The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
With a core of dedicated PC fans that demand technical excellence and
a curious console community that wonders what all the fuss is about,
the expectations for Crysis 2 are quite high. For the franchise’s
introduction to those who didn’t own a NASA super computer capable of
running the original game in all its glory, Crytek wisely sticks to the
traits that made the first game successful while simultaneously pushing
the boundaries of graphical fidelity.
Though the story touches briefly on the events of the first game,
the Crysis 2 plot is self-contained enough that you won’t be missing
much if this is your first experience. Players take the role of a Marine
named Alcatraz who, due to a series of circumstances beyond his
control, ends up donning a nanosuit that gives him super speed,
strength, armor, and stealth capabilities. With an airborne disease
plaguing New York City and an alien uprising destroying the capital of
the world, Alcatraz must track down a researcher who may have knowledge
of how to squelch the invasion.
In the face of this grave threat,
you would think our business, military, and scientific communities
would come together to put forward a united front. Instead,
disagreements fracture the armed forces, researchers, and a private
military contractor hired to aid the city. With all the sides at odds,
Alcatraz is humanity’s best bet.
Armed with the nanosuit, that
load is much easier to carry. Crytek deftly mapped the suit’s abilities
onto the gamepad without sacrificing traditional shooter controls,
giving you cloaking, armor, and tactical assessment skills at the touch
of a button. The gunplay handles as smoothly as the best shooters in the
business, and the frequent weapon drops allow you to experiment with
new toys without worrying about losing your preferred gun for good. The
team also implemented a useful first-person cover and lean system.
terms of level design, the game takes its cues from the streamlined
approach Crytek adopted for Crysis Warhead. The decimated buildings and
barricaded streets give the action a more enclosed feeling than the
expansive open worlds of Far Cry and the original Crysis, but the
environments are still large and varied enough to give players the
freedom to wage war against the above average enemy AI with a tactic of
Rather than force players into a series of
predicable fights with predetermined weapons, Crytek creates sandbox
battle scenarios and allows each player to adopt his or her own
preferred approach. Like Batman: Arkham Asylum, you often enter the
battle arena at a vantage point just out of sight. This gives strategic
players the option of marking all the targets in the area so they don’t
encounter many surprises once they open fire. From here, how you
confront the overwhelming odds is up to you. You can stay in stealth
mode to silently pick off enemies one by one, adopt a hit and run
strategy by jumping in and out of stealth to recalibrate your approach
after each kill, activate power armor for a frontal assault, or snipe
enemies from the high perches present in most scenarios.
battles and set piece moments intensify as the game progresses. I wish I
could say the same for the narrative. The pawn in the middle of the
human factions tasked with saving the city, Alcatraz may as well be a
robot. Unquestionably following orders from no fewer than five
people during the 10 to 12 hour campaign – who are oftentimes at odds
with one another – the protagonist has no agency even though he controls
the most powerful weapon at humanity’s disposal. Other than the CEO of
the biomedical company that designed the nanosuit, whom you meet in a
memorable scene, all the characters you encounter similarly lack depth.
This is a shame; the theme of the lengths that the frail human race must
go to defend itself from an overwhelming alien threat and how the suit
changes its users is an intriguing jumping-off point.
single-player campaigns are lauded, Crytek’s multiplayer has always
lacked allure. At face value Crysis 2 shamelessly borrows elements of
the two most popular online shooters, Call of Duty and Halo, but once
you dig into the experience you begin to respect its subtle differences.
For instance, instead of giving you game-changing bonuses for
killstreaks, you need to collect the dog tags from your fallen victims
to access radar, airstrikes, or a gunship. This forces campers out of
their comfort zones or keeps their influence in check if they prefer to
stay and snipe.
As with the campaign, the nanosuit is the great
differentiator. Crytek UK balanced the suit's abilities well and created
a smart system of persistent enhancements that players earn by using
the suit’s power, armor, and stealth abilities during battle. There are
enough upgrades to give players the flexibility to build a unique suit
tailored to enhance their strengths or shore up their weaknesses.
12 maps ripped from the campaign, 50 rankings, medals, and customizable
kits, Crysis 2 makes a strong case for becoming a destination
multiplayer mode. The one major criticism I can levy is that Crytek
locks the more creative game modes. You won’t have all the modes
unlocked until level 39, which seems needlessly buried in a game that
doesn’t have a large community behind it that is guaranteed to keep
playing for the 15-plus hours necessary to access all the options.
2 largely avoids the problems that surfaced during the beta, though there were some hiccups. With no
dedicated servers, a few matches were interrupted by the annoying server
migration. In my seven hours on the battlefield I occasionally suffered
from game-crippling lag, but these instances were rare.
you’re tired of fighting corridor-based wars against an endless flow of
brainless meatbags, Crysis 2 is worth a look. The unique sandbox
approach to gunfights and game-changing nanosuit lend the title a flavor
of its own, and Crytek smartly leverages these strengths in both the
single- and multiplayer modes.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.