E3 2010: Crysis 2 Updated Impressions – Catastrophic Beauty Sounds About Right
Written Sunday, June 27, 2010 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Across all forms of media, we’ve seen New York take a good beating for 20 plus years and I’m not the first to admit it, but it’s getting a little stale now. Whether we’re talking about the rundown Manhattan in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, or even more recently, the pounding the city took from that the beast in Cloverfield. I must say though, that no-one has quite caused the decimation that Crytek have managed to in their upcoming shooter, Crysis 2. Creating that decimation is one thing, but making it beautiful is another. Destructive, manic, incredible visuals: Crysis 2 is all of these and more, and if it wasn’t for Rage at this year’s E3, the shooter would have been knocking on the door for our Best Shooter category in our Best of Show awards. That’s not just for how incredible it looks either, but because of the intensity of the gameplay. It’s an explosion a minute... literally.
As EA have seemed to do for the press at E3 in recent years, they save the best for those that travel out to cover it. Whilst the press conference focused on the Pinger battle, the behind-closed-doors presentation followed our Nanosuited soldier on his way through the city to Grand Central Station – the scene for the aforementioned Pinger battle.
Starting out on an obliterated train track under the cover of night, it’s the job of our super-soldier to assist the demolition squads on the ground who are looking to drop the Onyx building in order to stop the advances of the aliens on the ground. After jumping down from the tracks, the soldier moves through the streets to a small fortified alien location further down the street.
After clearing the desolate office block from the alien invaders, a huge explosion follows as further down the street the Oynx building finally falls and not only does it feel like progress is being made, but it feels like you’re a huge part of why the team’s advances are successful. If the large explosion wasn’t enough to astound, the collapsing building that incidentally drops onto a nearby train flipping it over and crushing one of the larger invaders in the process should be – I’d say it was scripted, but nevertheless, a shining moment.
Now on the ground, our main man flips from cover to cover – even creating his own on the odd occasion – and slowly approaches Grand Central Station. After kicking numerous taxis down from the elevated road to assist the troops below, progress is slow, but the spotlights of the fortified iconic train station come into sight in the background. The carefully perched cars – although a tad scripted for our liking with their placement – don’t just make good footballs, but slap a few sticky grenades on them and they turn a potential football into a tactical masterpiece, but it seems a far cry away from wide open sandbox of the original.
While on the final approach, the city starts to come alive and Crytek must be commended for painting this awe-inspiring picture. Now I finally see what Crytek mean by “catastrophic beauty” as everything from the smouldering wreckages that litter the downtown metropolis, all the way down to the sparks that a falling elevator spit out moments before you face off with the Pinger create a setting that is unlike any other.
For those that didn’t catch the press conference, let me touch a little on the Pinger – a huge ED-209 sized mech – that the super soldier fights in the lobby of Grand Central station. It’s by far the biggest Crysis 2 enemy we’ve seen to date and it tracks its foes with sonar. Adopting to take a stealth and aggressive approach seems to be the best idea: flicking between the invisibility and the JAW rocket launcher, strafing left and right and leaning in and out of cover seemed to do the trick. In truth though, despite its size, the Pinger didn’t look too hard to take down, but the scene does end with a bang. Not only does the Pinger meet its maker, but watching the iconic MetLife building topple to the floor after was nothing short of incredible.
Yes, it was another great showing for Crysis 2 at this year’s E3 and yes, the game does seem to be getting better with every showing, but we’re not letting that get to our heads just yet and becoming consumed with excitement. Coping under the pressure of a short 10 minute demonstration is an easy thing for a video game preview these days, especially in a controlled environment, but it’s how it transcends to the masses once it gets onto the final disc. “Will it cope?”, “Will the frame-rate take a kicking?” and “Will it look as good?” seem to be the three most important questions from that perspective, but we’ll be crossing our fingers that Crytek have what it takes to make Crysis 2 a flawless experience on consoles.
Where Crysis 1 failed from a gameplay and story perspective – repetitive and absurd respectively –Richard Morgan and a crumbling New York might be the perfect antidote to cure everything that hampered the first game. It’s definitely shaping up to be the best looking console ever and it was the only game at the show that didn’t look out of place on a 50” screen.
Crysis 2 is scheduled for a winter 2010 release.