- Publisher: EA
- Developer: Crytek
- ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
- Genre: First-Person-Shooter
- Pros: Amazing graphics; solid shooting; mini-sandboxes are fun to play in; lengthy SP
- Cons: Why is your suit so chatty?; awful A.I.; story only so-so; derivative multi
Crysis 2 takes place in New York City where aliens unleashed in the first Crysis are wrecking the city. You play as a normal soldier named Alcatraz who early on inherits a special suit of powered armor created from alien technology. The suit gives you crazy powers and abilities, and helps you fight not only the squid like aliens, but human enemies focused on capturing you and your fancy suit. There is some political back and forth, in-fighting among your enemies, etc., but none of it is all that interesting. The story kinda sucks, frankly. Humans fighting humans during an alien invasion is always going to be stupid, and that is mostly the direction Crysis 2 chooses to go.
The actual gameplay definitely keeps you interested even if the story doesn't, though. The original Crysis was known not just for great graphics, but for giving you a huge open world sandbox and the freedom to tackle objectives any way you wanted. Crysis 2, because you are in a city instead of a jungle, is a lot tighter and not quite so open. The game is essentially a series of connected mini-sandboxes. Each mini-sandbox is a few square blocks, and how you get to your objectives is completely up to you. Go around a building? Through an alley? Climb over the top? Kill everyone? Sneak past everyone? It is up to you and works well.
The controls and actual gunplay also deserve some attention. The game controls pretty much like every other modern FPS, so no complaints there. It feels really sharp and precise, and using abilities, switching weapons, and everything else in mid-battle is a joy. The guns are also pretty awesome, all in all, and actually all manage to feel different. Some guns are just plain more fun to use than others. Not just in their effectiveness, but in the way they sound and feel. Some guns just don't feel good. Other guns feel great. This is a good thing. Most games have one extreme or the other, so having such a wide range in feel in the gunplay here is a refreshing change.
The multiplayer is solid, but a bit derivative. It is basically every modern online FPS all mashed into one. There are perks. You unlock new modes and features as you level up. The modes are all variants of typical FPS stuff (King of the Hill, CTF, deathmatch, etc.). It should all be very familiar to FPS fans. Crysis 2 does separate itself by letting you freely use the same suit abilities as the campaign, which shakes things up a bit. It is a solid online shooter all around, just don't expect anything radically different from the current norms in the genre.
The real star of Crysis 2 is the visuals. This is an amazing looking game that is easily the best looking game on Xbox 360. Honestly, it is worth at least a rental just to see how pretty it looks. Exploring the ruins of NYC is a thrill as there are great little realistic details everywhere. Lighting and special effects and fire really set everything off and make the visuals truly stand out. There is some pop-in of textures and objects, and the framerate isn't always consistent, but the payoff in everything else makes up for it. This is pure eye candy.
The sound is also mostly well done. The music is outstanding and the orchestral score really does a good job of setting the mood. The sound effects are also solid for the most part. The voice acting is pretty rough, though, and for some reason your suit is constantly chattering at you in a gravelly deep voice to tell you what you're doing ("Nanovision, armor mode, cloak, nanovision, armor ..."). I kinda wish it would shut up.
Crysis 2 is a solid game that is worth checking out for FPS fans. It doesn't exactly do anything groundbreaking as far as the gameplay goes, but it is definitely enjoyable and worth playing. Really, it is worth playing just to drool at the graphics. They are that good. The single-player is 10+ hours and the MP will keep you busy for a while, so there is plenty of value to justify a purchase. Crysis 2 is highly recommended for any Xbox 360 shooter fans.