The rumors perked my interest, the demo sucked me in, and the final game has got me enthralled: Crysis 2 is a force to be reckoned with. In a gaming landscape cluttered with 3rd rate shooters, seasonal wargames and over-hyped releases (I'm talking to you Black Ops!) - you can bet that every game is doing its best to stand out. Crysis 2 may have found a very good balance to do just that : armor-abilities, a futuristic doomsday story, aliens and gritty war-reality...finally a shooter for MW2 fans and HALO fans alike.
It sports alot of other great things too, the Crytek3 engine looks, moves and feels great. (the only thing place where I think it could do more is in the faces of NPCs) The lighting effects and glare/exposure and level lighting look awesome and have got me killed while oogling them more than once. The smoke and explosions are excellent too (one alien ship "explosions" looked a little strange though) - the other effects, like moving in and out of the armor abilities are different vision modes also look great. Call of Duty: Black Ops with their outdated graphics have nothing on this thing. Even the sound of the guns sounds good (and not annoying or repetitive) but still dangerous and powerful - only Halo sounds better.
But a game is not all about graphics and sound right? Right, and this game can brag a little more on the actual "gaming" side of things. There are different ways to complete a mission, you can try to do it with stealth or just blast everything in sight. There are so many ways to actually reach your destination, you aren't just stuck in a tiny hallway fighting forward the whole time. They've found an elegant way to allow the player to customize their weapon loadout during the game without taking them away from the action, it feels natural and clean. There are many different ways to customize the weapons even during the campaign. Also upgrading your different abilities has been dealt with in the same fashion.
Which leads me to what I found the most impressive : the controls. The controls are slightly different from other shooters, but this time they have really packed alot into the controls and used the buttons naturally and intelligently - sometimes though a double tap, or a button hold, everything seems natural and smooth. I guess this is where a thorough testing shows its benefits.
To top is off it's the soundtrack is moody and has an epic-hollywood style (probably due to the involvement of composer Hans Zimmer).
Online the game really shines, it feels competitive and action packed, sometimes the different teams are difficult to distinguish, but the abilities and loadouts keep the killings diverse, creative, surprising and downright funny - leveling up and unlocks are the same as in most modern shooters and the menus are a little confusing at times (not as clean as Halo:Reach) but it leaves alot to look forward to.
One thing that it is missing, is destroyable environments....but hey, you cant have it all...
In my opinion, the top 5 online competitive shooters at the moment would have to be as follows :
1. Halo: Reach
2. Crysis 2
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
4. Battlefied: Bad Company 2
5. Call of Duty: World at War