Crysis 2 - The Longest Road
What a crazy month. I've never made a blog post before but I feel emotionally spent and completely relieved after finally unlocking "Tooled Up", my final Crysis 2 achievement. My first boost for the game was on June 25th of 2018 which was just slightly in advance of the announcement of the servers being shut down for good. With a drop-dead date of October 11th the amount of time remaining seemed reasonable.
I analyzed the data and it appeared that the climb to level 50 would take about 40-50 hours. If everything unlocked as the criteria was met it would be a long, boring boost but nothing too crazy. But as many of you know, Crysis 2 would not be completed easily.
I started by joining an 8am, 2 hour boost hosted by an Englishman. He was a previous boost partner so I knew his sessions would be organized. After about 8-9 sessions the host completed the multiplayer and then the group disbanded for a few weeks. I made the decision to start hosting my own sessions to fit my schedule so I took up the 8am-10am time slot again on July 23rd and ran the same session 5 days a week. Just two days later the announcement came that the servers would be disabled October 11th. I figured, no problem, my level is already in the high 20s, I'm good! My sessions started to pull in a few regulars and in a couple of days we had a solid group. Everything was going well, all of the boosters were on the same page, we all knew what to do and we made great progress. In the first few days most of us would unlock:
After about two weeks I was level 39 and attempted to pop "Tooled Up" by using the unlock and back out method. The way Crysis 2 works is that all of the weapons can be unlocked at level 39 but you don't actually have enough weapon tokens to unlock them until you reach level 45. But there is a method that involves unlocking a weapon and then immediately backing out to the main menu, then going into multiplayer and doing it again for a different weapon until you unlock them all at which point the achievement could potentially unlock. It's a nice method because when you back out to the main menu immediately after unlocking a weapon it seems to register as unlocked but doesn't actually spend a token which is how you can potentially get this at level 39 instead of 45. This did not work for me. A couple of days later I was level 45 and tried the back out method again, still nothing. Then I just tried unlocking all of the weapons legit and still nothing. I was glitched and the next possible opportunity to unlock "Tooled Up" would be a nanosuit reboot at level 51.
I continued on and when I reached level 50 on August 18th I unlocked:
One cool thing about boosting Crysis 2 is that all of the boost groups kind of knew that everyone was boosting so there would be a lot of randoms dropping into games to work on skill assessments. Most assessments in Crysis 2 involve getting headshots and kills with the different weapons but there are several that just involve doing things like ledge grabs, cloaking near enemies and spot assists. It wasn't uncommon to see a guy drop into your game and just stand next to the shooter and tag enemies to earn a small amount of XP and this achievement:
The Cry Spy achievement in Crysis 2 worth 97 pointsMultiplayer: Get 30 Spot Assists
There were also a couple of separate boosts for getting one of each skill kill, winning a match of every game type and for playing a game on each map.
The Nomad achievement in Crysis 2 worth 26 pointsMultiplayer: Play a full game on every map
At this point I only had one achievement left and was hoping that after rebooting and playing a single match the achievement would pop like it had for so many other people. I remember doing all of the suggested things before I rebooted.
I thought that the first time I booted up the game back in 2012 I had played the Limited Edition version. There is a lot of speculation that this version is the cause of many reboots and that playing it without redeeming it's included, one-time use code could potentially cause "Tooled Up" to not unlock properly. Understandably, this wasn't known in 2012 and I was playing a used copy without a code to redeem. Shortly before my reboot I decided to switch to a standard copy of the game, move my game save and delete and redownload my profile as had been suggested by some of the guides on TA. I was hopeful as I rebooted, went back to level 1 and played my first game. As I completed the round and got to the results screen I waited for my achievement but I would be disappointed.
Now I was second guessing myself. Should I have kept using the LE copy of the game? Maybe I should have left my game save on my hard drive after all. My guess is that many others who have rebooted with a disappointing result have felt the same way. While I was deflated I wasn't completely surprised and decided to carry on toward level 45 again in hopes of unlocking "Tooled Up". Perhaps the issues from the LE version of the game would be resolved now that I was using the standard copy of the game. I buckled down and kept making my 2-hour sessions, 5 days a week.
This time I had a slightly different plan. Many people had tried to get to level 45 without unlocking any weapons and that seemed to help. In Crysis 2 as you gain levels you get unlock tokens that can be used to unlock different weapons in the game. You receive your last unlock token at level 45 so I was going to use the default weapons that you start the game with until that point and only then would I try to unlock the weapons. I'm not sure why this is supposed to work but as one of my friends and Crysis 2 boost partners stated it's just, "..gamer voodoo..". I agreed with him but decided to proceed with my plan because I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to get the achievement.
A few weeks went by with consistent boosting. Along the way a few others were able to unlock "Tooled Up" and the boost group would evolve. We'd congratulate them and then bid a fond farewell appreciative of their efforts and their toil. Level 39 would come and I decided to try to use the back out method again. I guess I had ants in my pants but at this point I felt like if it doesn't unlock at level 39, then it wasn't going to unlock at level 45. Again, no achievement. Level 45 would come and I unlocked them using the back out method and then again just using the standard unlock method but still nothing. At this point I was already about 90 hours of boosting into the game for basically one achievement. There was a chance I could get it to unlock with another reboot.
I trudged on to level 51, it was a miserable climb since you need a substantial amount of XP to gain a level once you are in the 40s. A 2-hour session would probably be good for 1 level at that point.
Another reboot was on the horizon. I got to level 50 but this time I did not delete my game save although I did delete my cache a few times (not sure why a few times, probably because someone else did it). I was ready and rebooted for the second time, played my match and eagerly waited as the results screen loaded, my heart was racing. The end screen came and went....I proceeded to the game lobby...and still no achievement.
I had been hopeful but was prepared for disappointment. Many others who had a similar roadmap as me, starting with a limited edition copy, not redeeming a code, having started the game in 2012 pre-patch had to make a third climb to level 51 and another reboot before "Tooled Up" would pop. There was no hesitation, I was going to try for one final reboot.
I'm not sure on the dates here but I think my first session after my second reboot was Sept. 10th. That left me about 1 month to finish the game. Since I was running out of time I decided to just unlock the weapons as I leveled up. This would speed up the process of leveling up slightly since I could earn bonus XP for leveling up each weapon. While this might increase the chances of problems with the tokens not unlocking properly it would probably save me 4-5 hours of boosting time. I also had to ramp up my boosting schedule. My session was now 7 days a week from 8-10am. By my calculations I'd be able to reboot on or around October 10th.
The boost group had a few diehards at this point, one guy had been in over 30 of my sessions and he was on the same trajectory. My concern was that as people would get their achievements they would stop boosting and my sessions wouldn't fill up. Luckily, even in the final days there were still people trying to pick up the easy stuff.
My session just became routine. I'd get up at 7:50, sometimes before my alarm even went off, set up the coffee maker, go downstairs and turn on the 360. I'd start a party chat and send the invites. In the meantime I'd get my coffee and then we'd start the boost. I think what I'll remember most is the conversation. Sometimes the group would be quiet, focused on running and shooting. Most times conversation would erupt and we'd talk incessantly about the tricks we all did in an attempt to get "Tooled Up" to pop. Which version of the game are you playing? Have you rebooted? Did you try the backout method? Level 39 or 45? Often times we'd just talk about other games or boosts, or the worst or most embarrassing games on each other's tags. It really helped to break up the monotony.
When I got to level 35 or so another guy I was boosting with ordered a sealed copy of Crysis 2 LE from eBay in order to attempt redeeming the code to see if that would get his achievement to pop. It seemed like a wild idea and not likely to work but a few days later he entered the code and upon booting up the game a couple days after entering the code the achievement popped! Unbelievable I thought. He hadn't even rebooted, it just happened when he entered the multiplayer mode of the game.
I thought there might be something here since we had almost identical experiences up to that point. I also ordered a sealed copy on eBay and I kept boosting in the meantime eventually reaching level 46. I tried to unlock the weapons again, only legitimately this time and the achievement evaded me yet again. I got my sealed copy and tried to redeem the code and Xbox said there was a problem. Oh no! Was my code expired? Luckily it was just Xbox Live and I was able to enter the code later that evening. The next time I booted the game up it said I had new items waiting for me. Success! Now I just had to wait to see if my code was going to help me get "Tooled Up". I boosted for two more days after redeeming the code, Oct 6th and 7th and still no achievement. I was level 48 by Monday with just three scheduled boosting sessions remaining.
My Monday boost began normally and I took my first turn as the shooter. At match end I was up to level 49 for the third time now and still nothing. The next match started and I was just a runner, earning XP for the other shooters when my Xbox froze. It was a hard freeze, just stuck at a single frame of the game. I hit the guide button but nothing happened and I had to power down and then power on my console. It had been early in the game and I knew I could rejoin before the round was over, salvaging at least some of the XP of my shooter. I booted up the game, worked my way to the multiplayer menu and as soon as the screen had loaded I unlocked:
The Tooled Up achievement in Crysis 2 worth 177 pointsMultiplayer: Unlock all the weapons
I was a little shocked and probably not quite as happy as I should have been. I felt more relieved than anything. I was vindicated a little bit, not that I could really justify spending almost 150 hours playing a game to basically get a single achievement, but I think as hardcore gamers we all have a few tough achievements on our tags that took a little bit too long to get.
Finally, after participating in an estimated 69 boosting sessions for a total of about 138 hours plus a few undocumented sessions I have conquered Crysis 2. It feels good to have that completion and I'll be proud to tell people about it if they ask what the longest grind or most boosted game on my tag is.
I only wish everyone else who wanted to unlock "Tooled Up" would get there. Along the way I met a lot of really nice people and when I think about how everyone was able to come together for a common goal it makes me enjoy the grind a lot more. I have a list of people I'd like to thank and I think I'll put that together at some point in the future. But to those who were there I say thank you and good luck, and I hope to see you again.