Crysis 2 (Limited Edition)  (Xbox 360, 2011) Reviews
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Crysis 2 (Limited Edition) (Xbox 360, 2011)

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Mar 19, 2011 (Updated Mar 29, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Nanosuits offer a new combat experience to the traditional FPS.

Cons:The console version of Crysis2 pales in comparison to it's PC counterpart/prequel in numerous ways.

The Bottom Line: Though Crysis2 is an awesome achievement, it's proof positive that neither the 360 or the PS3 are technologically up to the task of running a PC quality shooter.


Sure this is CRYSIS 2, but, what was CRYSIS 1???

 

The premise of the first game was relatively simple. You and 3 other special forces operatives were dropped into the jungles of a fictional Asian island to investigate the disappearance of a science team that located extraterrestrial technology.  The island was teaming with heavily armed North Koreans that you needed to systematically shoot, choke,  blow up and otherwise inconvenience.  To help you in your journey, you donned a high tech “nano muscle suit” which allowed you to become super strong, jump super high, run super fast and even become invisible. In order to succeed, you had to properly manage these abilities to stealthily murder the enemy and rescue the science team.
 
Unfortunately, near the end of the game, the alien technology awoke and suddenly flash froze the entire island leaving the miserable North Koreans little more than ice statues.  You then had to battle the aliens to stop them from openly invading the Earth.  Your mission was a failure and now, the aliens have decided to attack openly.

Crysis, released by German game maker, Crytek, in 2007, was a first person shooter that was actually a “technology demonstrator” – a game designed specifically to showcase the abilities of advanced computer rigs running  DirectX10.  Crysis contained virtually every single graphic and physics trick in the book  - many of which haven’t been seen on the home video game consoles to this day.  As a testament to its design, you still need an expensive computer with expensive parts to get the full experience from it.  The full experience is found in the now iconic: “Very High” mode.

It was the type of game that kids who’ve never owned a gaming computer could never fully fathom. Maps that are literally “kilometers” wide with scattered vehicles to help traverse them.  Gameplay that doesn’t hold your hand, help you succeed or forgive mistakes. Enemies that have complex artificial intelligence.  Portable nuclear weapons with massive destructive power.  Multiplayer matches that could take hours to win – in battles being waged by up to 32 players.
 
Kids nowadays think Halo and Call of Duty are the best FPS games ever. People like me who’ve been playing PC games since the 90’s know better.  In fact, you don’t get a fraction of the gameplay on the console that you used to get on the PC.   1998’s Unreal or Half Life blew Halo away in virtually every way.  1999’s Counter Strike will still be being played long after the last Call of Duty sequel is shelved. Simply put, unless you’ve played PC, you have no idea what you’ve been missing.

What the PC games have always offered is massive scale and interactivity that you simply don’t find on the consoles due to their technological limitations.  Although Crysis didn’t offer the gore I’d have expected from a post-Soldier of Fortune game, it’s revolutionarily beautiful High definition graphics and advanced physics engine offered a gaming experience that I was almost certain Crysis2 - developed specifically for the consoles - wouldn’t be able to match.
I was 100% right.
 
CRYSIS 2’s GAMEPLAY feels like a hybrid of Crysis and Call of Duty, but, it leans further towards the latter than the former.
In this game, you star as “Alcatraz” – U.S. Special forces soldier who survives an alien attack, only to be chosen by Prophet - one of the protagonists from the first game – to don his Nanosuit and use it to help scientists discover the origin of the invading aliens and develop a cure for a biological plague which is literally turning humans to mush.
 
What Crysis2 does well is making the suit give you a feeling of power in the singleplayer mode.  Power jumping emits a springy hydraulic sound.  You bash in doors with loud powerful kicks – as if you have no need for door handles. You can see your strengthened hands grab ledges to pull your body up.  You can walk up behind enemies and break their necks or even choke hold them with one hand until you decide to either throw them over a ledge or rip out their throat.  You can even charge up a punch or kick to kick cars into other people!!!  The suit is absolutely awesome.  

The designers used the nanosuit to implement Crysis2’s version of COD4’s “perks” system. By playing the game and gaining XP, you unlock perks for your suit. Some allow you to move quieter. Some let you detect enemies as they enter your proximity. More sophisticated perks allow you to see footsteps and paths taken by cloaked enemies.  One perk decreases the energy drain speed of your suit.  Unfortunately, that last one is a necessity because every single thing you do drains energy. Running drains energy. Jumping drains energy. You can cloak yourself in invisibility and even activate an armor density increase, but, those drain your energy even more.   Just moving around causes you to have to consciously balance your energy usage, less you end up vulnerable when enemies are on your tail. 

The player customization and rewards system is designed behind Call of Duty’s.  You earn experience points (XP) as you play and are later allowed to unlock better weapons.  With new weapons unlocked, comes the possibility of unlocking better attachments for those weapons. You want a reflex sight?  Unlock it! Want a silencer?  Unlock it!   The longer you play and experiment with different weapons classes, the more weapons you can access.  In the singleplayer game, upgrades are handled similarly, although, you’ll need to kill aliens and collect their tissue's nanocatalysts - another version of XP points.

Killstreaks are rewarded similar to COD4 too - although each map has its own list of 3 killstreak bonuses.  Kill 3 guys in a row - you can activate a radar that shows your team the entire map. Kill 5 - you can activate an orbital laser ala: Gears of War.  Kill 7 and use an airstrike against a portion of the map.  The battles are so violent that for the most part, killstreak bonuses won't interrupt your game experience. The other guys will be too busy dying to gain streaks.  


CONTROL will never be as tight on the console as it is on the PC. However, Crysis2 handles brilliantly despite the need to fit a humongous amount of options on the 360's controller.  The standard FPS buttons such as aiming and shooting are handled like they are in other games while the nanosuit itself requires numerous toggles for speed, armor, cloaking, melees and upgrading.  Sometimes controls can become confusing in the heat of battle and you'll end up pushing the wrong button, but, Crysis2's controls are well thought out and well optimized for the consoles.

A stellar feature is the ability to upgrade your nano suit and even customize your weapons in game.  Like the original, you can add/delete attachments - (silencers, scopes, launchers and reflex sights) at will -  in an innovative FPS view.

The maps are miniscule compared to the original’s and they are reminiscent of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2’s with more devastation.  Small maps with random spawn points mean that you get less time to actually move/explore before you come in contact with the enemy.  Crysis2 could take a lot of lessons from Battlefield2.

And whatever happened to teamwork?  In the good ole days, you needed to coordinate with teammates to move around the maps and assault specific control points. Now - you simply start; shoot whoever you happen to see;  wash - rinse and repeat.  
It's just not as exciting as it should be.  This is part of the reason I shy away from Team deathmatch modes and prefer to fight alone.


The thing that bothers me about Crysis2 is that it doesn’t offer the same feeling of stalking a lesser armed, lesser armored enemy that you got from cutting down the unprepared, human, North Koreans in your supersuit. Killing humans in these games is always more exciting than fighting aliens because it feels more realistic. That said, the human enemies here are no pushover. Make the mistake of leaving cover and you'll meet what feels like a coordinated attack on your position.  I watched, astounded, as one attacker lifted up a barrier to attempt to gain cover from the position he thought I was still sniping him from. 
The other enemies in this game are aliens with their own exosuits and they never offer a tremendous challenge because their behavior falls into only a few categories. Some will rush you for a melee attack, some will try to outflank you and the final type will lay down heavy fire to pin you down. Your aces in the hole are the ability to cloak perpetually and to use the tactical opportunities of the map to your advantage. Aliens on your tail will almost never be able to get the drop on you and you’ll outsmart them continuously.  It would have helped if the alien enemies had motion sensors like the Marines in AvP to detect you when cloaked. 

Instead of making things too easy, I played through the game on "supersoldier" (hardest) difficulty.  Enemies gain eagle eyes and high accuracy at a distance, but they still can't hit what they can't see and frequently suffered path tracking issues around numerous physical obstacles.

I enjoyed the way the original game escalated the conflict rather than giving me an exotic enemy to start with early on.  I enjoyed the way the original gave me a huge, beautifully detailed world to explore – allowing me to approach each situation however I saw fit. Crysis2 excells in the "sandbox" moments where you are dropped in the middle of a large zone with ammo, enemies and opportunities.  Battles can play out in many different ways, but, you'll often be locked down and unable to move to the next scripted event until completing the objective. Some of the battles play out very well, but, Crysis vets will prefer to have the choice of simply walking around and marveling at the environment, rather than being forced down the linear path.  Some of the roaming freedom found in the first game is missing here and because of that lack thereof, Crysis2 may be an excellent shooter, but it’s far from being the full Crysis experience.


GRAPHICS are excellent for the console, but, disappointing if you've got a gaming PC.  Oh yes - they are well rendered, well detailed and have plenty of items that roll around, glass that breaks and water that spills into pools to showcase the effects of the game engine, but, for the most part, these graphics are a pittance compared to what the PC user is getting.  This new game engine: “CryEngine3”, at its best, isn’t as good as Crysis’ CryEngine 2 on its medium settings.  Draw distances are much lower on CE3 – with some objects popping into existence.
 
All enemies look alike.  Shadows don’t render as quickly as they do on the PC version and environmental lighting isn’t as dynamic.  Worst of all is some lag found between shooting an object and actually affecting it.  The tremendous interactivity seriously stresses the console.  (UPDATE: An update via XBOX Live patched some of the graphical glitches)

If you are fortunate enough to have an HDMI equipped 360 and a 3D HDTV, you can even run Crysis2 in 3D. I'll update this review once I actually play a few matches using it.

The one thing I found odd was the change from the enemy's color theme to red (from the original game's blue) and the change of the nanosuit's theme to blue (from the original game's red). Are we fighting the same race of aliens here?




SOUND DESIGN is probably the best I've ever witnessed. You'll need a good surround system to get the most out of it. The nanosuit has a long list of characteristic sound effects that are well scripted. Gunshots emit realistic reports and  echos depending on your surroundings. Enemies radio chatter and mechanical growls sound convincing enough.  The new soundtrack doesn't strike me as well as the first game - which had an  awesome theme and spectacular combat music, but, there are some audio clips that are tremendously well done. Many of them are far superior to the whimsical Halo soundtracks.   Among sound designers, much of Crysis' soundtrack was put together by Hans Zimmer - the man behind Speed, The Rock, Black Hawk Down and  Batman Begins.  Don't worry, you're in good hands here!




OVERALL

The PC user of Crysis2 with a stellar gaming rig will be spoiled while console gamers may find themselves drifting back to Black Opts Multiplayer after a week or two of playing this game. Yes Crysis2 is awesome, looks different and feels different than what your currently playing, the gameplay and the story could have been further improved if it was designed more like the original. 


The reason I'm giving this game a 5 star rating, however, is aside from it being slightly inferior to the PC version, it's a loud, violent, rampaging battle with some spectacular firefights.  I'd give the overall effort a 9/10.

There are some graphical glitches to be found, but, most can be solved by either dying or repeating a checkpoint. Once, I got stuck underwater and ended up behind the background completely by accident. The next playthrough, I moved ahead easily.

If, you are buying this game on the console, to get the most out of it, you'll need no less than a 37" widescreen LCD  and a good sound system. At the office, I'm using a 5.1 with a good subwoofer and I'm enjoying the experience. I'm also using a 7.1 Klipsch at home for the PC version.  Once you get past the long first act of the game, the firefights and battles heat up tremendously.

I’ve been waiting for this game for over a year. I’m happy it’s finally here – breaking the monotony of endless Call of Duty/ HALO  sequels – but, it’s not all I’d hoped for. I really think Crytek should have remade Crysis1 and released it on the consoles first, before bringing this sequel. This way, console gamers would get a chance to experience the game’s origins.  If you have a PC, I’d recommend that version of Crysis2 over Crysis2 on the console. 


Recommend this product? Yes


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