Written by Tonya Monroe
I have been waiting since E3 for a chance to play Crysis 2. Keeping in mind that this multiplayer demo is in beta, I’m not at all disappointed. I expect there to be issues; I just hope they are fixed before the game comes out as a few of the problems I see developing into major issues otherwise.
Starting with the positives, lets talk about the graphics. They look remarkably crisp and clear. The plants in the greenhouses on “Skyline” look like real plants and the grass looks real, while a busted water pipe at the top of a building looks like a tiny waterfall. Even the plastic veils on the greenhouse doors show an amazing attention to detail. The brick on the buildings look like it would be rough to the touch. Crytek made it look as close to high quality pictures from a camera commercial as they could while not glossing anything over to make it appear shiny.
The stealth cloak is amazingly well done. If you aren’t paying careful attention you won’t even see the shimmering outline. Thankfully, there are upgrades that will eventually give the player a hint as to when a cloaked enemy is nearby. On the same note, the armor will be what saves your life in a surprise duel. At lower levels, you will probably be spamming that button and hiding while your energy quickly recharges. But thankfully, so far this game does NOT cater towards campers. Even with the stealth cloak, you will want to keep moving to avoid being melee killed or shot in the back.
There are a few new surprises as well. Pressing a button combination allows the player to slide quickly. Letting the more adept rapidly move out of the hail of bullets while allowing them to get some quick shots off at the enemy. Also, you can swim! This is a nice feature that many FPS titles don’t implement. There’s no invisible barrier from the water or warning barrier that kills you if you don’t move back to the game bounds. I doubt this would an exploitable option for campers though. I happened on this by accident and didn’t have a chance to test that. Though I’m sure the water does have an invisible barrier that only lets you go so far and a possible oxygen limit to keep it from being exploited. It is an area to watch out for those that glitch. Naturally, this is on “Pier 17”.
Others will appreciate the single shot option that some assault rifles have by pressing left on the D-pad. In the full game, there is a hologram attachment option for the guns as well as a Gauss attachment, which is a miniaturized electromagnetic solid slug projector for assault rifles. That just sounds like a lot of fun. I’m unsure of what the shotgun and sniper rifle attachments might have in store since I didn’t use my unlock point on those. SMGs were unavailable for the demo. All of the armor, stealth and side pack “suit nodules” seem like they will be extremely useful. I’m sure the “threat tracer”, which highlights incoming bullet paths, will encourage many to be quick on their feet.
On the other hand of the demo, my first concern was the spawn system. I’m not sure if it’s the small size of the “Skyline” map (combined with heavy use of the stealth cloak) that makes it possible to be shot in the back by an invisible enemy within moments of spawning, or if that is something overlooked that needs dev tweaking. Toward the middle and end of the match, when teammates and enemies are all over the place, I expect to be shot as soon as I re-spawn on that map; not at the beginning. “Pier 17” is a bit larger, so you’re given more time to get out of your spawn point, but if you aren’t quick then you will be shot within a few moments as well. I can easily see this becoming a possible downfall for the game, like the Marketplace map in the demo for Medal of Honor was with the constant spawn camping. Snipers shouldn’t be too much of an issue, however, since their perches on “Pier 17” are open with more than one way to get to them. There is really only one place to camp on “Skyline”.
Crash Site mode is similar to Headquarters from Call of Duty, so there is no safe spawn point, making it possible for an enemy to spawn within seconds right next to you. Team Instant Action is essentially team deathmatch.
An even bigger fault with this game is the severe amount of lag; controller lag, bullet lag, server lag are all problems. My first match took a good three minutes or more to start with an almost full lobby but I didn’t have it happen after that. As for the server lag, they may have not expected so many people to download their demo Tuesday, catching them unprepared. That might also be the cause for the game having trouble with people in a party or party chat. I was in party chat, unsure if I wasn’t if it would still give my friends and me the troubles it did. However, I still probably would have been kicked off the server a lot. I don’t know how many of my kill cams I watched where I unloaded full clips to the head while they single shot at me a few times causing me to die. There is an armor perk option called an “air stomp” that experiences a lag in response time sometimes but works other times. Strafing and jumping has also had complaints of lag or not being as responsive sometimes.
Another button problem is the fact that you are required to either double tap Y to equip grenades then press RT to throw, or use directional pad to equip your grenade. I found this to be frustrating in the middle of a firefight. Frustrating when I want to throw a grenade at an enemy hiding behind a wall and I bring up my pistol repeatedly or hitting all the buttons on the D-pad trying to remember which one the controller layout screen would give me my damn grenade causing me to get shot. The D-pad grenade option also lets me choose which grenade I want which is not good for a fast-paced firefight. There is no option for that when double tapping Y. Not to mention I am spoiled from having one button pull a grenade out and throw when I let go. I think they didn’t have enough buttons for everything they wanted to do. Especially considering the kill streaks are triggered by holding Y. This likely won’t be changed even with other options for button layouts and it will become bothersome for newcomers or those not used to adapting quickly.
One of my clan lieutenants expressed concern over the fact that hackers may have already begun to mod the beta at slightly over 12 hours of being up. Citing examples of his kill cam where things seemed off with some of his opponents’ cross-hairs when there is an upgrade in the full game that allows weapon spread to be reduced, causing better accuracy. He also had some worries over the armors being modded as well but we decided to chalk that one up to lag since it very well could have been just that. There were other odd, small occurrences but those stuck out the most. Nevertheless, if hackers are unlocking upgrades then it is patchable, that’s what a beta is for.
If some of these negatives are fixed and all the positives kept, Crysis 2 looks like it could be quite a game.