Crysis 2 Updated Hands-On

We find out what those invading aliens are up to as we venture back into the remains of Manhattan.


At this point, you're probably well aware that Crysis 2 has traded in the lush island jungle of the first game for an altogether different location in scenic Manhattan. Well, maybe it's not all that scenic. We're talking about the Big Apple post-alien invasion here. What we've seen of the game thus far has given us a good idea of how players can traverse the streets and rooftops of Manhattan using the signature nanosuit in Crysis--that impossibly powerful (and stylish!) piece of sci-fi outerwear that gives your character the ability to do, well, just about everything. With our most recent look at the game, we've been able to see what this first-person shooter's vision of New York looks like when you get off the rooftops and head toward lower ground.

France is going to be so upset when it sees what happened to its present.
France is going to be so upset when it sees what happened to its present.

The level in question is called Semper Fi or Die, taking place roughly halfway through the campaign. You awaken in a shallow pond in Madison Square Park amidst colossal piles of rubble and destroyed infrastructure. Dazed and delirious, a fellow soldier hands you a gun--all but assuring you that this nice little dip in the water isn't going to last much longer. There are grumpy aliens about, after all. You and the squad move through the remains of New York that have been violently scattered throughout the park. It's an environment filled with unsettling reminders of New York's former glory, including the disembodied arm of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the ground like some terrifying beacon leading you forward.

You might be able to guess what happens next. You run into a cluster of giant bipedal aliens standing seven or eight feet tall with the ability to leap in and out of your way with deft ease. Fortunately, you're given a tremendous number of tools and amount of freedom to approach conflicts with these agile enemies, even with the game moving from the vast jungles of the first game into the dense urban streets of Manhattan. The reason is simple: This isn't the Manhattan that you visited with your family over spring break in 1997. It is, quite simply, Manhattan gone to hell--and that opens up a lot of new ways to move about each level.

This particular firefight took place in a massive sinkhole in the ground, where there likely once stood a large intersection between tall buildings. The daring types can take advantage of the severed water mains by sliding down the steep slope leading down below as though it were some kind of water park slide, which is a handy approach for catching the aliens off guard. If you're the more methodical type, you can use the scattered and overturned city buses to climb up to street level to gain a perch dozens of feet above your enemies to pick them off with a sniper rifle. And, then, there are the various other strategies somewhere in between those two that we won't even get into right now. This is a game where you're moving through areas of Manhattan that somehow feel wide open yet still dense with objects and scenery to use to your advantage, which leads to a lot of possibilities.

Most aliens you fight are a little taller than you, but some… some aren't that small.
Most aliens you fight are a little taller than you, but some… some aren't that small.

Maneuvering between enemies down on the ground, you have a huge suite of tools to choose from, but it comes at the price of a fairly sizable learning curve. It also becomes clear that Crysis 2 is a shooter fan's first-person shooter. A tactical visor allows you to overlay helpful locations and then manually tag them so that things like distant enemies and ammo caches stay highlighted once you've gone back into combat. There are also your nanosuit abilities that include features like stealth cloaking to sneak up on enemy aliens (stab their glowing fleshy bits from behind for an instant kill!) and armor reinforcement to temporarily become a flat-out bullet sponge. Of course, that stuff is familiar to anyone who played the first game. New to the series, however, is the ability to upgrade your suit. As one example, we got to try out a sensor proximity upgrade that beeped at a higher frequency as enemies drew closer to us.

Fully wrapping your head around all the different ways you can approach a given combat situation is something that, frankly, takes a bit of a time investment. There's a good bit of strategy that goes along with knowing when to switch on your suit's armor ability when you're taking too many hits; when to tag ammo crates in your visor mode that you'll probably need to run back to (it's very easy to burn through ammo); and when the best time is to swap out an ACOG for a reflex scope on the fly (which you can do with a few simple button presses). But even with this learning curve, Crysis 2 feels very much like a game that embraces experimentation--giving you plenty of incentive to learn the ins and outs of your various tools and abilities.

Beware the dropships bringing in reinforcements.
Beware the dropships bringing in reinforcements.

Our demo ended with protagonist Alcatraz overlooking a giant canyon in the middle of the city hundreds of feet deep--a yawning abyss carved deep into the guts of Manhattan. But as we looked up, we saw the city's skyscrapers towering above the ground line, essentially doubling the sense of scale in one quick turnaround. We didn't get a chance to see what happened next, but we're certainly eager to see what does. For now, expect Crysis 2 to arrive on March 22.

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This game should also be made for the super high end computer scene and then dumbed down for everything else including consoles so it can actually be used as a benchmark just like crysis

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The argument comes down to this. High end pcs are 10x+ faster than a 360 or ps3 graphically, thus it can look better and you can play at higher resolutions. 1080p is so like 5 years ago. 2560x1600 or 7680x 1600 is the way to play games now and consoles cant do that. You can hook a 360 controller up to a pc so problem solved with controls if you want a controller, but that is just gimping yourself. Same control scheme, better gfx, no online feeds. PC clearly wins.

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@Bashers79 dunno what's goin on between you and ecv1983 (i don't really want to get involved), but making a pro-console argument by stating that hacking only happens on the PC is downright silly. That's right up there with the whole "piracy is only a problem on the PC" bullocks.

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@ecw1983 Ha... that's rich calling me a fanboy, you've done nothing but spout PC Elitist snobbery right across this article. I read your comment again and it still tells me your a Graphics Whore whose easily impressed by high resolution. I hardly think they're going to release a FPS of this stature with frame rate so bad that it'll detract from the gameplay. As for your comment "I have a Xbox360 and the experience does not even come close to my PC" again thats only your opinion, which ultimately doesn't mean jack. I used to be a PC gamer once, but I got bored of constantly worrying about whether my PC was up to the challenge and then forking out for upgrades when it wasn't. Theres a nice feeling that comes from knowing that, when I load a game into my Xbox 360 or PS3 for the first time, it'll work and look great on my 42" LED tele. That and the fact that when I play an online shooters the experience won't be ruined by the cheating aimbot hackers that plagued CS.

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Crysis 2 is ruined by consolization. It's in a city where your completely limited on every corner there will just so happen to be a big ass truck blocking any exploration it's just FEAR 2 now basically and they go on about the tall buildings as if it's something new .... no it's not we've seen it all before in Half-Life 2 and Episodes. Totally disappointed with this game so much for the new benchmark game.

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For me, this is really quite simple........ DAY 1 : )

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Bring it, hell yeah!

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Another PC shooter restricted by consoles. This will go from being an excellent sandbox shooter to a predictably cliché rail shooter.

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What about phisics? plz let it there be some crazy environment tearing apart xD must buy

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@killer690 ps3 and x360 graphics are basically the same, it just depends on the game (some look better on ps3, some look better on 360). Anyway game looks amazing so far, i hope the world is very open i would like to be able to explore the beautiful and detailed surroundings :)

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I rly want a new pc :(

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My most anticipated game of 2011

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LOL @ myself... i just commented on Killzone on PS3 and said how amazing it looks! then... i see this!... luckily i own an xbox! WHOOOP!

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@Landon_Ricketts Enough said dude XD, You are right we should be thankful that crysis 2 is coming our console way, and pray that they make a console version of the 1st one so we can know what it was all about.

Avatar image for killer690

I have seen 1080p graphics on both the ps3 and xbox 360, I gotta tell you I like both of them, It looks slightly better on the ps3, up until now, but you have to admit that the new engine updates are making major progress on the xbox 360, have you seen the latest unreal 3? Gears 3 comes very close to what we have seen on ps3, besides it depends a great deal on you tv set, if you have an LED tv set everything looks crystal clear XD

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Nice hands on video...

Avatar image for ecw1983

@Bashers79 Read my comment again fanboy, Without decent FPS(F-R-A-M-E-R-A-T-E-S P-E-R S-E-C-O-N-D) gameplay is pretty much useless. which I will put a 10er on that will be the case with the ps3 or 360. I have a Xbox360 and the experience does not even come close to my PC. Any game that is released on both platforms PC is always better. @georgeww True, but if you are an avid gamer the cost of console games compared to PC games is insane, its almost double the price !

Avatar image for Henoch

Pred 2 movie wasn't that bad, you just didn't have Arnie running around and blowing stuff up.

Avatar image for nord1c

Crytek has a great team, which is dedicated to quality shooters. I am quite optimistic, that Crysis 2 will be just as good, or better, than it's predecessor.

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I still can't get over how insane 2011 is going to be :o Looking forward to Crysis 2 :D

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@Robsonbmw Yes you are overacting, there is no evidence for that, so I don't see why you would come to that conclusion.

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@HLno1 Supposedly they've been optimised so the requirements aren't much higher then crysis but gas powered games said that about supreme commander2 it just didn't look as nice although bigger problem is they destroyed gameplay completely so far looks like crytek havnt made that mistake

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Anyone seeing a fair resemblance to Predator vs Predator 2 ? First was amazing and quickly became an all time classic.The second though sucked big time.The first one took place in the jungle,the the city. I just hope Crysis 2 won't follow the same path. Or maybe I'm just overreacting?

Avatar image for Earendurx

"Alcatraz"??? So the protagonist's name is Alcatraz? I thought that Nomad was making a re-appearance... Bummer.

Avatar image for Bashers79

@ecw1983 Arguing this point with you is probably useless as you're either incapable or don't want to understand my point. What your last comment says to me is that you are a "Graphics Whore", someone who places graphics over gameplay, in other words easily pleased by pretty things. In typical fashion, you failed to read my comment properly and went off on a tangent. Plus you just couldn't resist ranting about mouse 'n' keyboard, how pathetic. A console gamer is more than able to have the same level of entertainment from using a controller as a PC gamer from using M & K, yes I agree in a straight up FPS match a M & K player would win, its easier to use after all, but its a pointless debate as it will never happen. So in conclusion, no its not enough for me ecw1983. Oh... and I'm not your "mate". @Thereisnotri See above, you clearly missed the point to. Nice little "Graphics Whore" rant though, im sure its factual but totally irrelevant. GAMEPLAY>GRAPHICS.

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@GravityDs It's not solely graphics that are a concern for PC gamers (or for me at least). Yes they are a big thing (considering that, that was a huge selling point for the first game) but everything suffers when games are ported across platforms poorly; controls, AI, framerates, modding, even the console demographic can change games for the worse *cough*callofdoodie*cough*.

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2011 best year ever

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@ecw1983 @Thereisnotri hey totaly agree the PC will always have better graphics, but to get the same level of graphics as a console costs more, hope u agree, the PC wins in evey way except the price, Crysis 2 will look way better on Pc than on 360 but it will cost most people to much on the pc for it to be worth that,

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@HLno1 Knowing Crysis, They haven't made computers good enough yet...

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Well I know it'll look great. I sure hope it plays great too.

Avatar image for Elfrancorifle

Not gonna buy it until I get opinions of people... And maybe rent it.... It really looks cool.... Everyone knows PC has better graphics by far but I still prefer my console =)

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March 22 is my birthday! Weeeeeee

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Computer requirements???

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@dark_rising76: Crysis was made of a succession of gigantic, wide-open sandbox levels. Same with Warhead. I only know about the PC.

Avatar image for verse10

Right ON!!!

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looks cool

Avatar image for ecw1983

@Bashers79 ??? Mate, Graphics makes a huge difference in any game. What about FPS? The PS3 will probably struggle to keep up with 30 FPS. MODS? and no console fanboys are by far the worst , I still hear some say that console graphics are better than the PC's !!! I dont care what planet your from that is wrong, PC graphics over took consoles 5 months after they were released and Mouse and keyboard is will still kill a controller any day of the week ! Is that enough for you Basher79?

Avatar image for Thereisnotri

Basher - where to start with this one? Ok how about this - consoles will be limited to DX9 (where development on the hardware and software stopped) PC can choose 9 through 11 depending on their rig. That means very different lighting, shadows and effects between PC and consoles. Consoles are limited to no or 2x AA and trilinear only not anisotropic. PC will have higher res and more detailed textures. The PC version will however inevitably be more limited than it should be as the game has to be capable of running on the crappy 8 year old tech found in both consoles. You must be applauded though for the inventiveness of your argument on the merits of a far crappier method of control - that's almost clever.

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@dark_rising76 no other FPS in the HISTORY of FPS games is as linear as Black Ops. Its almost like a rail shooter. yeah like the other guy said. this has linear level but I would say it more like halo or killzone where you can move around a litte bit (more than killzone 2, and think halo 1 not reach)

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@Bashers79 I agree. This is especially true when it comes to games designed from the ground up to be a console game like Halo or Kill zone. but for games like this it is preference. When you play online the handicap (or advantage) is the same for all players. The only game that I ever played back to back on both PC and console was Max Payne. The mouse controls where kinda silly in that case. in bullet time you could spin around like 10 times. Faster yes, but silly. The console seemed more attuned to bullet time controls. but there are PC games that I prefer with a mouse and keyboard. what ever. Its all down to pernsal taste. and yeah. Grapchis will be better on PC, but what does a decent grapchis card cost??? I know you can put together a pretty good PC for 1000 bucks, but 1000 bucks will buy a HDTV, 5.1 surrond sound head phones, a console, a game, and 1 year on XBLA. lets not forget I can use the head phones and the HDTV for my pc as well. what ever cant wait for this game. on what ever. just have fun ok?

Avatar image for midhuncn

Crysis is best played as a 3rd person

Avatar image for Bashers79

@ecw1983 I was lead to believe that crysis 2, with the exception of the graphics, will be the same on both PC and console? So unless you're a complete graphics whore, how will the PC version be better? Don't even bother whining about how mouse + keyboard is better, because that argument only applies on a personal level. Face it, some (actually a lot) of people prefer the greater challenge of using a controller. PC Elitist's are worse than PS3/Xbox fanboy's for being snobs these days.

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Second photo..It seems like a Decepticon lol Awesome game!

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I wonder if the chasm under new york will open up the vast labrynthine network of tunnels underground?

Avatar image for Earth11277

I'm going to buy it !!! Come fast