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Crysis 2 Review

publisher: EA
developer: Crytek Studios
genre: Shooters

ESRB rating: M

release date: Mar 22, 11
» All About Crysis 2 on ActionTrip

Right then, this is officially the first time I have started a Crysis game without worrying whether or not it will melt the gaming system it's been played on. That's right, we decided to give the console versions a try (the Xbox 360 edition, to be exact) to find out if the franchise made a smooth transition to other platforms. Yeah, unless you've just been dug up from under some God-forsaken boulder, Crysis is no longer PC-only.

In Crysis 2 you will be playing as "Alcatraz", a Force Recon Marine, who, through a mere quirk of fate finds himself in Prophet's Nanosuit 2. Those who skipped the first chapter of the story, Prophet is one of the central characters who survived the first attack of a mysterious and extremely hostile alien race known as the Ceph. The powerful enemy has invaded the US and is now attempting to seize control of New York City. The technological advantages of the alien enemy brought about some rather drastic methods of retaliation on mankind's part, which is, of course where the perked up Nanosuit comes in.

Crytek has delivered several good first-person shooters including Far Cry, Crysis and Crysis Warhead (good... short but good). Now, the development studio is ready to showcase their new technology - the CryEngine 3. From the very first scene in the game, it's obvious that CryEngine 3 is going to set this one apart from all the current action games. The graphics are impressive to say the least. An enormous amount of dedication clearly went into creating each location in the game, the character models, monsters and the special effects. There are so many details in the background, coupled with a variety of effects such as fog, debris from explosions and gunfire flying everywhere, great character animation and more. It's a wonder it manages to run on a six year old gaming system (i.e. the Xbox 360). The transition was a success apparently. Fair enough, the frame-rate during the game wasn't always perfect, especially when heavy action ensues and there are multiple explosions and numerous opponents on screen at once. It must be stressed though, that these occasional frame-rame drops did not impede gameplay.

Crysis 2 does look way better than a lot of triple-A present-day shooters and certainly is an above average game when it comes to overall atmosphere and the obvious production values. Great effort had also gone into sound design, with a kick-ass soundtrack swelling in the background and top-notch sound effects to boot. The voice-overs aren't as pleasing as we hoped. Some characters vital to the plot sound kind of amateurish and almost indifferent when they should be conveying emotions and reactions that are a bit more complex.

Although it looks beautiful, Crysis 2 is a game lacking polish in a lot of areas. One of the biggest problems we encountered in this game -- one that certainly tends to kill the thrill ride -- is the AI. Enemies exhibit numerous reactions depending on what you decide to do in a battle situation, which is commendable. However, a few hours into the gameplay and you'll start to notice a few unanticipated quirks. What happens is that both alien and human opponents get stuck on objects in the environment (ah, the unavoidable AI bug). One particular guard got jammed between two road blocks and kept moving back and forth insanely and what made matters funnier was that his voiceover got screwed up as well. When you're crouching and sneaking about, if you make a sound the guards will become more alert and say stuff like "Huh?" or "Dya hear that?" Well, this poor bastard got stuck between two concrete road blocks and kept repeating "Huh?" "Huh?" "Huh?" "Huh?" "Huh?" Hilarious and sad at the same time. In the end, I just had to put him out of his misery. Oh boy, what a "challenge" that was. Still, don't freak out just yet. These bugs won't necessarily ruin the entire experience, albeit they do look ridiculous when they crop up.

Okay, putting aside those weaknesses, let's examine what happens when the AI works as it should. Well, in most situations enemies behave according to the player's actions and the environment they are in. They duck behind cover, assault in groups, attempt to gain tactical advantage and will run back for reinforcements. In other words, even though the aforementioned bugs happened from time to time, the rest of the time the action was a blast. Also, the Ceph were quite tough in the original Crysis (and Crysis Warhead), but are even tougher this time around and come in several variants, each of which behaves differently and uses specific weapons.

Two things make each enemy encounter diverse and exceedingly entertaining -the Nanosuite 2 and the tactical options available in real-time. The unique features of the Nanosuite leave a lot of room for improvisation during combat. Using the Nanosuit's cloak ability means you'll be able to slip passed enemies quite efficiently and even go through heavily fortified enemy positions or checkpoints without so much as firing a single shot. You can also install upgrades this time, if you've collected enough alien samples. It's not as easy as it sounds mind you, because enemies will notice you if they sense or hear that you are a few feet away, so it takes some effort to pass completely unseen.

Gamers are sure to appreciate the diversity of weapons and, like I said, the advantages of the Nanosuit. Weapons are appropriate for all play styles, so you shouldn't worry if you're the kind of gamer who prefers the dash-onto-the-scene-guns-blazing approach, because there's plenty of fire-power at your disposal.

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8.6   Very Good

The franchise makes a successful transition to consoles, thanks to the versatile Nanosuit 2 the gameplay is addictive as ever and the new elements make it even more fun, the tactical options expand your options on the battlefield, solid variety of weapons, cool and engaging multiplayer, looks amazing, great soundtrack;

Frame-rate slows down occasionally, the narrative is a bit weak and characters didn't really interest us that much, annoying AI bugs.


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