Crysis 2 – Game Analysis & Review
By Patrick Newman
Developers: Crytek Frankfurt, Crytek UK
Writer: Richard K. Morgan
Composer: Borislav Slavov, Hans Zimmer
Engine: CryEngine 3
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
Developed by Crytek and brought to consumers by Electronic Arts, Crysis 2 is a sci-fi-tinged first person shooter from the minds of cyberpunk/sci-fi authors Richard Morgan and Peter Watts. Being the first game to showcase the new CryEngine 3 game engine, the graphics are impeccable, depicting a New York City reduced to perfectly-rendered cinders by disease and marauding aliens. Not just a pretty face, Crysis 2 also excels in both single-player and multi-player modes, by putting players into the shoes of a dynamic hero whose expertise in hand-to-hand and stealth kills, vehicles, and access to an extensive armory keep the proceedings fresh and exciting. This is easily one of the best and most complete shooters so far this year.
Moving away from the jungles of Crysis and into NYC’s urban landscape, the game’s hero is a Force Recon Marine codenamed Alcatraz, who succeeds “Nomad” Dunn from the original. He wears the “Nanosuit 2.0”, a redesigned model from the original that, through a new-and-improved control scheme, allows players to engage in multiple suit modes simultaneously. This comes in handy during the many spots in the game where enemies flood your location from all directions, and tactical overlays, armor and stealth can be toggled with greater ease.
New York City, having been decimated by a deadly disease, is now populated by a long-dormant but recently-awakened alien species that disrupt a submarine expedition early in the game that Alcatraz and a squad of marines were riding in on. Alcatraz washes onto the shore the sole survivor, and upon running into Delta Force officer Prophet, now passing away from Manhattan Virus exposure, gains his identity and access to his Nanosuit. The story is driven by the initial conceit that Alcatraz assumes Prophet’s appearance and responsibilities, which throws him into the complex web of conflicts between marines and aliens within the borders of what is left of the city.
The enemy A.I. Crytek has cooked up for this sequel is excellent, calling to mind such great shooter/sci-fi fusions as Gears of War or Half Life 2. Crysis 2 reminds one of the pleasure of running across a bot that can out-think you, since a shooter is never more boring than when strategy falls by the wayside and the experience becomes a mere exercise in button-mashing. Both aliens and marines are adept at using cover and organizing complex flanks, the majority of firefights taking place within large environments that are constantly being flooded with aggressors. The intense FPS action of the game is bolstered by the aforementioned improved, but familiar controls, which make navigating NYC an unimpeded and satisfying experience.
Crysis 2’s multiplayer mode is given a big boost by the implementation of the Nanosuit, giving players the bearing of a one-man-army as many popular online shooters never could. Modes such as Extraction or Capture the Relay will be familiar to many in their location invasion/protection dynamic, but new offerings such as Assault or Crash Site are intriguing in their original approach. Assault pits a team of Nanosuit-wearing soldiers outfitted only with pistols against a defending suit-less force equipped with laser-sighted weapons. Crash site sets its fully-suited warriors against an incoming tide of alien pods that fall from the skies. A slew of awards are also integrated into Crysis 2’s multiplayer for commendable kill counts or use of stealth.
An undeniable improvement from the original, Crysis 2 delivers a highly visceral, highly strategic shooter experience that pushes thinking and problem solving over run-and-gun and button mashing. The graphics, and especially the lighting and effects, are the best seen yet on a console, while PC versions of Crysis 2 are said to be game-changing in their visual complexity. From the surface to the core, this is a first person shooter for the record books. The game’s beautiful orchestral music, challenging enemy A.I., and a multiplayer mode that supplements the single-player campaign’s 11 hours beautifully make Crysis 2 a must-buy.