The world has been ravaged by a series of climatic disasters and society is on the verge of total breakdown. Now the aliens have returned, with a full invasion force bent on nothing less than the total annihilation of mankind, starting by trying to rip the heart out of Earth's most iconic city.
In New York, terrifying alien invaders stalk the streets and a nightmare plague strikes down the city's myriad inhabitants with brutal epidemic speed. The city's systems are in chaos, its streets and skyline are smashed and in flaming ruin. This is New York City like you've never seen it before.
Neither paramilitary law enforcement nor the might of the US military machine can stand against the invaders, and all who choose not to flee are dead men walking. Just to survive in this maelstrom of death will require technology beyond anything any modern soldier has ever seen.
One man will inherit that means to survive. One supersoldier, wielding the combat enhancement technology of the future with Nanosuit 2, will make the last stand to save humanity from destruction in the urban jungle that is New York City.
When Crysis came out in 2007, it was universally acclaimed as the most technologically advanced first-person shooter ever – a status, you could argue, that it holds to this day. But not for much longer, as Crysis 2 is coming – and destined to reach a much larger audience, as it will be on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as Crysis' platform, the PC. And not only is it jaw-droppingly high-tech, with astonishing graphics and unprecedentedly flexible sandbox-style gameplay, but it also manages to cram in a compelling storyline (no mean feat given that, unlike almost all first-person shooters, it doesn't force you along a fixed path) and a variety of ground-breaking multiplayer modes. If you seek the absolute state of the first-person shooter art, you'll find it in Crysis 2.
Crysis 2 plays out in a very different environment from the jungle setting of its predecessor: New York in 2023. It's not exactly New York as we currently know it, though: it has been evacuated following an alien invasion, which has wreaked widespread havoc, damaging and destroying many buildings, causing water-main rivers to run down famous streets and so on. You take the controls of Alcatraz, a Force Recon Marine equipped with version 2 of the fabled Nanosuit, which has been extensively upgraded since Crysis. Naturally, you're a key part of the team of marines which is attempting to rid New York of the huge, often mech-like aliens.
Nanosuit 2 still gives you the super-powers of your choice, but has been extensively rejigged – Strength and Speed modes, for example, have been combined into a new Power mode, and Cloak mode, now enhanced with stealth melee kills and extra sensory input, has become Infiltration. There are over 20 Nanosuit 2 modules, which let you shape it to your favoured play-style – be it employing super-strength, speed and agility, stealth or a combination of armour and heavy weapons. New modules include Threat Awareness, which lets you see incoming bullet-trails (handy if you're being sniped), Proximity Alarm and Weapons Specialist (which speeds up your reloading).
Crysis 2's multiplayer side is sure to attract a massive online following, especially among those seeking something a bit different. Although a classic Deathmatch-style mode, called Instant Action, is present, along with Team Instant Action. The other familiar mode is Capture The Relay. Crash Site is a King of the Hill-type mode, but with a twist: each session starts with a ship flying to a crash-site, at which all the players converge. And Assault is something completely new: an "asymmetric" mode, in which soldiers without Nanosuits (but with machine-guns) take on a team with Nanosuits, but no weaponry other than pistols. The Nanosuit-equipped players have to hack into terminals (making them vulnerable), and Assault is a one-life mode, so is tailor-made for the truly hardcore.
So, for the cognoscenti of first-person shooters, Crysis 2 is an absolute must-buy. Who could resist that combination of incredible, distinctive graphics, cutting-edge responsiveness and general slickness, a rich storyline married to sandbox gameplay that lets you choose your favoured fighting style, and multiplayer which is varied enough to suit anyone?