While we had already seen New York city torn apart in Crysis 2, we had yet to get some hands-on time with the futuristic first-person shooter. However, at this year’s Gamescom, developer Crytek let us loose on a new multiplayer build, allowing us to get a feel for the shooting and experience humiliating defeat at the hands of the developers.
Before we were let loose on a map, we were given some details about the multiplayer. The team behind it consists of more than 70 people at Crytek UK--many of the same people who worked on the acclaimed Timesplitters. There will be six game modes, though we were able to get our hands on only two: Team Instant Action and Alien Crash Site. While Team Instant Action is standard team deathmatch fare, Alien Crash Site is a new twist on a capture-the-flag style of gameplay. An alien ship fires a drop pod onto a location on the map. The two opposing teams then try to clear the drop site of hostiles and then defend it from the other team.
Like the single-player maps, the multiplayer maps are set in a postapocalyptic vision of New York. The first is Rooftop Gardens, which is set on top of a skyscraper, giving you plenty of room to jump around and snipe enemies. The second is Impact, which is set in two buildings that have crashed together, creating a mish-mash of stairwells and concrete rubble. Before each match you can choose to play as one of five preset classes, as well as build custom ones. There are 80 ranks to work through, which Crytek estimates will take around 80 hours to unlock. You can also use nanosuit modules to customise your character, improving attributes such as agility and stealth.
We jumped into an Alien Crash Site match, playing as a regular solider. The first thing that struck us was the detail in the environment, with piles of rubble, broken walls, and a distant New York skyline all visible from the rooftop. A marker let us know where the alien dropship was about to deploy, which we could also see in the sky on the rooftop level. We headed down to the drop site, only to be greeted by a mass of aliens, ready to send us swiftly back to where we came from. Though AI-controlled, the aliens acted intelligently, hiding behind cover and flanking us to gain the advantage. Though we were able to dispatch them, the opposing team then appeared and promptly laid waste to our team.
After respawning, we attempted to exact our revenge and headed back to the drop site. We took advantage of our nanosuit’s special abilities, which were armor and stealth. Armor increased our defenses, allowing us to withstand long barrages of bullets, while stealth activated a Predator-style cloaking device. Both were powered by a limited energy supply represented by a small meter at the bottom of the screen, which recharged slowly as we played. As we made our way to the drop site, we noticed how fast the game felt, allowing us to quickly spin around and take out multiple enemies. Shooting felt satisfying, with our rifle having a nice amount of recoil, requiring us to shoot in short bursts. The usual shooter mechanics of aiming down the sight, crouching to steady our weapon, and pistol-whipping melee attacks were all present and correct, as well as an enhanced jumping ability that allowed us to jump higher and climb up ledges. None of this mattered though, as the superior abilities of the developers left us in constant pools of blood on the floor as we suffered the humiliation of defeat. Crysis 2 will be out on March 22, 2011, in North America and on March 25, 2011, in Europe. Check gamescom.gamespot.com for more of our coverage from Cologne.