Crysis 2


Written by Chris Price
04 Monday 04th April 2011

Home consoles had the software range but the PC was the first person shooter’s home turf. Those weasily home consoles, with their menial processing power, pah. Crysis was a PC title, with PC requirements...

Jump forward to 2011, beyond the announcement that Crysis 2 would debut on consoles. Beyond the PR penis-fencing from Crytek that they had ‘mastered’ console hardware. Beyond the screams emanating from the PC community, “Traitors!”

In reality, the new CryEngine 3 that powers the Crysis 2 experience could have been less evolution, more compromise, porting this digital man-beast to home consoles. But Crytek are keen to show exactly what they've achieved – your first gameplay achievement being “Yes, my PS3 can play Crysis 2”.

The ‘Be The Weapon’ tagline puts Crytek's cards on the table from the start, as an identikit soldier assumes the role of supersoldier and humanity's last hope ‘The Prophet’ - and sets to work rinsing the Cloverfield from New York City. Your outfit also functions as a civil partner through the chaos, providing vocals and channelling the bleak remorseless spirit of the Robocop trilogy.

Your Nanosuit outfit is the equator of ability. Blending the charged athletics of Vanquish’s DARPA suit with the rugged toughness of the Helghast's armour, it provides a very real connection with the character on screen. After the sluggishness incumbent in recent FPS games, it’s liberating to be able to run across rooftops, leap like a superhuman and effortlessly grab onto a distant ledge. Echoing the acrobatic rampage across rooftops that made the likes of Crackdown such an enjoyable caper.

The suit also proves a key element to gameplay options. Enhanced open battlefields deliver a series of tactical options via the suits HUF  - ammunition dumps, stealth kills, ledges to reach higher ground and sniper units. Cloak and move undetected between each enemy unit, snapping necks of isolated soldiers or enable maximum armour and get up close and personal.

Attachments are available (silencers, infrared, further jumps) giving you offensive choices depending on your choice of attack – but with some tough enemy AI who call on reinforcements once you’re spotted, taking the stealth route between each location is often preferable.

Whether it's a compromise or not, Crysis 2 looks stunning. Either illuminated by the morning sun projecting the shadows of swaying leaves on the ground, or the flicker of a burning Brooklyn taxi, every visual element exudes high production value. From the motion blur as you look around, or enemy helicopters dropping through ceilings and alien craft buckling skyscrapers. It’s chock-full of preposterous detail and clever little asides.

It’s good that the suit is so animated, because the story element is dull as deep beige. Something about a scientist, some aliens... I wasn’t really paying attention. But where Crysis 2 slips up is in the multiplayer department. The excellent multiplayer levels perfectly complementing the Nanosuit's abilities are let down by (at the time of writing) some severe lag issues with the multiplayer missions. Online matches are a Frankenstein’s monster of clipping, strange physics, and unregistered hits. Patches are on the way, according to Crytek HQ.

Crysis 2 does succeed in delivering cinematic experiences that it promised. Its combination of glorious sci-fi silliness plus the customisability of each battle provides a competent illusion of control over the game's sequences. Were it not for multiplayer mode's hosting options and some forgettable extraneous elements (each vehicle in the game is pretty much useless), Crysis 2 could well have shot for the stars. As it stands, it’s an advanced FPS that will certainly appeal to the hardcore. It's strong on vision, weak on experience, but unique enough to stand out in a crowded console market. And it's certainly proving to be a worthy defector. PC purist might well need that new figurehead...

Crysis 2 is out now on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3

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