Product Type: Electronic Arts PS3 games
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Crysis 2 (PS3)
Member Name: CheesySpam
Crysis 2 (PS3)
Advantages: Gameplay sets it apart from other FPSs; stunning graphics; excellent online multiplayer.
Disadvantages: Very poor story; boring single-player; terrible AI.
The single-player portion of Crysis 2 is... ok. There's not much more to say about it. Yes, the visuals are stunning with a ruined Manhattan setting being a perfect showcase for it, but it doesn't offer the freedom that the original gave to players and it's short. However, to say the multiplayer is impressive would be an understatement. It isn't completely original, but you'll have loads of fun with it unlike the mediocre single-player. If you're looking for a great shooter to play by yourself, you should avoid this. On the other hand, this is definitely a recommendable title if you want to play with others. This seems to be the verdict on a lot of recent action games - it will be nice to see a good single-player experience soon!
I'll start by giving you my overall opinion on Crysis 2's 'plot' (it may as well be non-existent). It's awful. You control Alcatraz, a US soldier. We don't know anything about him, possibly because he doesn't talk. Mute heroes are becoming too common in first-person shooters - just because Half-Life did it, this doesn't mean every shooter after it has to. Your aim is to track down a scientist named Nathan Gould for some unexplained reason, but your squad is attacked. You are saved by soldier Prophet (if you played the original, you'll remember him) and he gives you his Nanosuit - more on that later - before he kills himself as he is infected. From there, you make your way through a crumbling New York, fighting aliens, soldiers and more aliens.
What's your motive? Why are the soldiers in New York? What are the aliens doing there, or more importantly, why does Crytek insist on filling every one of its games with aliens? If (most of) these questions were answered in the game, the story would have been made slightly better or at the very least much more understandable. As I had no idea what on Earth was going on, though, I came to the conclusion that the story was garbage. The characters aren't great, either. Alcatraz isn't developed at all and seemingly has no personality. Gould is a sweary scientist who isn't likeable in any way. Then comes your villain, the generic, macho soldier Commander Lockhart. That's pretty much the main cast and as you can probably tell, they are boring characters to say the least. Even more infuriating is the fact that the lead writer of the game is Richard K. Morgan, a famous sci-fi author. Oh dear.
Strip away the Nanosuit and this is basically a futuristic Call of Duty. Crysis 2 does give you access to this powerful piece of kit and gives you access to a range of abilities. The first, most game-changing one is cloak mode. This allows you to sneak about areas undetected, and makes stealth kills easier to perform. Second is armour mode, which doesn't impact your playing experience. It protects you from explosions and you can absorb more bullets. The third power is the ability to jump higher. Not much more needs to be said really. You also have access to tactical mode, which shows you routes around levels you wouldn't think of taking otherwise. Of course, having unlimited use of these powers would be stupid. An energy bar at the bottom of the screen depletes as you use these powers. In cloak mode, sprinting means your energy is reduced very quickly, while crouching makes it go down much more slowly.
The traditional first-person shooter elements are all present. In your inventory is a primary weapon (submachine gun, rifle et cetera) and secondary weapon (pistol) as well as a set of grenades. The basic controls are similar as well. One feature not seen in many other games in the genre is adding attachment to your weapons in single-player. It isn't groundbreaking, obviously, but it's nice to have some freedom of choice. However, not all of the similarities are positive. For example, the linearity of the game. The first Crysis had a beautiful setting full of green and while it wasn't an open world, there were many paths you could choose from to meet your objectives. On the other hand, Crysis 2 doesn't give you that freedom and so the linearity makes it feel like typical shooters today - Battlefield or Medal of Honor, for instance.
There's another big problem with the game: AI, or artificial intelligence if you're not familiar with these terms. The CryEngine 3, which Crysis 2 uses, apparently has intelligent and realistic AI, but nothing could be further from the truth. Enemies don't do much to keep themselves alive and they seem to have forgotten to put their contacts in. Here's one example: I'm in an enemy's line of vision, I run to a nearby box and the enemy starts looking around for me. It's unacceptable, although it is a good laugh. It doesn't end there, though. Doors are as much an obstacle to your foes as is an electrified floor. I'm really not making this up.
Finally, I'm here, the bit I've been waiting to talk about. Crysis 2's multplayer may have more than small resemblances to Call of Duty, but that doesn't make it any less brilliant. The system is simple: unlock things by ranking up through kills, winning games and reaching milestones. There's also quite some depth, too. Completing skill assessments (for doing things such as winning 25 matches, getting 50 kills with a weapon and more) and ranking up your suit powers will unlock modules for your suit's abilities. An example of a stealth module is lighter footsteps, and armour modules include faster health recharge. You can choose one module from each category to tailor your needs.
There's no real need to explain gameplay here, as nearly everything I covered earlier applies here. The suit powers are still at your disposal and the shooting feels solid and powerful. The AI issues don't apply anymore, of course, as you are playing online, so most of the issues present in the single-player aren't present. Where the multiplayer really succeeds is in how fast-paced and intense it is. You never know when a player is sneaking up behind you, which keeps you on your toes. Looking around in every direction becomes necessary if you want to stay alive.
Like most other multiplayer features in games, the maps are based on areas from the single-player. There is some good map design here. Most of the maps have a large size, and appeal to a lot of playing styles. For example, Skyline has some big open areas which suits the Gunner class while there is a building in the middle of the map which can be climbed upon, which is great for snipers. Other highlights include Wall Street and Impact. The only map I find lacking is Terminal - it's fun to play, but is basically a whole open area. On the whole, though, the maps demonstrate Crytek's potential and are quite varied.
---Graphics and Sound---
Crysis 2 genuinely pushes boundaries in terms of visuals. While the Manhattan setting shows a huge ruin, the graphics makes it beautiful. There are some minor issues, such as bushes and plants not parting as you crouch through them, but otherwise the graphical quality is faultless. It's on par with the visuals of Uncharted and Killzone - whichever looks best is arguable. In terms of sound, things aren't quite as impressive but it isn't bad. Voice acting is quite generic, but there's emotion in the characters' voices. On the music side of things, the main theme is fairly 'epic', if you will, but the music in the game itself isn't particularly memorable. You can listen to the music from the collectibles menu though, which is good. There are some technical issues with the sound, however, such as music being amplified when in an online lobby for some odd reason.
Strong violence and bad language warrants Crysis 2 a 16 rating, from the PEGI. In my opinion, this is just right but there's nothing bad enough that should prevent a 12 year old from playing. Stealth kills allow you to stab enemies and twist their necks and there's a small amount of blood splatter when you shoot at an opponent. The aliens aren't very gruesome and won't scare younger players. There is some strong language, with uses of f**k and minor uses but there is no very strong swearing.
The main criticisms of Crysis 2 sprout from the single-player. First is the abysmal story. It's basic and there are too many questions left unanswered, such as 'what the hell is going on?' That's never good. The gameplay itself is great but the campaign is too boring and easy for the first few hours. By the time things finally get going, you've nearly finished the game. Then there's the frustrating AI, or more suitably AU (artificial unintelligence). Cheesy jokes aside, enemies can't open doors. I'll say that again: enemies can't open doors. If there's a game anywhere with worse AI, I haven't had the fortune to see it. The linearity is also an annoyance. Here's hoping Crysis 3 will feature a bigger world.
It's a shame about the poor story and single-player as a whole, because had it been average at least, I would easily bumped up the rating to five stars. The gameplay is superb, offering different playing methods. Overall, the multiplayer is amazing. It's fast-paced, full of tension and loads of fun to play. The Nanosuit makes you feel powerful, and the shooting is solid. The graphics are fantastic - they're full of detail. The sound is good, despite some technical issues. If you're not a member of the PlayStation Network and don't intend to be one, then drop my rating down one or two stars. For anyone who has a PSN account, however, should rush to purchase this. You'll be hooked for hours and hours.
This review is also posted on Ciao under my name YoshiCheesePuff!
Summary: The single-player campaign is a huge disappointment, but the excellent multiplayer makes up for it.
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