Crysis 2 Preview - E310
E3 2010: New York, New York. A live demo preview for the upcoming alien shooter
When it was first announced that Crysis 2 was going multiplatform, the feelings of the audiences around the world were mixed. On one hand, the console players will finally be able to check out the great gameplay and visuals that made the original title a classic on PC. On the other hand, both PC and console players knew that the technology would have to adapt to the limitations of the consoles, and both sides were worried that the quality of the product will suffer as a result. To disperse these fears, Crytek and EA have been actively campaigning that Crysis 2 is a complete product that will play and look great on all platforms. During E3 this year, we had a chance to check out if the claims are true with a live demo.
For our demo, the game was actually running on PC because of popular demand. Unfortunately, an Xbox 360 controller was used in the presentation, surrendering one of the core PC advantages. Crysis 2 aims to offer the freedom of a sandbox game in an action packed environment, said the developer. During the first glance, the game did look a bit sharper than the console versions, but the improved quality in the visuals were hampered by some bad lag. We were not told what system specs the demo was shown on, so let’s not call a panic just yet about the game being unoptimized.
The first part of the demo was taking place in the same location as the trailers. The player was in intense combat with some aliens in and around a destroyed building. Using various suit abilities from the previous game, we weren’t able to notice anything new in terms of gameplay. One cool technique used was executed by using strength to shove or throw a car into the air, and then explode it nearby some enemies. The player was using the common weapons arsenal including shotguns, rifles, grenades, as well as aforementioned suit abilities like cloak and strength.
The second part of the demo took place inside a subway station building; again similarly to the demo that was shown during EA’s press conference. After fighting off some bad guys, a giant enemy appeared, called the “pinger”, which packed serious firepower and quick maneuvers. However, putting on the cloak and finding some scattered rocket launcher ammo around the station proved the enemy to be not so tough after all. A few rockets to the stomach, and the enemy fell. Overhead, however, alien pods crashed into a skyscraper building, sending glass and debris raining down. A truck appears, and the player is able to make it safely away from the collapse of a massive skyscraper. The demo ends here.
One of the things that seems to stand out is a final non-playable sequence, where the player watches as a man calls for help to his trapped wife, and moments later they are swept away in the collapse of the building. It seems that Crytek is attempting to impose a heavily emotional undertone to the story in the game, and with that particular scene, they succeed. But moments later, questions begin to arise – why not let the players decide if they want to help the couple? Surely, with the strength of the suit, rescuing the lady would have taken mere seconds. With so much emotional emphasis being placed on the random populace of New York being caught in this disaster, why are we fighting alongside nameless, similarly looking NPC soldiers? They seem important because we use the truck they provide to escape the scene. And yet there doesn’t seem to be any attempt to create a connection with the soldiers you fight alongside with.
Crysis 2 has set out to exceed expectations on what is possible on consoles. It is still too early to judge if they have succeeded in doing so, but early signs point in the right direction. However, as it often happens, the PC version of a multiplatform release is showing early signs of suffering. Being priced at $10 higher than usual PC titles, Crytek and EA may actually have to convince even their existing fans that the franchise they love is back in tact. The console players meanwhile will not see the same breathtaking visuals that PC players usually enjoy, and this is simply because of hardware limits. Thus, they are still left with a very good shooter which brings fresh gameplay mechanics to all those who missed the first two games in the series. Both console and PC players remain cautious, and rightly so, but we hope that when the game is finally released sometime this year, it will have been worth the wait. For everyone.
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