Crysis 2 review: This sequel picks up after the events of the original game, dropping you in the middle of a near-future NYC
- Gripping campaign that plays out across 10+ hours, looks incredible in 3D, great balance of sci-fi and real-world, multiplayer is awesome
- Uninspired alien designs, campaign loses steam midway through, requires too much reloading and weapon-swapping.
Crysis 2 is a stellar sci-fi shooter, featuring a gripping single-player campaign, action-packed multiplayer, and some jaw-dropping visuals.
Playing Crysis 2 on a 3DTV is another highlight of my experience with the game. It doesn't necessarily use 3D in ways we haven't seen before, but the game's jaw-dropping visuals and its imaginative vision of a post-alien invasion New York City really pop in 3D. Moments like one where you're exchanging rockets with an enemy helicopter through the shattered windows of an abandoned office building are intensified as smoke, debris, and bullets are flying directly into your face. Once you batter the chopper sufficiently, it crashes into the building, nearly decapitating you with its rotors. Crytek does a good job of balancing the depth of 3D, too. Most of the game's 3D effects are subtle, which makes moments that aren't -- like my chopper fight --more impactful.
There's a laundry list of things I like about Crysis 2, but the game is not without its faults. The most glaring issue I have is that the campaign loses steam about 4 hours in. Granted, it's a long game: 10 hours if you blast through it; 12 if you're like me and repeatedly get your ass handed to you and need to take beer breaks to rethink your battle plan. But there's a noticeable chunk of the game halfway through that just isn't very fun -- where you're exploring bland environments and engaged in tedious missions, like defending location after location from onrushing attackers. Keeping the momentum going through a 10+ hour game surely isn't easy, but this takes away from the otherwise exceptional campaign, which does pick up at the end. In fact, without spoiling it, I have to admit the final mission is pretty damn cool.
Another more minor quibble I have with the game is the uninspired creature designs. For a game that really carries itself on its often mesmerizing visuals, Crysis 2's aliens don't look very interesting, or even that different from things we've already seen in other sci-fi games. But aside from the temporary lull in the campaign and the generic aliens that mar the otherwise gorgeous presentation, there really isn't anything major I didn't like about Crysis 2.
This review is primarily based on my hands-on time with the Xbox 360 version of Crysis 2, but I did get the chance to play other versions. I played the PlayStation 3 version, and it looks and plays virtually identically to the 360 build (although I only played the single-player mode on PS3). It's really more a matter of console preference than any one particular version having a perceivable advantage over the other. The PC version, however, is an entirely different beast that shows off the incredible level of detail Crysis 2's capable of delivering. Granted, I played it on a ridiculously fancy gaming rig with the game spread across 3 separate monitors in a quasi-IMAX fashion, powered by two GTX 580 GPUs in SLI mode on an X58 motherboard, with an Intel Core i7 and 6GB of memory. I honestly have no idea what any of this means, but this is certainly not a cheap gaming rig, and it gives an idea of how insanely good you can make the game look if you're playing on PC.
After playing Crysis 2 for 20+ hours in the span of just two days, I'm still not sick of the game. Crysis 2 is a riveting first-person shooter I highly recommend to fans of the genre, as well as those looking for something to showcase the might of their 3DTV. It ain't perfect, but Crysis 2 has plenty to offer both fans of multiplayer and gamers who prefer a well-crafted solo campaign.
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