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Crysis 2: The Review they didn’t tell you about.

If you check reviews for Crysis 2, they all seem to read the same:

Gosh what a pretty game, I don’t understand the plot, oh hey, Multiplayer!

Having just beaten this game I feel in a position to give an actually useful review of this game, including a few pointers to why you might like to wait for it.

The Good

The 8 hour long single player game, which took me 12 hours to play is a fun romp. The story is interesting enough, the locations are varied enough and playing a super-powered tank-man is great fun, especially in the set pieces where you’re given scope to just go nuts and enjoy feeling like you’re some unstoppable behemoth, or in normal gameplay where you’re usually free to play things your own way.

Movement is smooth – Jumping has some sort of smart filter so hitting ‘jump’ means you’ll actually take off from the edge of a ledge instead of too early or too late – grabbing ledges and hauling yourself up is automatic, and sprinting is just a key press away.

This means you can leap over a car, hit the ground, accelerate to thirty odd miles an hour, drop to the ground and slide into cover or under something, pop up, hurl yourself onto a rooftop and drop into cover in one fluid, speedy sequence, firing as you go, dropping in and out of cloak or shield modes as you need.

Talking of which, the suit modes have been re-worked to be a lot more intuitive and easy to use, making them fun to play with and combine.

The Not so good

It’s an 8 hour long single player game that takes 12 hours to play, because there’s parts where you don’t have leeway to do things your way, the infamous ‘Stand here and shoot in-coming waves for X minutes’ situations, which exist only to pad the game.

There's also a couple of moments when you get treated to a cut scene and then suddenly  you get “Press X not to die” pop up at the bottom of the screen unexpectedly while you’re looking at the huge set piece animation elsewhere.

And as per usual if you get the Steam version there’s no apparently way to find the manual, and even searching for a PDF in the Steam directory yields no results. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a manual for the Steam version of the game at all – you just have to hope everything is explained. It isn’t.

Aiming with the controller is still a major pain, and the first patch out removed the target lock. Presumably because that knocked 4-6 hours off the gameplay when you could actually hit what you were aiming for.

And now the bitchfest


There's a few bugs. Objects that don't load or become invisible as you move, vanishing upgrade points, and invisible crosshairs. Mostly nothing that will kill the game, but enough to aggravate.


Yes it’s a Crysis game, very lush, now with up to 33% less colour than the Console version if you play PC.

There’s a really in-depth, buzzword filled and utterly incoherent article that seems to be 50% technical and 50% the crazed ramblings of someone who snorted too much red bull, explaining that the textures and visual depth for this game are significantly degraded compared to Crysis 1 and the console version, and complaining of carbon (No idea).

However the article is on Kotaku, a Gawker site and since they decided to completely break the URL system I can’t give you a link.

Essentially CryEngine 3 has been nerfed so hard that they might as well have made the game with the superior looking CryEngine 1.

As for graphics settings, they’re limited to:

  • “Low, Medium, High, Very high”,
  • Fullscreen ON/Off
    As a note, if you play Crysis 2 in a window it’s set up so that when you pause to the menu, your mouse is no longer locked inside the window. There’s no need to alt-tab this way, and it doesn’t crash or die weirdly.
  • Turn on V-Sync.

You have to find a hack program to add a GUI to tweak the graphic settings manually if you want to turn things on or off.

Plot? Oh yeah, we had one of them someplace.

The plot to Crysis 2 is actually pretty simple and straightforward and I’d say you had to be some sort of slack jawed cretin to find it confusing.

It fills in a few plotholes from Crysis 1, leaves almost no dangling plot threads It’s a simple linear story that can be summed up in a paragraph or two.

Unfortunately the way it’s displayed via ‘Flashbacks’ makes almost no sense because they’re someone else’s flashbacks that you are having (Though this is explained eventually) – and worse in-game you get the edited, short version of the flashback video and the full length video is tucked away in the game’s menu in Extras / Unlocks / Videos / Beware Of Leopard / Empty Directory /Nothing here /Really, just go away would you / 3375927592962369b / Sekrit / Oh go on then / Flashbacks.

It’s interesting to note that once you finish the game, you get a sort of director’s cut video that explains what the hell the entire game was all about, but as far as I can tell, nowhere are you actually told this specifically. You’d only know if you went and watched all the videos.

Call of Special CryOps 2 Collecting Addition Directors wait what were we doing?

Crysis 2 wants to be a all the things that the XBox’s premier Call of Duty is. At some point someone noticed that collectible items was a big thing in games and said “Let’s do that!”.

So what do you get?

  • If you collect dog tags you can unlock…
    • A small picture of an NPC.
  • If you collect giant comedy car keys you can unlock…
    • A small picture of a vehicle. Not the one the key belongs to mind you.
  • If you collect a building model you unlock…
    • A small picture of the place you played through.

Additionally you can unlock the game music, in case you need to sit through a fairly tedious and overwrought sound track, and some cut-scene videos and the ‘flashback’ videos. To unlock these, you just complete each level.

You do not receive guns, powers, ammo, hats, status, multiplayer stuff, extra skins or anything useful from collecting anything.

The Nano Suit

In Crysis 1, you had super strength, speed, invisibility, or bulletproofing (‘Maximum Armour’). You could pick any one of these via a menu that popped up and made you select while someone was shooting you to death.

In Crysis 2, You can toggle bulletproofing or Invisibility and use them in conjunction with speed and strength. This is an elegant system that’s fun to use.

Additionally by killing alien Ceph, you can upgrade your suit to do several useless things and a couple of really cool things.

This is good.

The bad news is, the suit powers ‘showroom’ is tucked away in the Extras menu with the minimum of explanation, so again you tend to find yourself picking say ‘Tracker’ which highlights enemy paths, expecting it to show their patrol route in the tactical display, and finding that it jsut shows you their footsteps in green for a dozen paces.

The other downside is that once you buy an upgrade for one of your four suit slots, you can only apply one out of the series at any time.

This means you can either run silent while stealthed, or have two to three times the amount of in-cloak time.

I’m the Invisible Man

Most of any level can simply be walked through by turning on your cloaking field which enables with a solid “Vummm!” sound and the rattling sound The makes.

Then you simply walk to your waypoint, remembering to duck behind something as you go to take a ten second recharge break.

Murder death kill!

There’s no real reason to kill anyone unless you wan to nick their weapon or ammo. And if you’re low on ammo, simply walk up to one of the ammo chests which are lying around every three paces and stock up.

If you’re really desperate, you can walk up behind someone and do a stealth kill – You uncloak, stab them to death and re-cloak.

It’s a one button affair, handily labelled with a  big “Press [Button] to do a stealth kill” label on screen.

There's apparently some melee and Super Melee attack but you can't use it from behind because it automatically just does a stealth kill. This is a shame because there’s several points where power-kicking someone through a window or off a ledge would have been extremely satisfying.

You’re told you can power kick things. It’s more of a power nudge. You can also power up your kick and drain your suit energy all in one go. I’ve never gotten this to work.

You’re told you can powerslide and pull off enemy kills while zooming along on your ass. Not with a controller. Hahahaha, I mock.


There’s three vision modes in Crysis:

  1. Normal, the one you live in
  2. Nanovision, a power draining mode which is a combination of night vision and thermal vision which is a stupendously useless mode for 99% of the game and only becomes useful in the two circumstances where the level was specifically designed to force you to use it.
  3. ‘Visor’ tactical HUD, which allows you to see dropped weapons, weapon caches, and enemy targeting icons, as well as handy ‘Tactical’ hints. Any of these can be highlighted and tagged to stay visible in Normal vision mode. This means you can see your enemies location through walls, and even what type of enemy and what weaknesses they have (Hint: all human enemies have a weakness to having their heads blown off. All Ceph enemies have a weakness to having their heads blown off. Useful to know, huh?)

You can’t fight while running Visor. You don’t have to you can just park your invisible ass and casually flip through the area and tag anything useful. The big yellow tactical icons with numbers say things like ‘(1) Stealth’ indicating that you can just walk through the enemy in stealth mode. Duh. Or ‘(3) Flank’ meaning you can just walk around them. Or ‘(2) Collect’ which usually means there’s a stack of rocket launchers or C4 to deal with the giant tank thing scratching it’s arse in the middle of the playzone.

Basically the Tac pointers are there to tell you how the level designers think you should play the area through, or more likely try and explain to you what you’re supposed to be doing when they decide to have one of those  ‘Go into the building but first find some way to blow the doors off. Like this tank we parked in front of the door, HINT HINT’.

Combine the Visor with the mini-map that shows you where your enemies are, what direction they’re looking and the bar showing how hard they’re looking for you/how visible you are, you can pretty much just zoom through from A to B…


… so to give you a reason to actually stop and kill something, when you take down a Ceph, you can harvest it’s Nano-Swarm. The bigger the monster, the more Nano. The more Nano, the more suit upgrades you can buy.

So having snuck up and stabbed to death a dozen increasingly paranoid Ceph, gotten into a running gunfight with the command unit and swapped rockets with the tank, you’ll be pleased to know that the 2000 or so Nano that you just spent a half hour painstakingly acquiring will now vanish out of your account due to some unmentioned bug, and you’ll finish the game without unlocking the last quarter of the upgrade menu.

Shooty McBang-Bang

You cannot pick up Ceph guns. There’s no explanation for this.

You can however  take the main weapon and side-arm of any human you kill or pick up one of the thousands of guns left lying around.

They fall into the following categories:

  • Shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Pistols
  • Ludicrously over sized pistols that look like they were built to shoot down small moons
  • Special guns you can’t get ammo for
  • The gun that will get you killed.

From the top – Shotguns make humans fall down and be dead very fast but only if you get close. Humans in Crysis are Peeps. Soft, squish and so easy to kill you pretty much go through them like a nerd goes through cheesy puffs.

The two types of shotgun are Pump action with the longest reload time in history. I believe the animation shows you inventing gunpowder and metallurgy in order to first build then load each round. Oddly you can put a silencer on this shotgun.

The other version is this semi-automatic death dealing bad ass that will make you go “AHAHAHAHAHA DIE SCREAMING SOCK-COOKER!”. It’s very satisfying.

Rifles only need to be switched out if you happen to be running low on one type of rifle ammo (There’s two types) or you feel you need to go for a specialist gun, like the sniper rifle.

Each rifle also has a different set of attachments, so you may pick and choose based on what you need to bolt on.

Pistols come in three varieties – Pop gun, which you might as well toss as soon as you can, .50 cal pop gun which is just as worthless, and the Majestic revolver.

The Majestic pistol is a .50 cal revolver with an attach point for a scope. Possibly the most ludicrously overpowered short range weapon in the game, it’s recommended that you pick one up and never let it go because when your rifle’s clip goes, you can switch to pistol to finish things. Or just stay with the pistol and hope that everything dies in less than six shots. Anything less than a tank will die in less than six shots, though you might end up beating someone to death with it…

There’s a plethora of mounted machine guns, all of the same type which you can rip free for some critter ‘sploding. If possible, leave mounted machine guns mounted because you’ll lose half your ammo to flailing like crazy when the recoil makes you dance like a crazy person. Mounted machine guns cannot be re-stocked with bullets.

There’s also a Microwave gun that makes aliens pop. It’s claimed that it will pop them by bypassing their armour. This is a lie. They’ll still take a lot of killing and probably melee you to death while you’re trying.

Additionally there’s a Gauss rifle which is a one or two shot kill on anything that’s not a tank. It’s basically got the power of a rocket launcher, and comes with 8 shots.

You cannot get ammo for either of these guns unless you find a second gun. The Microwave  “MIKE” gun carries enough rounds to be worth hanging onto as a second or main weapon for a while and there’s a few around for getting re-charges, but the Gauss rifle is so super rare that it’s not worth keeping. Especially because the first time you get it, you lose it minutes later.

Then finally there’s the gun that will get you killed.

It’s a tazer rifle. I have to assume it was originally designed to be used to take down shields so you could switch to conventional weapons to finish a kill, but it’s a non lethal weapon. It’s useless, and firing it will just make things mad. There’s one enemy in the game that has a shield, and you can walk up behind it and stab it to death.

Accessorize daaahling.

The rifles and pistols can all be customized. Each weapon is different. Some allow for silencers, some have racks so you can switch the scopes form Iron-sights to combat scopes or reflex sights or in a couple of cases, sniper scopes.

Some of the rifles allow for extended mags, or a set of under-barrel attachments – Gauss, shotgun or grenade.

This means you can put a reflex sight on a machine gun or shotgun, or attach a combat scope and silencer to a more accurate rifle and use it as a cheap sniper rifle – or add an under the barrel shotgun attachment so you can effectively switch your assault rifle to being a light shotgun, or snipe with the gauss attachment.

Good luck remembering to do that though – There’s no explanation of how to switch modes or what the hell a gauss attachment does and whether it’s worth using.

Things that go bang.

You have to de-cloak to throw a grenade. This is a pain because if you throw a grenade, it bounces around a bit and then sits there and then goes ‘bang’, giving everyone time to shout ‘GRENADE!’ and run the fuck away.

There’s also C4 which can be glopped onto things, including things you can kick or throw, and then remote detonated. It’s useful but rare enough that you want to hang onto it and thus never get around to using it.

There’s also the aforementioned rifle grenades which explode on impact, making them very useful, and a sort of grenade launcher, as well as a couple of variants on the laser guided rocket launcher.

Oddly one of the rocket launchers seem to only show up once in the game..


There’s one section of the game where you drive a tank along a straight road and shoot everything. There’s another section where you can drive a car with no gun control, but after ten seconds you need to get out or fall into a ravine. There are two vehicles you can drive, and one of them has no guns you can shoot.

There’s a second section of game where you control the turret of a moving vehicle. That’s all I have to say about it.

Der Bad Guyz

There’s the human ‘CELL’ mercenaries. Shoot them in the head or punch them and they go away. They sometimes show up in helicopters as bosses.

CELL troopers are so squishy that even when you start the game, running up and hitting them is almost guaranteed to kill them instantly. Only in the beginning when they mob you and half your suit’s capacity is offline, do they pose a threat.

There’s the Ceph (Pronounced Seth. Short for Cephalopods from Another World). These guys are tough, armoured, fast and come in the standard Grunt, Big Grunt, Commander, Tank, Big Tank, Gunship variants.

They all have  ‘Shoot them in the back’ as their weakness.

This is not a secret.

Point your Visor at one it’ll say it on the screen. Shooting them in the back makes them turn around and kill you.

Normal weapons are pretty weak against the Ceph until about half way through when you suddenly find there’s a whole list of guns that actually work on them.

That said, if you can manage to grab one, you can kill it instantly with a throw, or stealth kill anything that’s not a tank or higher. Else you have to engage your cloak and start firing rockets up it’s arse.

It’s all a Blur

The problem with the Ceph is that they can do almost anything you can do. They’re bulletproof, they can leap any place you can leap, they’re fast and at times they can apparently see through your cloak.

This means that occasionally you’ll suddenly end up on your ass because a Ceph Runner sprinted up and punched you. Then everything turns into a blur as you try and turn to see your opponent, who’s dashing around in a literal blur, and shooting you.

At this point you get [Hold X to Grab] which most of the time turns into [Hold X to reload] while you’re trying to grab and throttle your assailant.

Basically if you get close enough to a Ceph for it to turn into a boxing match, the only thing you can do is keep hitting Melee and hope you’re facing the right way. Most grunt class Ceph will go down in two to three hits, but be prepared to take some fire because your batteries will be down and you’ll be tagged by all the other Ceph for extermination.


I’m not reviewing this in-depth because I don’t last very long.

In multiplayer you can level up and buy upgrades to your suit, so you can completely outclass the noobs, and be a total prick about it.

Imagine Call of Duty. OK, now you know everything you need to know about Crysis 2 multiplayer.


Wait for this on budget.

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