Crysis 2 Preview

When Crytek makes a game, we look. No, really, we go and see how amazing it looks, because they simply make the most stunning games around. So when Crysis 2 trailers popped up prior to E3, we knew we had to see the game in person.

Ironically enough, the demo we witnessed ran on a nameless PC, which the EA spokesperson claimed to be a mid-range gaming desktop, and that the game was running at medium-spec. Even then, it looked almost as good as Rage on the Xbox 360.

Without a doubt, the brilliance in visual design was expected, but no less shocking. Few games shown at E3 this year could compete, and to reiterate, that's with Crysis 2 running at less than 50-percent of its maximum. There's a reason many PC gamers still cannot run the original Crysis at full-spec on their machines, even after two and a half years.

Crysis 2 takes place a few years after the events of Crysis and Crysis: Warhead in New York. The city, and perhaps many others worldwide, are under attack by the same alien menace which plagued our heroes in Korea, although this time they're not just "Squiddies" from the Matrix. Several classes of these aliens appear, the most prevalent, undoubtedly a soldier, appears twice as large as a standard human and with tentacles on its back. It's unclear whether this is the actual alien or some sort of suit, but the ghastly appendages seem to come out of the back without being connected to it.

These creatures are not just larger and deadlier, but more advanced as well. They use energy weapons and giant mechanized robots. Some have specialized abilities, such as cloaking, which should even the playing field considering the Nanosuit's major abilities.

Crytek was quick to point out that the Nanosuit is as much a character as the protagonist. The same can be said of the city, which has been built around the five Nanosuit abilities: speed, strength, cloak, armor, and the new tactical. Tactical acts as an information-gathering tool, which replaces night vision, thermal optics, and binoculars. The suit's abilities have also been improved. In past games, making a running jump required switching between speed and strength at just the right time, which was very difficult regardless of control set-up. We witnessed this same thing done in one fluid motion. More updates to the suit's abilities are expected, but they've been kept quiet thus far.

Little is known about the story thus except that author Richard Morgan has been brought in to make it as memorable as possible. What happened during the three years between Crysis 2 and its predecessors, what instigated the alien assault, what happened in Korea - these are all unknowns that will have to wait until the game's release. Oddly enough, we find this sort of endearing, especially considering how the storytelling in Crysis and Crysis: Warhead wasn't all that strong, and yet, now we're very interested in where the tale is heading.

Much like Crysis felt when it first released, Crysis 2 has all the appearances of a rock-solid title, even in its incomplete form. It will run on all HD platforms, as we're assured, just as smoothly as it does on the PC at medium-spec. Console gamers will still lack the full experience, as will most PC owners (barring a blood offering to the overclock gods), but there is no questioning the visual superiority of Crysis 2.

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James Pikover
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