(I Am Legend + Cloverfield) x Predator + Half Life 2 x Robocop / Star Kid = Crysis 2
Ok so I was never great with math formulas, but Crysis 2 gets an “A” in my grade book.
There are a few names in first person shooter history that people easily recognize, even if they’re not a “gamer”. Halo, Call of Duty and Goldeneye are some that if I asked my girlfriend, she’d at least know what they were. Crysis isn’t quite a household name, and that’s largely due to the fact that the first title was exclusive for PC. The original Crysis was a huge success for the PC as it garnished great reviews for its good sci-fi story line, effective gameplay and stunning graphics. So if you’re the creator of a huge selling FPS for the PC, what do you do when it comes sequel time? You somehow cram it onto Xbox 360 & PS3 and expose your franchise to a much wider audience. From this concept Crysis 2 was born.
Let’s get all the cards on the table right now; I am a huge FPS fan including the beloved Call of Duty series. From Modern Warfare to Black Ops I’ve easily put more hours into those games than I care to admit. However I also love the shooters that aren’t quite as popular like the highly underrated Far Cry 2. I’m explaining this all because in my mind any new FPS that comes out has to now meet a very high bar that’s been set from these titles. It’s hard to pick up a new shooter if the graphics aren’t slick, or if the story/pacing is flat, or of course if the multiplayer is dull. Crysis 2 has been the first title in a while that has met a lot of these expectations.
Basically it’s the not too distant future and you’re in New York City, there’s aliens invading trying to kill everyone and you’ve been selected to stop them. To make things worse you’ve got a bunch of greedy dicks after you trying to steal your fancy Nanosuit.
Within the first 5 minutes of the game I already knew it was the best looking video game I’ve ever played on a console. Graphics aren’t everything though so I remained cautious that something else could ruin it. At this early point I’m escaping out of a flooding submarine with a few other men in my squad and I’m getting more excited that the controls are the perfect balance of fast yet accurate (side note: I’m happy that the control scheme is almost identical to COD, it’s nice to have consistency in games). Still not getting too excited because it’s early and something is bound to go wrong. Water is rushing in from the imploding hull, sparks flying everywhere, fire breaking wild from burst pipes, it was gorgeous!
Single Player Gameplay
You take control of Alcatraz (your characters name, not “The Rock”). A marine who through events out of his control dons an incredible supersoldier suit called “Nanosuit 2”. This suit basically makes you a b.a.m.f. and gives you abilities such as predator-like heat vision, stealth camouflage, extreme armor and more. Check out this video to do a better job showing you:
Crysis 2 is filled with all sorts of little details that you should appreciate. Like the fact that when you look down you can actually see your feet which doesn’t make you feel like a floating head holding a gun as it is in most FPSs. Or the fact that you can pick up just about anything you see and throw it at enemies, not that you’ll ever need to as you can just as easily kick a car into them. Yeah, you read that right; you can kick cars into your enemies. As you progress through the game you really feel like you are Alcatraz since the view never leaves first person mode. I love when shooters do this because it doesn’t make you feel like you’re watching a movie, but that you’re part of the evolving story, which took me about 11 hours to complete. The controls are perfect; not too touchy and not loose feeling. I also love that you get the nanosuit and powers very quickly into the game. Not like games such Batman Arkham Asylum where you spend the whole game becoming a bad ass (aren’t you supposed to be Batman?!). Sorry, I digress.
The graphics are sick. You’re just going to have to watch some gameplay footage or actually play it to see for yourself, but the lighting effects alone will make you number three in your pants. Light bounces off of literally everything and gives you that realistic dynamic difference between light and shadow. I don’t know how they crammed all of this into a single Xbox 360 disk, but they did a great job. I chuckled at the first Xbox gamer achievement you unlock after completing the above opening sequence that’s titled “Can it run Crysis?”.
I’ve read a lot of criticism about glitches such as enemies running in place or texture pop-ins, but my experience with that was very rare and it never took me out of the game as there is so much going on around you that it’s hard to stop and analyze what you just saw.
The sound is fantastic as well. The score, composed by Hans Zimmer, has a very action/sci-fi feel to it and never seems too grand for its own good. The sound effects are also perfect. For example when you activate your suit’s “maximum armor” you’re basically tightening up the exterior of your suit for added protection which makes you slower but stronger. When this happens you can hear the faint sound of what appears to be your bones cracking from the pressure and when you walk it sounds like you have cinderblocks tied to your feet. Just plain awesome. Voice acting is good enough, but your Nanosuit’s voice is authoritative and frightening, yet you get the sense of loyalty from it. Sort of like a less-cheesy Flight of the Navigator.
The pacing never made me bored which is surprising considering how you can approach each area. Say you start of on the roof and you know you have to get down the FDR expressway filled with abandoned cars and soldiers trying to kill you. You have no step by step approach to it, you just know where you have to get to and then you figure it out. You can stealth around, charge in, swim alongside, it really lets you feel like you have more than a single right way to complete each objective.
This was the area that I was most cautious about and most surprised by. I had played the multiplayer beta when it was released on Xbox Live last month and was pretty impressed with it then. Surprisingly, there’s been a decent amount of polish and tweaks made to it for the final release. If you’re at all familiar with the Call of Duty series, then you’ll understand how the ranking system and upgrades work. From gaining access to new weapons as you level up to unlocking new game types as you progress.
There’s your standard 16 player free for all as well as a few others such as Crash Site and Team Instant Action.
The multiplayer is a lot of fun and if you can get some buddies to join you it will have you coming back for more for quite a while. Will people still be playing it when Battlefield 3 comes out in the fall? We’ll have to wait and see…
Games that are actually worth the $60 price tag nowadays are hard to come by. Crysis 2 is one that I would confidently recommend if you are at all interested in shooters. The single player is top-notch and the multiplayer has all the right elements to make it a worthy competitor to the COD tyrant. Do yourself a favor and at least rent it so you can experience the efforts EA put into Crysis 2 and how fun it really is. I have a feeling that Crysis just might become a household name yet.
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