPCgamer

    LOL ORIGINAL STORY.

    GROUNDBREAKING GAME MECHANICS.

    BAHAHAHAHAHA.

  11. I think this game is way over rated. the best part of the game are the graphics, in other words it just looks pretty but its crap like MW2. I will never see how people can be so stupid as to give this POS anything above a 7.5 being very generous.

  12. For consoles this is obviously a great game since its its the first Crysis for consoles. But for PC gamers this is a major disappointment.They degraded the game from the PC perspective, taking out features like DX10 Custom Graphic Settings, Female Voice, custom config options, etc….

    and bringing in useless console crap like Auto Aim (Fixed in Patch), Press Start to Begin(Patched to Press Enter to Begin), DX9 only, 3 graphic presets, lots of bloom, mediocre textures, even worse looking water and overused Call of Duty MP gameplay (Which can be fun, just not creative and gets tiring to see the same shit in every game). Not to mention graphical bugs, MP glitches like not saving stats or stat resets and crashes. But I guess we can let that slide since it only just now been released.

    Bottom line is this is a Console Port. The PC version look exactly like its Consoles brothers and that just shouldn’t be. I’m still positive that things will get brighter for the PC version via patches but by then I will have beaten the Campaign and hopefully not have gotten tired of MP (If they even include DX11 for it.

    Those saying its not a console port because Cry Engine 3 does things Simultaneously I ask you this. Why then do they have to spend the extra time coding for DX11 if Cry Engine 3 truly simultaneously codes it for PC and Console? This is why, because its coded, optimized (meaning reduced textures and graphics) to first run on consoles and then the Engine just makes it work for PC.

    So yeah sure the game from a console perspective is 9.5/10 but PC… more like 5.0-6.0.

  13. @The one who Knows
    Finally someone who I agree with.But still this game doesn’t deserve 9.5 in any true reviewer’s book.

  14. I think the rating is fine. Sure the game isn’t as revolutionary as some other games, but its doing its best to shine. The only issue I have with Crysis 2 is environments. I wished that things would be slightly more destructible and what not. But thats a very minor thing. If it had been me, I would have given it a 9.4 for the console version and 9.7 for PC version.

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