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Crysis 2 Review

Steve Butts | 25 Mar 2011 22:50
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Specializing in one type of play, however, seems to be missing the point. Crysis 2 is at its most fun when you're switching back and forth between roles, sneaking in and taking out sentries, engaging the armor mode for firefights, and then using the running and jumping powers to get to safety. Each encounter can be approached in different ways and the game does a great job familiarizing players with the different approaches. As the game starts, you'll find yourself fighting against regular human soldiers who aren't terribly tough. You'll get to learn to how to fight against these easy folks before moving on to more challenging enemies. The game also includes a tactical vision mode that highlights on the screen key locations where certain types of play might be appropriate. It might, for instance, call out a sniping position on a roof, or a subway entrance you can use to sneak around behind your enemies.

When you throw in multiplayer, where up to 12 players can compete using all these abilities (at least in some modes), things get even more ridiculous. The modes are fairly straightforward, and the addition of an experience system and unlocks adds a bit more variety. What really sells the experience though is the stealth system. Being able to hide in plain sight adds so much tension to the game. The ability may honestly be a bit overpowered, but with all players in the same boat, no one's in a position to claim an unfair advantage.

If Crysis 2 falls short in any one key area, it's story. Or maybe it's better to say that the story falls short because of the way it's told. The plot itself might be actually enjoyable. The problem is that all the elements are jumbled together and parceled out seemingly at random. You don't even know who your character is supposed to be until a few hours into the game. Even then your character is defined entirely by what he does, which makes all the accompanying melodrama (not to mention the I-so-saw-that-coming twist towards the end), kind of unsatisfying. The campaign itself clocks in around 10 hours, which is long enough to be satisfying, but not so long that you're not likely to go back and play it a different way.

There are a few other minor problems here and there. AI is sometimes very brilliant in its ability to outflank you and sometimes stupid to the point of literally walking into walls. The more closed and urban nature of the levels, at least compared to the original Crysis, also means that there are plenty of awkward barriers placed here and there. The nano-suit is powerful enough for me to kick cars off of bridges but not powerful enough to kick down wooden doors that don't lead to your next objective? Maybe it sounds nitpicky, but it's a bit of a mood killer.

Bottom Line: Combining an outstanding setting, tremendous visuals, and an open-ended play style, Crysis 2 is the whole package. Small problems with the story and some minor design annoyances don't get in the way of an otherwise amazing experience.

Recommendation: If you like shooters and are as tired of Call of Duty clones as I am, this is the game for you.

This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Game: Crysis 2
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Crytek
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox360
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)

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