Crysis 2 looks good and developer Crytek knows this. The intro credit says “Achieved with CryEngine 3,” and the first achievement you get is called “Can it run Crysis?” However, pretty visuals alone don’t impress me. Luckily, Crysis 2 offers more than just its console-PC flame war inducing graphics. It’s also a fantastic game and a serious contender for the best shooter of 2011.
Crysis 2 manages to distinguish itself from the pack of uninspired first person shooters with the nanosuit mechanic. This allows you to run fast, jump high, turn invisible or go tank and eat bullets. It succeeds in making you feel powerful but makes it clear that you can only do so in short bursts, as your dwindling energy meter will frequently remind you. Managing your energy is key and you’ll often find yourself getting overwhelmed if you forget to do so. While being invisible is cool, shooting while still cloaked drains all of your energy. Turning on Armor mode for extra health is helpful in a bind, but taking damage quickly drops your energy bar. Every ability you have is cleverly balanced so you’ll never feel overpowered.
The coolest thing about the nanosuit is that it allows for multiple approaches to each battle. Instead of constantly pushing you forward like many other shooters, Crysis 2 will present you with a large battle arena. You can turn on tactical vision which points out all the important locations in the arena such as ammo caches, mounted turrets, flanking opportunities, sniper perches, and heavy weapon/explosive drops. It’s a clever way to encourage you to try multiple play styles.
At one point, I saw a sniper facing away from me who I tried to stealth kill. I screwed it up and everyone spotted me. Since there’s no option to restart from the last checkpoint, I decided to turn on Armor mode, detach a mounted turret and go nuts until I died. However, I didn’t die. Instead, I won the battle and had a blast doing it. An option that I didn’t think could work ended up being a completely viable and fun alternative.
OMG TEH GRAFIX
Crysis 2 also includes a cool customization system. You can customize the sights and attachments on your weapons in addition to upgrading your suit. The entire customization interface takes place directly in game and in real time, instead of in external menus, adding a sense of urgency when you realize that you want a longer scope or grenade launcher attachment and need to find a safe spot before you can add one to your gun.
Furthermore, Crysis 2′s levels offer a sense of verticality, which you rarely see in first person shooters. You’ll often enter an arena from above at which point you can choose to stay high and pick off enemies with a sniper rifle or jump straight down into the heat of battle. The ability to climb up and down a torn apart building also adds realism to the already excellent looking environments.
The Ceph will mess you up…when the AI is working
However, Crysis 2 isn’t without its problems. The frame rate occasionally drops during the more hectic battles and the AI is inconsistent at best. While the alien Ceph are sometimes impressively aggressive, other times it feels like the AI has been turned off. I frequently saw enemies just standing around or walking into a wall, even while I was right next to them. There’s also a pretty forgettable story full of poorly voiced characters.
Crysis 2 includes a multiplayer mode, which is a lot of fun overall. The nanosuit continues to add variety and makes the game feel unique among other competitive shooters. However, the killstreaks, weapon attachments/unlocks, suit upgrades (read: perks), killcams, and custom class creation are all pretty unoriginal. The multiplayer mode also doesn’t feel particularly stable. Melee hit detection is inconsistent, killcams sometimes bug out, and connection errors are a little too frequent. It just doesn’t seem very well put together. However, it’s still a fun mode and in the end, the nanosuit feels great to use and is rewarding to upgrade
While Crysis 2 may look like a Call of Duty clone on the surface, it’s actually quite different. The nanosuit and gameplay variety it entails make the game stand out. Add to that the giant vertical levels, a solid multiplayer mode and gorgeous visuals and Crysis 2 is easy to recommend, if you can get over some performance and AI issues.
- Stunning visuals
- Nanosuit is well balanced and adds a lot of gameplay choices and variety
- Environments are huge, vertical and look fantastic
- Upgrade and weapon customization systems are cool and well integrated
- Inconsistent AI
- Occasional frame rate issues
- Multiplayer isn’t very stable and sometimes feels generic
- Story is sometimes clichéd and voice acting isn’t great
Confused about our score? See our Ratings Guide.