I will start by saying that I played this game on PS3 on a non-3D television so most likely did not get the same visual experience that most PC players or owners of a 3D TV will have gotten but hopefully that will help me pick away at the important parts of the game like gameplay, story etc. So, on with the review.
Crysis 2 takes place 3 years after its predecessor, where a mysterious plague has gripped New York and the rising threat of invasion from the alien Ceph from the first game has driven most people to evacuate. Martial Law has been declared and a private military company, Cell, owned by CryNet, the creators of the Nanosuits, is in charge of controlling the spread of the virus and protecting the city from the Ceph. You play as special forces marine Alcatraz; a member of an elite group sent into the city to rescue Dr. Nathan Gould, one of the chief designers of the super hi-tech Nanosuits. Inevitably, shit hits the fan, your squad is attacked by the Ceph and you wake up in a warehouse wearing a Nanosuit and with Dr. Gould giving you instructions. So it’s off on a journey of learning for young Alcatraz and for the player as well. I will give Crysis 2 credit for being able to tell an engaging story. The game has a great air of mystery about it as you get told very little about what has happened in the last 3 years and this isn’t helped by none of the main characters from the first game, bar one, appearing at all.
This is good though as it keeps you playing trying to find out more and more. You want to know what the hell is going on and more and more questions pop up throughout the course of the game especially with flashbacks from another character’s past keep playing in your suit. It all boils down to an epic conclusion and a great lead in for the final instalment. It is like the ultimate example of a story telling tool. First game is like act 1, setting up the ultimate question. Crysis 2 is act 2, gathering the tools and skills to answer the ultimate question question and Crysis 3 will hopefully deliver to us the answer in a clever and jaw-dropping manner.
Speaking of jaw-dropping lets get to what the game series is famous for, the visuals. Crysis 2 is very nicely refined as an overall package but when you get into the fine details especially on vegetation it kind of stumbles a bit there but this can be forgiven. No doubt the PC version is considerably more beautiful but on the PS3 I would still put Killzone 3 above it in visuals. The original Crysis for PC had better visuals but that is the price you pay for opting for console.
One thing I will say is that the gameplay let me down a little bit. I enjoyed the complete chaos of destroying every little bit of a building in Crysis, or destroying half a forest with an assault rifle in a drawn out firefight. In Crysis 2, the most you can do is shatter windows and blow up explosives in terms of physics so a little disappointed there considering there was so much potential to be had with New York city as your playground. The changes to the Nanosuit though are something I do like with Strength/Speed being the default mode and a tap of the shoulder button switching to either Stealth or Armour mode. Coupled with the minor level customisation options for each mode and the variety of attachments for your weapons does allow you to shift battlefield tactics accordingly especially if you are like me and get too impatient when stealthing only to do something stupid and get half the army shooting at me.
The AI are generally quite intelligent and communicate to each other quite well although can be rather thick when it comes to finding a dead comrade whereby they check his pulse and move on as opposed to say sounding an alarm but oh well, maybe they are all heartless people.
Another thing I do enjoy about the game is the way it handles its tutorials. Instead of lumping everything on you immediately, Crysis 2 introduces you to aspects of the gameplay as they become appropriate and make it part of the actual gameplay so it doesn’t feel arbitrary or forced but instead is an enjoyable integrated experience.
Overall, I like Crysis 2. Despite its flaws it is still a great game with a plot I genuinely found well crafted. One objection I do have though is the inclusion of collectables throughout the game. Sorry but that should not be a way to get people to replay the game. I do feel a great sense of replayability in Crysis 2 though as the Nanosuit makes gameplay so interesting and varied and replayability is essential here as the game only took me 7 hours to complete on regular difficulty. The game is a very well crafted game but I just didn’t think it beat its predecessor overall. There was so much it could do but didn’t as opposed to the original Crysis which let you do damn near anything.