March 30, 2011
The story in Crysis isn't all that bad, even if it does rehash a lot of plot elements from other games. You play as a US Marine named Alcatraz, a faceless and voiceless character that, after the typical 'mission-gone-wrong' scenario, is chosen to be the new man behind the mask and armor of the incredbily powerful Nanosuit. The previous owner of the suit, known only as Prophet, pulls you out of the wreckage of the failed mission and puts the suit on you. He then charges you with the task of completing his mission; the defeat of the alien race known as the Ceph, and finding a cure for the terrifying disease known as the Manhattan Virus (which Prophet has contracted). From there, you set out on a journey to find a way to exterminate the extremely powerful extraterrestrials all the while battling against an elite group of mercenaries called C.E.L.L. who want nothing more than to kill you.
The story wasn't anything to write home about though, it just served as a very poor diversion for the gameplay, which is considerably better. For starters, FPS fans who love to do nothing but "run n' gun" will accomplish very little in Crysis 2, other than dying over and over again. There's a massive amount of concentration on the stealth aspect. You see, your Nanosuit has a wonderful cloaking ability that allows you to sneak up on your enemies or bypass them all together. There are many sections in the game where running in balls first will not work and will get you killed time after time; it's the patient players that will come out the other side unscathed. While the stealth mechanic takes quite a bit of getting used to, once you get the hang of it, you'll be sneaking up on aliens and C.E.L.L. members to stealth kill in no time!
However, stealth is not the only way to go as there are sections that you have to blast your way through. Never fear though; your Nanosuit has come prepared for that as well. In addition to the cloaking ability, your suit has an Armor mode that will absorb damage taken from bullets, phsycal attacks, and big falls. Needless to say it's quite handy when the sh*t hits the fan. Your suit is also capable of allowing you to sprint at high speeds, jump super high and power kick cars and other large objects at your enemies. But, your ability to do all of these actions is dependent on the Nanosuit's energy. Run out of it, and you're stuck with no abilities until it charges back up. Strategy is of the utmost importance unless you want to find yourself surrounded by baddies with no way to protect yourself or disappear to regroup.
You suit also has a HUD that allows you to identify enemy targets as well as tactical points and areas for you to take advantage of. Is that pesky tank giving you too much trouble? Well, pull up your trusty HUD and locate an area that you can sneak through using your cloak. Wanna blast your way through a large roadblock? Well, your lovely HUD will help you find ravager rocket launchers or a gun turret to use. Once again, strategy reins supreme.
While many (if not all) FPS games these days are getting shorter and shorter, Crysis 2 decided to not follow suit (no pun intended). The single player campaign will last you a solid 10-15 hours and there's a multiplayer offering on top of that. There isn't anything all that special here that hasn't already been done before though. You're able to customize your own weapon and skill combinations, but the only really new addition would be the stealth aspect which can be quite enjoayable. However, most people who play fast-paced shooters online know that discretion and patience, for the most part, is not what these games are about.
Crysis 2 has been boasted as the best looking console game on the market. High praise to be sure, but does it achieve that mantle? Well, simply put, Crysis 2 is absolutely gorgeous in the graphics department. The textures, lighting, special effects, etc. are truly phenominal. You'll be running down a street with gun fire all around you only to look up and see a massive NY skyscraper falling to the ground. They have coaxed every bit of power out of the console's processor and it shows. Even with all of this going on, there aren't any framerate issues either. Sound wise, the game is also great. The SFX design is wonderful and works really well with the action on screen. The voice acting is well done, if not a little predictable and common. However, the voice acting and dialogue in the multiplayer is actually quite diverse and interactive. Say your teammate just got sniped; a voice comes over your com channel and lets you know and will tell you where it happened. Very nicely done.
But what about the music? Normally, I would just condense my thoughts down into my normal presentation paragraph, but Crysis 2 needs a little more. The score was composed mainly by Borislav Slavov. The tracks are very slickly produced and follow the typical Hollywood format and style. Not bad on its own and it works really well in the game. However, the main theme was composed by none other than Hans Zimmer This concept of bringing on a famous composer to take on a song or two is rapidly becoming popular, especially with Mr. Zimmer. This is one practice that I pray, stops. If you want Hans Zimmer, get him in on the full score, not just a couple of tracks. What he did for Crysis 2 was fantastic and I would have loved to hear what he would have done with the full thing. However, I must give special props of Borislav for finding a way to anchor and connect his music to those pieces done by Hans.
Replay value in Crysis 2 is the same it would be for any other similar FPS title; it all lies in the multiplayer. Yes, players can go back and play the campaign on the various difficulties, but it's not anything all that special. The game is not revolutionary by any means, but is quite fun even though it's really just a combination of Call of Duty and Halo.
All in all, Crysis 2 is definitely a fun game to play. The emphasis on stealth and strategy is far above other similar FPS titles out there right now. The gameplay is fun and a bit different from what we've seen even though the story isn't all that innovative. Fans of this genre will, no doubt, enjoy the time spent playing as Alcatraz. Even gamers who aren't raging shooter fans will find more than enough to enjoy here. The great graphics, awesome sound/music, and fantastic presentation will leave you satisfied.
Crysis 2 was reviewed on the PS3. You can read more about GamingUnion.net's scoring policy here.