by Justin Snyder
previewed on X360
Crytek hasn't given up on retaining the sandbox feel of the first title. They like to describe the setting of this one as an "urban jungle." The sequel is still open, but with a particular focus on height. Like the power mode before, the suit's "Tank" mode can use the increased strength to jump up several stories. In a setting like New York, this can provide almost as many approaches to a battle as there were in the original. Emphasizing this, the player turned away from his enemies and jumped up to the rooftops, in order to gain an advantage.
After finishing off the few enemies left, the dev demoed the other primary play-style. We could see enemies patrolling on a rooftop just across the street, so he jumped to that roof and switched into the suit's stealth mode. From there, he snuck up behind the first of the enemies and was presented with the option for a stealth kill, a new feature for the sequel. With that one down, he re-engaged his cloaking and snuck up on the next one. Grabbing him by the throat (something you will remember from the original), he turned and threw him out the window, shattering it in the process. Did I mention how great the physics are?
So ended the first part of the demo. They loaded up the second part and things started with a few minutes of story. Going along with Morgan's idea of using the staples of the gameplay to progress the story, it seems everything is told from the perspective of the player character, as opposed to third-person cutscenes. We watched as the player, despite his stellar performance earlier, has managed to be captured by Crynet Security. As they put him on a helicopter and begin take off, the building they were on just moments before shakes violently. A huge alien comes from beneath and through, its arms (tentacles?) writhing out of the windows and trying to hit the helicopter. Just before it can gain enough altitude, the alien does manage to strike it hard enough to send it crashing straight to the ground. While our hero lies immobile for a few moments, the suit manages to bring him back while the Ceph aliens are destroying the Crynet Security forces.
Quickly the player has to react and jump into the fray. He spends a few minutes fighting with the aliens, a time in which we get to see their superior speed and alien weaponry. The battle continues on for a few minutes, with cars, hot dog carts, and other things lying around the street going flying in the process. When he finally manages to take down the aliens, there is not really much time to breathe. A pod plummets into the side of a building, destroying it, and out of it steps an even larger alien that quickly blasts the character into unconsciousness.
Game of the year?
While this demo wasn't graphically flawless, the game is more than half a year away from release. Small instances of jaggies and texture pop-in can be forgiven, as they – most likely – will be gone when we see the full game. EA is ready to say they have the game of the year in their hands here. For us, it is much too early to make such a game, but it is certainly on its way. With Crysis 2 releasing around the same time as Halo: Reach, Crytek is going to have some unprecedented competition in the realm of shooters, as different as these two games seem to be. And we still have no details on the multiplayer aspect, so there are still surprises in store. All that is left for us to do is wait and see.
Crysis 2 is set to release in time for this holiday shopping season for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.