“Can it run Crysis?” became a catchphrase for PC gamers, since at the time of its release, the original Crysis brought even the fastest gaming rigs to their knees.

But, I suppose that the games developer, Crytek, got tired of making awesome looking games that no one played, since Crysis 2 releases simultaneously on console and PC.

It’s certainly one of the prettiest console games to date, though for my money Gears of War 2 and Assassin’s Creed 2 still trump it slightly. Still, it’s one heck of a looker. It’s the light that you’ll notice most. It cascades gorgeously through trees and buildings.

The gameplay itself is solid, and it maintains old school sensibilities. That is to say, it takes its cues from games such as Half Life rather than Call of Duty. It’s still generally linear, but the spaces are more like wide bowls than narrow corridors, which gives you many more tactical opportunities than is usual for modern shooters. Often, you’ll start an encounter for an elevated position, which lets you pick which route you will take: stealthy or guns blazing, sniping or simply avoiding enemies.

The shooting feels fairly solid, though at 30 frames per second it’s always going to feel a bit laggier than the 60 FPS of a Call of Duty title. Think of the controls of Bad Company 2 and you won’t be far off. The twin powers of your special suit – invisibility and armour – do add a point of difference, and managing their energy drain with the advantage they give you makes this something of a thinking man’s shooter.

So the graphics and gameplay are good, but what about the story and setting?

They’re absolute bollocks.

Sure, New York provides a nice backdrop, but the sci-fi story is so incoherent and badly conveyed I had no idea what was going on, beyond the fact that orange aliens who looked like the Hunters from Halo were tearing up the place and I needed to stop them.

The player-character, Alcatraz is also a total robot. He blindly follows orders from everyone who issues them, even those who scream, “Bet you don’t know I’m eviiiiiilllll!” from a mile away. Heck, I was expecting someone to order me to return some DVDs for them at any point. Alcatraz doesn’t have a voice, in an overt nod to Gordon Freeman of Half Life, but in this case it just doesn’t work.

And then there’s multiplayer.

It’s not terrible, but it’s not terribly enjoyable either. It’s of the Halo variety where you need to shoot an enemy umpteen times to drop them. It’s spice up a bit with your suit powers, but the slow frame-rate meant it just didn’t feel snappy enough for me. The small amount of guns, too, means I doubt it’ll be troubling Battlefield or Call of Duty anytime soon.

Crysis 2 is a good solid game with great graphics and a terrible story. It’s definitely worth renting, but you’ll probably want to try before you buy.

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