Suits you, sir
Somewhere during this frantic, fast-paced first-person shooter, Crysis 2 gets lost. Its main hook, the Nanosuit, is a nifty billion-dollar wetsuit of death that turns a voiceless GI Joe into a military Superman. Its an idea that promises power. In reality, its a mostly wasted concept that acts more like window-dressing concealing a rather routine blaster.
Initially, handling the super-powered suit is a joy. Skirting between the suits invisibility and armour functions, breathing in the huge level design and deciding exactly how to effectively use its powers to tackle objectives makes for a refreshing change. Alas, its a feeling of empowerment that is decidedly short-lived.
Too often youre using your cloak to regenerate health in a corner, rather than exploring the sleuth powers to more skilful ends. The other functions? Well, theyre similarly underwhelming.
Its a shame, as the environment is striking. New York City, much like this months Homefront, provides a jungle of the urban kind to scramble across, with breathtaking visuals that live up to the hype no console has been short-changed here. Heart-pumping battles blast across The Big Apples tourist map like a ferocious gun-toting sightseer, launching into massive action sequences in the middle of Grand Central, Central Park and everywhere in between.
It does most of this with a slick hand - throwing marines, aliens and robots into an epic scenario of escalating destruction. It works best when pitted against the marines, as the AI feels distinct, intuitive and fair. Annoyingly, the aliens (Ceph) often feel cheap. Often disorganised and bumbling, it seems the search for intelligent life in the gaming universe carries on. Its as frustrating as the absurd story, which constantly interrupts gameplay to spout technical gobbledegook and nonsensical exposition small wonder why the vacuous protagonist Alcatraz keeps his mouth shut.
Multi-player fairs much better. Once you get past the fact everything has been bafflingly renamed (Team Instant Action? More like Team Deathmatch), theres a lot to love here. The Nanosuits timed abilities create a sweet balance on the field, with customisable options, upgrades and killstreaks making this a natural winner for Call of Duty fans. But it really succeeds when it strays from the trodden path, as Assault mode has a canny idea of stripping the Nanosuit from one team and weapons from the other.
Its innovation thats lacking from the single-player, and thats what often leaves the suit feeling pointless. Beyond all the wonder and spectacle, youll find Crysis 2 is a fairly repetitive and occasionally laborious FPS. It may look good, but theres a lack of real power and originality to keep the action charged.