The suit maketh the man
Crysis 2 is one of those games that comes along now and then, doesnít really add anything new to the FPS space but manages to succeed on being a combination of good ideas, solid gameplay and well thought out level design. It builds on the framework laid down by the first title and manages to streamline things, yet keep every encounter fresh and interesting. Itís a highly recommended title.Story
Set after the events of Crysis, weíre not going to spoil the story for you, but it really does feel like youíre playing in a devastated NYC after a brutal alien invasion, that much we gather that you know about the background to Crysis 2 anyways. The Ceph, the aliens that featured in the first game are back en-masse and things are not going well for our gallant defenders. A Private Military Company, known as Cell, has taken the law into their own hands and is busy cleaning up the streets of aliens, infected humans and anyone they donít like.
Thereís far more to it than that, but youíll have to play the game to find it out.Gameplay
Crysis 2 appears at first to be a standard first person shooter; it has all of the tick-boxes of the FPS genre and plays to those strengths. There are a few things here and there, like the cover system that lets you peek up and around cover rather than just popping up now and then to take a pot shot. What really sets it apart from most of the genre is that the level design plays into the mechanics really well, since the majority of the levels are designed with a sandbox play-style in mind.
You see, you are the weapon, Crysis 2 features the Nanosuit 2 and this is a game-changer of a suit. It has three operation modes, Power, Armour and Stealth. The default mode is Power and it lets you move faster, jump higher and reach places that a normal human could never hope to get. It allows you to Power Slide too to avoid enemy fire. Many of the suitís functions are tied into your Energy Meter and keeping a close eye on that can mean the difference between life and death.
The suit has a tactical HUD that can be toggled to give you an idea of tactical opportunities, highlight enemies and items/weapons/ammo stashes. With that in mind you can instantly see where you could gain a height advantage, by doing a ledge grab with Power Mode active and get above your enemies. Or you could use a grenade to take out a group of closely packed soldiers before they move on with their patrol. Perhaps youíre more into sneaking and assassination? Then you can find an alternate route with a lightly guarded area and do some stealth kills to boot.
If things donít go to plan you can engage Armour Mode which instantly slows you down, toughens the suitís exterior and lets you soak up insane amounts of damage. The two modes are activated with a quick press of the left or the right shoulder button. The other mode is Stealth that lets you fade from view in a Predator-style active camo, one that is really useful but can still be spotted if you move too quickly or you get too close to an alert enemy.
Power Mode (on by default) lets you grab stationary machine guns, pick them up and wield them against your foes. Jump high and move fast. With a combination of all 3 modes you can quickly go on the offensive, gain higher ground, soak up damage and fade from view leaving your enemies wondering where the heck you went. Itís great fun to switch tactics on the fly and if youíre feeling like avoiding a confrontation, you can do just that by switching to Stealth and just avoiding your enemies.
It all controls very well, with suit functions such as Nanovision (low light and thermal); Tac-HUD being mapped to the d-pad along with the usual fire-mode toggles for various weapons and grenade/explosives and so on. Weapon switching can be done from the Y button and a double-tap selects grenades.
It is the level design though that really shines as part of the gameplay, with lots of options at your fingertips, youíre able to assess a situation and then formulate a plan. A rarity in a modern shooter, which normally just sees you wade in guns blazing. Of course you can also get up close and personal in Power Mode, the suit channels your strength to the next level and youíre able to grab foes around the neck, slam them against walls or kick large objects across the battlefield as an impromptu battering ram by clicking in the right stick and holding it for a while.
The Nanosuit 2 is an evolving piece of tech and it can take the DNA from dead Ceph, which you collect as you kill them. You are able to buy modules for the suit and increase things like nano recharge, faster energy recharging and muffling footsteps in Stealth Mode to name but two. It all costs a lot of DNA so youíll want to basically plan your upgrade route based on your current tactical situation. You can freely switch suit modules but you can only have one active at any time.
So if youíre planning on soaking up more damage in Armour Mode, then it makes sense to have that module active for a heavy firefight. There are several modules per mode so you can mix and match picking and choosing the right tool for the right job.