Another look at what is a firm contender for Game of the Year, this time centering on the PS3 version.
First person shooters are funny games for me as there is a huge choice of titles that are available, some of which I find are a lot of fun to play and others that for some reason or other I just cannot get into. Of course we all know and love the many Call Of Duty games, although I did only begin enjoying them when they left the WWII field of battle as I feel that has been covered way too often in games. Along with the likes of MAG and Battlefield Bad Company, I have enjoyed a good number of them. But then there are also FPS games that I do not enjoy so much, such as the Killzone games. Technically they are without a doubt amazing games, but I could never seem to get into them. This is strange as both it and the game I am reviewing here have many a similarity, most notably a sci-fi story line which should be enough to have me hooked as, for instance, the Resistance games were big hits with me.
As such I really only became interested in Crysis 2 a month or so before it’s release, after seeing images and video of the game and, like many others, being impressed by how amazing it looked. Being primarily a console gamer I had never played the first Crysis game so I cannot comment on it too much. However, from what I read and see it was and still is in many ways a benchmark and so the follow up has a lot to live up to. The game is set in the middle of a modern day New York City during the early stage of an alien invasion, With the player taking on the role of Alcatraz who, along with his fellow Marines, are on their way into the city to help with what they are told is a disease outbreak, when their submarine is attacked by unknown forces. Alcatraz barely makes it to the shore with the rest of his team wiped out and witnesses “Prophet” dressed in the nano-suit laying waste to an incoming enemy before passing out, and this is just the introduction to the game.
As Alcatraz wakes up and the player takes control you find yourself in a small room now wearing the nano-suit and Prophets body lying on the ground. Through flashbacks we learn that he hopes that Alcatraz can finish what he started. I won’t give away too much more of the story for fear of spoiling it for other players. But from this point on the game has the player fighting through the city against opposing human forces in the shape of a group named CELL and later on in the game the aliens themselves – the Ceph.
The game plays very much like any other Shooter available today. In other words, if you have played many then you will be able to pick up a controller and know what you are doing right off the bat. However Crysis 2 gameplay does bring something new to the world of first person shooters and these new features mostly revolve around the use of the nano-suit. When you begin playing you will notice, in the bottom right of your screen an energy bar. Almost everything you do in the game other than walking, crouching and firing your weapon of choice depletes your energy bar. The skills that this suit and its energy bar afford you are what differ this shooter from the others on the market. The suit gives the player multiple abilities, sprinting, power jumping and power kicking all deplete your suits energy, but this is only the beginning. The two main functions of the suit are an armour enhancement which while activated allows you to take a lot more damage than you normally would. The second function is a stealth mode which can be easily explained by saying that it is pretty much like the Predator from the movies in that it grants you a kind of invisibility.
These two main nano-suit abilities give the player choices in how to deal with fights in the game, either activating your armour and hitting the bad guys head on in a show of strength, or the player can enter stealth mode rendering them invisible and free to take the stealth option. This gives you the ability to literally walk up to an enemy and melee them without even being seen. This gives the player the choice of taking on the game from an action point of view or taking a more stealthy approach to things. However these powers also require the player to manage their suits energy levels as sprinting or power jumping while in armour or stealth mode runs down your suit energy rather quickly and if it runs out completely the player is left vulnerable whilst it recharges. The suit and these powers also play a huge part in the games multiplayer, but more on that later. Something else in the game that adds a little something different is the “free running” style of movement. The power jumping move adds a new dimension to the play as you can easily jump over obstacles such as walls and cars, as well as scaling buildings or jumping directly onto the roofs, adding a more vertical nature to some areas of the game.
These powers are definitely needed, especially when playing on the higher difficulty settings. Up to this point it’s all been good and it is hard to fault the game. There are however a couple of small things which could have been improved upon, but the good thing is that neither of these are game breaking and do not really affect the score. The first and possibly the most glaring is the AI of the bad guys. On the whole it is pretty good and when it’s working right they put up a great fight as they try to flank you and take cover, unlike in some shooter games where the bad guys will sit in one spot and pop in and out of cover until you put an end to their suffering. However on some occasions the AI in Crysis 2 goes a little awry with CELL operatives and CEPH alike occasionally getting lost or just standing still as you empty your gun into them. This would be game breaking if it were not such a rare occurrence in the game. The second problem, and this may just be a personal niggle I have with the game, maybe we have just been spoiled for choice in recent FPS games, but there is not a huge selection of weapons within the game which is not a huge problem in the single player campaign, but a wider choice in multiplayer would have been nice. One more thing I have to say about the single player game is that for a modern first person shooter game the story is epic and is sure to keep you going for many hours. On more than one occasion I thought I was approaching the end of the game only for it to keep going. This is most definitely a welcome thing these days, when I believe that developers rely more and more on multiplayer to give games longevity.
That is not to say that Crysis 2 slacks off when it comes to multiplayer. The game, like many of its kind, plays out over mostly team games, although free for all deathmatch is in there. There are also variations on other game modes, team deathmatch, king of the hill, capture the flag amongst a few others, under their own names of course. The game plays a lot like other multiplayer games, only a lot faster than you may be used to. At first this may take a little getting used to, but fast moving players and the abilities to jump and climb soon become second nature. Also in play are the nano-suits with the same powers as they have in the single player game, but just a little different so the game is not completely unbalanced. Stealth mode for instance still makes a player invisible but not completely so, a player in stealth and moving can still be noticed. However, crouched and hidden while the ability is active makes the player much trickier to spot. Armour mode is similar in that using it gives you a slight advantage over someone not using it with the downside that while in armour mode your suit glows. This means that although these powers help, they are not overdone making the game unbalanced and with all players having access to them, it’s a fair playing field. Another factor is that your energy bar is still in play and it is a lot more important to manage the use of it and your powers in multiplayer, as it can make a real difference between winning or losing a heated firefight.
Furthering your suits abilities are a wide selection of “boosters” if you will, which can be unlocked by the player, three of which can be used at any time. With the likes of increased rate of fire, reduction of recoil from firing weapons, enhanced armour or stealth, or even tracking the enemy team by showing their recent footsteps amongst many others. These give you the chance to customise your nano-suit to fill your needs, be it for sneaking around sniping or running headlong into the fight guns blazing. The guns can also be customised with the usual selection of additions such as suppressors, grenade launchers and extended clips along with a few more futuristic choices, such as the really cool hologram projector which sends out a hologram of a soldier in your teams colours, distracting the enemy and drawing their fire. Again as I mentioned earlier, the one thing I would like to have seen to enhance the multiplayer game is a larger selection of weaponry, with each class – assault, sniper, heavy weapons or whichever you choose, being restricted to a choice of two or three weapons. Personally I prefer a huge arsenal to choose from.
Presentation wise you really cannot fault the game. It both looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. For a game as long as it is, every single location you find yourself in looks just as amazing as the last. Lighting effects are some of the best I have seen in a game, especially when you transition from an inside location to an outside. The sound in the game is just as impressive with the weapons all sounding suitably gun like. Ambient sounds keep you in the action with the sound of helicopters flying around the city, or far off gunfire reminding you that you are in the middle of an alien invasion. This all goes to make it one of, if not the best looking shooter on consoles today, which really in no mean feat. So if you are looking for a FPS game that is a little different from all the others around at the moment, something a little more fast paced than your usual fare, then this could well be what you are after. Not only is the multiplayer side of things enough to keep the game fun for some time to come, but the single player game is long and challenging enough to keep a shooting game fan going for a fair while.
If this review and the XBox360 Review here on the site are not enough to sell you on the game, GGUK’s FuryAc3 is also a big fan and had the following to add:
To be honest, the legend in the FPS world that is Crysis was a pipe dream for all non PC gamers and was one of the last few shooters never to have been seen on the console. But all this changed when Crytek announced that Cryisis 2 was heading to home consoles.
I’ve been playing it on the 360 and by far it is one of the most outstanding games I’ve played in a long time and is a real contender for game of the year.
The first thing that hits you about the game is the sheer visual beauty of the world. The CryEngine 3 can handle incredible scales and lighting which makes the city of New York spring to life, right down to seeing sunlight streaming through the windows or kicking up dust when you are running through a collapsing building. Every inch of the game is a true joy to look at.
The core gameplay of Crysis 2 is a mix of the fast paced running and gunning seen in Call of Duty, and the tactics and load outs of Reach all set in a sandbox world. The campaign clocks in at between 10 to 14 hours and is a real tour de force and a gripping thrill a minute roller coaster ride which is truly worthy of its own blockbuster movie.
The final part which makes Crysis 2 is the multiplayer which is 16v16. Players take to virtual battlefields to see who will be crowned winners in one of the most frantic, fast paced and addictive online modes I have played in some time, with fighting taking place from high rise cityscapes to the pier fronts of Manhattan.
Crysis 2 is a spectacular debut for the series on the consoles, is a true achievement in the visual department and also an outstanding narrative in the sand box world which is Manhattan.
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