"It is questionable whether Crysis 2 will be a mandatory addition to the collection of fans of the original."
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platform (s) : PC, PS3, X360
Release Date: March 25, 2011
Crysis, the 2007 PC-exclusive shooter developed by Crytek, is still famous for being one of the most technologically advanced video games ever. It offered jawdropping graphics in large, open environments, making for one of the most visually satisfying video games to date. Crysis is still used as a benchmarking tool for new rigs, as its technical refinements naturally came with excessive system requirements. Some attributed this to poor optimisation, but seeing as Crysis still stands as the best-looking video game out there, especially when modded, the game more than warrants the steep system requirements, being a future-proof video game like no other.
Crysis wasn't just about the visuals, though. With some extremely solid sandbox gameplay, satisfying gunplay, a high-tech nanosuit with tons of features and in-game weapon customisation, Crysis provided one of the best single player campaigns in a first person shooter this generation. Needless to say, Crysis 2, which is scheduled for release at the end of this month, is anticipated by many. After experiencing the multiplayer demo, though, I am not sure if this game is directed at fans of the original Crysis.
The previous two Crysis games (a standalone expansion named Crysis Warhead was released in 2008) didn't really focus on the multiplayer component, although Warhead provided a pretty neat multiplayer experience with the 'Crysis Wars' add-on, which offered a pretty unique take on the concept.
While it would've been interesting to see Crytek expanding on this concept in the next installment in the series, Crysis 2's multiplayer has, judging by the demo, very little to do with the previous multiplayer offerings of the series. With its small maps, recoilless guns and a streamlined (read: stripped) version of the Nanosuit, the game seems to concede a lot in an effort to appeal to the mainstream.
Whereas Crysis was a progressive, unconventional take on the FPS genre, the Crysis 2 demo implies that Crytek went for a more conventional and safe approach this time around, giving in to some of the genre's more recent trends. The multiplayer component features the inevitable perks, popularised by the Call of Duty series, in addition to an RPG-esque leveling system that the latter-named series is known for as well.
The gameplay itself reflects this. The action as is fast-paced and arcadey as you would expect from the more mainstream-oriented structure. The gunplay in Crysis 2 strongly resembles the way guns are handled in Call of Duty. The sound effects of the guns are very similar to Activision's war-themed shooter and the trend of having practically recoilless guns has also been carried over to Crysis 2.
As was feared by PC gamers, the Crysis 2 demo implies that Crytek's sophomore entry into the series has suffered a bit from multiplatform development, in that it suffers from the same limitations as some other multiplatform sequels to PC-focused originals (such as FEAR 2). The Nanosuit has been 'streamlined': maximum speed and maximum strength have been integrated into the general gameplay. The player now makes floaty Halo-esque jumps by default instead of having to trigger them with maximum strength. The same goes for maximum speed, which now returns as a simple sprint button.
While this may seem comfortable, these movements do still require energy, so the freedom of movement is actually diminished by this system. Running out of energy, which will happen a lot during the intense multiplayer battles, can prevent you from quickly escaping a hot zone. Some will say this is part of what makes this game attractive tactically, but I personally prefered the system of Crysis Wars, which actually provided a deeper tactical element due to there being more possibility to stick with a certain power and develop a personal style. Prone and lean have also been removed, although they may still be present in the game's single player campaign.
Judging by the demo, Crysis 2 has gone through a transformation and made quite some concessions to appeal to today's mainstream FPS audience. While the original Crysis wasn't a particularly obscure niche title either, it did have its own unique feel, and if the demo is anything to go by, the series is at risk of entering the overpopulated territory of run-of-the-mill shooters only set apart by a few gimmicks.
However, it must be said that multiplayer wasn't the main draw of the original Crysis or the Warhead expansion, and the success of this game will mostly depend on how the single player turns out. The first signs aren't particularly promising in this respect, though, and it thus remains questionable whether Crysis 2 will be a mandatory addition to the collection of fans of the original.
Jesse Dolman, NoobFeed