With a full reveal of the third instalment in the Crysis series just out of the bag, I thought it was time to finally play through my copy Crysis 2 and see what all the fuss was about. And I was surprised: first person shooters are very much not my thing but Crysis 2 provided a great campaign with a decent narrative, and within hours all of my fears of playing Generic Supersoldier Game #2046 were gone.
I liked a lot of things about Crysis 2; the campaign is by no means perfect, throwing waves of enemies at you at points, but it’s extremely cinematic. Littered with immense set-pieces as the city crumbles around you – the destruction of certain buildings can be awe-inspiring.
Whilst Alcatraz and his suit make for a powerful force, it is balanced very well.
Click. Maximum armour. Suddenly, fighting feels worthwhile – you’re able to take the enemy on rather than hiding behind cover, though you’ll have to watch your energy meter, as you’ll be back to normal in no time if you take a lot of fire. It’s a great system, enhancing your aiming, too, on top of the already great shooting system.
Click. Cloak engaged. Far removed from the tank-like features of the armour mode, the cloak offers many different options for sneaking past and hiding from enemies. This, too, works very well, though it feels rather limited when you’re unable to shoot without uncloaking. The stealth kills make up for it, though, allowing simple, one hit kills – providing you can get close enough.
It’s with these two simple mechanics that Crysis 2 comes into its own, making for an extremely sublime shooter: slipping in and out of stealth is simple and the tactical options enhance this, allowing you to either simply sneak past the enemies, or around to a turret, which you’re then able to dismount and unleash hell with maximum armour engaged.
The upgrade systems and gun customisations also add to the gameplay substantially; whilst they’re hardly deep features, they are presented well, with the suit upgrades in particular – blending seamlessly into gameplay – not breaking the fourth wall at any point.
In fact, it’s one of the few first person shooters that make sense in terms of the actual combat – rather than fighting alongside a squad of invincible-until-the-time-is-right army men who fail to do any substantial damage, Crysis 2 pits Alcatraz himself against a myriad of foes as, after all, he is a one man army, albeit with some limitations.
Ruined NYC is a great setting; a city that dynamically crumbles as you fight through it.
The roar of the guns add to the combat, with a heavy, realistic feel as you stomp around. Explosions, dialogue and other sound effects are all well designed but it’s often the subtle, yet satisfying, musical score that brings everything together.
It’s not all perfect, however, with the game throwing waves of alien foes towards you at points and not progressing very well at others. The different routes and options in each of the larger battle areas save you from repetition, but it can sometimes be a matter of trial and error in order to make progress.
When it all comes together though, it’s surprisingly a game with a good dedication to the narrative; while it isn’t groundbreaking stuff, the story, which is clearly inspired by the Half-life saga at certain points, is well paced, picking up towards the end and making for a wonderfully woven narrative throughout.
Crysis 2 is a revelation for me; bored of war, sci-fi and many other kinds of first person shooters, I thought I might have been done with the genre. This game, however, managed to blend all of those and show me that games featuring supersoldier war heroes can be absolutely brilliant in their own right.