Review – Crysis 2
The Scoop: Swept up in an alien invasion, you have to go against all odds and prevent both the invaders from destroying New York City, and a paramilitary corporation known as C.E.L.L. from killing you just because they mistook you for a different super-powered soldier they don’t like.
The Setup: Welcome to the Force Recon unit of the United States Marines. You’re being sent in via submarine to New York City where an alien race known as the Ceph have started a full-on assault of the city. Even worse, a Crynet corporation laboratory has confirmed a bio-hazardous virus, dubbed the “Manhattan” virus, was released from containment into the city; the virus causes a complete cellular breakdown within the body and is incurable. You are sent in to rescue Dr. Nathan Gould from the quarantine zone and assist him in any way possible. Unfortunately the Ceph have destroyed your submarine, killed the majority of your squad and left you clinging on to the last bit of your existence. Welcome, to Crysis 2.
Crysis 2—which has got to be the best graphical game to come out on any console or PC since the original Crysis three years ago–is set three years after the events from the previous installment. If you haven’t played the first game, don’t worry; you don’t have to have played the first game in order to understand the second. Besides playing as a different character, events from the first game are explained in subtle detail, and at the end everything pieces together.
Your main weapon is your armor: the Nanosuit 2.0. There are four main suit functions: power, stealth, armor, and speed. Power can help you use a powerful melee attack to guarantee a kill from any grunt, speed allows you to run faster and jump higher, stealth makes you invisible allowing you to sneak behind enemies for stealth kills or to avoid conflict altogether, and armor doubles as a “shield” and protects you from incoming fire or falling from high areas. When you kill a Ceph, you’re also able to take pieces of their nanotechnology into your armor and use it to access new upgrades for your character, such as a faster recharge of energy or a way to see cloaked enemies.
What makes Crysis such a fun series is it’s up to the player how they want to play the game. I’m used to playing games like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, so I went the majority of the game in stealth mode, sneaking around enemies for stealth kills or sometimes just sneaking past them and getting to the waypoint. For those that want to go in guns a-blazing, you’ll probably want to keep the armor function on most of the way. The game also gives you multiple options to handle a situation. For example: there’s an enemy tank in your way. Instead of a full-frontal gun-blazing assault, there may be a path on the side you can use to flank the enemies, exposing them to you but keeping you safe from return fire.
The multiplayer takes a page out of Call of Duty, kill-streaks and all. You’re given all of your suit functions as per the normal game, and you can unlock customized classes. However the leveling system not only affects what guns you acquire, but as you use your different suit functions in combat, those powers will also level up and allow you to perform better at higher levels, such as your armor absorbing more damage than normal, or your stealth using less energy to function. Plus, it will also show other players what kind of play style you prefer. The only function that serves is when you’re killed by another player, you can see if he favors more stealthful approaches or something else, so that you can adjust. For example, if someone keeps using stealth, use your thermal vision so you can still spot them. There are also different challenges that will help you gain experience to rank up even faster.
What’s Hot: Crysis 2 has one of the best campaigns I have played in a long time. Spanning at least ten hours, the game constantly has you guessing what will come next, and just when you think you know what’s going to come or think you’re at the end, the game throws you a curveball and you’re once again at the edge of your seat.
Fans of the first Crysis will be glad to hear that the Nanosuit 2.0 has been completely reworked. You no longer have to cycle between the different suit functions in order to use them as they are assigned to specific buttons. As far as the console side your two shoulder buttons acts for the stealth and armor, so it makes it a lot easier to access while in combat.. What’s better, the speed and strength abilities can now be mixed in with your normal armor and stealth functions, whereas in the first one you were not able to mix abilities together at all. The binoculars now also act as a real-time tactical positioning system, you’re able to tag enemies or helpful items such as reload stations and when you exit out, those indicators will remain on the map. The binoculars also give your character different tactical options, whether to show you a good sniping position, a good flanking position, etc.
The multiplayer side kill-streaks (like in Call of Duty) are present in each map but they are not customizable. Each map does have its own set of rewards for kill-streaks, but Crysis 2 adds in one nice little touch. In Call of Duty, once you obtain at least three kills, you are awarded a bonus item to the game, whether that is a radar detector, jammer, or even air strikes. In Crysis 2, not only do you have to kill the enemy, but you have to collect a dog tag that drops on the ground. The player can pick it up in any amount of time, so if you manage to kill someone halfway across the map you can get to it eventually, but are not pressured to do so right away. Honestly, I like this system better because for those people that want to get their rewards for their kills, it prevents them from just staying in one spot and picking people off.
What’s Not: The problem I have with voiceless protagonists is simple: they can’t interact with the plot in any way. Throughout the game, C.E.L.L. constantly mistakes you as the previous user of the Nanosuit. At one point, you actually get up close to the leader who is about to put a bullet in your face. I just wanted to scream at the TV and tell him that I’m not the guy they’re looking for, but alas it would do no good as they would not be able to hear me. No one, even your ally at the time, seems to want to speak up and tell them the truth.
Crysis 2 also feels a bit claustrophobic compared to the open environments from the first Crysis. Crytek said they did not want to make another jungle environment setting like Crysis or their first game, Far Cry. But where the first game had a lot of freedom of where to go and how to enter a compound to complete your objective, Crysis 2 is limited by the city landscape; however it does its best to make you climb around the broken debris and tectonic shifts. Though sometimes it just comes down to there being only one or two ways you can clear a room instead of several ways.
Final Verdict: It may still be early in 2011, but Crysis 2 is already a strong contender for Game of the Year. A nice, lengthy story and multiple ways to play the game, plus a strong multiplayer make this a great choice for any fans of action first-person shooter games out there.