Crysis 2 at Eurogamer Expo 2010

My time spent with Crysis 2 seemed very brief. Playing it on the lovely open platform that the PC provides, the game build was, unfortunately, not that stable, with a frantic man running between the machines, correcting the crashes that happened consistently throughout the day. It was understandably a buggy pre-release version of a game due out next year, and on the plus side, it let me play the same section twice in a row. This would normally have been frustratingly tedious, only having a 20 minute slot with a crash taking out five of those, but Crysis has always been about multiple choices when it comes to killing stuff.

Finding myself in a collapsing stairwell, I immediately bounded off upwards looking for something to kill. It took a few minutes until I was out into a courtyard full of foes I wanted to slot. Never missing an opportunity to hop on a conveniently placed mounted gun, I took a few steps forward to a handy gun turret and started tearing through aliens and concrete alike. It made a mess of everything the bullets licked out at, but I decided it wasn’t personal enough.

Getting off the still smoking gun emplacement, I charged into the alien horde on full automatic, and decided to do a little hop over the rubble in front of me. Much to my surprise I leapt high up into the air, arms outstretched to grab the balcony in front. “Ah,” I thought, “super strength must be on.” Fumbling to remember which button from the original Crysis switched suit modes, my finger tapped the E on the keyboard and I found myself cloaked in the middle of the mayhem. The nanosuit abilities are no longer on or off with one engaged and another idle. Multiple abilities are available at the same time and mapped to different keys. Super.

Not your typical example of inner city gun crime

This streamlining of suit abilities has made everything a lot more accessible, and brutal attacks against enemies now feel more fluent. In the first game, jumping up to a high ledge and then cloaking involved a fiddly menu pop-up in the middle of such a tactical manoeuvre, but it can be done with no such fumbling in Crysis 2.

Another significant improvement is the alien presence as the bad guys. In the original game, the first half was a brilliant struggle against the North Korean army, with several memorable encounters that involved storming their compounds as a one man army. In the latter half of the game, the aliens started to show up and they just weren’t fun to fight. They had a horrible effect on the gameplay and really let an otherwise tremendous game down.

Crytek obviously took this widespread criticism to heart and has completely turned it around. The main enemy presence this time around is alien, but they’ve been redesigned to be much closer to interesting humanoid opponents. In my run through, I encountered none of the irritating, Matrix-like flying tentacle-head things that were such a burden to battle in the original. This time they were clever and genuinely fun to fight against.

The real surprise in my little play through came when a massive, walking alien tank burst through a wall, setting up a boss-like encounter. Not expecting it, I panicked and start firing wildly in its direction. This is when the game crashed and the Crysis 2 man ran to my side and started tapping buttons to see what had happened. Five minutes later, I was back in the game, and hurrying back to this big alien encounter.

After a crafty ciggy went wrong, dramatically pegging it seemed sensible

Knowing what to expect, I found a grenade launcher to try and take it on, although having watched subsequent playthroughs, it seems that I had missed the available rocket launcher. Undeterred, I started dancing between pillars in stealth mode, uncloaking to fire off a grenade or six, before leaping up high to re-cloak and resupply. Even though there was a massive stompy thing stacking the odds against my survival, the suit’s adaptive abilities made me feel powerful and like I had the upper hand, despite the obvious disadvantage of being less like a giant robot designed to kill.

Satisfied with this victory and approaching my twenty minute cut off point, I left the game on a high note. Crysis 2 is looking really good, but this could be due to the 3 GHz processor, 4 GB RAM and the GTX 470 that it was running on (although we were assured that you “only need a GTX 460 for home use”). The first Crysis on the PC was a monster to run specs wise, so hopefully Crytek have learned their lesson and toned it down a bit for the average user’s PC. On the flipside of it though, the game is also coming to Xbox 360 and PS3, opening up the series to a wider audience.

This broadening of platform is definitely a good thing, as Crysis 2 is shaping up to be a serious contender in the shooter market next year. The guns feel great, the suit feels powerful and the game looks brilliant.

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Written by Anthony H

Anthony has been playing games for far too much of his life, starting with the MS-DOS classic Mario is Missing. Since then his tastes have evolved to include just about anything, but his soft spot lies with shooters and the odd strategy game. Anthony will inspire you with his prose, uplift you with his wit and lie to you in his biography.

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