Crysis 2 Review
Is there room for another FPS? In a market crowded with a million selling juggernauts and an online community that puts in hours rivaling that of Facebook, new titles have to offer not only solid game play and multiplayer options but enough new features to make them stand out.
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Crysis 2 is that stand-out title. In an age in which FPSs are beginning to become derivative and an emphasis on multiplayer is overshadowing single-player game play, Crysis 2 bucks this trend by offering a robust and varied single-player mode with an interesting story in addition to a fully featured (and fun) multiplayer mode.
Crysis 2 takes place 3 years after the original title and its expansion Crysis Warhead. Original protagonist and Delta Force soldier Prophet has survived his ordeal fighting the North Korean army and extraterrestrial invaders and arrives on the shores of New York City on the eve of another attack by alien beings, the Ceph. Here he discovers that New York is not only under attack by the Ceph but is being ravaged by a biological virus that reduces its human victims to nothing more than a puddle of organic goo. Faced with infection and overwhelming odds, Prophet turns over his advanced combat suit to a wounded soldier named Alcatraz. This is where the story begins, and where you, as Alcatraz, fight the Ceph and PMC military force, C.E.L.L., in an attempt to discover the truth behind the invasion and liberate New York.
Game play revolves around your Nanosuit. Similar to the Master Chief armor from Halo or the H.E.V. suit from Half Life 2, it provides you with protection from incoming gun fire, super strength, and increased speed and mobility. However, unlike these other suits, the Nanosuit allows the player to choose from three different combat modes as well. One mode allows you to become invisible; another mode allows you to have increased speed; and the last mode offers super strength -- which is a handy way to tear off gun turrets and toss enemies around like rag dolls. The suit is fully customizable and can be upgraded with the DNA of your fallen alien foes. Each of the suit modes can be upgraded to determine just how fast and how strong you want to be.
A large number of firearms play a heavy role -- everything from normal assault riffles to the more exotic alien weaponry that makes your enemies literally burst apart. Each of the weapons have a separate menu that allows you customize each piece with different attachments. Want to go stealthy? Attach a silencer to your assault riffle. Need to engage in some long-range warfare? Attach a long-range scope. When you combine the suit and weapon options, there are nearly limitless options to beating each level and plenty of incentive for replayability.
The levels in Crysis 2 are both enormous and visually interesting. Set in a bombed-out and war-torn New York City, the sense of size and scale is achieved in a way rarely seen in FPSs. A majority of the levels have you navigating broken New York streets and damaged buildings, focusing on vertical climbing and height to gain advantage over your enemies. It's exhilarating to climb into an office building to pick off Ceph invaders -- and then engage them in close-quarters combat inside an office a few minutes later. The levels are always changing and offer exciting and varied combat scenarios.
The enemy A.I. also offers a fun and challenging way to keep players on their toes. The C.E.L.L soldiers will take cover, blind fire, and flank your position. They will use grenades, turrets, and even sniper rifles to flush you out of cover and into enemy fire. The Ceph are not as fun to fight; they rely more on brute force and simple bum-rushing of the player. What could have been a unique difference from engaging human combatants is simply a bore.
The multiplayer mode of the game is a blend of Call of Duty's kill streaks and the vertical element from the single-player game. All of the players are armed with the same Nanosuit from the campaign -- all of the stealth, speed, and strength abilities are available to use against other players. Multiplayer mode also has a unique feature in which killing your enemies nets you their dog tag. Only by picking up these dog tags can you unlock your kill streaks, making for a nice risk-reward system and also preventing one of the biggest annoyances that usually occurs when designing a game around these mechanics: camping. When you combine this with the large vertical levels that encourage climbing and mobility, you're left with a fun and fast-paced mutiplayer that is more satisfying and exciting than most recent FPS efforts.
Crysis 2's graphics are stunning. It was originally made to run on high-end PCs, and the graphics and art design are simply gorgeous. From sunlight shining between buildings, to trash blowing through a deserted and destroyed Central Park, the amount of detail and visual integrity never fails to amaze throughout the game. There are plenty of games used as benchmarks for the best console graphics, but I can say, without a doubt, that Crysis 2 is the best looking console game I have ever played.
Crysis 2 is an excellent FPS for those looking for something a little different in their multiplayer options or looking for a robust single-player campaign. In a year that will see the release of a new Battlefield and a new Call of Duty, Crysis 2 will remain in my console for months to come.