Perfectly competent rendition of shooting aliens in New York.
It’s hard to comment on a game like Crysis 2, one which is incredibly well-made and -designed, generally a pleasure to play through, no major problems to quibble about, and something you will probably immediately forget as soon as you finish.
There’s just not much to really latch onto with Crysis 2. Is it better than the first Crysis? In many ways, yes. It’s generally an easier, faster-paced game that gives you ample opportunity to plan approaches into bases (the hallmark of Far Cry and Crysis gameplay), as well as just shoot the crap out of everything with no regard for stealth or tactics if you so choose.
There are certainly some challenging encounters if you just run and gun, but it’s mainly limited to the large group fights that feature one of two “mega” enemies (the large armored behemoths, the Devastator and Pinger). These don’t appear until the second half or so of the game, and are somewhat infrequent, which is too bad because fighting these brutes is much more engaging than going against the typical foot soldiers. These battles feel more unique to Crysis, where you’re literally jumping all over the battle area, dodging in and out of cover, taking out the generic foot soldiers while trying to get in your hits on the big guys. The best fight in the entire game is probably your first fight with a Pinger in Grand Central Station. While the smaller levels in Crysis 2 are generally disappointing, compared to the epic sweeps of land in Crytek’s previous games, fighting a Pinger in the dark, cluttered confines of Grand Central is a massive rush that shows you just how fun and open the combat mechanics in this game can be.
Of course, there’s plenty of eye candy to gawk. While it’s not as gorgeous or photo-realistic as what you may remember in the tropical jungles of Crysis or Far Cry, Crysis 2 succeeds in really getting the tall vertical claustrophobia of New York City across. The skyscrapers in Crysis 2 really feel authentic to wandering around the city on foot, feeling completely dwarfed by these massive structures that most other games fail to translate into pixels. Aside from building height, however, Crytek’s version of New York feels noticeably small ... both compared to the real New York (somehow making Times Square feel like a random street corner) and compared to shooter levels in general. It does a good job of concealing how small the arenas are, with lots of environmental obstacles and ledges and little pathways, but it’s still a very narrow experience, which is I guess is to be expected for something that’s designed for the Call of Duty audience.
As far as the storyline goes, there is a story. And it is not good.