Crysis 2 Multiplayer
Poor Crysis 2. While it's an anticipated game, it's always going to hide behind the ground breaking beauty of its predecessor. After all, Crysis 1 is still the standard bearer for game graphics, and the fact that Crysis 2 is not only going on PC, but the Xbox 360 and the PS3, means that across the board there are some expected cuts.
However, it seems like Crytek is manning up to this challenge, as not only is Crysis 2 a beautiful game, it looks like it'll offer even more in the gameplay department. Crysis 2 has been described as an “urban jungle” and that there will be a much stronger vertical element of the game. EA had a multiplayer event last week, and it looks like all of their goals have been matched, even in the multiplayer experience.
Any Crysis game preview would be remiss to not mention the visuals. We were only allowed to play the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, and I don't think I'm jerking anyone's chain when I say that this is one of the best looking games I have seen on those console. Crytek has done an amazing job creating arenas that look like real world places destroyed by war, and as crisp and clear as crystal. Even better, Crysis 2 is an insanely colorful game. Rooftop plant life, bright blue skies, vivid neon lights, everything about Crysis 2 is glorious in in opposition to the browns and grays of contemporary shooters.
It also helps that Crysis 2 contains some of the best level design I've seen on multiplayer stages in a long time. With twelve in total, the four I've seen looks great. Skyline, which will be one of the stages in the multiplayer demo released this week, takes place on a series of residential rooftops in NYC. Greenhouses, helicopter pads, empty gyms, broken water tanks, lots of brick rubble, this stage looks beautiful and highlights the vertical elements of the game. There's not exactly a ton of sniper points, but this smallish stage offered lots of places to hide, as well as plenty of drop-offs that lead to an instant death. Here was a good stage to check out Team Instant Action, a 6v6 deathmatch, which played mostly as you'd expect. It's team deathmatch!
Sanctuary was a much larger level, taking place on the city street level around a massive cathedral. Military trailers juxtaposed against religious architecture made for an interesting area to run through, and this stage was great for some of the team-based defensive modes. Pier 17 is a water stage, taking place in the rubble of a shopping district set on a pier. We played Extraction here, a mode where one team must defend a series of stat bonus increasing Bio Ticks while the other team tricks to pull them to a helicopter for extraction. Sneaking through the water proved to be a very effective tactic for the offensive team.
Finally, there was a parking structure multiplayer level. Probably the most generic of the stages in my opinion, it reminded me very much of last year's unappreciated Blacklight: Tango Down. It was here that I played Crashsite, a fusion of Control Point modes and defensive modes. Players rush to an alien crash object, and the first team to get there must defend it from destruction by the other team. It's a fresh take on a tired mode, and I liked it.
In addition to Team Instant Action, Extraction and Crashsite, Crytek is promising that regular Instant Action (deathmatch), Capture the Relay (a variation on Capture the Flag), and Assault, in which normal marines without nanosuits must compete against those wearing the nanosuits, will round out the mode set, with variations of those modes available as well.. Unfortunately, EA didn't show off these modes, but it sounds like all six will offer plenty of variation between the twelve stages.
Now, the Nanosuit is the most unique element of Crysis 2. While other FPS games like Modern Warfare have to keep some resemblance to reality, Crysis 2 doesn't have to worry about this. Instead, players will be able to alternate between a strengthened armor mode with the tap of the left bumper, allowing for stronger melee attacks and more health, or they can tap the right bumper for an invisibility mode. Other things the player is capable of is an aerial ground pound to kill from above, or a sliding kick. Since there is fifty level ranks the player is able to run through, players will be able to unlock new special abilities, as well as call down strikes from futuristic ships. Unfortunately, all of the nanosuit abilities, and even something as simple as running, depletes suit energy rather quickly. Interestingly, the game allows players to use the armor mode, invisibility, and running all at once, although the suit energy will deplete in seconds. It's pretty great that Crysis 2 will let you be that flexible.
Controls are a little finicky. Many of us cranked down the sensitivity for the cursor, finding them to be much too fast and loose. Additionally, while shooting, aiming, jumping, and reloading worked just fine, certain actions like throwing a grenade (double-tap Y) or switching through the different visors (infrared is particularly helpful), ammo types and weapons (relegated through the D-pad) feel a little complicated. Additionally, the slide attack (running, then pressing B) took a while to get the timing down, and I found myself struggling to perform it properly. I'm sure hardcore shooter fans will pick the controls up right away, but as it stands, it's one of the more complicated shooters I've played on a console.
After spending a couple hours with Crysis 2's multiplayer, I'm reminded most of a fusion between Halo and Call of Duty. It's very fast, and deaths come quickly, much like Call of Duty. Additionally, the in-game perks, the leveling system and the semi-realistic environments all scream Modern Warfare. However, the nanosuits give players Master Chief jumping abilities, and the modifiers to the suits are definitely unrealistic. Crysis 2's multiplayer isn't groundbreaking, but it looks like it will offer a unique and addictive way to play. With a release date set for March 22, there's a lot to look forward with this one.