[Guest review by Darryn Bonthuys]
Thousands have been left destitute, cities have been evacuated and the morale is it an all time low. It’s never been a worse time to be a PC fanboy, now that the resource-heavy Crysis 2 has been released, leaving console players to chuckle in glee. But does it deliver on the high price it has charged for alien-busting gameplay?
With the action taking place in the disaster capitol of the world, New York, it’s clear that Crytek has finally moved on from the lush vistas of tropical islands to a far more gritty and realistic urban jungle, providing a whole new way in which to play the game.
New York has been left devastated in the aftermath of the initial alien attack, while a mysterious plague has ravaged its citizens. After surviving a surprise attack by the Ceph, players assume the role of US Marine Alcatraz, donning the infamous nanosuit, although this time, the suit has a few surprises in store for players.
It’s now up to players to find a way to at least survive the alien onslaught, while battling private military companies that have a vested interest in the suit, and are willing to use any means whatsoever to get their hands on it. While the story does build up some truly epic moments, there is a constant failure to capitilise on them, resulting in a game that comes off as lukewarm in the story department.
Characters are never truly fleshed out, while Alcatraz embodies the now stereotypical role of the silent protagonist, leaving players to be a silent witness to the events happening around them.
Straight from the start of the game, it’s clear that the suit has been streamlined for more natural and intuitive gameplay. Abilities such as speed and strength are reflexive skills that only kick when actually needed, while the armour and stealth abilities have been mapped to the two shoulder buttons on the controller, resulting in on the fly shifting of powers to suit any occasion.
It’s this new radical redesign of the nanosuit gameplay that makes Crysis so interesting, as players can approach combat situations in whichever manner they feel comfortable with. In addition to the core abilities, the suit also has new vision modes, tactical and nano.
Tactical gives players an overview of the current battlefield, highlighting targets and providing logistical support that gives gamers more options for how to neutralise enemies, while nano vision provides heat signatures to help identify camouflaged combatants, especially useful in battle against the Ceph.
The suit itself is also further upgradeable, thanks to alien tissue that can be collected from fallen Ceph. Some upgrades will enhance existing suit functions, while others will provide new abilities, such as tracing bullet trajectories or picking up the movements of soldiers that are currently hunting you.
There’s a whole suite of options available, and only so much alien DNA to go around however, so players will have to be quite picky with which abilities they choose in the end.