Crysis 2 Review (Xbox 360)

Suit, gun, explosions: Crysis 2

The original Crysis was one of those special games. It had us pouring over screenshot after screenshot eventually leading to the question of whether our rigs would be able to handle the game without a major expenditure. It, like Half Life 2 and Doom 3, was the next step in computer generated gaming goodness, at least in a visual sense. Gameplay mechanics and interaction via the nano-suit was fun and sometimes fiddly, but the experience on the whole was a solid E for entertainment. Here we are with Crysis 2 and while I wasn’t particularly excited on the lead-up to the game, I certainly had my eye-out on the screenshots that started appearing all over the web. Moreso because I had previously played Crysis on the PC, and was about to hop into v2 of the nano-suit on the Xbox 360.

Taking place roughly four years after the KPA happened to awaken an alien species known as the Ceph, we begin Crysis 2 in New York City (2024) as the marine ‘Alcatraz’. Within moments, the scope of destruction wrought upon the city is apparent and the cause is clearly the Ceph. Having not restricted themselves to merely assaulting the city and it’s people with direct weaponry, we witness instances of biological warfare with the use of a gruesome virus. Thankfully it isn’t long before Alcatraz is in a nano-suit and capable of dealing some pain back unto the invaders.

What I enjoyed most about the game is probably the ease of use with the nano-suit (version 2). Previously it was a matter of bringing up a selector wheel and choosing an ability that you would like to route your suit power to. This could have been the ability to employ stealth, run fast, jump high and punch a KPA soldier into next year. However for the most part it could only be routed to one suit power at a time. Now, in Crysis 2, your able to make use of several of these abilities on the fly without a break in action. For example I can run like a crazy rabbit, jump from rooftop to rooftop all while in the safety blanket of a cloaked nano-suit. Now that isn’t to say that we are incredibly over-powered. There is, of course, a trade-off in the amount of energy consumed. This being that the suit itself has a auto-replenishing supply of energy that is consumed when special abilities are in use. Using several at the same time will drain it much quicker then sitting in the corner in stealth mode.  So while it’s great to have all the abilities at your disposal, there is still a bit of strategy and tactics needed to survive a meeting with the Ceph and other enemies, even moreso in the higher difficulties.

"You're three frames away from kabloom!"

Another improvement over the original, I found, was that your character now grabs onto ledges and heaves himself up much like the way it would work in the fantastic Mirror’s Edge (I still hope for a sequel). Now couple this with the fact that you can perform sneaky stealth kills by appearing behind your enemy and press the right thumb stick on your controller and you have some wicked tools at your disposal. It’s quite satisfying when you’ve alerted a nearby enemy, run around a truck, activated cloak mode jump on top of the vehicle and then silently drop behind the clueless enemy performing a stealth kill for maximum awesome. In fact I would like to hear the suit say “Maximum Awesome” when a play like that is made.

Tactical view is a nice feature that can probably be of more value in the higher difficulty settings then the lower ones. I found that during my first play through (on normal) I was quite comfortable to walk into a situation that mentioned tactical options only to, for the most part, cloak and blast my way through the enemies. Different story in the hardest difficulty, as any tactical options were quite welcome. Quite often you might find areas that may help you distance yourself from the bulk of the enemy forces or an option that could aid your chances of survival in an upcoming gun battle. It’s a nice feature and also allows for you to tag enemies, ammunition and weaponry that within the area.

Beautiful, beautiful fire

Upgrades to weaponry make a return; being on the fly modifications that allow you to switch scopes, magazine capacities or even screw on a silencer. While this was a feature in the first game, the ability to upgrade your actual suit was not. This time around you’ll be able to make modifications based on how you want to approach a situation or to enhance your general play-style. For example you can ‘purchase’, by acquiring Ceph DNA, suit upgrades to reduce energy used in cloak mode or allowing the ability to air-stomp your foes. However only one ability can be selected at anytime in a single module (of which there are four), but you can freely change your selection at anytime.

Graphically speaking I was amazed. Now, perhaps there are better looking games on console, but for a shooter I don’t think I’ve seen a nicer looking title. When I first walked down a New York City street I had to take a time-out, from the imminent danger, to check out everything. Crytek seem to have found a middle ground where they can keep the game looking graphically gorgeous without sacrificing the frame rate. While I can imagine that it would look even better on PC, I was quite satisfied with the visuals given on Xbox 360.

So beautiful. Too late to include a fishing mini-game?

The multi-player mode in Crysis 2 is that added bonus to an approximately 10 hour campaign experience. It features a suit upgrade system similar to the single player component, but with more depth and customisation. The maps and functionality of the multi-player experience is quite fun and should make for some lasting entertainment for folks wanting more Crysis combat.

Overall, Crysis 2 has to be one of the must-play games of 2011 for all shooter fans. It boasts fantastic gameplay and visuals and couples that all with great locations, set-pieces and overall action. Amongst all that is the surprise on how they managed to not only bring Crysis to consoles, but for it to work as well as it did. At the conclusion of the original Crysis I was happy. However, at the conclusion of it’s sequel I am wanting more. Great job CryTek – looking forward to part three.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

About the Author

Dan co-hosts the Gameolio Podcast and handles the administration of the website. Occasional poster and frequent deleter with a strange love of the colour green.