Crysis 2 (Video Game Review)

The original Crysis was a technical marvel for PC users everywhere, one that required a massive set-up in order to run properly (lest you look like you were running through a filter) but rewarded you with enriched visuals and fun gameplay. Sadly, we never did get the chance to see what it would look like on a console, but Electronic Arts and Crytek are rectifying that mistake with the “far better than nothing” sequel, Crysis 2, now available in stores. While the “gee wow” factor may have died down a slight bit, the general excitement remains, especially when you start to get deep within the game’s boroughs. You play a solder named Alcatraz, and your submarine, loaded with fellow soldiers, has been blown to bits by passing rogues in the Crynet security company. As one of the sole survivors, you’re suddenly given access to a Nanosuit and asked to save the city from a widespread virus. As if dealing with well-armed soldiers and a plague weren’t enough to ruin your day, a slowly building alien invasion threatens to take the city by force as well. It’s time to grab your weapons, learn the tweaks on your Nanosuit, and get down to business with saving the day.

What makes Crysis 2 stand out from other first person shooters is the Nanosuit. With this, you can activate a number of abilities, including scoping ahead to tag targets and check alternate routes, activating smaller abilities using a sub-menu that utilizes your hand in real time, pulling off power leaps and ledge grabs, and turning on enhanced armor (to take less damage from gunfire) and stealth abilities, as you temporarily turn invisible to sneak up on a foe and snap his neck. These abilities cost you precious energy, but your suit refills within seconds, so you can go back to doing what you do almost immediately. You’ll need these abilities, because the game ramps up excessively over the first hour or so. It’s like you’re given training wheels at first, then shoved down the hills of San Francisco. Some of the enemy AI is pretty damn smart, too, not falling for some of your flanking techniques or being a little too aware of where you’re located. On the flipside, some enemies are dumb beyond belief, running around in circles before you eventually put a bullet in them. Let’s hope Crytek balances this with a patch sometime soon.

For the most part, Crysis 2 maintains its excitement over the second half of the game. Getting there isn’t boring by any means, as you’ll learn the tricks of the trade with the Nanosuit and eventually make it second nature to dive bomb someone. But the stuff really goes crazy, from giant robots looking to stomp you to buildings crashing down all around you. Crytek is no stranger to chaos – and we love them for it. Gameplay is well coordinated with the Xbox 360 controller. Shooting and utilizing Nanosuit abilities almost feels like second nature here, and the fact you’re given tactical options throughout the game – going all sneaky on stealth or totally going gung ho in a street battle – is a nice touch. We didn’t experience any problems with aiming and executing enemies, though we wish the power kick was the default melee attack, compared to what appears to be a minor bitch slap. The “sneak stealth kills” are slick, though – almost as good as Killzone 3’s. You’ll love what Crysis 2 has to offer, even if you’re a PC fan.

After you get through the game’s single player campaign (which will take you roughly 12 hours or so, depending on skill level), there’s also multiplayer, which doesn’t require any kind of code to unlock. Good, because there are a variety of modes here, most of which involve using Nanosuit abilities to getting the most out of your opponents. There’s plenty of perks to unlock, along with extra goodies that give the online multiplayer some heft. Don’t be surprised if this community expands to further ground within a few weeks’ time. Crysis 2 looks fantastic. What Killzone 3 did for the PS3, this game just about does for the 360. Environments are harrowingly realistic, as buildings collapse and enemies stumble to your feet. Both indoor and outdoor environments are equally impressive, and the fire and water effects will make you a true believer of the CryEngine 3. Some of the enemies aren’t as sharp looking as others, but we’ll overlook that in favor of the game’s overall post-apocalyptic appeal. Yes, there’s such a thing as post apocalyptic appeal. Remember Bulletstorm? We rest our case.

As for audio, the game features some great music, almost on the same level as most movie soundtracks, and the sound effects are right on the money, particularly when you’re firing in wide open areas. The voicework is hit or miss, but for the most part, it won’t grate on your nerves – even though some suckers believe in the Crynet Corporation a little too much for its own good. (Intoxicated by dollar signs, are we?) It almost seems like we’re getting a flood of killer first-person shooters as of late, between the wildly unpredictable (and fun) Bulletstorm and the alternate reality-packed adventure that was Homefront. Crysis 2 manages to top them both, but just barely, thanks to a storyline that actually stands its ground (despite lapses in logic), gameplay that puts a twist on first-person shooting antics, mind-bogglingly good graphics and strong multiplayer options. EA has another winner on its hands here, and we can’t imagine what Crytek has next in mind for the console market. Maybe something to put the next CryEngine to use; this one seems to have worked a miracle.

Game Information: Developer: Crytek
Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platforms: Reviewed for Xbox 360
Release Date: March 22, 2011

Score: 8 out of 10
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