Crysis 2 (PC) Review
Crysis 2 is the hotly anticipated sequel to a 2007 game from Crytek and is a science fiction first person shooter which offers both a story driven single player experience and multiplayer online play for PC, 360 or PS3.
So what's it all about?
Well... set in 2023, some 3 years after the events of the original Crysis, Crysis 2 moves the action from the remote setting of the Lingshan Islands to New York City with the single player story written by author Richard Morgan. The game then takes us across New York as we attempt to save the city from an alien invasion force while trying to avoid or fight C.E.L.L forces who are a private military company run by the Crynet Corporation.
The single player experience in Crysis 2 is excellent with varied difficulty levels available to challenge every individual. While the story isn't exactly original... alien menace, shadowy big corporation, deserted New York City... it is certainly engaging and hectic as the action starts from the moment the intro finishes and it keeps going until the end of the 10-12 hour campaign.
As in Crysis the main protagonist, in this case Alcatraz, is equipped with an advanced combat Nanosuit which has been upgraded since the original game. The ‘Nanosuit 2.0' provides us with short bursts of super human speed and strength which can get us out of some tight scrapes. It also provides a heavy armour mode when we are faced with enemies packing large calibre ordinance and a stealth mode. It is the latter which defines much of the game as with Crysis 2 often the best course of action isn't an all guns blazing strategy; instead it is better to avoid a fight we can't finish. Of course the stealth mode doesn't last forever, as it drains the suits energy, so we have to use it wisely and ensure that when it runs out we are well out of sight of enemies.
Speaking of enemies, both the aliens and C.E.L.L forces we face in Crysis 2 have excellent A.I. The aliens are very mobile, utilising the same technology found in our Nanosuit. The C.E.L.L forces however rely mainly on overwhelming numbers and will also seek cover very quickly when they come under fire. C.E.L.L forces will also return fire from cover, making them quite difficult to kill. For example hitting legs, arms or even centre mass won't put them down the first time (due to the heavy armour worn on the chest). A well-aimed neck or head shot will however stop them cold though most often we had to expend several bursts of ammo to take them out.
Vehicle combat is also available in Crysis 2 and with abandoned cars littering the streets of New York City we can make use of them to speed our progress. Additionally C.E.L.L. vehicles are also available, and a lot more fun due to their design and functions.
In terms of experience after the single player campaign is completed, online multiplayer maps are also available to play in Crysis 2. Online play is supported via the community service offered by EA and Crytek, MyCrysis. We can create an account via the game or at their website MyCrysis.com
and the usual array of online multiplayer options are available. These include ranked and unranked matches and participating in ranked games will of course earn us XP which we can spend on items and equipment.
When the original Crysis was released in 2007 it set the benchmark for PC gaming performance. The CryEngine 2 graphics engine really stretched PC hardware of the time, to the extent that almost 4 years later we were still using it in our benchmarking tests on HardwareHeaven. With such a pedigree behind it a lot of expectation came with Crysis 2, especially as it included the debut of the new CryEngine 3 engine.
Of course as is normal when games have such high expectations there has been a lot of disappointment at launch, a large part of this due to the removal of some graphics options from the PC version. Those can be added back in manually (until properly enabled in a future patch) but we are delighted to confirm that Crysis 2 delivers on the graphics front, and then some... even without this update. When all is said and done, on a high end system the game looks great, regardless of what some will say. Essentially, whether we are running at high resolution such as 2560x1600 or surround gaming at 5760x1080 the detail on screen is stunning with quality in the models and an environment which looks realistic and has a decent level of destructibility.
In addition to the main gameplay Crysis 2 single player experience includes in game cut scenes which are are well animated and the interaction of characters on screen looks very realistic. These scenes really show off the power of the CryEngine 3 and it's a testament to how good the game looks that Crytek don't feel the need to include any pre-rendered scenes.
Just take a look at our custom images throughout our review to see how great the game looks on maximum detail...
We also want to make mention of the 3D capability of Crysis 2. We tested with NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround and were hugely impressed by how the game looked. It is one of the best examples of 3D gaming to date.
Crysis 2 has in game voice acting via the cut scenes as well as continual information provided to us via our heads up display and overall sections in the game are of a high standard.
The in game sound effects are impressive, ranging from subtle footsteps that give away the position of C.E.L.L. forces to over the top explosions as alien craft crash into New York skyscrapers. The deep rumble of buildings collapsing can be felt in our toes and random gunfire off in the distance adds a sense dread as we make our way through the game.
Crysis 2 also features in game music which is keyed to the onscreen action so during a fire fight the music is fast and frantic and when we stop to catch our breath the music slows as well which adds to the overall atmosphere of the game.
With an engaging single player experience and online multiplayer support that delivers all the first person shooter action we could ask for Crysis 2 is a worthy successor to the original game. Despite a lot of negative press about missing features and lack of DX11 support we are also happy to say that the graphics side of the game is also impressive, though we have no doubt that this will improve further on the PC over time.
||Clever use of the Nanosuit abilities and intelligent enemy AI make for challenging gameplay even at the easiest difficulty setting.
||A lovely looking game, regardless of missing features or DX11 support.
||High quality voice acting throughout with impressive sound effects in game.
||Single player experience plus online multiplayer modes will keep us playing Crysis 2 for some time.
(Not an Average)
||Crysis 2 delivers on all fronts and is a worthy sequel to the 2007 classic.