The sequel to Crysis is set three years after the original. All events of the 2020 incident, especially the human-alien conflict, were kept secret, and CryNet Systems is hunting for survivors of the first contact. However, the extraterrestrial race of Ceph did not give up its plans on the Earth. Crysis 2 introduces the new protagonist, a US Marine codenamed Alcatraz. Prophet, the squad leader from Crysis, also makes an appearance, and his recorded memories guide Alcatraz as he uncovers the alien plot. As in every game of the series, the protagonist is armed with a futuristic Nano Muscle Suit, a military exoskeleton that adsorbs damage, heals and strengthens the wearer. The suits were updated since Crysis, introducing modules for suit customization and a new Tactical mode. The player can now use multiple suit modes at the same time.
Most levels are set in the urban environment this time to distinguish the game from the original. Alcatraz is eventually tasked with defending New York from the alien invasion, and the battle ensues at iconic places like Times Square. The game also includes a multiplayer mode that pits the United States Marine Corps against C.E.L.L. mercenaries.