So, it’s here at last. After months of demos, hands on time and developer interviews we were quite excited to take delivery of the final retail code here at Click Towers. Could it possibly live up to the level of hype surrounding it? Would it really look as good as Crytek promised? Had they ironed out the issues found in the demo versions of the game? How would the multiplayer stand up against the Call of Duty series, which has rightly or wrongly become the benchmark for online first person shooters? And for a game making its console debut, would PC gamers feel cheated by a dumbing down approach to gameplay? These were the questions we’ve been asking ourselves since our very first glimpse at the game months ago, and now is the time for answers.
XBox 360, PS3, PC
First Person Shooter
The real beauty of Crysis 2 is the ability to alternate between the skills fluidly, combining them with your regular FPS play to open up a wealth of gameplay opportunities
Since the original Crysis was renowned for its groundbreaking graphics, we’ll start with the presentation. Those of you who prefer their games to be pretty will be in for an epic treat here; Crysis 2 is probably the best looking game we’ve ever seen, on consoles at least (and with DirectX 11 support coming for the PC version by way of a future patch we’re pretty sure it’s going to surpass everything anyone has seen on any platform to date). Although the PS3 version suffers from some minor fuzziness and slightly lower fidelity on textures, both console versions look pretty similar. If you’ve got both systems though, we’re going to recommend you go for the Xbox version, if only for its slightly more stable frame rate.
Where Crysis 2 really stands apart from its peers on the visual front is the stunning use of light by the Crytek team. Although it seems like we’re moving away from dark, foreboding greys and browns in shooters as developers embrace the beauty of vivid colour palettes and wide open outdoor expanses, nothing up until now has managed to utilise light quite as well as Crysis 2. It is quite simply stunning. Everything from enemies to buildings to backdrops are beautifully illuminated to create a real sense of solidity and depth to the on screen action, and the experience is made all the more intense by some truly wonderful sound design and scoring. The weapons take a leaf out of Battlefield’s book to deliver chunky, satisfyingly full gunshot and explosion sounds, and the music is as epic as any big budget Hollywood blockbuster.
The single player mode chugs along at a solid pace, putting the player in the role of a Marine named Alcatraz as he battles his way through a destroyed New York City taking on both C.E.L.L., a private military force, and the alien race known as the Cephaloids. The storyline is surprisingly involving, and despite a few questionable moments, ties together quite well as the game moves towards a fantastic finale and, ultimately, one of our favourite ending scenes of all time.
Once again, the Nanosuit plays an integral part in the Crysis experience, this time offering streamlined access to its various abilities. Players have the use of three skill sets; stealth which renders you almost invisible, strength which temporarily increases your physical abilities like melee power and speed and armour, which strengthens your external defences immeasurably. Utilising any of these will temporarily drain suit energy, so careful management is required to prevent you from being caught low at the wrong moment. The real beauty of Crysis 2 is the ability to alternate between the skills fluidly, combining them with your regular FPS play to open up a wealth of gameplay opportunities. Clichéd as it may be, you’re only really limited by your creativity in how you string the abilities together.
And if you want to succeed in the online play, that’s something you’re definitely going to need to get used to pretty quickly. Even though both the levelling structure and multiplayer gameplay modes will be immediately familiar to anyone who has played a first person shooter in the past decade, the Nanosuit abilities ensure that the gameplay always feels fresh – quite an accomplishment in this day and age. With a string of upgrades available as you progress through the ranks, there is definitely huge staying power here, and with gamers crying out for an alternative to Activision’s Call of Duty series, we think that Crysis 2 has a great chance of becoming the premier online shooter for the foreseeable future.
With an epic campaign full of stunning set pieces, an in-depth and thoroughly involving multiplayer mode, the most incredible visuals of this generation to date and, of course, the wonderful Nanosuit, Crysis 2 is something we haven’t seen for quite a while – a real step forward for the FPS genre.