Finally to the appreciation and excitement of gamers and FPS fans, the Crysis franchise has come to consoles. Crytek and EA have really dumped all of their resources into making this hugely popular PC title into a worthy console sibling. The game is known for its visuals and solid gameplay on the PC and you can believe that fans would expect the same on the console. Well, EA and Crytek took on the challenge and I have to say they succeeded beyond my expectations.
There is so much to write about when it comes to this game that I have to think about where to even start. So here we go.
Visually the game is superb. Crytek and EA boast the game as the innovator when it comes to graphics on console games. I definitely am not one to say they are wrong. The environments alone are stunning with large backdrops of a mangled and distraught New York City. The weather effects such as pouring down rain look absolutely phenomenal and I honestly have never seen weather so defined in a game before. But itís not just the environment that looks fantastic. The people in the game look unbelievable and very life like. Emotions can be seen in their faces and the alien race which you will be introduced to is freakishly scary. Think Predator meets Alien type of alien life forms. Wow. For those that have the ability and technical hardware the game can be played in 3-D as well.
There were some clipping issues here and there with enemies and helicopters getting stuck in buildings and walls, but if you moved and looked away from the area it usually released them. I think the attention to the visuals was so great that things like this are bound to happen. The game uses the CryEngine that adds amazing lighting effects and a true representation of the New York City cityscape. Well minus the burning buildings and crumpled roads and well just the warzone in general. The games visuals were just jaw dropping and I have to agree when Crytek says it is setting the bar in console gaming graphics. Just wow. Iíll say it now though. Someone is going to raise hell about the burning buildings of New York City and the buildings that are toppled to the ground. Those visuals do have an eerie resemblance to September 11th. While I am just as pained and sensitive about September 11th as the next guy, the visuals that Crytek provides for us show what a war torn New York city would look like. It has nothing to do with September 11th, so I hope EA and Crytek donít hear too much backlash. I think itís well done and makes no reference to that terrible day in American history other than in one's mind. Itís only a game telling a story.
The sounds in the game are heart pounding from the different environmental sounds to the climatic background music. There is 6 hours of music composed for this title and some of it is performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. The character voiceover work is believable and adds value to the entire story. The gun play and ambient environmental sounds echo and ring through the streets of New York. Buildings crumble to the ground giving people a bit of a flashback to that dreaded September day in 2011. The entire story hinges on the audio of the game and the developers did a great job delivering on that aspect.
Letís get into the single player campaign a bit. I have been having a blast playing this nonstop taking out enemies in creative ways while searching for collectibles all through the city. Once the game went into the console, it hasnít been removed and I have been hooked. There are not too many games that can do that to me.
The single player campaign is somewhere in the area of 6 to 7 hours depending on whether you just run straight through it or now. Now I am terrible so it takes me a lot longer and I like to search for collectibles as well so itíll definitely take me longer. You play the role of Alcatraz, a marine grunt that inherits the Nanosuit. I wonít get to far into the storyline so no worries about spoilers throughout this review. Anyhow, for those that do not know, the Nanosuit is a super soldier suit based upon alien technology. It integrates with the soldier inside and amplifies your abilities in 4 areas: Strength, Speed, Stealth and Weaponry. Youíll still use guns as your primary source of weapon but youíll have suit enhanced abilities to support those times when you are in close combat or out of ammo. All of the abilitiy areas can be upgraded which you will learn about as you play the game.
Along with your abilities the suit gives you, youíll also have a special visor that allows you to see tactical points as well as heat sources. With a press of the D-Pad up, you can turn your visor on to see these tactical points, ammo dumps and enemy presence. Press the D-Pad down and youíll have access to Nanovision which allows you to track enemies in low light as well as enemies that may have cloaked. Just these features of the suit alone shed a completely new perspective on how to play the game.
Youíll have a stealth mode that uses suit energy that you can activate at anytime. This allows you to move about a map undetected. When moving around, your suit energy depletes faster than when sitting still. So youíll have to be smart when to use the stealth and when to stay put. One of the cool things about being stealth is the ability to sneak up on enemies and stealth kill them from behind. You can also grab them by the throat and choke them to their death. Youíll want to do both because achievements are waiting for you after you perform so many of each.
There is plenty of ammo supply scattered throughout each level so youíll never really run into an issue of no ammo or weapons. There are a total of 22 weapons at your disposal throughout the game ranging from pistols to machine guns to launchers with all sorts of attachments. Most times you can find things just by looking around. While the game is a linear type of game itís truly a sandbox that allows you to roam and take different paths to your objective. So be sure to check out everything in each area you visit. Youíll find collectibles such as dog tags, souvenirs and email points on each level. Pause the game to see what you need to collect on the level.
Not only will you be running on foot, but there are also vehicle modes as well that will put you in armored vehicles that allow you to lay the smack down on the enemy with high powered weaponry. There are also missile launching weapons for taking down pesky aircraft that have every intention of taking you out first.
The story was pretty darn good overall. Have I experienced better storylines in a game? Yes. But the story in this game gets the job done and in the end youíll have more fun testing the limits of your Nanosuit 2.0 more than anything. I do wish there would have been a little more to the single player campaign, but I will say there are definitely some shocking moments in the story so be sure you play the whole way through the game. One thing that could have been better is the checkpoint system. There are many saved checkpoints through the campaign, but at times they seemed very spread apart and a few times I did get frustrated having to restart somewhere after getting so far. Many of you though are into the multiplayer aspects of gaming hence the reason we have Xbox Live. Well let me tell you, Crysis 2 is a great experience online as well.
When going online youíll be able to create classes and equip the weapons and abilities that you want to match your gameplay style. One thing to note is that Crysis 2 does not use the EA Online Pass which I found very surprising. There are 50 rank levels online and you can do whatís called a Reboot 5 times. Itís very similar to the Prestige mode in Call of Duty where youíll forfeit all your upgrades for bragging rights. As you play online youíll also be able to obtain dog tags similar to the Battlefield series. For instance, my very first award I obtained was the ďClay PigeonĒ which is awarded for ďMost time killed in the airĒ during a match. Ok, haha, you can stop laughing now. There are 4 categories of tags: General, Mystery, Medals, and Awards.
Youíll have access to Leaderboards, Your Service record, Unlocks, Skill Assessments and even a Clan Tag. The UI is well designed and easy to navigate and when you have something new to view it will be marked with a yellow star. I really like the overall wrap-up it gives you of your online career which is visible in the Operative Status menu option. There is an option to join the Crysis website to be able to view all your stats online.
For those that like the Customize, there is plenty of that to be done. Youíll be able to create up to 5 Custom Classes. To have all 5 classes unlocked youíll have to get to level 25. You can set up your weapons, attachments and your Suit Modules which can be things like Air Stomps, Stealth enhancements and extra power. There are also upgrades for the items that will have goals for you to accomplish. For example, to get the Grade II Air Stomp you will have to Kill 50 Enemies with the Air Stomp.
There are 6 game modes to choose from when going online: Team Instant Action, Crash Site, Instant Action, Assault, Capture the Relay and Extraction. You can use any of the 4 default classes or any of your custom classes in these matches. Being successful in any of the game really depends on how well you use your suits abilities and the class you choose or set up. Everything in this game is tactical. Sure you can run and gun, but chances are you wonít be at the top of the Leaderboard unless you are that good or unless you are one on one with me.
Overall, there is not much to complain about with Crysis 2. Sure there are some clipping issues here and there, but hit detection is great and the AI is fantastic most of the time. I donít expect a game to be 100% perfect ever and while Crysis 2 is not perfect it is pretty darn close to being considered that with the visuals alone. I ran into one hiccup during single player where my gun vanished from my hands. It was after a respawn and I could hear the gun firing and could see my aiming reticule but no weapon was to be seen. Only my hands were visible. It only happened to me one time so I would not consider it an issue at all. Other than that I have nothing to address in the complaint department with this game. Sure maybe the campaign could be longer but in essence it seems to be right on par with every other shooter out there when it comes to campaign length.
I could go on and on about the little things in this game but in the end they are best when experienced personally. This review would be 20,000 words by the time I was done digging into everything the game has to offer. Let me just say this and be done, Crytek has done a fantastic job bringing this franchise to the console and I look forward to the future of the franchise on consoles as well. Both the multiplayer and single player modes in this game give you great gaming experiences. Whether itís the visuals that blow you away or solid gameplay, youíll definitely want to play this one for a while. In a gaming world that seems to be saturated by first person shooters, especially on the Xbox 360, Crysis 2 will stand out as one of the better shooters overall. There is a little bit of everything in this game to keep even the pickiest gamer satisfied. If you are a fan of the Crysis franchise than you need to definitely grab this game for your gaming library. If you have never played Crysis before then you are in for a treat my friend. Have fun!