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New York. The city that never sleeps, though I imagine it's hard to get some shut-eye when you're being ripped to shreds by a rampaging alien menace. And while that might sound like a horrible ordeal, spare a thought for the little pixies working overtime inside your 360, PC or PS3 to actually render the weight of Crysis 2's spectacle.

Much of the legend behind the original Crysis revolves around its engine's formidable technical prowess, a fact Crysis 2 gives a cheeky nod to during the opening credits. Crytek is certainly not one to play down the magnitude of its accomplishment here, mind, with a sultry woman bleating "achieved with CryEngine 3" every time you start the game, as if bringing this sequel to fruition was Hercules' secret thirteenth task and that humanity's response should be to carve Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli's face into the side of Mount Rushmore.

Crysis 2's artistic expertise tends to get lost behind the weight of the game's technical fortitude, however, which is always a shame because the things Crytek's designers can do with shaders and rendering techniques (and other technical jargon I genuinely don't understand) really needs to be seen to be believed. Hercules might have managed to slay the Stymphalian Birds, but Crysis 2 could probably render them falling from the sky in real-time before collapsing a recognisable landmark on their bronze beaks.

Saying goodbye to the rolling forests of the Lingshan Islands, we've packed our bags and left for the concrete jungle of New York. The sights and sounds of Manhattan not only provide enough tall buildings to clip the draw distance so that consoles can render the proceedings, they also make for far more apocalyptic scenery when the game decides to go and blow everything up about six seconds in. The formidable race of robotic cephalopod aliens - unimaginatively dubbed the Ceph - have also come along for the ride, you see, though this time going all bipedal to accommodate for the city's many stairs and escalators.

Compared to the brown hues and olive khakis sweeping the industry, Crysis 2 shows just how much variety you can put into total destruction. It might come up slightly short compared to Killzone 3 in raw mettle, with an occasionally inconsistent framerate on our PS3 version, but the game is leagues ahead in terms of artistic accomplishment. From the starting tits-up insertion of player character Alcatraz into the city, the game doesn't hesitate to take you on a whistle-stop tour of colours and landmarks as you strut around highlights including FDR Drive, Times Square and Grand Central Station. When the proceedings eventually culminate in one last, final, and glorious piece of technical showboating at Central Park you get the distinct impression Crytek is just showing off.

Crysis 2 screenshot

Alien sights are also thrown in alongside familiar surroundings. Black sprawling tendrils burst out of splintered ground, wrapping themselves around any remaining scenery. Alien dropships hover overhead, taking your focus to beautiful horizons with buildings which crumble away at a moment's notice. Faraway skyscrapers judder precariously to announce an imminent collapse, spewing up billowing clouds of dust and grit in their wake. Cracks shoot down roads and bridges, and so much of this delicate, downtrodden New York looks like it could tumble to the ground with a strong gust of wind. I can only imagine how sensational it all must look on a tricked out PC.

The setting is more than a happy coincidence, of course. Other than taking the occasional liberty when it comes to geographic placement of its landmarks, much of the iconography on display also conjures up powerful images of 9/11, so much so that you don't quite know where to look when you watch a procession of buildings collapse in the Financial District. Crytek has repeatedly maintained its desires to craft an evocative tale, and to do this it's ridden the coattails of that history-defining day. The cynic in me says it shouldn't work, but despite all the po-faced schmaltz and silliness it actually does - even if most of the tale revolves around your tubular suit and a sizeable chunk of the early game can be boiled down to traipsing around New York so you can sit in a chair.

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Highest Rated Comment

squidman's Avatar

squidman@ EMS70

I understand your concern but allow me to put it to rest. KZ2 was the exception rather than the rule, and after our reviewer came away from an extraordinarily brief review event held by Sony he felt like he was unable to sufficiently judge the game's online portion.

I didn't have that same experience with Crysis 2, though I'll admit online games were certainly tricky to put together. As is always the case with multiplayer components there's so much left to time that we're unable to account for - whether the community will be active, whether it'll be supported by the developer, whether somebody will find a hack and destroy the experience etc - but I think the framework put in place is solid and I'm certainly looking forward to playing more in the coming weeks.

I can also assure you we review our games with the utmost respect and that we do hold our reviews to the same standard, which is exactly why our review of KZ3 was delayed.
Posted 21:58 on 22 March 2011

User Comments

pblive's Avatar

pblive

£22 now at Gamestation and Game
Posted 10:04 on 13 May 2011
Maxxgold's Avatar

Maxxgold

Great review. Awesome game. Finally a game site that knows how to review games.
Posted 21:59 on 19 April 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Screw it, I'm buying it despite the fact I know it'll be £20 soon. I wanna see what all the hype is about :)
Posted 22:22 on 28 March 2011
RecoN's Avatar

RecoN

Guys i have been playing the pc version this morning, and can confirm the graphics are breathtaking through the introduction. Although and can't seem to activate SLI on my latest driver.
Don't hold back though because my frame rate is holding very smoothly indeed, even when i'm in an intense battles.

Any pc gamer holding back because of the worrys about their pc holding up to the job. Try the demo or just buy the game because Crytek really have learned from Crysis 1 :)
Posted 08:52 on 25 March 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

I was sitting on the fence, waiting for the reviews to come out before I decided on whether or not to pick it up. Definitely looks better then Homefront.
Posted 10:00 on 24 March 2011
TomPearson's Avatar

TomPearson

I agree with the review. However, if you are as concerned as me about frame rates in games, then probs best to pick up the PC version, where it will have the potential to run as good as your computer can give. That game is a beast!
Posted 15:40 on 23 March 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I was never too fussed on Crysis 2 having not played the first but I can't help but feel based on the video I've seen thus far that Crysis 2 is one of those floaty FPS's where your character doesn't appear to have much (if any) weight. It's almost as if when jumping from one piece of scenery to another, the portion of the jump where you are airborne looks like it slows down a fraction. It's a bit of a contrast to the animation when you actually hit the ground though, as the force, speed and weight of the impact don't quite match the animation... Maybe it's just me.

Apart from that it looks great on PC. PS3 is apparently meant to suffer on the console side but hopefully it is a case of "if you look hard enough for faults you're bound to find them".

I am at least interested to give it a go after suffering through part of Black Ops and having no interest in Homefront. I know that the weightless feel of the game will turn me off if my suspicions are correct but as a Crysis virgin, I may be able to sit with it for long enough to get over the floaty feel.

8 - 10 hours is a bonus for the SP. I wouldn't consider getting this with multiplayer in mind so if anything it'll be for the campaign. At the moment I don't own KZ3 either so there will be some consideration needed when and if I have to choose.
Posted 05:47 on 23 March 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker

B-b-b-but Martin, I can't afford all these games coming out! First Assassin's Creed Brotherhood was released today, now this. How will I go about my day? HOW?!

I'm super stoked to pick this up, whenever that may be. I'm looking forward to kicking some alien butt in style ;). Just a few questions I have though: Any particular reason for it not getting a ten, cause it sounded like you didn't have any qualms at all (save for the aiming, which, really, you should just have picked up the PC version)?

Save for that, is Nomad (the character you played in the original) anywhere in the game, or is he at least mentioned at all? I find it funny there hasn't been any info on him at all...
Posted 23:03 on 22 March 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ EMS70

I understand your concern but allow me to put it to rest. KZ2 was the exception rather than the rule, and after our reviewer came away from an extraordinarily brief review event held by Sony he felt like he was unable to sufficiently judge the game's online portion.

I didn't have that same experience with Crysis 2, though I'll admit online games were certainly tricky to put together. As is always the case with multiplayer components there's so much left to time that we're unable to account for - whether the community will be active, whether it'll be supported by the developer, whether somebody will find a hack and destroy the experience etc - but I think the framework put in place is solid and I'm certainly looking forward to playing more in the coming weeks.

I can also assure you we review our games with the utmost respect and that we do hold our reviews to the same standard, which is exactly why our review of KZ3 was delayed.
Posted 21:58 on 22 March 2011
EMS70's Avatar

EMS70

Hmmm...So KZ3 has to wait a week in order to get a multiplayer review, but you were able to sink in enough time with Crysis in 1 day? How many hours could you have played? Just think that games in the same genre should be reviewed equally.
Posted 18:11 on 22 March 2011
pilofight's Avatar

pilofight

yes!!...i bought it on amazon and i was not sure how would it hold up....thanks mein
Posted 18:04 on 22 March 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Really didn't expect it to get such a high score, but considering it did, I'm definitely considering picking it up.
Posted 17:25 on 22 March 2011
Gollum_85's Avatar

Gollum_85

Well this is a nice surprise. 8-10 hours is above average for an FPS single-player. This has just jumped ahead of Killzone 3 in the queue!
Posted 17:04 on 22 March 2011
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Just a few questions: What were the main draw backs from it getting a 10, as I couldn't find anything negativewithin your review. Have you had any chance to compare to the PC version and if so, is there a significant different between the console / PC verions. And finally, the Tomb Raider Trilogy is out this week: Do you think that, that is as good to the point that I should pick it up over this?

Good review though.
Posted 16:47 on 22 March 2011
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist

I'm sure the PC version, if you have a top-end PC, is far, far more beautiful than the 360 one, so I'm sitting it out until I see the game first-hand I reckon.
Posted 16:37 on 22 March 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Crysis 2
9
Out of 10
Crysis 2
  • Unlike its contemporaries
  • Technically impressive
  • Nanosuit is fun to use
  • Killing enemies for upgrades gets old
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 25/03/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Crytek
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 1,439 6
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