Crysis made a name for itself back in 2007 with the Benchmark setting original Crysis, which some of us were lucky enough to have good enough PCs to push the boundaries of. And boy, are those boundaries sweet! Crysis 2 is no different. With stunning visuals whether you play on “ultra” video settings or normal, Crysis 2 is a game no one should miss. Continuing the story of the original Crysis and Crysis Warhead, the game throws you right back in to the action…this time in good ol’ New York City, which has become besieged by the hard-as-hell to kill Ceph. This review is the result of my needing to play the game before playing through a review copy of Crysis 3, just to make sure I was able to understand everything. It was worth it, and I highly recommend every PC gamer play this game.
The main thing that sets the Crysis series apart from a lot of other PC shooters, is the combat gameplay. Fast paced, intense, diverse, and challenging are the first words that come to mind when one plays a game from the Crysis series. Overall, the combat system is what makes the game so enjoyable. It gives you options you wouldn’t have in other games outside of the standard “Cover, Shoot, Cover, Shoot, Cover, Shoot”. Instead you can either attack the enemy with your guns blazing in “Armor Mode”, or you can use your cloaking abilities to take down enemies silently with silenced weapons or with assassination-style stealth kills. Ultimately, the option is yours to choose, and the game does a great job giving you some options with the HUD. The visor ability is your suit’s all new powerful tactical enhancement. It allows you to pinpoint areas of the map of interest and highlight them in order to pick where you’d like to go, or how to avoid your enemies. The ability to use it to highlight your enemies so that you know where they are at any given moment is incredibly brilliant, and helps tone down the difficulty of the game for those that are playing the highest difficulties like I did. This tool is a lifesaver, and officially my favorite addition to the game, mainly because highlighting your enemies as you move around the map allows you to pick the best routes by directing you to stealth, flank, exit, or explore routes, or get the stealthiest takedowns. Overall, the combat systems are what make Crysis 2 such a great game. PROTIP: In parts of the game where you fight humans, stealth and a silenced pistol plus headshots equals never being found. Plus, it’ really fun to watch the enemies get confused.
The thing that keeps Crysis and Crytek at the top of the pile, is CryEngine (3). This engine, as always, is incredibly talented at generating incredible physics and graphics. It’s why the Crysis games are considered to be “Benchmarking” games, as they provide a way to really push your system to its limits. From the start of the game all the way to the end, the graphics (on Ultra for me) are phenomenal, with realistic explosions, faces, buildings and more, the visuals in the game are phenomenal. The modding community certainly has had a blast with it, and made all sorts of mods for the game. I didn’t pay large amounts of attention to the scenery, but when I did, I was blown away by the detail and realism that the world around me had. Some of it was really, really cool, and some was just plain breathtaking. I even made a point when I beat the game to go back through on easy, and just play around with the scenery and see what I could and couldn’t do. I highly recommend playing around with the physics and explosions, because you can do some really cool stuff with CryEngine3. As a programmer, the work put into the engine makes me drool a little…
Even though the combat and visuals are great, Crytek didn’t skimp on story. With the main downside to the game being that it was linear (because who wouldn’t want to explore a destroyed New York?), I had to turn on the subtitles in order to get every little inkling of story. Continuing from the original game, the story fills in details that were alluded to in the previous iterations of the game. Although most people don’t play shooters for their storylines, this one continued the story in a way that really didn’t interfere or slow down the game play, and kept it fast paced but still engaging. Definitely a plus for people who want action but also enjoy a good story with some twists and turns.
The game did have a few issues that I found during my playthroughs. Even though the sounds of headshots and Ceph dying were very satisfying, the sounds were sometimes off in timing with when they actually occurred on screen. Other sound issues, such as vehicles still making noises a moment after you got out of them were also a bit odd. The AI was excellent, but often had a great talent for getting stuck in vehicles and cover. You also have the very common bugs where dead bodies end up in hilarious positions, but you can’t really complain about that one! But by far the most annoying issue I had while playing the game, was that I would suddenly lose all my Rocket Launcher ammo, or I would switch off of it and it would disappear. This happened with a few guns, a few times, and can really put you in a tough spot in certain areas of the game.
Crysis 2 is a very enjoyable game, especially for those of us that enjoy fast paced shooters and the beautiful noise of a headshot that was perfectly placed. From the smooth and efficient combat systems, to the difficulty of the game, you won’t be disappointed in Crysis 2. The visuals are astonishing and will likely be surpassed by Crysis 3, but make sure you play this game before then, as it is one you shouldn’t miss.
With stunning visuals whether you play on “ultra” video settings or normal, Crysis 2 is a game no one should miss