Concrete Jungle


When I got a chance to sit down for a showing of Crysis 2 in action, I was excited and nervous. I'd played Crysis. I knew what Crytek was capable of. Furthermore, the debut trailer (titled "The Wall") is easily one of the best trailers for a game that I've ever seen. But I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. That's a good thing, because Crysis 2 looks sickeningly awesome.

New York City is in utter chaos. The city is being overrun by the alien species that was unleashed on the Lingshan Islands during the events of Crysis. Hostile forces, organic and mechanical, crash through buildings to land right in front of you. Your job is to wipe out the alien scourge and bring salvation to the people.

At the EA Press Conference, Crytek's Cevat Yerli referred to the world and play style of Crysis 2 as "the choreographed sandbox: combining the freedom of sandbox with the intensity of linear games." You play as Jake "Nomad" Dunn, the soldier from the first game. It's difficult to tell if the rest of Raptor Team will return, but even if Nomad is on his lonesome, he's still got a powerful ally in this war. He's now wearing the Nanosuit 2, and he can annihilate these monsters if he takes full advantage of its capabilities. The Nanosuit 2's several powers allow him to take different approaches to each situation.

The exhibitors laid out and demonstrated two gameplay styles in Crysis 2: Predator and Warrior. These styles make heavy use of the Nanosuit 2's special functions. For the uninitiated, the Nanosuit is what gives soldiers the edge in battle. Whether it's for optic camouflage, tripled running speed, increased protection, or physical strength that reaches into the absurd, the Nanosuit 2 is there to make every battle winnable. That's saying something, considering the epic scale of the conflict shown in the demo.

The action is lightning fast and gorgeous to look at; what's amazing is how much of it appears to be completely unscripted. The "choreographed sandbox" idea is illustrated several times during the demo. At one point, Nomad is on an elevated expressway. Underneath, a host of enemy forces open fire on his position. Nomad sticks a few pieces of C4 onto a nearby car, activates Maximum Strength on the Nanosuit, kicks the car off the expressway, and detonates the charges. The threats are neutralized immediately.

Later in the showing, a giant mech barrels into Grand Central Station. The player grabs a rocket launcher (called the JAW) and works his way around and through the terminal, using Nanosuit 2 abilities to soar through the air one minute and sneak around the mech's side the next. After a long battle, the mech finally topples and shuts down. Giant blue balls of light crash through the MetLife Building, compromising its structural integrity. The demo ends as Nomad hops in the back of a vehicle in an attempt to escape the carnage that is about to be wrought. As the building falls on top of Grand Central, Nomad surveys his surroundings; people are panicking and trying to save their loved ones. The screen fades to black as the vehicle struggles to stay ahead of the wave of destruction.

Surprisingly, Crysis 2 will have lower system requirements than its predecessor, but that hardly means it's a slouch. If anything, it looks like those with high-end machines will be able to push them to their limits. Provided everything goes off without a hitch, Crysis 2 should be on store shelves by the end of the year.

Crysis 2
EA Games