(EA for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
In a game that has many, many ways in which to impress you, the most impressive aspect of all about Crysis 2 may be the sheer ambition on display. Not only do its creators base the story of a hostile alien invasion in modern-day Manhattan, which is among the hardest locales to recreate in a convincing way, they (in keeping with the spirit of the city) make each of the environments you traverse positively enormous. This means that you can fight back against the invasion in a variety of different ways, from quiet stealth to head-on assaults, all the while enjoying incredible visuals that one would expect more from a strict linear experience rather than from one that gives the player so much freedom.
With that freedom comes expectations of a smart play style, however – the game reminds me of 2004’s Ninja Gaiden and its sequel in that the usual Neanderthal tactics that can be used to beat easier games won’t work here. Crysis 2 is tough but fair: It gives you a lot of tools (such as a high-tech suit with invisibility and armor settings) and it expects you to consider them when planning your attack. Punishment is swift for those who don’t, both in the main story as well as during online multiplayer sessions, where other players are surveying the battlefield with the same tactical eye.
Unlike other games where strategy becomes a burden that leeches enjoyment from the experience, though, Crysis 2 never lets its ambitions sully its solid FPS gameplay. Gunplay is responsive and satisfying, and those fundamentals are key whether you’re competing online or battling through the bombastic firefights or equally engaging quiet stretches of the single player campaign.