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Review: Crysis 2

Crysis 2 has many of the elements of your standard scifi first-person shooter.

You play a superhuman who must battle invading otherworld aliens. You’re humankind’s last, great hope. There are lots of cool weapons.

In what could have been just another FPS in a shooter-abundant time in videogames, Crysis 2 elevates the genre with spectacular levels, a strong undercurrent of a storyline and the ability to actually strategize a scenario.

The game also has a sense of humor, with the first achievement gained being “Can It Run Crysis,” an inside joke often used to question whether a PC is up to snuff – if it can play the memory-intensive game Crysis.

Another little side joke early on is found in the sewers strewn with live electrical wires. If Alcatraz touches one, the suit registers the wattage at 1.21 gigawatts, the amount of electricity needed by Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” movies to travel through time.

The game begins as you – Alcatraz, the ordinary Marine – arrive in decimated New York City to rescue a scientist who is needed to continue the fight against the invading Ceph, an armored insect-like race that is heavily equipped and bent on domination.

Crysis 2

Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Rating: Mature
Manufacturer: Electronic Arts

Upon arriving, Alcatraz is mortally wounded and is rescued by Prophet, a soldier wearing the Nanosuit 2.0, a suit that binds with human and Ceph DNA to make the wearer stronger, faster and more deadly than a normal human.
Alcatraz ends up with the suit and with it, direct communications with the scientist.

He begins the journey through NYC, fighting both the Ceph and a faction of the US military intent on handling the invasion it’s own way.

Needless to say, there are ulterior motives behind much of the action.

The Nanosuit is really the star of the game, giving the wearer enhancements when needed.

As it is, the suit affords the wearer increased power and speed, allowing Alcatraz to run faster and deal damage head-to-head against foes.

But assisting in the fight are two modes that can be activated, depending on the situation.

The first is Armor, which fortifies the suit to better deflect damage while in a firefight. A full-on brute attack is the most common use of armor.

The second is Stealth, which shrouds Alcatraz in an invisibility cloak, allowing him to either attack silently or evade confrontation.

Activating either of the modes causes Alcatraz to expend energy, meaning that he can only use them for a limited time. Exerting himself – jumping from buildings or running – uses energy even faster, making strategizing a necessity when confronting a situation.

Helping in the planning is the Tactical Visor that, when activated, pinpoints possible battle options, such as a path to flank the enemy or a good place to snipe from. While the visor is active, no weapon can be used, so it is useful for planning but not in combat.

The visor can also be toggled to Nanovision, which causes heat sources to be highlighted, most handy when cloaked and hunting the enemy. Nanovision also uses energy and can only be used for short periods.

When killing the Ceph, Alcatraz absorbs Nano Catalyst from the bodies, providing the means to enhance the abilities of the suit. Using the catalyst, Alcatraz can upgrade the suit by adding threat detection, stealth enhancements, increased speed and others.

The game also offers a multiplayer mode, with six game types.

Instant Action and Team Instant Action correspond to deathmatch and team deathmatch. Capture the Relay is basic capture the flag gameplay.

Crash Site calls for competing teams to gather energy pods; Assault has players trying to download data from terminals while the opposing team tries to prevent it; Extraction has teams competing for alien “bio-ticks.”

Most of the multiplayer is by the books, but a nice feature that all FPSs should offer is the option to go online in games only populated by players with a rank of 10 and below, allowing new players time to learn the ins and outs of the game among players of somewhat similar abilities.

There’s nothing more discouraging than buying a game a few days or weeks after it comes out and going online to only be repeatedly massacred by upper-level players.

This option at least gives new players a fighting chance early on.

Multiplayer also offers a more traditional game mode called Classic, which features military action without the Nanosuit.

The game features a very good storyline, powerful music and sterling graphics. It also requires you to think about your course of action.

Crysis 2 sets the groundwork for a string of sequels that, hopefully, will be as fun as this one. It’s an excellent game.

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