Gaming Under $20: Crysis 2

Crysis initially gained it’s fame by touting its incredible in-game graphics, but earned that fame by delivering an incredible gameplay and plot. Now, I’m just talking out of my ass, here. I never played the first Crysis, but I certainly did hear all of the rave reviews.  So, when I saw Crysis 2 in the bargain bin, it piqued my curiosity. I wasn’t sure if I should pick this one up, considering I’d have no context for the plot. Was jumping into the Crysis franchise midway a bad decision? Let’s find out if this sequel is worth your hard-scrounged cash.

Since I have no idea what happened in Crysis, I’ll give you the plot from where Crysis 2 begins. You play as a USMC Force Recon Unit called, Alcatraz, being deployed into New York City. Your squad is riding into NYC via submarine (clearly the easiest way to travel in NY) and are attacked by the Ceph. The Ceph are a race of aliens that are trying to….destroy New York? The World? I wish I was being coy, but I really wasn’t sure of their motivation. While your squadmates are busy drowning and being blown up, you’re dragged ashore by The Terminator the super-soldier, Prophet. After a quick blackout, you wake up to Prophet talking about how you have to finish what he started, then he blows his brains out. Spoilers. After hopping into his still-warm suit, your adventure begins!

I just finished the game about twenty minutes ago, but I learned very little about the plot while playing. What tidbits of the story you receive are thrown in during gameplay through telecommunications. Not to say that I didn’t grasp the events occurring, but it’s more that I didn’t understand why the events were occurring in the first place. One thing that holds true during Crysis 2‘s story is to not trust anyone. The main story may lack a bit of narrative, but it certainly makes up for that with exciting set-piece scenes and dramatic battles galore.

The gameplay of Crysis 2 does take an interesting perspective on the First-Person Shooter. While there are many FPS heroes wearing super-suits, Crysis 2 stands apart by making the suit into a character itself. You don’t feel like the ultimate badass, but you feel like you’re working with him. The suit offers a variety of features: Cloaking, Max Armor, Real-time Tactics, Nanovision (Thermal), etc. While most games throw these in as fun little ways to spice up gameplay, Crysis 2 makes the suit’s abilities your linchpin for survival. Instead of simply running around and shooting badguys, this game lets you take a more tactical and planned approach to combat. The suit’s abilities also allows you to play the game in many different ways. Whether you like beefing up your armor and taking the enemy head on, using the environment to your advantage, or stealthily eliminating your enemies one-by-one, you will be able to have a unique gaming experience. Unfortunately, the A.I. is atrocious. Friend or foe, they spend more time running into walls than blind kids in a drywall factory.

The main fault that Crysis 2‘s campaign had was that the environment that it takes place in was quite drab. The game takes place in New York City and that is it. There’s no variety in the settings, just running from one city block to another. Sure, the obstacles and tactics change, but you never want to stop and look around. By the time I beat the game, I was just happy to put in another game and see something different. It’s a lot like listening to an album, but all of the songs mix together and sound the same. Sure, it may be a good album, but nothing stands out or really appeals.

Undeniably, this is one of the most gorgeous games on the current generation of consoles. Shockingly, it was tuned down for the consoles from the original PC version. Just a reminder of how incredible this game looks. There is vivid detail on almost everything, including the impressive character models. If only this powerhouse of graphics was able to flex its muscle on some interesting settings.   Also, the soundtrack was notably good. Then again, with Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer helping out with it, you can expect great things. Not to say that I’d recommend picking it up and jamming out to it in your car, but it is a welcome addition to Crysis 2‘s campaign.

Sadly, Crysis 2 also failed the Acheivement Test. I usually say that, by the time you beat a game, you should have at least 500/1000 points. Not to say that there aren’t exceptions, but if you haven’t accrued at least half of the achievements by beating the campaign, there’s probably too much focus on other aspects. Usually, these aspects are painful, annoying multiplayer achievements. Crysis 2 does avoid having too many multiplayer achievements, but it does have a hefty 210 points dedicated solely to beating the game on its hardest difficulty. Considering the fact that I had plenty of trouble on Normal, I think I’ll pass on the frustration of SUPERSOLDIER difficulty. So, Achievement Hounds, Crysis 2 is a mixed bag. If you’re ready to dedicate yourself to the game, then Crysis 2 can be worth the time. If you’re like me and didn’t think Crysis 2 quite lived up to the hype, then you may consider dodging this shooter.

On a quick note, there is an extensive multiplayer attached to Crysis 2. While dipping my toes, I found that there isn’t a huge online community for it, but you can still find games fairly painlessly. These online matches are particularly intense, since every player has the same abilities as in the campaign. So, hopefully, playing the campaign has made you a pro. The online players have definitely been practicing. Community aside, the multiplayer is fast, exciting, and satisfying. It takes a few chapters out of Call of Duty‘s book, but they implement it well into the Crysis world. You’ll definitely have plenty of fun fighting for your life online.

Crysis 2 may not have been all it was cracked up to be for me, but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t recommend it. The campaign can be very fun, especially when you get to utilize all of the awesome features that come with being the perfect soldier. It may make your PC explode, but Crysis 2 runs smoothly on the Xbox 360, never letting the awe-inspiring graphics slow down the action. The setting and achievements were certainly disappointing, but I’m still glad to have played this game to completion. It is an experience worth having and certainly worth the price of $17.99.

Crysis 2 is well polished and worth the cash

By Blake Edwards

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About Blake

Hi...I'm Blake and I'm a Cinephile. I've been this way since I can remember, although the environment I grew up in certainly contributed to my condition. As much as I love writing about films, I hope you all know that I write this for you. Look at me, Readers. It's all for you!

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