GDC 11: Crysis 2 Hands-on

Crysis 2 is certainly hard to miss. Appearing on a set of drool-inducingly large TV’s on the GDC show floor, the game attracted a steady stream of players eager to slap on a pair of 3D glasses and step into the decimated streets of New York City. The entire Crytek both was set up to show off their nanosuited hero, who performed feats of 1080p derring-do at a seemingly indefatigable clip.

The demo on offer contained five levels, of which I tried three, including one with the memorable, rhyming title “Semper Fi or Die.” What must be dispensed with, first of all, is both inevitable and obvious. The game looks great, deploying the full, considerable power of the Crytek engine. This graphical beauty was augmented by 3D technology, which made the HUD look like it was hovering ever-so-slightly above the action, and gave a pleasing perception of depth to the environments, whose sense of scale benefited immensely.

Dropped into the action with no tutorial, and no knowledge of our hero’s various abilities, I found the gameplay a little overwhelming at first. Crysis is not a game that stints on mechanics, putting the entire suite of Xbox 360 controller buttons to use, and knowing when to use what was often a matter of trial and error. The shifting alliances of the story can also be lost on a player just dropping in. I understood the game to be about an alien invasion. The human Marines were friendly to me in one level. Why are they shooting at me in another one? Granted, the crazy, high-tech suit did make me look like I hailed from another planet.

Some things came more naturally, obviously. Once I figured out who was hostile, I began the diverting business of blowing them away. The guns had a universally convincing heft and impact, and I got particular satisfaction out of the shotgun, which worked in gory synergy with the nanosuit’s cloaking ability — in one play session, I spent a lot of time sneaking up on enemies and dispatching them at close range. Other special abilities include a triggerable armor boost, a “ground pound”-style attack that can be performed after jumping, a hyper-fast sprint, and the kind of Spud Webb jumping ability that will be intimately familiar to converted Halo fanatics. A menu screen hinted at the expanded suite of nano-badassery that advanced players could unlock. Finally, in some situations, context-sensitive button-prompts appeared, though the ones that should have enabled me to stop a hungry alien from gnawing on my face were unfortunately occluded by all the garish carnage going on onscreen.

There is no doubt that the game raises the bar in terms of graphical realism, and with practice and familiarity accepted as a given, its gameplay shows huge promise as well, due to its pace and power. The story, despite the involvement of eminently readable Sci-Fi Scot Richard Morgan, is more of an enigma, and the in-game dialogue that I did encounter was pretty wretched. I may be unfair in not remembering the particulars, but it hit all the video game pablum archetypes: “fight through a horde of enemies to find the whatsit! We need it to recharge part 4/6 of the MacGuffin, according to the advice of the transparently evil scientist with the transparently evil surname! There’s no chance that this plan will backfire at the end of the second act!”

These criticisms aside, the chances I’ll actually be able to affect people when they reach for their credit cards is effectively null. Crysis 2, it must be said, has “teh shiny.” But for those few still on the fence, I will say this: the game won’t change your life, unless your life is vertex shaders.

Excited for the game? Check out our full Crysis 2 Walkthru!

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3 Comments on GDC 11: Crysis 2 Hands-on

thinsoldier

On March 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Wasn’t a big fan of the first Crysis but after watching someone play through the entire leaked beta on youtube I must say this.

The story and the storytelling aren’t nearly as good as Crysis 1.

While you don’t feel like you’re being shoved down a narrow tube (medal of honor) the environments aren’t anywhere near as large and flexible as Crysis 1.

I have to say I prefer Crysis 1.

I guess they spent all their time and energy on the graphics and multiplayer like so many other recent shooters.

I’m going to have to pass on Crysis 2 and finish playing Crysis 1 then Crysis Warhead while waiting for Battlefield 3.

Darkside

On March 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Crysis 1 single was better yes but the multiplayer was horrible and ruined by cheaters.

I was on the leaderboards ranked 1st and then dropped to 7th place the week the hackers started pouring into the beta. I was followed into servers by none other than longpoke.

If I try to play in a punk buster enabled server in Crysis 1, no one joins and if they do I just make them rage quit.

Crysis 2 better step it up as far as multiplayer. Crysis multiplayer can be the best in the world for 6v6 or 8v8 clan war competition.

The genre is awesome. It is the best from Counter-Strike ( purchase weapons hit reg ), Halo ( nanosuit in general ), and Battlefield ( objectives and flags ) combined.

Simply force clients to use unmodified files like sv_pure 2 in VAC2 and add a client sided detection system preferably better than punkbuster. Make an anti-cheat yourseles Crytek we will love you long time! Or you can just keep your multiplayer full of hackers and I won’t be buying any more of your products especially till you separate from EA.

SupremeAllah

On March 8, 2011 at 10:50 am

It is a shame. As I predicted, the inclusion of consoles with the release of Crysis 2 has neutered this series. The “streamlined” suitpowers are more or less limited due to the limits of console controllers. Graphically, nothing seems to have improved at all, especially compared to the first Crysis.

After playing the MP demo, even the gameplay feels like it’s been sacrificed for the benefit of console users. Oversimplification of virtually everything. Since when is giving us less than what we expect good?

OH, I forgot! It’s become par for the course for PC users to get less than stellar games due to said games having to be dumbed down for ty console users. The same folks who probably won’t be playing Crysis 2 because they’re still playing Call Of Duty, which has been the exact same game for their last four releases.