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 idk95

@VigilanteArtist u PC Fanboys are 2 funny.u might have better graphics but when it comes to games you only sell well with games like WoW And Starcraft and pc graphics are only currently slightly better than ps3s best looking games. crysis looks better than killzone and uncharted but only slightly lol.

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Avatar image for ThePowerOfHAT

Can't freakin' wait.

Avatar image for VigilanteArtist

@Dark_Infinite: Yet the PS3 version will still be inferior to the PC. You console fanboys crack me up.

Avatar image for tarikm92f

PS3 will handle this game with ease

Avatar image for Plagueless

@Dark_Infinite and xbox will sell twice as many copies, be played online more, and have an overall better community.

Avatar image for Dark_Infinite

ps3 will do good with this game xbox will crash :)

Avatar image for Gothic-360

this game looks pretty awesome... i want it noww

Avatar image for VoicelessStone

@ codezer0 Yes I will agree with you that when the original came out it performed badly on pretty much any computer of that time. But if you follow the development of Crytek's cryengine 3 you'll find that they made very few graphical upgrades, focusing more on accesibility. They've even gone as far as allowing crysis to run on a 360, which is an astounding feat on its own! (before you 360 fanboys jump down my throat, let it be known I fully support the xbox systems and microsoft. they have been my favorite system, even if they arent the most powerful)

Avatar image for Rickystickyman

As much as I love Crysis this game kind or has an entirely different feel to it from what I am seeing. I mean first game is running through the jungle, taking down soldiers, and doing tons of cool stuff including fighting aliens.. This game is running through city streets and killing aliens. A little bit different but hopefully it is better.

Avatar image for F-14-D_TOMCAT

Nice. Already pre-ordered mine, can't wait for mar. 22

Avatar image for codezer0

After the astronomically bad performing original, here's hoping Crytek learned some lessons and will actually make this one run better... or at the least, use more realistic system-based screenshots showing it in action on a min-spec or recommended-spec machine.

Avatar image for Altaireed

I just hope that it will be better optimized (PC version)just like Warhead.

Avatar image for JimmyJumpy

March 22? I feel a springtime Crysis coming in the air...

Avatar image for MarcRecon

Wow...can't wait!!!!

Avatar image for NeonNinja

As much as I want to play Crysis 2, as much as I want to say, 'YEAH! THIS GAME IS GOING TO BE RAD!" I really wish I was stalking humans with my cloak ability in an open-ended jungle. Crysis 2 sounds like a more linear shooter than a sequel to Crysis should be. The best parts of Crysis were the open-ended sections. Now the previews hint at being open-ended, but I still have my fears for some reason. Regardless I'll be picking it up anyway. And yes, for its native platform, the PC, thank you very much.

Avatar image for yellosnolvr

the 360's memory has been pushed to the limit since 2006. and within the past year, ive been noticing games that have significantly lower resolution textures on 360 than their pc counterparts. this is why it was impossible to port the original crysis to consoles; although the optimization for pc was still absolute crap (imagine how that unoptimized piece of software would run on a console if pc's just now are reaching 60fps at 1080p). but regardless, crysis 2 will still look great on consoles and im sure no one will be disappointed by the graphics. what im looking for is to see what they do with the gameplay now that its set in a city. it seems the elements of 'freedom' that crysis gave us is still in this game, but the question is: how much 'freedom' are we really gonna get?

Avatar image for Barighm

And here I thought this game had nothing but good graphics to offer. Sounds interesting, but I've heard all this talk about choices and stuff before...

Avatar image for mikey33084

i wonder if there gonna use all the xbox's power for this one and if so they should've just waited till the next gen ''WHICH HOPEFULLY ISNT TOO FAR OFF'' to be able to get everything into this game.....i think the world is ready for next gen graphics.

Avatar image for plm3d_basic

The protagonist is Alcatraz? So now we are no longer following Nomad and Psycho's story? That seems a bit odd considering that Nomad was returning to the island at the end of the first game to meet up with Prophet. I guess they both didn't make it if this story starts off several years later and neither appears. Also, I hope Crytek releases an SDK kit for pc gamers to be able to tweak the game by adding hi-res textures and create new levels. A lot of developers aren't doing that because it's easier to charge extra for DLC. And even though it's a multiplatform game I seriously hope they don't scrimp on the technology due to the consoles. I'd like to see my pc's hardware actually be used instead of wasted.

Avatar image for Chaotic-Mind

I like to read everything but its to warm here ( 32 celsius) so please make a video hands-on , i am way to lazy to read this text

Avatar image for trywizard

cool cant wait to play it on my xbox ;D

Avatar image for KyleMD03

Can't wait for this game on PS3!

Avatar image for AluminumAndroid

Trade in COD BO for this.

Avatar image for BubbaEgge

Oh how I wish I had a pc that would run this on MAX EVERYTHING!

Avatar image for BrotherOralius

Going to get it for the ps3 because my pc will probably be fried trying to run it on medium. I cannot wait to experience this game!!!!

Avatar image for DLobotomist

the game look great so far... hopefully it handles well....

Avatar image for M-Mniny

Thanks alot Crytek for not ruining this game with the "must-be-in-all-games" multiplayer .. hopefully you won't go the DLC way either.

Avatar image for badboy_122

march is loaded with lots of games this year .... but if anyone wanna enjoy this game buy it 4 the PC .... graphics looks amazing :D I'll get it 4 the PC

Avatar image for clr84651

This is looking like a great game!

Avatar image for deactivated-5bda06edf37ee

@Gamer_4_Fun i guess they are in there. crytek is aiming to make "the best game that can exist on Xbox 360 and PS3", so i think it will look impressive.

Avatar image for Gamer_4_Fun

@groowagon I am ok with pixels drop, I just hope we get all those textures and post processing effects going on.

Avatar image for DawnForMe

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for deactivated-5bda06edf37ee

@Gamer_4_Fun the console versions will most likely run @ 720p (max), so it's not gonna look quite that sharp. i bet it will still look good compared to other shooters, though.

Avatar image for Eazy-a1

sounds great, i will buy it for my 360

Avatar image for PcGamingRig

who bets there will be a sewer mission? :P

Avatar image for Gamer_4_Fun

man i just hope us console owners will get the graphics as displayed on those screens.

Avatar image for daman246

hopefully this will get rid of call of dutys braincontroll on ppl COD series is so trash cant wait for this

Avatar image for biokrysty

I have that kind of feeling to when a game comes out only on consoles

Avatar image for buzznugget

Crysis was a shooter that required a bit of brains to go with the gunning, and it looks like that hasn't changed.

Avatar image for vorhesse

Pre-ordered 2 weeks ago after watching every youtube video I could find, this game simply looks and sounds amazing! Can't wait to play a FPS that's different than the rest out there.

Avatar image for bigmike1g

I was super bummed when crysis 1 came out pc exclusive because it looked amazing!! Crysis 2 on consoles FTW!

Avatar image for AnonYC

Seems like one of the best looking games to date. If it plays as well as it looks, this game is going to be phenomenal.

Avatar image for kyzee_zul

killzone 3,uncharted 3,forza 4,crysis 2,batman arkham city,maybe mw year will be so much fun!!!!!!collector edition is my choice..

Avatar image for JimmyJumpy

Looks incredibly good... though my choice is the PC version ;)

Avatar image for godofwar1229

this is a definite buy for me for my ps3 sounds awesome and looks awesome.

Avatar image for magnusm1

To buy or not to buy.

Avatar image for YoussefS

Is it me or is it that lately, good person shooters are squad based. You can't do things alone no more. Thank god crysis is staying to the true formula. Call of duty is awesome and played all of them but the ability of not finishing a game alone without help is lacking lately. Even the best RPG of the year(Mass effect 1 & 2) is amazing in its own right but sometimes, we need to feel like the only hero and not one of many. Crysis 2 pre-ordered

Avatar image for Lastbullet777

crysis was one of the best fps ive played....cant wait to play crysis 2....but this time on my ps3!

Avatar image for razor86

Protagonist Alcatraz? I thought we were going to be playing as Nomad again?