Crysis 2 Preview

Crysis 2 Preview

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3
Release date: TBC 2010

First, a combined disclaimer and confession – when we got a chance to see Crysis 2 recently and sat down for a quick chat with Executive Producer Nathan Camarillo, it wasn’t running on a PC. Instead, we saw Crysis 2 demonstrated on an Xbox 360. This is a fact which immediately demonstrates what is to many people the most interesting thing about Crysis 2: it runs on a console.

Disappointingly, at least for those of you who want to hear horror stories about how broken the console version of the game is and how Crytek is going to painfully learn that it never should have left the PC, Crysis 2 seems to run fine on the Xbox 360.

There are caveats, and ‘fine’ is a relative term, obviously. The game is never going to look as great on a console as it could on a PC, mods may be out of the question, and a gamepad is always going to play second fiddle to a mouse, but it’s fine. Really. If you don’t have a PC which is up to spec then, I’m sorry to say, the console version of the game may do the job.

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Turns out it wasn't the green wire...

More interesting than the technical and financially motivated changes to Crytek’s latest game are the numerous changes that have been wrought upon the gameplay – some of which potentially pull back the curtain on why Crytek’s games are the way they are. That is to say pretty and playable, but with some obvious flaws – we’ve never heard anyone speak fondly of Far Cry’s Trigens or Crysis’ aliens, for example.

We didn’t fully realise how players would use the Nanosuit abilities,” said Crytek’s Nathan Camarillo in preface to his demonstration, going on to outline how gamers would create their own styles of gameplay that they would adhere to strictly.

Some players, for example, would use the Stealth and Strength powers to create hit and run tactics – like Predators. Others would use Stealth and customised weapons to become the ultimate hitman. What we didn’t anticipate about that was that players set their own failure scenarios… They’d reload [the game] if they got spotted, not if they died, so breaking the style was their failure scenario.

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Tap A to Laugh Evilly

According to Camarillo, it was only after Crysis’ release that Crytek cottoned onto this fact and saw that the Nanosuit abilities players had at their disposal weren’t as brilliantly balanced as they could be. Simple things, such as having to switch between Maximum Speed and Maximum Strength to execute long jumps, broke the flow and snapped players out of the style. It was the first thing Crytek sought to change in Crysis 2, minimising the number of separate abilities and combining them into modes for dedicated play styles.

In anticipation of the reaction to that news, Camarillo was quick to stress that these changes have been borne out of feedback from the PC version of the game, and not just because console controllers have fewer buttons than a keyboard and mouse.

Whatever the inspiration or motivation, there’s no getting away from the fact that the game seems to have been improved by the changes. Stuffing together the speed and invisibility options of the Nanosuit into a new Maximum Stealth mode definitely enables more player autonomy than it destroys and, at the very least, means there’s less fiddling to be done with the various modes.