Burning cars, empty skyscrapers and pink squid aliens wearing futuristic armour. These are just a few of the things I encountered on my recent trip to New York City over Christmas which prepared me for what to expect when I played Crysis 2.
Instead of a tropical island, the sequel to Crytek’s critically acclaimed first game has your nano-suited soldier running around a war-town Manhattan under martial law.
The Crysis series centres on an experimental military suit that gives the wearer all the powers of the Predator and Robocop combined. If the nano-suit were a cocktail, the recipe would be:
• One part bullet-proof armour
• One part invisibility
• One part super-human strength and speed
• Stir with lots of guns and pour over crushed squid aliens
• Serves: Lots of dead enemies
It’s this delicious cocktail that gives the game a good variety in approaching each situation. The urban setting offers a constant switch between tight, linear sections and wide open areas. The wider areas present several options for how to proceed; whether it’s a head-on armoured assault or a stealthier option – sneaking around dispatching enemies quietly.
Despite this variety, eventually the encounters become a little too mundane. Once you’re familiar with the suit’s powers there’s really no fear of dying. Whenever you approach an open area with a lot of enemies, your suit will ruin the surprise by warning you well in advance. The game might tell you to shoot specific areas of the squid aliens’ armour to reveal the delicate pink squishy bit underneath, but they’re pretty much one big delicate squishy bit. I discovered their secret weakness quite quickly. Here’s a hint: bullets.
That’s not to say it’s a total snooze-fest. The game does include some interesting vehicle sequences, the opening levels were visually impressive and the action definitely ramps up towards the end both in scale and gameplay. The whole point of a Crytek game is the mind-blowing visuals of a high-end PC running it on full graphics options and Crysis 2 doesn’t disappoint. I kept catching myself staring at the iconic New York City locations from the tops of buildings instead of doing what I was supposed to.
Recreations of Times Square and the Financial District really grab your attention as you’re playing even if you haven’t been to the city. If you have, it’s a spooky feeling. I stood in the same spot on a street I’d been standing on just a few months previous. Except, instead of explaining to a street vendor that what he calls a “Gyro” is called a “Kebab” back in Australia, I was power-punching a squid alien in the face. Video games are amazing.
Crysis 2 probably isn’t going to be remembered in five years time as a historic moment in gaming, but it’s another quality addition to a series quickly growing into a franchise. The multiplayer’s worth checking out for a good twist to the standard shooter. We have servers running on our gaming site, 3FL.
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