The basics haven't changed much from Crysis or its superior expansion Warhead, with a 19 level campaign (clocking in at between 8-10 hours) revolving around you juggling armour and cloaking modes in your spangly supersuit while resting behind jutting points of cover to recharge your battery. The Nanosuit 2.0, as it's called, has about 20-30 seconds of juice in it before conking out, which puts it in roughly the same ballpark as the 3DS.
Whereas Crysis allowed you further strength and speed modes, these two have now been folded into the regular control scheme and can be toggled alongside armour and cloak provided you've got enough juice. Speed is mapped to a traditional sprint command, and strength can be used to stabilise crosshairs or charge up throws and melee attacks, which means you can wait in the darkness and then kill aliens by lobbing bins at their heads. Don't pretend you won't.
Aiming feels light and delicate, as if Alcatraz can't quite control the little motions with his superpowers. I often found myself forced to rely on the snap-to aiming, which requires a surrendering of player control that I'm not entirely comfortable with. Guns, meanwhile, come with fancy names - such as Scarab, Jackal and Grendel - but assume those ever-familiar roles of shotgun, SMG and assault rifle, though near the end of the game you acquire a microwave gun that causes alien heads to pop into visually resplendent goop. Sound work is particularly well done, too, with each weapon throwing out deep and bassy rattles to go alongside the thunderous background music. While the guns might be a little difficult to point at the enemy, then, they certainly sound good when they go off.
Fighting in the city gives you a comforting arrangement of angular geometry alongside the bevy of set-pieces, with your traversal of wide open spaces punctuated by scrappy skirmishes against both human and alien foes. Shrewd play is required, as spray-and-pray firing will usually just send you back to the last checkpoint. The game quickly makes it clear that you've been given the ability to cloak for a reason, so it's a case of picking your battles wisely.
A tactical display is available, its usage repeatedly encouraged by the game, which highlights nearby areas of interest such as good flanking opportunities, nearby weapons, and ammo caches. The general rhythms of play have you stopping every few minutes to observe your surroundings, usually when cloaked which, yes, makes you feel a bit like the Predator. This is a game big enough to get lost in, and once the frustration subsides from spending five minutes fumbling around for the right door you're hit with an aftertaste of liberation when compared to the usual corridor funnels of its shooter contemporaries.
As you progress you'll be able to upgrade weapons with attachments, and also the Nanosuit itself, the latter accomplished by hoovering up magical space dust from fallen alien bodies. The main failing with this, however, is that the game's economy ensures there's not enough to fully upgrade the suit in a single playthrough and you're left desperately shooting your way across the city, like a junkie looking for a fix, as opposed to considering the more tactful approach in any given ordeal.
The Ceph themselves are more standard enemies in their new bipedal iteration, modelled on Terminators rather than those squid things from the Matrix. This, thankfully, allows Crytek to avoid the awkward change in pace which plagued Far Cry and Crysis; the bits where the human enemies get removed and replaced with fiddlier, more frustrating monsters. In a nice twist you also return to a level stocked with human enemies near the end of Crysis 2, after fighting Ceph for a good few hours, and in your upgraded form you satisfyingly tear through them like the useless meat puppets they are.