Review by Mephisto852

"A decent shooter, but don't expect anything groundbreaking."

Gameplay (Single Player)

Like the original Crysis, Crysis 2 gives players several different methods to tackle the enemy. You are conveniently given options highlighted through your visor's heads-up display that often times gives you multiple ways to engage (or even completely avoid) enemies. For example, it may highlight the most optimal area for you to flank the enemy, or help you locate the much-needed ammo caches scattered throughout the level. The downside is that you essentially don't need to explore at all, as everything is handed to you. Gone is the satisfaction of finding a perfect snipers nest, or finding a route that can allow you to sneak past all your foes.

Kill waves of enemies, move to next section, kill more waves, repeat. The AI is unimpressive, unlike Far Cry when it was released, and the enemies have perfect accuracy on you even through walls, which is easy to see with one of the "perks" you can unlock that traces enemy fire (even through walls). Also, I often heard enemies saying things such as “What was that?” despite me being in cloak mode some distance away, yet they do nothing but stand there and pretend as if nothing actually happened. However, cloak mode is still extremely effective in single player, as it was in Crysis, allowing you to complete many missions while attracting minimal attention.

There aren't many weapons, and against the Ceph (the ‘aliens' encountered in Crysis), the most effective weapon is an electricity gun which is several times more effective against them than any conventional weapon. The result is that you will be almost exclusively using this weapon in the levels that contain mostly Ceph enemies, further limiting the diversity and use of the weapons.

I finished the single player on normal mode in five and a half hours, and it wasn't an attempt at a speed run, though I did not try to obtain every collectible item, such as the “souvenirs” hidden away throughout the levels.

Story

The story feels like it was written by several different writers who didn't communicate with each other. Throughout the single player game, you will be taking orders from several different people, and you never really know exactly what the big picture is. The plot feels disconnected, and the importance of your mission isn't revealed until the last few levels, at which point it's just an “Oh” revelation.

Almost everything you learn about the plot is literally explained to you by the character currently giving you the orders, and you never discover anything for yourself. Several aspects of the plot aren't explained at all or are handled poorly; there is very little revelation.

There isn't much of a link to the story of the original Crysis, which is understandable given that Crysis 2 is a multiplatform game, and the majority of the console players may have never played the first game. The main characters of Crysis barely make an appearance in Crysis 2. In fact, Nomad and Psycho are nowhere to be seen, and Prophet has a relatively minor role.

Visuals / Audio

The game looks fantastic, and feels well optimized. New York City actually looks authentic, and is quite breathtaking the first time you see it. The game doesn't have the groundbreaking graphics of Crysis, but still looks better than most shooters currently in the market.

Despite the great graphics, the graphics options are extremely limited. Individual settings cannot be changed through the options menu, which only gives three preset graphics settings for you to choose from. It is a wonder why more comprehensive graphics options were not included in the full game. Fortunately, there are third party applications that give you the ability to change individual settings.

The game also makes extensive usage of motion blur and bloom. Often times, too much so. In many cases it can become difficult to see what's happening with the amount of bloom that is used, and turning even relatively slowly can cause your camera to become noticeably blurry. The motion blur also applies to moving objects in the game world, so a teammate running by will literally be a blur. It's not all bad though, in certain areas of the game, the high level of bloom “works” artistically, and makes the experience all the more cinematic.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer is (was) extremely buggy on release. Many players were not even able to play the game at first, due to an error that stated that their serial keys were in use. Many game lobbies would also not automatically start the game, resulting in there being several dead servers, though this has since been fixed. Cheating, such as increased damage and suit energy regeneration, was possible by simply editing some client-side variables, which show how poorly the anti-cheat was handled.

As for the gameplay, it largely feels like a Call of Duty game with special powers. The nanosuit in general feels like a gimmick in multiplayer. Essentially, you hit Q (armor mode) every time when you start shooting someone, as there's really nothing else you can do with your energy in a direct engagement. So the Q key just becomes another button everyone presses whenever they get in a shoot-out (as in, if no one had armor mode, the game would play almost exactly the same).

Sprinting also decreases suit energy, which is needed in armor mode to absorb damage. So, if you sprint around, see another player, and both of you start shooting at each other at the same time, you will typically be at a large disadvantage since you will have less suit energy to absorb bullets with. Now, you could say you should just not sprint then... but the normal movement speed feels sluggish for the pace the game is designed for.

Cloak feels out of place, unlike in the multiplayer of the original Crysis. Crysis 2's multiplayer is clearly designed to be much faster paced, especially with the smaller maps. You can see the problem: cloak encourages players to sit in one spot for extended periods of time, in a game that encourages fast paced action. It interrupts the flow of the game.

Guns are very easy to control, and most engagements are a case of holding down the fire button and seeing who shot first, as it is not difficult to keep the reticule aligned with an enemy. If you expected a multiplayer game with a very high skill cap, look elsewhere, as this is no Counter-Strike.

Conclusion

The single player portion has a forgettable story, but has some great moments. The graphics of NYC can completely immerse you into the game world. The gameplay is fun, and you are given several different ways to engage enemies, but several aspects of the game, such as the health regeneration and cloak, can be abused the make the game very easy even on the highest difficulty setting. The multiplayer is not without glitches, and the simplified nanosuit isn't nearly as well implemented as it was in Crysis. The game is solid, but lacks a strong story and its multiplayer mode lacks polish. Overall, if you loved Crysis, you will most likely also like this game… just don't expect it to bring anything new to the table.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/30/11, Updated 03/31/11

Game Release: Crysis 2 (Limited Edition) (US, 03/22/11)


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