Review by ManeMane
A new standard among console FPS games
The 360 has become a system that has become greatly saturated with shooters. Although there are a few titles I'd recommend; as of the date of this review: 3/30/2011, Crysis 2 has to become the one I'd recommend to fans of shooters and fans of just good games. In this review I'll break down the major points of the single player and multiplayer. I want to point out now that this game's strength is definitely in it's single player. I think over the years there has been a lot of emphasis on multiplayer with tacked on single player campaigns. We'll go over how this game handles it.
This game is brought to us by Crytek. They're responsible for the first installment of Far Cry on the PC(which is a different game then Far Cry on consoles and the sequel). At the time I felt that game was a benchmark of gaming among FPS games; however I didn't do a review. Also Crytek of course is most known for Crysis 1, which is still a benchmark in terms of graphics among the PC community. This leads me to:
This is a beautiful game to look at. Character and weapon models are all top notch in this game. Textures are magnificent as well and the thing that really shines in this game is the real time lighting. I want to praise this game for it's animations as well. When you climb over an object, slide, or just look at your feet it brings a kind of immersion that not enough FPS games do. I don't feel like a floating gun when I play this. I want to also bring up lighting again because it's nice to see a game played mostly in the day time. I feel that too many shooters have become too gray and boring while this game breathes a sigh of relief by having the game in bright settings and having an amazing look to it. As far as shooters go I've not seen anything on the console prior to this game that has established this so well.
Everything sounds great. I personally played using my Turtle Beaches X41s. The weapons sound very well. On some of them I would have loved a louder approach but I don't really have many complaints. The sound of gunfire can be heard quite clearly. Walking on water emits it's own sounds. Everything just seems to go with what you'd expect from a game that has paid a lot of attention to detail, at least for the most part.
I found myself debating on whether or not to knock the score down for this game's weakness: It's story. I decided not to because for what it does wrong, this game is a titan among all console FPS games at the moment and it really does deserve a top score. Here is a brief summary of the story without giving too much away:
You play as a silent marine named Alcatraz. I'm not particularly fond of playing silent protagonist. In it's defense though I really dislike playing as a protagonist who irritates me. Through the story you will quickly acquire the Nano suit, the highlight of the gameplay. Most of the time you're being told what to do by people you hardly know. I wouldn't go so far as to say the single player's story is not interesting, but there is really no character development.. you can usually feel a plot twist coming a mile away and overall I didn't care for any of the characters. I felt like the world's most powerful Gopher as I just blindly listened to whoever was talking to me via radio.
The single player is the meat and potatoes of this game. When the game advertised be the weapon; they were really being truthful. You will have the Nanosuit. You will feel like god among lowly mortals. You will feel like the Predator and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the same time.
Your Nanosuit is a suit designed to allow you to play the game in different ways, approach every situation with different styles. Tap left bummer to soak up bullets while you mercilessly slaughter every human and alien that approaches you. Rip off a gun turret and just go nuts with it. Go invisible and play with your pray. Get behind someone and snap their neck so far that his face will be looking at yours, or thrust a blade in his throat.(Against humans it's random, just simply hit RS when the game prompts you. The aliens you kill will always be a knife kill.) You can also grab enemies with your hand and toss them. Nice when you're somewhere up high.
Those are some examples of how you're mainly approach most objectives. The game levels are a lot more open then you're average FPS game and gives you the feeling like you're in an open environment. Often in the game your suit will tell you that you have tactical options. At this point you press up on the D-Pad to bring up your visor which will highlight a few ways you can approach a situation, spot enemies, and weapon caches. You can highlight enemies which will bring them on your radar as well as the weapon caches. You can also do this on the 'tactical options'. I found myself just making my own tactical options most of the time. Examples of tactical options would be telling you there is a gun turret somewhere; a good area to use stealth, or an ideal place to flank enemies.
Another thing I really enjoyed in this game is in it's ability to upgrade your nanosuit. When you kill aliens you get points to use to upgrade your nanosuit. You can upgrade how much agility and strength you have(while sprinting and doing large leaps it drains your nanosuit's energy, along with using stealth and activating your armor). I enjoyed this because it added a sense of making myself more powerful. You have 4 different categories that you will see by pressing select on your controller which brings your hand up, and you can easily purchase one upgrade from each of the 4 categories. The only problem I felt was that some of the things you could upgrade seem rather pointless, but it can add replay value. You can purchase upgrades and alter them on the fly any time during the gameplay.
Next comes the weapons. You'll come across many weapons in this game. Once you come across a weapon with attachments; any time you find that weapon again you can throw the attachments on in the gameplay. Hold down select instead of just pressing it and your character will bring up the weapon you are using. If you had a silencer and a reflex scope unlocked previously you can go ahead and add it to the weapon you're using if it's the same. So in this game you will be able to switch your weapons and armor setting around in a very easy way. There are ammo crates everywhere and you will usually not find yourself short. If you are having problems finding ammo just use your visor to find a cache.
The combat in this game is satisfying. You will fight a lot of human enemies that have some pretty good A.I; although at times they are buggy. For example I've seen a soldier running straight to a wall which is a shame. Other times when I snap someone's neck, I am decloacked for a moment and enemies will spot me and begin firing, then try to move onto my position. You have to pay attention to your suit's energy at all time as you proceed forward or else you can be easily killed.
Another thing I would like to point out on this game is it's length and replay value. My first playthrough took me roughly around 12 hours. I did take my time playing a stealthy approach. As far as the replay goes; you can go through each chapter again with all your upgrades. This means you can start the first chapter and play through the game again with everything you've earned on your first playthrough; and it will continue to save your progress. So you can start from chapter one after completing the game, play as much as you'd like; stop, resume campaign, and you'll be where you left off. This adds a ton of replay value since you'll have your armor and weapon uprades. You can also just choose to start a new game and start from scratch if you'd like.
I'm not going to score multiplayer since I feel it's not the main focus of the game. At this time many people have been complaining of lag issues. I'm fortunate to not have noticed that problem. This game's multiplayer borrows heavily from call of duty. You have three perks that you can set up along with kill streaks. The killstreaks remind me of CoD4. 3 for a UAV, 5 for either a radar jammer or a blast, and 7 for a gunship. Unlike Call of Duty the killstreaks aren't really too affective from my experience. I've called several gunships and the most I've gotten from them has been two kills. I don't really mind this at all.
Along with the CoD set up comes the nanosuit. Again you will be able to sprint; grab ledges, cloak; activate armor, and snap necks. On top of this; something I forgot to mention prior, you can kick cars.(I know, I was hiding behind a car and had someone kick it into me, lol. This is available in single player as well but I didn't use it very much.)
Then there is your standard leveling up to unlock weapons, attachments, dogtags, and rank.
I am not going to say the people who complain of lag aren't proposing a legit argument. I've found myself with two bars but manage to be successful. I think this game has more of a learning curb then most on-line games. Just a tip I'm going to throw out there is that you have to always pay attention to your suit's energy. If you're cloaked you will run out of energy quickly. As soon as you fire your suit's energy runs out so you have to make sure you make your shots count. The person you're firing at may activate their armor and can turn around and gun you down very easily. I've heard people complaining that their shots aren't registering or wondering how they died. Well if you have your armor activated and someone else has theirs.. whoever loses their energy first is going to go down. I think a lot of people aren't paying attention to this and again this is why it's important to keep track of your suit's energy when you're approaching a gunfight. The suit makes the gameplay feel tactical.
The story mode may not attract you very much but as a whole the gameplay and cutscenes feel epic. Epic is not a word I use very often to describe anything. It's a word that's become at this point overused. However to this game's credit I can't think of a better and more appropriate word as far as the single player's gameplay.
There are some minor glitches and texture pop ups. Some glitches I've address before like enemy AI just messing up. Another thing I noticed is my shadow not showing a turret I ripped out. This game runs very smoothly. I recommend installing it as there has been some to say they've noticed frame hitches. I've played the game installed and have not come across anything. It runs smoothly.
My opinion on multiplayer is a mixed bag. It feels fresh and it isn't bad. I'd be very hesitant to recommend this game for it's multiplayer though. With people complaining of lag and finding it frustrating I don't know what the lifespan of it will be. So if you are interested; this may be the time to check it out. If you're just a fan of a good single player game that is lengthy and has good replay value, I cannot find a reason why you wouldn't give this game a purchase. It's really an amazing game and in my opinion the best FPS on a console to date. That is why I had to rate this game a 10.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Crysis 2 (US, 03/22/11)
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