Crysis 2 is different, but is that a bad thing?
June 16, 2010
Cevat Yerli, CEO and President of Crytek, the developer behind Crysis 2, wants the newest demo of his studio's game to demonstrate all the ways the franchise has changed since the original Crysis. And change it has: the days of fighting stupid alien enemies or having to manage a large number of suit powers are gone. Gone also are the gigantic jungle environments that became synonymous with the original, replaced instead by partially destroyed city levels that Yerli calls "Orchestrated Sandboxes."
In layman's terms Orchestrated Sandboxes translate into smaller, more linear stages that guide the player in the direction the game wants you to go. Still, the world of Crysis 2 is by no means tiny -- and compared to other guided shooters it's actually quite large -- it's just noticeably smaller than it's predecessors. What you have in Crysis 2 are a series of arenas more on par with the Halo franchise -- a number of environments that still have a singular exit, but that are playgrounds that you can exploit in a number of ways.
To exploit the environment Crysis 2 sees the return of the franchise's signature Nanosuit. However, if you fell in love with the somewhat large number of suit options in the original, prepare to be surprised: this time around the Nanosuit's been streamlined, with all the powers being combined into two modes that cater to stealth and aggressive players. If you're in a situation that calls for more armor and higher strength you hit one button and you're suddenly receiving both powers (unlike the original, where strength and armor were separate). Alternatively, if you want to be a more tactical warrior, you can activate a stealth mode that makes you temporarily invisible.
But while I'm sure PC purists will cry foul at the simplification of the Nanosuit, one thing everyone should enjoy is the enhanced enemy A.I. Fighting against a series of new alien opponents, Yerli filled me in on how various enemy types will come at you in different ways. For instance a Predator-looking alien that commonly attacked me in the demo always comes in pairs, and attacks in a hit-and-run fashion. Here's the catch, though: if you give chase to the one that runs it's partner will jump at you, forcing you to reconsider pursuit lest you fall into an enemy trap. While this was only an example of one coordinated A.I. behavior, I was told that other enemy types will challenge the player in other unexpected ways.
When the enemies start behaving in ways that surprise it's up to you to adapt and surprise them right back -- and Crysis 2 gives you the tools to do so. If you run up to cover your character will now dynamically aim over it, or lean from it just like he could on the PC. And if you have your strength suit power equipped it sometimes gets even better: many items in the environment are interactive, meaning that your character can kick them across the world, giving himself what is essentially mobile cover, or changing them into mobile bombs if you take the initiative and attach some explosives to them. A high strength suit kick is also useful for taking out enemies who get close to one of the cities many abandoned cars, as you can kick them into enemies and kill them outright.
One thing that was missing from the Crysis 2 demo I played was the alien's signature ice weapons, but Yerli assures me that they have more announcements coming for how the aliens will affect the world around them. Not that I'll be surprised if they just outright abandon the ice element of the original, as Yerli admits that Crysis 2 is more a reboot of the franchise than a straight up sequel. Oh well, you can call it a sequel, you can call it a reboot, but I'll just call it like I see it -- entertaining to play.