Game: Crysis 2

Developer: Crytek

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC

Sequel to one of the greatest PC shooters ever, Crysis 2 offers console players their first taste of Crytek’s unique shooter gameplay. Featuring futuristic war, gorgeous destruction and the chance to kick alien butt on the grandest stage of all, New York City, Crysis 2 is destined at the least to equal its predecessor, if not surpass it. Additional features include: challenging AI enemies in the single player campaign, 12-player support online, new and improved upgradable Nanosuit 2 technology and more.

The real star of the show in Crysis 2 is going to be the Nanosuit.  Whether you are familiar with Crysis or not, you will soon come to the realization that learning the intricacies of the suit is important as they are going to be the bread and butter of gameplay in Crysis 2.  Equipped with a cloaking and an armor devices, the Nanosuit is as much of a weapon in Crysis 2 as the gun you are holding.  It allows you to turn invisible or put up a defensive shield permitting that you have the required energy units for consumption.  In the multiplayer demo, the game has a dynamic feel, and is a ton of fun to play.  The cloaking and tracking capabilities have you constantly looking over your shoulder for an invisible opponent that is always closing in on you.  Just as important but not quite as cool, is the armor ability.  This will give you the power to take extra hits in a gunfight, and is well balanced with the cloaking mode.  Able to use either or at any given time, this pushes the gamer to orchestrate a dance between cloaking, armor, and energy consumption.  Aside from those perks the suit also allows you to traverse various terrains.  You can make superhuman leaps, cling to ledges, and it gives the game a great vertical element to the gameplay.

If one thing is certain, Crysis 2 is going to have a whole bunch of unlockables and leveling in the multiplayer. There are a ton of unlockables in the demo as it is.  Comparable to a Modern Warfare 2 where you can unlock “Dog Tags” for completing certain events in game.  In Crysis 2, these tags can be used to personalize your character as you progress through the multiplayer earning XP.   As you complete each round of multiplayer you will earn points for how you played.  If the perks you used were stealth oriented the majority of the XP you earn will be earned in the stealth category, opening a new branch of things to unlock in that sub-segment.

As it stands, as you level up you will earn the ability to unlock modules for your character.  Armor Modules, Stealth Modules, Power Modules, Attachments, Game Types, and various other unlocks are available as you progress through the multiplayer.

It’s a very similar to a COD like system, giving you points for just about each and every action your perform, and allowing you to use the perks as you see fit with your character.  You will earn points to unlock new weapons as well.  This gives you the ability to move from the standard assault rifle that you are given at the onset of the game, to Sniper Rifles, Heavy Guns, and Shotguns.  Depending on what type of player you are will obviously impact which weapon you choose for your character.  One thing to be noted is that the weapons feel well balanced even in the early goings of the beta.

Other unlockables like explosives can be purchased as well, giving you the option to choose between flash grenades, standard grenades, C4, and RPG’s.

The suit modules are probably the most integral part of the game though.  These are the tweaks to your Cloaking and Armor abilities that will give you distinct advantages on the battlefield. There are quite a few unlockable in the demo to give a taste of what’s to come in the retail version, and their effects can vary depending on your style of gameplay.   There are quite a few ways to customize your character in Crysis 2 through the leveling and perks system.

Obviously the game is still in Beta.  There are alot of things that need some fine tuning coming into the finish line with Crysis 2.  The graphics are very good looking,  but the game uses a killcam sequence that doesn’t really mesh well with everything else that is going on.  For some reason it just feels off, more like it needs a layer of polish on it before the game is released. In most games a Kill cam is used to enhance the experience and in the beta for Crysis 2,  it does not.

It’s not just the killcams that need to get sorted out before the game releases in March.  The gameplay feels very rough around the edges.  The game looks well enough, its very fun at times, but there are some things there that make it subpar to many of the experiences already on the market.  It has huge potential because like I mentioned above it’s a dynamic and ultimately fun game.  But there are issues like hit detection that need work, and theres a general imbalance of what kills you.  Sometimes it feels that you can take many shots and not go down while at others a single shot to the body will end your life.   Melee controls feel a bit off as well with animations not very fluid in that department.

The Crysis 2 Beta is awesome,  if you can remember that it is just a beta.  Now if the problems that I mentioned above persist into the retail version of the game that’s another story.   There’s alot of hype around this game, and it’s competition is steep with Battlefield 3 in the works, Bulletstorm, and likely a new Modern Warfare coming in 2011.  I have no doubts that Crytek will fix most if not all of issues that are being complained about when the retail game releases.  I mean that’s what a beta is for isn’t it?  The multiplayer modes offered in the demo are a ton of fun, the Nanosuit is completely fantastic and a blast to romp around in, and the gun play is solid for a beta.  Crysis 2 will be released for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on March 22, 2011. I’m excited.  Grab the beta access on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Release Date: March 22, 2011