I must say though the story just didn't make any sense to me at all. It's as if you're just thrust into a situation and given a range of tasks to perform without any understanding as to why, or infact who that person is. This is happening more often with game these days but Crysis 2 seems to take this a step further and actually have different people at different times provide you objectives, yet there's no clear explanation as to how each one of these is given such access to your suit, but putting that aside (as most people do with the story), the game is still loads of fun.
The ending is a bit of a let down as the most difficult enemy you see a few times throughout the game but you never get to battle it, then at the end when you have the opportunity it is taken away from you. So the ending is a bit of an anti climax as there's no final battle and no boss level.
I'm certainly going to play the game again and this time on the hardest difficulty.
Overall a very enjoyable and visually pleasing game with only a few minor issues that will be explained in the below sections of this page.
Replayability : GOOD
This is a first person shooter so that is the only view mode available to you. This does change to a third person view once you take command of a vehicle (driver position only). If you are a gunner then it is back to first person.
There were no problems with the frame rate, even when playing on Very High quality mode.
The modeling of the characters in the game was outstanding. Everything looks extremely realistic and many aspects of the environment you could damage, move, pickup, kick or throw.
If you needed a bit more light you could even pick up a torch that is on the ground and carry it with you for a while. That was a pleasant surprise and a welcome relief to the Nano Vision alternative.
The cut sequences were all interesting.
The Nano Vision really blows out the light objects too, which makes seeing the cool objects in the room quite difficult. To be effective the room has to be very dark. It is a shame they didn't make this device scalable, so that you could choose the intensity. So in areas that you require only a bit of additional vision you could set it to position 1 (which would also use less energy), but then in another area you may need full power so you can see through solid objects (such as walls) where you could set it to position 5 (which would use the most energy). This would have been a nice addition and would have made me use it more.
The game allows you to employ different tactics because the levels offer enough room for you to move and reposition after each kill (if you are going for stealth), so you can usually find ways to flank the enemy to help pick them off. Especially beneficial when fighting a tougher Ai opponent.
You can interact with many objects in the game, such as fixed machine guns on defensive perimeters or on vehicles, which not only can you use but you can also dismount and carry it around. Only has limited ammo though. There are a few sections that offer the ability to drive vehicles and personnel carriers (fitted with a cannon and rockets that you can operate as the driver).
Using your Nano Suit Visor you can survey the environment and it will offer you tactical options. It also highlights dropped weapons and resupply crates, plus you can use it to track enemies. The most beneficial aspect is the ability to inspect the enemies and it will point out any vulnerabilities that have been detected for that enemy so you can work out the best and most efficient way to defeat it. This is good but just another aspect which makes the game too easy.
There are many chest high walls which you can use as cover, but they are not blatant indicators that enemies are imminently inbound either. You can choose to use them or not. Unlike other games where you're forced to use them due to the level design. Here your options are open and even to the point that you can choose to use sewers, streets, go through buildings or roof tops to reach your objective.
With the cover you are given the option to look over, which allows you to aim and fire while in this stance. Also if standing along side a wall you are offered the option to lean, which also allows you to aim and fire while in this stance.
SPAWNING The game uses a few ways to get additional enemies into the level. With Humans they seem to appear from somewhere and walk into the environment in squads. The aliens are dropped from space ships in pods. I had no issue with the spawning and there was only one very brief instance where the spawning was a bit too obvious.
SCRIPTING. There was nothing overtly blatant with it. You have the typical issue of "kill this enemy" to advance the story, or activate this feature to continue the story. Expect at each instance you achieve something to be attacked from any direction. However with the Nano Suit Cloak feature this really was not a problem at all.
With the cover as mentioned in the good, you can look over and lean around, however this appears to operate a little erratically because it was not always available. Also the lean option was not available at all while in crouch mode. You had to be standing in order to lean.
SCRIPTING. I had a few issues with how this operates. In many instances when you cross the scripting activation threshold your character would move slower, plus your weapon would be lowered and you are prevented from being able to run, use power jump or examine your suit or weapon. I an not sure why these limitations were implemented because it reduces your ability to explore (especially not being able to power jump). At a few points I couldn't work out how to get my character back into normal mode and he seemed to stay in the lowered weapon and slow walking stance, even though there were no friendlies around. I mention that because the game will lower your weapon when you enter an area with friendlies.
Some missions seemed to end before I was ready and I had not explored all of the current environment, even though I wasn't even close to the objective marker. Also a few missions you are given an objective. I didn't even make that objective and yet I still finished the mission?
I do not know what the deal was but if I was to reload the game my Punch key would randomly not function. This was most annoying because you'd get close to an enemy and try to punch only to find it didn't activate. I know the key on my keyboard works because if I open the Nano Suit Visor i could press the punch key and it would close. This also meant that stealth kills were unavailable aswell. (I have the version 1.1 patch installed)
The In game radar / map that you have highlights all the units and enemies in a limited proximity. That is fine. Vehicles appear as a white arrow. Once you move away from them the vehicles now change to a red dot? A red dot should indicate an enemy, but in this game red appears to be items that are out of visual range. When you investigate a red dot and find it's a vehicle it stays as a white arrow (when up close) and a red dot (when out of map range) EVEN if you have destroyed the vehicle with a JAW rocket or grenades? Why does destroyed units/vehicles persist on the map ?
Being able to switch configurations of each weapon at any time is great because you will often want to reconfigure the weapon depending on where you are, such as outside in an open area, the sniper scope is best, but inside a building, the reflex scope or iron sights are best. Fantastic idea.
NANO SUIT This is primary your character. It comes standard with 6 key energy consuming features.
SHIELDS give you extra strength to protect from being attacked and can also be used to reduce the damage from falling.
CLOAK provides you the ability to remain unseen. This uses less energy when you do not move. Running drains it very quickly plus if you fire a non silenced weapon while cloaked your energy is drained instantly. Even firing a silenced weapon drains it.
NANO VISION. Use this in dark areas to see. It also operates like a thermal camera so you can identify warm objects, such as bodies and threats.
POWER JUMP gives you the option of reaching higher ledges or to get on to a building roof.
POWER PUNCH. Use this to move large objects out of the way (such as a car), or use it as a weapon and aim the object at a target.
POWER THROW. Same as punch but allows you to throw the current object you are holding a greater distance.
Finally is the Visor which allows you to survey the current scene and identify key points, targets, objectives and resources.
The Nano Suit offers upgrading of 4 key areas, with each area having 3 upgrade options. Each upgrade requires Nano Catalyst and the only place that can be collected from is killing aliens. Each alien offers a different amount of catalyst depending on their threat level. The range is from 20 up to 5,000. (Although you will rarely have the opportunity to combat an enemy that drops 5,000 units of nano catalyst.
SAVING There is none. This is a checkpoint game only and you have no option of saving manually, however exiting to the main menu and clicking on campaign will allow you to load a previous checkpoint save if required. However being a checkpoint system you may find yourself completing the same sequence a few times if you have difficulty, before you reach the next checkpoint. Some checkpoints are quite close, while others appear to be quite spaced out.
I would much prefer the option of a true inventory where you have to manage based on weight capacity (like fallout 3) because that is much more realistic (other than the huge amount of weight you could carry in fallout 3 that is :) ). But I'm sure you know what I mean. Being limited to only two weapons is fine, but why not let us carry less grenades and more ammo if we want? A game like Operation Flashpoint is a perfect example of what I would prefer. In that game you could choose to carry additional magazines or grenades. The choice was yours depending on how you wanted to play.
It is just worth mentioning again that you will be literally falling over ammo resupply crates that it seems illogical to do that and then only allow such a limited carry capacity for some weapons, but not others.
COLLECTING NANO CATALYST This is only available from dead aliens, however you will soon discover that when you kill an alien the nano catalyst is only available to be collected for a limited time. This often means that you will have to adjust how you want to play to ensure that you can reach the dead body before this time expires. Now in general when you combat enemies you target the strongest unit first (as that is usually the highest threat level), however in this game I suggest the opposite because if you target the large threat first, you may not be able to reach it before the nano catalyst disappears and the larger the enemy the more nano catalyst is available, which means you could potentially miss out on large quantities. I'm not sure why such an important aspect of the game is designed to disappear so quickly, especially when you will find yourself in numerous battles with a reasonable quantity of threats.
I do not know why the nano catalyst has to be dropped as a cloud that disappears after what feels like a short period of time. Why couldn't it be dropped as a canister or something that can be collected the normal way you would a weapon. After all every human enemy that you kill drops a weapon and even though their body will disappear, usually their weapon remains allowing you to collect it (or the ammo) at a later date if required. It is also worth mentioning that the Aliens (Ceph) use weapons, however they never drop it when they die, so you will never be able to collect an alien weapon.
Overall I found myself just enjoying the combat aspect of the game and ignoring the story and plot as too many elements didn't make sense.
Each level offers different routes you can use. This is not a sandbox game, but it's not a straight linear designed game either. Many instances you have the option of going into a subway or sewer, through buildings or along roof tops, so the options available to you are quite good.
All levels are consistent with each other and yet diverse enough to retain interest.
None of the levels are overly dark either, which is great because games that utilized such highly detailed graphics should not be stuck in the dark or in the fog / dust.
It is also not very clear what ledges you can grab onto and which ones you can not. Many look the same but it's not until you attempt to jump onto one do you realize the game won't let you. This unfortunately means you can fall to your death, especially if you're on a roof top at the time. When you power jump you can easily see over the ledge, but your character will refuse to grab it, so it's not an issue of the ledge being too high, but simply one that it has not been designed / coded to be a ledge.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR LEVEL DESIGN
It is a shame the game did not take this to another level. For example because they provide a few different tactical paths it is a shame that every path you take leads you to the same next mission. They could have incorporated an idea that if you take the roof then you have an interim mission so you can then get back to street level. If you take the street level then there could be an interim mission to circumvent some obstruction. This would have truly made the game feel like your tactical choice mattered and help to break up the linear feel that each level currently has, because every level only has one entry point and one exit point.
This would have also helped with the replayability of the game as the first time through you could choose all roof access points, then on the next play through you could choose all street access points etc...
Each weapon has good reloading sounds and the general sound effects (such as collecting ammo, jumping, suit usage etc) are all complementary to the game.
The aliens sound excellent and really adds atmosphere to the game, although it does make locating them slightly difficult (ie are they left or right of you.)
The final issue with sound was the utterly annoying marines you travel with. They constantly tell you to "move up" and "go", however it happens way to often and got to the point I was so sick of it I turned the speech volume to 0 just to shut them up. Also they keep telling you "over here" etc, yet don't actually say where "over here" is. I thought that was pretty remedial.
Configuration options also available for audio, video and mouse
This disparity seems to be happening more and more often in games, and I'm not sure why. As a gamer all I want in this respect is consistency. I don't want to be forced into having to constantly adjust settings while playing.
Video configuration options are a little limited and to change resolution you have to wade through all the resolutions available looking for the one you want , rather than simply using a drop down list.
Although you will find that you can not skip the intro sequences.
Due to the linear level design (with only having one exit point), it's always possible that while you are exploring and looking for these items that you will inadvertently cross a scripting threshold which closes a door behind you, automatically loads a cut sequence or you step off a ledge that you are not allowed to jump back onto. This can be frustrating if any one of these events happen when you have not explored other sections of the current level.
It would always be nice to have the "Point of no Return" highlighted, so the player knows to look everywhere else first. On a few occasions while I'm exploring the level, for no apparent reason the game would load the next cut sequence, even though I'm no where near the objective point or level exit.