Crysis 2 is better, stronger, but not necessarily ‘bigger' than the original
If there was one game that struck the fear of god into the hearts of PC gamers (or more specifically, their hardware) it was German developer Crytek and Electronic Arts' Crysis. Built on Crytek's proprietary ‘CryEngine 2' graphics engine, Crysis was the most realistic looking shooter (and possibly videogame, period) the world had ever seen at the time of its release in November 2007, but its prettiness came at a cost, a cost which was quite unaffordable by the gaming public. The hardware available at the time could simply not run it, and it wasn't until a year or so later, when graphic card manufacturers Nvidia built a custom monster rig that Crysis was seen running the way it was meant to be run. As a result, Crysis remained an experience that could only be enjoyed fully by PC gaming enthusiasts — and that also meant that it would earn the dubious distinction of being the most pirated game in 2007. Fortunately, all of that has now changed.
Crysis 2 is very similar to its predecessor in a variety of ways and yet completely different. Most significantly, it is a multi-platform release, which means it is now available on Sony's PS3 as well as Microsoft's Xbox 360. And let's not forget the platform on which it was conceived, the PC. The game now runs on the all new CryEngine 3, an improved, more optimised successor to the graphic engine that powered Far Cry, Crysis and subsequently, Crysis Warhead. Not only does the new graphic engine make Crysis 2 look drop-dead gorgeous, it runs ridiculously well on hardware that is extremely affordable (we're talking PC here). On consoles, the game looks great and runs reasonably well for the most part, but without doubt, it's the PC version that steals the show. The game's new setting is New York City, set in the aftermath of an infestation of extra-terrestrial origins. The city has been completely evacuated save for a private military group known as the ‘Cell' brought in to do clean-up and deal with any threats of unearthly origins. Over the course of the game's story, the player's character ‘Alcatraz' becomes the centre of attention for both the Cell as well as our favourite foes, the cephalopod aliens affectionately referred to in the game as the ‘Ceph'. Alcatraz goes on to uncover a conspiracy of gigantic proportions (at times literally) all the while adorning the slick new Nanosuit 2.0, a new and improved version of the original Crysis Nanosuit. Added are several upgradeable suit abilities (this can be done by collecting ‘nano catalyst' from downed Ceph units) and the ability to mix-and-match suit functions — something that was difficult to achieve in the first game. There's tons of new weapons, attachments and explosives, while several favourites such as the SCAR and Gauss Rifle returning to rain death upon enemies. But without doubt, it's the game's new setting that steals the show. While not expansive as the open-world environments of North Korea, Crysis 2's New York City is a sight to behold. You will spend time fighting through office buildings, open roads, subways and even Wall Street! The game also lays out all possible tactical options for you, all of which can be accessed via your binoculars. Combat is as slick as ever, with some epic set pieces involving interesting enemy types. The game's multiplayer modes, while a decent amount of fun, feel very Call of Duty inspired which is a shame, considering Crysis really had something going with the ‘Power Struggle' mode which is conspicuously absent. Fortunately, the single player is solid enough to warrant a purchase.