Crysis was a game well known for its visuals as well as its open ended gameplay. As a marine strapped in a million dollar Nanosuit on a fictitious island, players could analyze and approach an enemy encounter any way they wanted to - be it will deadly stealth or excessive force. With the move to a more concrete jungle, developer Crytek have sacrificed that beloved open ended mechanic but Crysis 2 still remains a gorgeous and an enjoyable shooter that thankfully will not melt your PC this time round.
Crysis 2 takes place nearly three years after the events in Crysis, where New York has been hit by a deadly virus and an alien invasion. Most of the citizens are dead, and the few that survived are dying painful contaminated deaths. You are Alcatraz, a special ops dude sent in to survey the situation and provide back up to a certain scientist but obviously things don’t go quite as planned and you end up in a world of hurt. As fate closes one door, it opens up another for you and hands you the Nanosuit leaving New York’s salvation in your hands.
Please don't see me
Like its predecessor, Crysis 2 is all about the Nanosuit. Thanks to its plethora of abilities, it allows players to adopt and run with their very own style of gameplay, opening the door for multiple play throughs. Most of the suit’s abilities are back from the first game so you can run fast, cloak yourself, jump real high and hit real hard. Where the first game tied it all down to the mouse, Crysis 2 allows players to map the suit’s abilities to the keyboard. This kind of a streamlined control scheme actually facilitates gameplay so instead of clicking the middle mouse and then choosing cloak from a dial, I simply hit “E” and bam, invisible man in the house. This definitely adds a layer of swiftness to the game where players truly feel like predatory hunters.
Get to the umm dropship nao
Unfortunately the new system is also a bit imbalanced. Shooting even a silenced pistol while cloaked rapidly drains your energy, and unless you get to cover quickly, you’ll soon be visible to all and sundry. This could be the game’s way of challenging me but at the same time, Crysis 2’s enemy AI is so dense, I rarely felt threatened or challenged. In fact there were times I felt bad killing them. Most enemies were so clueless as to what was going on they just stood on the battlefield as I ran around with reckless abandon slaughtering their mates. Even after blowing up cars near some their guard posts, they never budged an inch. And then there were times during intense firefights when I saw certain enemies running away – into walls. Their stupidity also shines through some of their voice communication that either makes no sense or is totally inappropriate for a given situation. Also if I stealth kill some dude a mile away, how is it that his compadre suddenly decides to ask him if he’s all right at that very same moment. Am I fighting psychics now?
Things do improve a bit when you start battling the Ceph but besides their acrobatic, fast movements they charge at you in a straight line, making it very simple to kill them. Besides the run of the mill grunts, you’ll face some mini bosses who once again can be killed pretty easily thanks to their lack of brain cells. After around an hour into the game, you’ll be able to upgrade your suit using nano catalysts dropped by dead Ceph making you an even more powerful force to reckon with. Now if I was challenged by the game, this would validate my upgrades but running around virtually invincible wasn’t a whole lot of fun.
There’s a huge hue and cry about the game’s visuals and about how Crytek have let PC gamers down by not putting in DirectX 11 support in the game, but the truth of the matter is that the game still looks phenomenal. And it’s highly scalable as well. On my modest GTX 280, the game performed flawlessly at a 1920x1080 resolution on Very High settings. You could nitpick about how Crytek has used certain low res textures in the game but unless you actually sit and zoom into stuff, it won’t be apparent during the frantic action.
New York looks phenomenal and the amount of detail gone into recreating the Big Apple is admirable. Watching this once thriving and lively city reduced to a crumbling reflection of its former self is chilling. Special mention goes out to the audio department that have done a brilliant job with the sounds that accompany your every move be it metallic clink of detaching a turret, firing off rounds from your machine gun or the satisfying thump of a shotgun. The game’s score has been performed by composer Hans Zimmer and it totally grows on you through the course of the game. The Xbox360 version obviously doesn’t look as good as its PC counterpart but it plays just as well thanks to a solid control scheme. Crytek have managed to milk the Xbox360 for what it’s worth and even if Crysis 2 may not be the best game to grace Microsoft’s console, it certainly is top contender for that honor.
Catch me if you can
Multiplayer in Crysis 2 is more Call of Duty than Battlefield primarily because of the absence of vehicles. Like Activision’s juggernaut, you play well and earn points that can be used to purchase and enhance upgrades like better cloaking, faster reloading, stronger armor etc. Of course the biggest challenge in multiplayer is balancing your suit to face real opponents. By default your suit will have certain abilities like the ability to cloak or sprint faster and the more you use them, the cooler stuff you unlock. The game even has its variation of Killstreaks which, if you haven’t played any Call of Duty game in the recent past, means racking up an ‘x’ amount of kills without dying. Successfully doing so will allow you to call in for radar support (displaying nearby enemies on the map), a devastating laser strike and lots more.
Say hello to my little friend
But like every multiplayer game in the recent past, the game’s multiplayer is not without its issues. For starters, on the PC I had to enter my CD key multiple times when the game should have registered it in the first shot. Even though the game was out by Friday, there were a dearth or low ping servers for us Indians. Now I understand this isn’t an issue with the game but it does end up crippling your experience nevertheless. But perhaps one of my biggest frustrations stemmed from the fact that I lost nearly three levels, along with my unlocks during those levels just like that. I do hope this is rectified in a patch ASAP. All issues aside, I still enjoyed the crap out of the game’s MP as there are few games that offer the kinetic and frantic action Crysis 2 brings to the table.
Multiplayer is a blast
I was a bit apprehensive about the game at first because of all the negativity about how Crytek sold out developing games for the console, ditching their die hard PC gamers in the process. And yeah, Cytek may be guilty of that to a certain extent but I don’t really see a big issue as long as the product delivers at the end of the day. Besides the dumb as can be AI and a few multiplayer niggles, Crysis 2 is a visual powerhouse backed by lofty production values, solid gameplay and frantic action across both single and multiplayer.
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