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Crysis 2

Following our earlier Crysis 2 preview, a game publisher EA and developer Crytek hope will raise the bar for first-person shooters, we’ve now been able to go hands-on with its multiplayer modes. Six months on from our original preview, how is the first Crysis game for consoles shaping up? Read on for our hands-on multiplayer impressions.

Back in May we brought you the UK’s first look at Crysis 2 in action. The single player campaign of Crysis 2 sees an alien invasion make a stop at New York to cause all kinds of uncalled for chaos. EA is keeping hushed up on the rest of the story, but were content to let us get some precious hands-on time with its multiplayer mode.

Multiplayer takes place across maps influenced by levels from the single player campaign. We played on two maps: Crash Site and Rooftop. The latter is self explanatory. You and other places duke it out on a city rooftop with multiple levels of play and mini-rooftops leading onto each other to bound upon. Steel pipes and chimneys provide the cover on the lower ground here, while greenhouses on higher rooftops offer temporary cover from enemy fire until the glass gets smashed in. From our hands on time the setting seems to result in two types of player. Those that like to hide behind walls, peeping out to fire, or those that bound around like gun-toting rabbits leaping about all over the place like they do in Halo: Reach, but without jetpacks.

Crash Site takes place on the devastated New York City streets. It’s night and the sky is smoggy with black smog and dust, craters dent the streets and upturned cars point up at the sky. It’s a multi-layer map that has you running into buildings, leaping from car parks and bouncing on vans. Its wide open areas make it ideal for going gung-ho, while activating the increased armour abilities of the Nanosuit 2 your player dons. Areas such as the car park are great for hiding in and using your suits stealth abilities to sneak up and perform stealth kills. We died many times because of this.

One map we didn’t get to play, but saw plenty of, takes place in an earthquake disheveled tower block. The roof of each floor has caved in, floors have split and the level rocks from occasional tremors, manifested as a temporary bit of on-screen blur. Unlike the other two maps this one appeared to result in all out war between players in the Team Instant Action mode we played, as on the other maps. It’s basically Team Deathmatch with one team playing as the Marines, and the other playing as Cell soldiers, although another mode has you compete for control of things called Ceph Drop Pods, which are launched into the map by dropships. You score points by defending them from enemy attacks.

Jumping into the action, gameplay remains similar to its predecessor. For those yet to play the franchise, controls feel a little looser and lighter than the likes of Call of Duty and Medal of Honour. Those weaned on such titles might want to adjust the sensitivity settings for a tighter control experience. The default button layout is very similar to those titles, bar the options on the D-pad for activating thermal vision.

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On an Xbox 360 (the console we played Crysis 2 on), the LB and RB buttons alternate between stealth and armour powers. Using these saps your energy bar (not your health bar, just to be clear), which runs out pretty soon before recharging, so use them wisely. Quickly hitting LB when under fire and using your armour is key to winning close quarter fire encounters.

Assembled together, the controls are initially very fiddly. We were quite rubbish until we got to grips with them, though we were playing against some of the folks from Crytek over Xbox Live. Killstreaks will be present in incremental stages too, depending on how many kills you notch. Get a few kills and you’ll be able to activate a radar displaying your enemies on the battlefield. Five kills nets you a gunship that spews bullets at your enemies. It wasn’t that powerful, but with killstreak rewards going up to 20 or so kills (we weren’t told what they were) there’s scope for all sorts of carnage to be caused by the game’s top players.

From our brief play time it’s clear that Crytek and EA hopes that multiplayer will be a massive part of the Crysis series first console foray, now that more gamers will actually be able to run the thing. The combat doesn’t take long to get to grips with, and the action is suitably as intense as you’d hoped. The maps are also more than big enough. A lot of effort has clearly been made on this side. Meanwhile, the strength and stealth abilities of the Nanosuit 2 should add a genuine tactical edge to battles, as should the different weapon classes you pick beforehand.

What we played wasn’t the finished build of the game. Some of the visuals looked a little rough around the edges but having previously seen glimpses of the single player mode, we’re sure those will be sanded down by the time Crysis 2 hits the shelves.

Out 25 March 2011 | £TBA | Crysis 2

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