Crysis 2 Xbox 360
Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Crytek
It's rather bizarre to be playing a sequel to Crysis on a console. The game was released a few years ago and was famous for bringing even the best PC specifications to its knees and even today it's a game that can still severely test the capabilities of the latest PC hardware. It's rather a big surprise then to find the game's sequel not only looking very good but also running fairly smoothly on the Xbox 360. For the most part Crysis 2 is an impressive game but there are some aspects of it that could have been improved upon.
In Crysis 2 you'll play as a marine known as Alcatraz. The game, set in a futuristic New York City, begins with what can only be described as a disaster. Alcatraz is part of a team aboard a submarine whose job it is to extract a certain Doctor Nathan Gould. Alcatraz and his team are attacked however and only Alcatraz remains when a man known simply as "Prophet" rescues him. Alcatraz is given the Nanosuit 2.0 by "Prophet" and is told that he must protect Doctor Gould. New York is a dangerous place for Alcatraz as not only are the military, who are desperate to get their hands on the Nanosuit 2.0, out to get him but the city is also in the process of an alien invasion by the Ceph and Alcatraz has to deal with both of these nuisances.
One of the really pleasing features of Crysis 2's single player campaign is that, for the most part, you have a good deal of freedom in achieving your goals. Some of the levels are huge and there's a lot of scope for navigating them in multiple ways. As a result, you aren't always forced down a specific route to get the job done and for a console FPS that is certainly refreshing. Of course the abilities that the Nanosuit 2.0 bestows on Alcatraz help to give you a lot more options. Thanks to the Nanosuit 2.0, Alcatraz will be able to perform huge jumps, withstand tremendous amounts of damage and turn invisible among other things that will greatly enhance his combat ability. At times this is great as you can do large jumps to reach otherwise unreachable ledges and kick otherwise unmovable objects, such as a car, a fair distance. It's also worth mentioning that the Nanosuit 2.0 is upgradeable using the Nano Catalysts that you'll take from the fallen aliens and this definitely helps to continually enhance the experience as you progress through the game.
However, just when you think the game has given you virtually limitless freedom to do what you want, you'll realise that there are limits. In a multistorey car park for instance you should be able to kick out a safety grille to allow you to descend to the streets below. For some reason you can't do this and yet in the same location you can freely kick a car around. Such limitations are annoying and do detract from the experience a little.
There are some ways in which Crysis 2 could have been better. As excellent as the action is for most of the game, it's kind of a shame that the game doesn't really have any memorable characters. The storyline takes a few hours to really become interesting which may deter some. I should point out however that it's one of those rare games that progressively gets better and by the end of the game you'll be satisfied with the storyline as a whole which is something you can't say for many FPS titles. The AI certainly could be better and at times they don't make great use of cover and are all too easy to pick off. There are even times when the AI doesn't seem to be aware of your presence when you're right next to them which seems odd.
The multiplayer aspects of Crysis 2 are solid, if not spectacular. Unfortunately there is no support for local multiplayer and you can't play through the campaign co-operatively online. The modes on offer include variants of the standard Team Death Match, Death Match, Capture the Flag and others and whilst they are enjoyable to play there's nothing particularly memorable about them. That said, you do gain experience and unlock an assortment of items to further enhance the experience. With long-term play being rewarded in such a fashion, it does keep you coming back for more.
Visually Crysis 2 is a very impressive looking Xbox 360 title. The quality of the visuals are arguably as good as those found in any other Xbox 360 game to date. The lighting effects are stunning, as is the scale of destruction that you'll see throughout the game. The frame rate remains fairly decent throughout too, even when the action is at its most intense. There are a few spots where dips are noticeable but it's never to the point where it affects the gameplay. Load times are also pretty impressive even without installing the game to the Xbox 360's hard drive. Crysis 2 also supports 3D visuals for those who have a compatible TV set but it's not something we can comment on as we don't have access to such a TV. The game does have its fair share of graphical and animation glitches however and it's hoped that future updates can rectify the majority, if not all of these.
Crysis 2 is subtitled but the subtitles aren't enabled by default. All of the cut scenes in the game are subtitled so you'll be able to follow the storyline without any problems. The cut scene dialogue doesn't feature any character names or portraits alongside the dialogue to make it crystal clear who is speaking at all times but for the most part there are no real problems. All important dialogue during the main game is subtitled. Some peripheral dialogue, such as the speech from nearby radios and enemy military, isn't subtitled but whilst this does detract a little from the game's ambience it doesn't cause any problems. You are notified visually when a checkpoint has been reached and there are icons to warn you when a grenade has been thrown in your immediate vicinity. All objectives and tutorial messages are displayed in text. The game even includes a stealth meter to show you how aware the enemies are of your presence. On the whole then Crysis 2 is a pretty good experience for deaf gamers.
I daresay when Crysis 2 was first announced for the Xbox 360 there were more than a few who either thought the game wouldn't be able to do the graphically splendid series justice or that it wouldn't do well on a console. Suffice to say that not only have developers Crytek proved the doubters wrong, they have also managed to create what is arguably the best looking Xbox 360 game to date and for the most part it performs well too. More importantly however, this is a very enjoyable FPS that's quite unlike any other game in the genre on the Xbox 360. If you've even a passing interest in the FPS genre, the chances are that you'll really appreciate what Crysis 2 has to offer.