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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Avatar image for KuRf

I cant wait I cant wait!!!! oh crap nose bleed!!

Avatar image for Dechorus

@dark_risng76: it had levels which you went through linearly, similar to Call of Duty. However, the levels themselves were large and open, and you usually had multiple objectives in each.

Avatar image for imthelumberjack

@ dark rising76 it was a mixture between the two. It was based off of levels, but the levels were huge. Often they were 2-5 bases in a level and you would be able to strike at them from different angles. Map sizes are about the same size or a little bit smaller (depends on the map and zone) then zones in the STALKER series.

Avatar image for D-eagle101

Killzone 3 vs Crysis 2 will be epic...

Avatar image for dark_rising76

Was the first Crysis game an open sandbox game or was it level to level like Call of Duty series?

Avatar image for BoneSawSAS

Thats great, Shaun, but given how Crysis has been the benchmarking game of the last few years, why didnt you make a single reference to how the game looks graphically?? Sounds like a paid advert to me....

Avatar image for lifeoncrime

Crytek is the best!!! I want!!!

Avatar image for mattv888

Meh, I'm gonna play this on bootcamp on my mac mini. Before you start whining, this baby runs mass effect 2 in 1080p, and the original crysis in a somewhat lower resolution. I'll still be able to play this, even if I have to turn off advanced water reflections and play in a lower resolution than 1080p booyah.

Avatar image for Lukeskaes

This game is going to make me so hapy man

Avatar image for B-boy

probaly you need a 10.000 dollar pc run this game

Avatar image for ecw1983

@godb93 Yeah your rig probably will, remember the system requirements are lower than Crysis 1 and Warhead but we are still getting a better game then the consoles. @Skyblue69 I think Far Cry 2 on the PC was a great game dispite how slow it was... On Consoles.... yes it did suck

Avatar image for Skyblue69

Looking forward to this but... ... and don't get me wrong, I love Crysis, but still yearn for a remake of the original Far Cry with the Cryengine - Far Cry was one of the best FPS experiences ever and was, in my estimation, more fun than Half Life 2. Also, shame on you Ubisoft for the atrocious Far Cry 2.

Avatar image for Blue_Tomato

Hm, where is that hands-on-video gamespot linked to on the frontpage?

Avatar image for Sirbobislost

@BlackWaltz_No_3 Yeah I picked both games up on steam a few months back so went straight from crysis to warhead the difference was instantly noticeable plus not having to pick up ammo manually was such a time saver

Avatar image for Blizzard89

Oh yeah was upgrading my rig in Feb! Sweet!!!!!!

Avatar image for starwolf213

i wonder if prophet and psycho could give you a hand in beating that big alien guy.

Avatar image for silverdoe

i want, may grab the new 6000 Series for it!

Avatar image for DennisWZH

cant wait!!

Avatar image for lightwarrior179

Looking forward to it.My main concern is that they maintain the freedom of approach of the first game in the sequel.That was one of the main things which made Crysis special (just like Far Cry). I just hope EA isn't forcing Crytek to make it overscripted like the CoD single-player campaigns.

Avatar image for hotwire999

Waiting for it,Waiting for it,Waiting for it

Avatar image for mrbrainheart

I'm very excited to hear about the freedom you're given, I was afraid it would be a bit too claustrophobic or confined. probably the first game I will be buying next year (there are loads more I need to consider buying next year though :p)

Avatar image for azurik15

New aliens design looks better than first game.

Avatar image for swmdwn

i guess justice league and avengers were on holiday. Good, lets see how ny's good ol' nano assed marines take care of business.

Avatar image for pbrain69

who said this was going to be $60? As much as i want this game, i won't pay more than £30...also gonna wait till it appears on Steam. PS: Gamestation UK are selling this (pre-order) for £25!

Avatar image for bumbum1991

I'd love if our friend Marines are better and helpful in combat (rather than become prey or dead scene).

Avatar image for Dark_Infinite

@Plagueless dream big young one.. dream big...

Avatar image for rainbowstorm965

i hope there're more alien weapons to use.. the first one had one in the sp and a few in the mp

Avatar image for PETERAKO

Second photo from top. when i first saw it first thing popped to mind was "TRANSFORMERS" LoL

Avatar image for Pete5506

One of the many games im looking forward to in 2011, lets hope my PC can handle it

Avatar image for crossaxe

should be sick! i think il get this one 4 ps3 even though i have the 1st on PC

Avatar image for 64-bit

not even a bunch of those new giant heaters gpus can run this at 25 fps.

Avatar image for yrsu

I'm gonna need a new pc

Avatar image for DaTa9192

New York? We don't need nanosuited soldiers, we have Spider Man!

Avatar image for Aletunda

i have the first game and it wasnt that exciting for me, the alien levels were the worst but i did love the jungle stuff, im disappointed that yet again another game is set in new york, im absolutely sick of new york, put our character in a totally new environment thats never been done before. ENOUGH CONCRETE JUNGLES!

Avatar image for benboz

I can't wait for this game.

Avatar image for thejunglegod

@h2untitledo More like Banshees from Starcraft 2

Avatar image for Bumblebee1138

Damm that armor is cool! 8)

Avatar image for guitarist1980

lol nah dude the 8800 gts shoudl have left your pc a long time ago. Unless your playing at like 1024x768 you might be able to get 20 fps.

Avatar image for tetrissanity

i not sure how this will turn out on consoles, like the ps3 or xbox 360

Avatar image for MIYAMOTOnext007

just gald its not linear...and I really hope the weapons "feel" good

Avatar image for Solid_Sterb

I'm gonna need a new PC when this comes out.

Avatar image for mlord5000

Time to see if my 8800gts still has what it takes :)

Avatar image for pabloxiaoyi

is this game supporting PS Move?? (I hope so :-)

Avatar image for h2untitledo

does the dropships ring any bells for anyone? looks an awful lot like mr freeman's alien buddies' dropships don't they?

Avatar image for callofduty511

@unhappymatt1 It's just a game. You'll play it and the next thing comes along and it'll be forgotten.' Nope, I'll be modding this for years to come once it's released :D I have been since the original Crysis.

Avatar image for jayd02

"I really, really hope they optimize this game for pc. If they do, it might just give me a reason to finally build a new rig. :-)" words by: amplex007 yes lets spend 500 plus dollars on my computer so that I can play a 60 dollar game, that makes perfect sense :D

Avatar image for Paoksis

@maybock3000 2 reasons: 1)piracy 2)not everyone has the money to build that good pc