Following the standard set by its predecessor, Crysis 2 re-establishes the graphical benchmark for this generation of First Person Shooter gaming. The game features Crytek®‘s new ‘CryEngine3′ game engine and has been in development for nearly 4 years. This is reflected throughout the game, demonstrating insanely detailed graphics (as expected from the Crysis series), superb visual effects and great design right through from the character models to the sound effects. Developed by Crytek and published by Electronic Arts, the game is available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and not just PC as the first game was.
Crysis 2 is based in New York City in 2023, leaving a 3 year gap since the events of the first game. The Ceph alien invaders are coming dangerously close to succeeding in their efforts and you will come across a whole new breed of thecreatures/droids as you progress through the game.
Instead of playing as “Nomad” from the first game, you play the role of a Marine codenamed “Alcatraz” who gains the new NanoSuit 2 from “Prophet”, who returns from the first game. This revamped suit swaps out the Strength and Speed modes from the previous game and gives the player Armour mode (increases protection against incoming fire/explosions and helps to steady the aim of the player) and Stealth mode (turns the player invisible and near undetectable), both of which use the suit’s limited energy. Players will also be able to customise upgrades to the suit depending on their playing style and make use of the enhanced Visor mode which now acts as a tactical analyser of the battlefield, giving different options for the player to tackle the objective at hand.
Throughout the game you face all kinds of enemies and you are not just restricted to fighting the Ceph, but also a private military section named CELL, creating a versatile experience that encourages different tactical approaches through the game. Although the whole story is confined to the war-ravaged City of New York, the game does well to vary its scenery and works well with the destruction to offer a fresh terrain for the player to explore as they progress.
It is worth playing the previous game to get an understanding of the series, as Crysis 2 more or less throws you right into the deep end and lets you gather what you will from the initial levels of the game. It does however give the player a thorough tutorial of the Nano-suit and does so quite naturally while keeping the flow of the storyline intact with the orientation of the player’s role. Players will get at least a good 10 hours from the story mode depending on your experience with the Crysis series.
Crytek have really pulled out the stops for this game and it shows in the Multiplayer mode as well as the Story mode. Integrating the full Nano-suit into the game-play for every player, battles really take a new turn from the standard Multiplayer shooters out there. You can make use of Stealth mode to silently take out your enemies, charge up your Armour mode to overpower your targets, or just rely on the agility aspects that are at your disposal. The possibilities are only limited by the player!
The mode features an array of game types such as Team Deathmatch and Crash Site, taking from other popular multiplayer game titles such as the Call of Duty series or the Battlefield series. Players get to engage in these game types over a total of 12 maps, all featuring unique tactical advantages that can be experimented with.
There are also different rewards at your disposal if you can succeed in eliminating opponents without dying (and collecting their dropped dog-tags). These consist of Radar abilities, Tactical strikes and Nano-suit suit upgrades. Again following the successful ‘unlock as you level up’ which is featured in so many multiplayer games; there is an array of weapons, customizations to your Nano-suit, collectable dog-tags and so on as you progress through the ranks.
Controls and UI
The game makes great use of the keyboard layout, with the obvious W,A,S,D keys for movement, but using Q and E keys to quickly activate Stealth and Armour modes. The weapon selection system is somewhat disjointed, with no option to assign different weapons to different number keys, but instead utilising the mouse scroll wheel to cycle through your weapons which can waste valuable time. The numerical keys do correspond with different weapon types, as in Explosives and Conventional and while this may be adequate for multiplayer, you often end up with too many different weapons in the Story mode for this to be effective. Naturally all functions within the game are re-mappable if you so wish to do so.
The game features a superb-looking HUD (heads up display) consisting of the suit energy level, ammo levels, a mini-map of the current area and so on. This, combined with the weapon customization screen, visor mode and suit upgrades user interface, creates a very high-tech looking and manageable inventory. Overall, this gives the desired effect considering the capabilities and level of technology of the Nano-suit.
This is where the game truly shines. The amount of work Crytek put into this game, combined with the capabilities of their new game engine: “CryEngine3″ has produced a visually awe-inspiring result.
As many PC gamers will recall, theoriginal Crysis set the benchmark for graphics within PC gaming and it was not topped for many years afterwards. Crytek have arguably re-established that benchmark, although with the new “Unreal3 next gen” and “Frostbite2″ game engines lying on the horizon, they could well have competition.
Graphically, there is something for every player in this game. If you simply enjoy a large-scale scenery to battle within, you will be more than satisfied and if you enjoy arrays of explosions and shock-waves decimating the battlefield, you will also be very pleased. Crytek have covered their bases in every aspect you will visually experience and you will often find yourself jaw-dropped when entering some of the levels.
Although the sound content itself matches the quality of the rest of the game, many of the allied soldiers you fight alongside tend to have problems. You can sometimes be a large distance away from the soldiers, yet still hear their shouts as though they are right beside you, often resulting in disorientation for the player. There are other aspects of this where other audio is simply too loud, either leading you to think an enemy is nearer than you think, or simply preventing you from hearing the instructions you are being given. This is a critical aspect as many of the objectives are explained through the transmissions which you receive, some of which cannot be re-called upon.
This is not a game-breaker though, and otherwise every aspect of what you should hear has been covered, and covered very well. You will hear the sound of your footsteps change depending on the terrain and what mode you are in via the Nano-suit, which is something many games do not pay enough attention to. Every weapon sounds truly synthetic too, from the chug of the mounted machine guns, to the thuds of the JAW missile launcher.
The artificial intelligence of the game was said to be of high calibre, consisting of enemies that calculated their moves in real-time and were nearly as smart as a real player.
While for the most part this is true and that much of this concept lies on the difficulty setting, there are many times when an enemy simply stands still when being shot, or for instance repeatedly leaps over the same obstacle, putting themselves in harm’s way. This for me was a game-breaker at times, but will undoubtedly be patched in the future.
Crysis 2 is a great representation of how far PC games have come in many aspects and sets the benchmark yet again for the visual content of this generation of games. If you are unsure if it is your type of shooter, think no more as this game offers everything that is expected from a First Person Shooter. With a solid and lengthy story mode and a truly engaging multiplayer mode, Crysis 2 gives great value for money and is worthy of countless hours of your gaming time.