Crysis 2 Preview: Two Ways To Save New York, New York

According to Crysis 2, one of the biggest shooters coming to consoles and PC later this year, there will be two ways to save the Big Apple in early September of 2023: Like a predator, or like a tank.

Developers from German development studio Crytek came to the New York City of 2010 this week to show off a playable version of the more bombastic, more streamlined - but, they say, not at all dumbed down - sequel to the PC-only first-person shooter Crysis.

In a demo running on Xbox 360 hardware, they controlled a super-solider from a first-person perspective, using Crysis 2's Nanosuit 2.0 to toggle between two main modes, predator and tank, to take on crafty black ops human enemies and then to try to fend off an overwhelming tide of Celph aliens descending upon Manhattan.

The first game's Nanosuit, which toggled between four enhancements - enhanced armour, strength, speed and cloak - has been altered/upgraded/streamlined to allow the player to toggle between what Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli described to Kotaku as the tools to let Crysis 2 "be an action game or a stealth game". That's how players wound up playing the first, he said, oscillating between the two modes of play.

One main mode of the suit will enable stealth tactics, improving the player's ability to sneak up on enemies and, as we saw during a sequence of the demo that occurred on a rooftop in downtown Manhattan, see through walls at close quarters to spot enemies. The more aggressive mode will draw more fire but make the player more powerful.

"The player chooses it but then the player toggles on top of it the power or tactical modes," Yerli said. "He can stealth run, stealth jump or stealth assess. He can tank run, tank jump or tank assess."

Beyond that, new powers will be added and can be combined, unlocking new abilities that enhance one of those two ways a player might play, a simpler initial choice leading to more varied long-term outcomes.

The first Crysis had a reputation for all but melting PCs, running best on high-end hardware that costs a few months' pay. But the new Crysis 2, even when running on an Xbox 360, looks quite nice in its own right. New York looks crisp, the Chrysler building gleaming in the background of the scene we saw, a scene packed densely with the detail of detailed buildings, street detritus and enemies.

The demo began with the lead character engaging black ops soldiers on a rooftop battle. This future New York is a little more green than the current one. It's a place with more rooftop gardens and ivy climbing walls, though still a far cry from the jungle of the first Crysis. Enemies on the rooftop seemed smart and cover was a vulnerable thing. Concrete tree planters chipped and crumbled when hit by gunfire.

The plot of the new game involves saving New York, a city Yerli described as "the pride of mankind", a place of landmarks that dramatic, unannounced things will happen to. The Black Ops guys may be adversaries. Apparently our character has something they want back. But Crytek is not saying what that is. And, halfway through the demo, it didn't matter. The Black Ops had gained the upper hand and arrested our hero, but the chopper we were being brought away on was hit by something. Suddenly our character was lying in the streets, witnessing an assault by massive Ceph aliens. The suit revived our hero and we were back in the fight.

Crytek is promising a more action-packed sequel, and one with the focus that will match the expectations of finicky console players. But Yerli insists that neither the suit nor the flow of the action will be dumbed down. The first game was celebrated for offering tactical variety and the developers of the new game maintain that that is back in the new one. In fact, they say it is enhanced by the sheer amount of stuff they can put in a city scene with which you can interact. So, as demonstrated before Kotaku's eyes, the game's hero can shoot at enemies but also toss newspaper boxes at them, blow up cars and swing lampposts. We were told that punching cars will trigger airbags, the tactical value of that not entirely clear yet. Hot dog carts can either be tossed or detonated. Think of it, the Crytek people said, as an urban jungle.

The Ceph were too much in this demo. So impressive were they that a pod landed, destroyed the side of a building and out rumbled a massive variation of alien that blasted hero and demo to a cliffhanger conclusion. What Crytek had shown was not terribly original in execution, but advanced visually and exciting. The variety of play looks to be as flexible as advertised.

The new game does have some narrative connection to the first, though the developers are not spelling that out. Knowledge of that first game won't be required, so console players, who never had a chance to play Crysis or the spin-off Crysis: Warhead won't feel left out. But there will be some as yet unexplained character connections.

The big draw here is an advanced first-person shooter set in a near-future New York under siege. The echoes of September 11 are clear. The urge to save the city is strong. The move to a console-friendly style of development does not appear to shatter the Crysis formula, but it has indeed been tweaked, the better for all players, Yerli maintains, and the better to save a city that is once more under attack.

The game is set for a late 2010 release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


    Personally i am disappointed that this is not a "true" sequel to the original Crysis story. Judging from interviews, i am not expecting Nomad or Psycho or anyone else to pop up in the game, which i find disappointing to say the least. While not the best story in the world i did enjoy the story it had created and would have liked to have seen it continued in number 2 instead of Crytek catering for the console audience and somewhat ignore the events of 1.

    Still looking forward to it though but i see this more of a "spin-off" then anything else.

      Well crysis was never about story or actual gameplay, it was just a tech demo to showcase the raw power of the engine, which is still a bloody powerful engine, yet im not aware of any other games that utilized the crysis engine

      the character you play as is nomad. thats what ive read anyway.

    The dumb down from 4 suit modes to 2 so that the cavemen 360 owners (Halo players) can actually have a chance of playing the games is disappointing.

    I read a while ago that they will implement a feature that when you change suit modes it will have a crossover time, so for example, be in speed mode and switch to strength, during the crossover, be able to long jump.

    But I guess people dedicated to the console can't handle that much intuition in one go.

    So does that mean my current rig will explode when I try to play it or has it been dumbed down to meet console graphical specs? Dunno which of those two outcomes I'm more happy with...

    i've never played crisis but after seeing the trailer for the sequel i'm going to go out and buy it today.

    PC gamers are so bitchey... wowza! Get out more gals!

    I wish PSN was more than Xbox Live - i would get it on PS3 if it meant looking that little bit better.
    But 360 buy for me, mainly cause i can't handle all the intuition.

    I'm more interested in the technical aspects of Crysis 2 than the game. If they can actually pull off all the claim's they've made, that's absolutely amazing!!

    Another sequel, ripoff money spinner ? Great eye candy cut scenes with "no substance" generic gameplay ? Me thinks so..

    I don't think it's entirely accurate to say the tech will be "dumbed down" for PC. Sure, some developement time that would have previously been devoted just to PC tech will have been lost, but PC hardware has not come on dramatically far from where it was back at Crysis release (or, at least, uptake of new tech seems to have slowed down, I sorta expected us all to have 32 core machines by now).

    From various GDC and Siggraph tech demos, though, I'm expecting to see things like Realtime Radiosity (light bouncing) in the PC version, as well as higher resolution textures, better shadow and ambient occlusion tech, more full screen effects, etc.

    Also, I'm guessing that the polycount on the PC models will be significantly higher. They probably (if sensible) will use middle resolution lods for the console builds, particularly the PS3, as it's Gpu is just not that great at pushing out too much geometry (not having a stab, it's just a fact, there are plenty of things the PS3 does well at too).

    All in all, I really can't imagine PC users being disappointed in Crysis 2. I'll definately be getting this on my PC, not my PS3 :)

    "still a far cry from..." hehe good one

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