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Crysis 2 a technical marvel for gamers

By Ivan Favelevic
On April 20, 2011


Back in 2007, a game came around that was received as more of an interactive benchmark for your computer than an actual video game. Computer freaks around the world would base the performance of their system on how well they could run the game, while others dropped bets of $500 in the hopes that an upgrade would be able to run this holy grail. This game was Crysis, and despite all the fanfare about its insane graphics, there was a revolutionary game underneath. It sought to separate itself from the obvious and allow the player to make his or her choice when approaching a problem. It sparked a new wave in PC gaming, and left console gamers in the dust.

Now, Crysis 2 is out, and through some work of magic, Crytek has managed to bring the much-adored PC revolution to home consoles without a hitch.

Despite being a sequel, Crysis 2 does not require that users play the original in order to understand what is going on. The game places you in the shoes of a marine named Alcatraz, who has been sent to New York City in the middle of a viral outbreak in order to retrieve the one man that may have the cure. Of course, things do not go as planned and the player is given control of a super suit as you try to complete objectives in the middle of an alien invasion. It may sound ridiculous on paper but the story is delivered in a mature and calculated way. And, sure, some of the voiceovers are on the wrong side of campy, but the game does a good job of making the player care about what you are fighting for.

As mentioned earlier, the player has the control of experimental "nano-suit," which can greatly shift the odds in your favor. Packed with special abilities, the super suit will become a second skin to you as you learn its nuances. There are three basic powers at your disposal: armor, stealth and speed, along with a universal power bar that will drain with every power you use. Armor reinforces the suit and makes the user much more resilient to damage, while at the same time making you significantly slower; stealth with make you invisible, Predator style, yet will not allow you to shoot, unless you wish to drain the entire power bar. Finally, speed will make you faster while allowing you to jump higher and perform a couple of cool moves, such as a one-knee slide. It may seem like a handful to control, but the layout on the controller is so intuitive that it quickly becomes second nature in knowing what power to activate. What sets the Crysis series apart from other shooters is the ability to literally play the game your way. The gameplay goes through a loop of intense scripted sequences interlaced by enormous areas where you have multiple paths to craft your own way to your next objective. While this works great in an open jungle setting like Crysis, Crysis 2 is set in New York, where concrete buildings trap you in a set path. Thankfully, the freedom one experiences in this adventure is delivered through the of the environments. Combine that with the suit powers and Crysis 2 is guaranteed to be different for every person.

A welcomed addition to the Crysis roster is the newly revamped multiplayer, which takes the shape of the often-copied Call of Duty model and comes with customizable classes, a tiered unlock structure and predictable game types. However, the addition of the nano-suit to every player's arsenal can create some really interesting scenarios.

The key to victory in Crysis 2 multiplayer is not watching your health, but keeping a constant eye on your energy bar. If you wish to remain invisible and camp, do so, but be aware that you will be more vulnerable than if you have armor on. Add in the fact that killstreaks are only available by picking up dog tags that other players drop as you kill them, and Crysis 2 brings a very well-balanced multiplayer suite. The occasional crash and server malfunction are also present even though the game is only a few weeks old, but overall the game is more than fun to play.

I would need a completely separate article describing the technical achievement that Crysis 2 has made; the game not only runs on 6 year old hardware at a full 60 frames per second, but it also looks better than the original behemoth. Each area has hundreds of light sources reflecting off of thousands of objects and reacting with one another.

Furthermore, there is some very interesting imagery at play. Seeing how the game takes place in New York during an alien invasion, Crytek utilizes a lot of familiar imagery from 9/11. Collapsing buildings and engulfing dust clouds help shroud the player in a vulnerability that deeply contrasts with the power the super suit provides. It is a mature take on a sensitive subject and it is presented with keen attention to its use in the story, which marks a crucial step forward for video games as an artistic medium.

Crysis 2 is the breath of fresh air that shooters needed. Bringing captivating gameplay, refined multiplayer option and a visual package that you will be showing off to your friends, Crysis 2 is a technical marvel that would be unjustified to be simply described—it needs to be played.

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