Set in 2023, three years after the events of the first Crysis, the game begins with news footage of a large outbreak of the "Manhattan" virus, a gruesome disease that causes complete cellular breakdown, and panic about an alien invasion by the Ceph, the tentacled, squid-like alien race behind the incident of Crysis. Due to the breakdown in social order within New York City, Manhattan is placed under Martial Law, and under contract from the US Department of Defense, soldiers from C.E.L.L., a private military company run by the Crynet corporation, police the chaos.
A United States Marine Corps Force Recon unit is deployed to New York City by submarine to extract former Crynet employee Doctor Nathan Gould, who may have vital information on combating the alien race. However, insertion goes awry, with the Cephaloids destroying the sub, and Force Recon Marine "Alcatraz" being left as the only apparent survivor. Delta Force officer Prophet saves Alcatraz, and is distressed with the situation, expecting the squad to support him. Left with no other choice since he himself has been infected by the Manhattan virus, Prophet gives Alcatraz his suit, the futuristic and high-tech Nanosuit 2.0. He then kills himself so that the Nanosuit will stop associating itself with him and be able to assimilate with Alcatraz. Assuming that Alcatraz is Prophet, Gould gets in contact with him and asks him to take the Marines to his laboratory. Prior to the incident, Prophet had been targeted by CELL Commander Dominic Lockhart as an active biohazard due to having been infected with the Manhattan virus, and also in part due to ethical disagreements regarding the side effects of wearing the Nanosuits (with Prophet describing the wearers as "Dead Men Walking"). Because of this, Alcatraz also faces combat with CELL operatives, who believe that he is Prophet because of his Nanosuit. While on his way to Gould's laboratory, Alcatraz witnesses several CELL helicopters shooting down a Ceph dropship, which crashes not far from his position. Gould asks that he head for the crash site and search for any alien tissue samples. Alcatraz is unsuccessful, and the crash site is attacked by a Ceph soldier. Alcatraz kills it and manages to gather alien tissue from its corpse, which causes some sort of reaction within his Nanosuit. Alcatraz meets up with Gould only to be met with initial hostility when he finds out that he is not Prophet. However, when the suit plays Prophet's last recorded message, Gould relents and informs Alcatraz that because of the reaction to the alien tissue, or "Nano Catalyst", the Nanosuit's deep layers may contain a solution to stop the Manhattan virus and combat the Ceph. Gould and Alcatraz commit to further scans at a Crynet base on Wall Street, and find out that Alcatraz was mortally wounded when Prophet rescued him, and that the Nanosuit is the only thing keeping Alcatraz alive. The scans are cut short when CELL forces led by Commander Lockhart and Tara Strickland, daughter of U.S. Marine Corps Major Strickland from the first game, ambush Alcatraz and Gould.
During the middle of a prisoner transfer outside the building, the Ceph attack the CELL personnel and a massive alien spire rises from underneath the Crynet building, releasing a spore-based bio-weapon that kills most of the CELL troops in the immediate area. Alcatraz is left stranded and isolated for a period of time while dealing with a Nanosuit malfunction brought upon by the spore bio-weapon. The suit is rebooted remotely by Crynet director Jacob Hargreave, a centenarian who apparently had foreknowledge of the Ceph and spent most of the previous century designing the Nanosuit from stolen Ceph technology as a defense against them. Under Hargreave's orders, Alcatraz enters one of the alien spires to test whether the Nanosuit's systems can interface with the aliens' technology. The experiment fails, due to the Nanosuit not being powerful enough to ensure the insertion. In the meantime, the US Department of Defense rescinds the authority of CELL over Manhattan and deploys US Marines in their place under the command of Marine Colonel Barclay. They then attempt to drown the aliens out of lower Manhattan by ordering an air strike on the city's flood barrier. Washed away by the resulting wave of water, Alcatraz is later found by Marines, including his Marine comrade Chino, who survived the submarine's destruction. The Marines enlist his aid in evacuating civilians to Grand Central Terminal, the city's primary evacuation point.
Hargreave contacts Alcatraz and reveals that the Nanosuit is busy analyzing the alien tissue samples that Alcatraz had previously recovered and is currently rewriting its own code to interface with alien technology. He tells Alcatraz and his marine allies to take a detour to the Hargreave-Rasch building, an office building of Crynet's parent company, Hargreave-Rasch. There, Alcatraz is told to find a stabilizing agent in the bio-lab to facilitate the Nanosuit's analyzing process, but CELL operatives guarding the building under the command of Lockhart still believe that Alcatraz is Prophet, and attempt to kill him. The Hargreave-Rasch complex is attacked by a Ceph "pinger" robot and is completely flooded, washing Alcatraz out of the building and leaving him unable to enter the bio-lab. Seeing that the cause is lost, Hargreave tells Alcatraz to regroup with the marines at Grand Central to help evacuate civilians. At the terminal, Alcatraz is reunited with Gould, who had apparently "escaped" Strickland, leading to the skepticism of Colonel Barclay. Knowing that Strickland is an ex-Navy SEAL, Barclay concludes that Strickland released Gould from captivity. Grand Central Terminal is overrun by Ceph forces, but Alcatraz manages to hold them off long enough for the evacuation trains to depart, and escapes the building's destruction.
Due to the hasty and incomplete evacuation from Grand Central, Alcatraz is then tasked with defending a secondary evacuation point at Times Square, when another alien spire rises from the ground. By this time, the Nanosuit had finished processing the alien spores, and Alcatraz manages to enter the spire, allowing his Nanosuit to interface with it and re-purpose the spores to be lethal to the Ceph. This causes a cataclysmic self-destruction of the Ceph in the area, and apparently removes all traces of the biological warfare agent. Alcatraz makes his way to Roosevelt Island to infiltrate a Crynet complex named "The Prism", where Hargreave resides, and manages to kill Lockhart, but is captured by Hargreave, who wants the Nanosuit for himself and attempts to remove the Nanosuit from Alcatraz's body. However, the Nanosuit rejects its removal since it had already completely assimilated with its wearer, revealing memories of Prophet's fallout with Hargreave. Alcatraz is saved by Strickland, who reveals herself to be an undercover CIA operative and ordered Alcatraz's deployment. Alcatraz attempts to capture Hargreave, but Hargreave reveals that he has been in a vegetative state for over a century since an encounter with the Ceph at Tunguska, and that Hargreave's consciousness is only able to communicate and interact through the use of an entirely computerized system. He gives Alcatraz a last Nanosuit upgrade, the "Tunguska Iteration", before the Cephaloids invade the island. Hargreave triggers a countdown timer for the self-destruct system of the complex, and convinces the remaining CELL forces to aid Alcatraz's exfiltration. Alcatraz barely escapes the massive explosion, which destroys much of Roosevelt Island and the Queensboro Bridge. On the shores of Manhattan, Alcatraz meets Gould, Strickland and Chino.
Alcatraz is notified by Colonel Barclay that the US Department of Defense has decided to launch a Tactical Nuclear Strike on Manhattan Island, with little regard to collateral damage. Barclay warns Alcatraz that unless he can come up with a better plan, the strike would likely be carried out despite the risk of dangerous nuclear fallout. A massive alien spire appears in Central Park, and lifts much of the park into the air. With the peripheral aid of Gould, Strickland, and Barclay, Alcatraz assaults the floating section of Central Park and succeeds in making his way to the central alien spire. He enters the spire, and his Nanosuit, with the Tunguska Iteration upgrade, is able to repurpose the spire's bio-weapon to turn against the Ceph, killing all Ceph in New York in the process. Alcatraz, while unconscious, communicates with Prophet (whose memories, experiences, and personality had been stored in the suit), who states that, while the mission in New York is a success, they have more work to do, since the Ceph had ancient constructs built all over the world, and were not only limited to New York and the Lingshan Islands. The Nanosuit, before rebooting again, states assimilation complete, and Prophet's memories are now "assimilated" into Alcatraz. Upon waking up in Central Park, Alcatraz receives a broadcast from Karl Ernst Rasch, the other founder of Hargreave-Rasch, asking for his name. Climbing out of the crater and speaking for the first time in the game, Alcatraz responds "They call me Prophet".
The game developers stated that there is more "verticality" to Crysis 2 because of the skyscrapers throughout New York. This verticality can also be reached by some free movement abilities like climbing up ledges the player can't reach or sliding over the ground. The game has a tighter storyline, but still retains the sandbox-like nature encompassing a variety of gameplay styles.
The aliens, or "Ceph", stand on two legs and resemble Predators. The aliens have powerful weapons and seem to have superhuman strength and agility, potentially aided by what appears to be mechanical exosuits, which also act as their armour. The hostile third faction is C.E.L.L., a private military organization. They use guns and vehicles like normal humans, and wear armored biohazard suits. Crysis 2 features the addition of the Nanosuit 2, an upgraded version of the original Nanosuit. The largest change is that there are 2 main modes rather than 4. Each of the two main modes can be modified with modules. Strength and speed are still usable modes, but they can't be accessed with a radial menu. They are integrated in normal functions of the suit. When the player sprints, the speed mode activates, accompannied the sound when it activates in the prequel. When the player holds down the jump button, the strength jump will be activated and the player jumps higher. The HUD changes depending on which of the two different modes is active. Unlike the previous games, Crysis 2 allows the player to stomp, kick, and punch.
- Cloak mode: generates an active camouflage for the Nanosuit and suppresses any sounds done by the wearer.
- Armor mode: This mode increases the protection of the Nanosuit greatly, at the cost of some speed and agility. Upper body strength is given to the wearer.
- Weapon mode: Default mode. When energy is drained while in other suit modes, the suit automatically changes the mode to Weapon mode.
- Power Mode: Passive Mode which is only activated when the user does actions which require power e.g. Power Sprinting, Power Melee, Power Jumping and Power Aiming, etc.
- Tactical Mode: Reconnaissance Mode, the user is allowed to tag important objects such as ammo, weapons and even enemies. This mode makes the user vulnerable as he/she has no weapons however this mode consumes no energy.
The suit can be customized with Nanosuit modules to fit to the players style of playing. Nanosuit Modules can also give additional abilities to the player. When for example the module "Air Stomp" is applied, the player can perform a stomp when in the air which can eliminate enemies who are below them. Like the weapon customization, the player can customize their Nanosuit on the fly in the Singleplayer campaign. There are 12 different modules in the Singleplayer campaign, and up to 60 Nanosuit Modules in Multiplayer, which are divided into Armor, Stealth and Weapon Categories. In the Singleplayer campaign, there is also a Tactical category, containing three modules which are in the Armor, Stealth, and Weapons categories in Multiplayer.
Crysis 2's multiplayer features experience points, unlockable features when you reach certain ranks (for example, when you reach rank 5, you can create your own loadout), a ranking system that goes to Level 50, customizable loadouts, and kill-streaks.
As of May 31 2014, the multiplayer modes in Crysis and Crysis 2 for PC are no longer playable as a result of GameSpy Technology shutting down all their hosting services. The multiplayer mode in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Crysis 2 remain playable.
The Limited Edition of Crysis 2 is available at the same price as the regular game, but in limited quantities. It comes with bonus experience points to "immediately boost the player up to Rank 5, giving access to all the preset class loadouts", a digital camo weapon skin for the SCAR, the "Hologram Decoy" attachment for the SCAR, and unique in-game platinum dog tags. The Indian Version, on pre-order, also includes the Threat Detector Suit Module (Early Access), and, on buying from the EA store, a gold dog tag and desert camo for SCAR.
The Nano Edition of Crysis 2, which was only available through pre-order, includes the Limited Edition copy of the game in a Steelbook case, an 11" statue of Alcatraz posed on top of a New York City taxi, an art book, and a Nanosuit backpack "modeled after the in-game super suit." The Nanosuit backpack is large enough to accommodate a 17" laptop. As of September 26, 2010, the Nano Edition was made available for pre-order on the EA website for a $149.95 price tag but was sold out before March 2011. After the game's launch, those who pre-ordered the Nano Edition had their shipment delayed. EA gave the affected customers a 75% off coupon as compensation.
- James "Alcatraz" Rodriquez, the main character
- Laurance "Prophet" Barnes
- Nathan Gould
- Jacob Hargreave
- Tara Strickland
- Sherman Barclay
- Karl Rasch
- Ceph Fleet
- Crynet Systems
- United States of America
- United States Marine Corps
- United States Navy
- United States Air Force
- SCAR is the standard assault rifle of the military in Crysis 2. It holds up to 40 rounds per magazine and boasts a good balance of accuracy, rate of fire and damage.
- SCARAB is the carbine version of the SCAR, although it is slightly less powerful than its larger cousin its higher rate of fire and increased mobility make it well suited for close range fights.
- Grendel Heavy Assault Rifle, is a 24-round 3-shot battle rifle that offers superior accuracy and damage at the cost of mobility and rate of fire.
- Feline SMG, a bullpup SMG with a 60 (+1) round magazine. Its 1200 rounds per minute rate of fire make it a devastating weapon at close range.
- K-Volt, is an electrostatic pellet submachine gun that delivers powerful electric shocks to its target. Because of this it is not only very effective against soft targets but also heavily armored units (including nanosuit equipped soldiers).
- Jackal shotgun, a semi-automatic/automatic shotgun with a 7 (+1) round box magazine.
- Marshall shotgun, a pump-action shotgun based on the shotgun in Crysis.
- DSG-1 is a .405 caliber sniper rifle that is both powerful and accurate, Its magazine holds 6 (+1) rounds and unlike its previous versions, it is now a semi-automatic rifle.
- M2014 Gauss is an immensely powerful electromagnetic anti-material rifle. It was designed to replace the previous generations of .50 caliber sniper rifles, combining increased power and muzzle velocity with reduced recoil.
- M12 Nova pistol offers decent damage with low recoil. Its magazine holds 20 (+1) rounds.
- Hammer, a heavy semi-automatic pistol with increased damage and has 9 (+1) rounds per magazine.
- Majestic, is a revolver with high damage, but a cylinder capacity of only 6 rounds, and it cannot be silenced.
- MK60 Mod 0, a machine gun seen in the multiplayer demo that resembles the M60E4.
- L-TAG Grenade Launcher, a 6-shot grenade launcher.
- X-43 Microwave Incendiary Klystron Emitter, a weapon that can be best be described as "Flamethrower 2.0". It uses incredibly lethal weaponized microwaves that could literally boil a human from the inside, set flammable objects on fire with continued exposure, and explode sealed objects containing liquids.
- Frag grenade. It seems that now the player can't throw it while holding another weapon. It has the same launch reticule of the L-TAG but upside down.
- JAW rocket launcher differs from the LAW rocket launcher in that it is a single shot, single use system, but due to its light weight a soldier can carry multiply JAW rockets.
- Smoke Grenade
- Knife (only used with stealth kills)
- Fists (only used in standard melee)
- Mounted machine gun (detachable) that resembles the 20mm machine gun from Crysis Warhead.
- Laser Sight
- Gauss attachment
- Light Shotgun
- Grenade Launcher attachment
- Reflex Sight
- Assault Scope
- Sniper Scope
- Holographic Decoy
- Extended Clip
- The two types of VTOL seen in the first Crysis, still belongs to U.S.M.C
- Stalker Exosuit
- UH-60 Black Hawk
- Taxi Cabs
- Transit Buses
- Miscellaneous Civilian Vehicles
- AH50 attack helicopter, belongs to C.E.L.L
- C.E.L.L LTV (Light Tactical Vehicle)
- Marine LTV
- VL-90 APC Transport(Armored Personnel Carrier)
- ICV (Infantry Carrier Vehicle)
The first information was released early February 2010 in a German Magazine. In April, Crytek showcased a demo to certain gaming organizations. Crytek also released two teaser trailers  and two videos of the Nanosuit 2 .
On February 14, 2011, a leaked beta of Crysis 2 was released on Torrent sites. The leaked beta is a Developer Build from January containing the full singleplayer campaign and multiplayer, but contains major glitches, can only run on DX9, and missing textures. In response, Crytek stated that it was a major disappointment and that piracy can ruin PC marketing. The statement was considered to be totally ironic as Crytek didn't release a demo at the time of the leak. However, Crytek was surprised with all the support they have garnered from fans, saying that they should "keep it up".
On January 25, 2011, a Crysis multiplayer demo for the Xbox 360 was released as well as the PC demo (released later on March 1, 2011). The demo contains the maps Skyline and Pier 17, two playable modes: Team Instant Action and Crash Site, eight available weapons (SCAR, DSG-1, M12 Nova, Mk.60, M17 grenade, M34 flashbang, the heavy machine gun turret, and the Jackal shotgun), and a few attachments.
The PS3 version of the demo was released on March 15. However, it was removed from the PlayStation Network after issues were encountered.
The Xbox 360 demo during its release contains numerous connection problems, causing many users to be unable to play the demo. In response, Crytek promised that they will fix the connection problems and will get it shortly.
- This is the first Crysis game to feature an enemy faction that is American.
- This is the first Crysis game to not feature any domestic animals.
- This is the first Crysis game to be set in an urban area rather than a jungle.
- This is the first Crysis game to be released on consoles.
- Fictional film posters can be seen in outside areas, but the release dates are in 2024, a year after the game.
- The Crytek logo can be seen on some posters in the game, such as bus stops.
- Compared to Crysis, Crysis 2 is much more linear.