(NOTE: This review was originally written for and published by the UMW Bullet newspaper.)
Even with a suit that lets you turn invisible Predator-style or become nearly invincible, Crysis 2 doesn’t do enough to set itself apart from every other first-person shooter game out there.
One of the most indicative qualities of Crysis 2 is a message that appears in the middle of the screen during cutscenes, letting you know that you can skip the story and get back to the action. If the developers didn’t care about the story, why should you?
Honestly, there’s no reason not to skip the cutscenes. Crysis 2 weaves a tale that’s altogether generic, confusing, aimless, and incredibly boring. If you thought that an alien invasion of New York City would be exciting, you’d be wrong in this case.
You start the game as a Marine named Alcatraz, who gets saved from an early death by some guy from the first Crysis named Prophet, who gives Alcatraz a crazy suit called the Nanosuit 2.0.
And on an adventure you go, wandering around New York like a tourist without a map, shuffled this way and that way, as you try to stop some weird aliens with tentacle dreadlocks that invaded Earth in the original Crysis.
If you think I’m referring to the first game dismissively, rest assured that I’m giving it the same amount of respect that Crysis 2 does.
Alcatraz never really seems to have a mind of his own, being told to go meet this person or kill that person at will. There’s never any cohesive structure to the story, and it ends up feeling like the developers were just making it up as they went along. The game finally comes to a screeching, anticlimactic halt, but there is zero resolution. Instead, it leaves the door open for potentially infinite sequels, none of which sound at all interesting.
That Nanosuit is interesting, for sure, but it’s not enough to save Crysis 2 from feeling shockingly bland. You’ll fight against humans and aliens throughout the campaign, but neither feel too different from each other. When fighting against humans, there’s at least good opportunity for experimentation in your strategies, even if all you ever really need to do is hit the cloak button and walk past everyone.
Fighting against the aliens is no different from fighting against humans, except that you can’t take them out with a single headshot. Instead, if you want to stay stealthy, you’ll have to sneak up behind them and knife them in the back.
Whoever you’re fighting against though, bad artificial intelligence is a huge problem. I lost count of the number of times I came across enemies perpetually running against walls. They’re as dumb as they can get, and never satisfying to kill. I felt more like I was putting some of them out of their misery than engaging in a fair fight.
From what I played of the multiplayer modes in the beta, Crysis 2 was as underwhelming against actual human opponents as it was in the single-player campaign. For the sake of having an informed review, I tried getting into a couple games in the retail copy of the game, but it crashed on me both times. Oh well.
And “oh well” is all you can really say about Crysis 2. It’s the kind of game that comes and goes without any impact. Leave the Nanosuit to Alcatraz and spend your time and money on something more memorable.Crysis 2 / $59.99 / PS3 [reviewed], 360, PC