Posted Wed 18th May 2011 12:28am by Michael Kendrick
Crysis 2 Review
Crysis has long been the benchmark that PC gamers have used to showcase the graphical capabilities of their rigs. Keeping the series tradition alive, the sequel is a simply gorgeous game that sticks to the sandbox-style levels that helped establish the identity of the original Crysis in an increasingly crowded FPS market.
The player assumes the role of a U.S Marine known only as Alcatraz, fighting for survival in the heart of Manhattan circa 2024. The city is under martial law by the private security firm CryNet, as a mysterious killer virus ravages the population. New York suits the sandbox gameplay comfortably, and the cinematic set pieces are reminiscent of urban disaster movies like Cloverfield.
Crysis 2 looks stunningly lifelike. Developer Crytek clearly takes pride in their reputation for pushing the visual envelope. The first achievement/trophy available on the game is titled "Can it run Crysis,” a nod to how the original title pushed the limits of gaming PCs.
There were few occasions where I felt like I was engaging in the mundane, linear, shooting-gallery that is typical of modern shooters. The Nanosuit allows players to sneak, jump and smash their way through the game as long as suit energy remains, allowing the player to be a powerhouse while forcing moments of gut-wrenching vulnerability during a recharge.
Players can’t just bludgeon their way through Crysis 2. They’ll need to think tactically. Stealth combat is particularly challenging as firing while stealthed drains energy quickly, forcing surgical strikes and hasty retreats. A firearm is never the only solution to a confrontation in Crysis 2. A well-placed kick into the side of a car turns it into an effective weapon, for example. Adding in some C4 and booting said car off a ledge onto an unsuspecting tank works wonders. The tactical visor highlights enemies, ammo dumps, and all the other elements which a smart player needs to account for in their planning. Crytek gives players the tools to tackle the environment in their own unique fashion, and it’s a big part of what makes this game special.
Multiplayer uses matchmaking and progressive unlock systems similar to Call of Duty's. The variety of options provided by the Nanosuit in multiplayer make the experience a little crazy, but ultimately very fun. It’s a shame that this competitive multiplayer wasn’t accompanied by cooperative campaign play, as the sandbox nature of the game would lend itself well to this. The combination of stealth, super hero and walking tank roles working in tandem would make for a compelling experience that Crytek missed out on.
There were a few unfortunate bugs I discovered. Encountering a squad of enemies facing a wall like they're awaiting a firing squad is surreal, and being spotted by a tank if you get too close while stealthed is infuriating given that it can happen no matter from which angle you approach it. Removing heavy machine guns from fixed mounts often results in their floating in the air some distance from where you first laid hands on them. Issues like these instantly break the spell of the gorgeous presentation.
But despite its glitchy shortcomings, Crysis 2 is a highly enjoyable game which manages to separate itself from the bulk of console shooters by offering sandbox gameplay and unbelievable graphics. This is certainly a stand-out FPS experience.
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