I mentioned signing up for GameFly last week, and the first game they sent me was Crysis 2 for the PS3. It arrived Thursday when I was tormenting myself with an overnight rental of Duke Nukem Forever. That was OK since it meant I’d have a weekend to get a good start on Crysis 2 in between bouts of Infamous 2.
Let’s skip right to the ending: I never once booted up Infamous 2 (or any other game) over the weekend. Crysis 2 grabbed me by the throat in a way that no game has for quite some time. I put in ~10 hours over the course of the weekend, which is a *huge* amount of time for me. I played until I grew disgusted with myself for wasting so much time playing. And then a few hours later, I was back at it.
So yeah, I really like it. Now it’s time to decide why.
I was really hesitant about the game when friends were saying it was good. First, it’s an FPS and not many of those interest me. Second, you’ve got this NanoSuit which was vaguely off-putting for me. The idea is that it can grant you stealth or extra armor and has a visor for scanning enemies and a lot of other stuff. It seemed like it’d be complicated and claustrophobic. Turns out it was neither.
The game takes place in a New York City under attack, but the devs have really handled this nicely. It was much more reminiscent of Cloverfield than it was 9/11, which I consider to be a good thing. It isn’t open world but the levels tend to be nice and broad (so far at least, I was headed into a tunnel when I quit last night) so you don’t feel like you’re being ushered along a defined path, even if you kind of are.
But I think what really made me love the game is that suit that I’d been so hesitant about. You start out with a Stealth mode, and a while later get Armor mode. This kind of opens up two very different ways of playing. Toggle on Stealth and sneak around to take out enemies quietly, or toggle on Armor and go in guns blazing, able to soak up tons of damage. Both modes deplete energy which recharges once a mode is turned off. I’ve been leaning heavily on stealth and a lot of my kills have been done via sneaking up and pushing R3 for a stealth kill, or using a silenced pistol for a head shot. I make a kill then find a corner to hide it to let the suit recharge.
But, when that gets boring I can switch to armor and just charge in, bullets and grenades flying and chaos ensuing. I do like that style of gaming, but only for brief periods of time. Crysis 2 lets me play the way I want to (so far).
The one potential drawback is that checkpoints can seem pretty far apart when you’re sneaking around (which takes time) and more than once I’ve lost 10-15 minutes of progress when I got killed. I call this a potential drawback because I think run & gun players would take much less time to get through these sections, and in my case the gameplay has been so fun that I didn’t mind re-doing them.
The AI is great. Note that I didn’t say smart. It’s smart enough to be fun and dumb enough to not get overly frustrating. I’m playing on difficulty level 2 of 4 (I started on easiest and it was way too easy). So when you take out a bad guy silently, and someone else comes upon the body, they’ll run to check it out to see if the guy is ok, then start yelling about a man down. During all this time it’s pretty easy for you to take out the newcomer.
On the other hand, if anyone sees you, you’ll start taking fire almost immediately and will have to run for cover. Unless Armor mode is toggled on you’re not going to survive a hail of bullets. If you find cover though, the bad guys are pretty quick to go back to “All clear!” and business as usual. It isn’t realistic but it keeps the pacing of the game fun. Who wants to hide behind a shed for 5 minutes until an AI gets bored and moves on?
Ammo is plentiful, and you can customize your guns on the fly. Add/remove silencers, swap out a laser scope for a sniper scope, and so on. By collecting a kind of in-game currency you can tweak your suit powers, too. Stuff like silencing your footsteps, or adding tracers to all in-coming fire so you can pin-point a source.
The story has me interested, too. You start out as a marine and soon find yourself in this suit, because mistaken for some bad-ass named Prophet and with an entire PMC trying to kill you, and you really have no clue what’s going on. So you the player learns along with you the character as things go from bad to worse and you discover what’s really going on with the plague that you’ve been sent in to contain.
Anyway, I’ve droned on long enough, and plenty of real reviewers have already given Crysis 2 a thumbs up. I’ll just say I concur. I haven’t touched MP yet (and probably won’t) but in my opinion the game is worth it just for the single player campaign. It isn’t a perfect game (I’ve seen a bit of clipping and the odd enemy stuck in geometry) but it’s just damned good fun. Right now the game is $40 on Amazon and I’d say it’s worth buying.