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Crysis 2 PS3 Demo Impressions

Most everyone who frequents gaming news websites have surely heard the fuss and rampant speculation about the Crysis 2 demo over PlayStation Network that was taken offline seemingly no sooner than it arrived. The backlash over the removal of the demo, and even the actual demo itself is reaching a boiling point. Some gamers enjoyed the demo while it lasted. Other were furious at Crytek for not delivering on promises of producing a console graphical benchmark. The rest are wondering what the fuss is about, because, well, they couldn't connect to a game. Forums around the internet became bombarded with praise and hate (mostly hate), which soon led to Crytek's decision to pull down the servers altogether. In Crytek's official statement, they simply state that they want to make sure everything is in tip-top shape come launch. Other conspiracy theorist suggest that they removed it as a fail safe, suggesting that the demo was so bad that it would hurt sales. I guess I am a conspiracy theorist, because I happen to believe the latter. Nonetheless, I was fortunate enough to not encounter many of the connection errors, and was able to rack up around 500 kills and max out my level before the short lived demo came to an end. Here is what I have to say about it


In the midst of hellfire coming down on Crytek, I really enjoyed the multiplayer experience of Crysis 2. The FPS genre is my favorite, bar none. I am able to withstand disconnects, glitches, bad graphics and the like as long as the core gameplay is fun and engaging, and Crysis 2 truly sets itself apart in my opinion. The Nanosuit is what makes the multiplayer special. It feels genuine and unique, rather than feeling gimmicky.  But as of now, the central focus of the cries from the internet revolve around the graphics (or lack thereof) in Crysis 2, so lets start there.

Upon entering my first match, it was readily apparent that Crysis 2 is not the graphical powerhouse that it has been hyped to be on the PS3. Keep in mind I am talking about ONLY the PS3. I have not played the demo on 360 or PC. The first noticeable flaw is the motion blur and the frames per second. While running and aiming, everything around you turns into a haze almost. I know not every game can run at a silky 60fps, but at times it is frustrating, and I would not be surprised if this alone completely turns off a few gamers. Tracking down a sprinting enemy while aiming down the sights was a bit disorienting at first. Eventually you get used to it, but even Halo fans will need a little time to adapt. At times while I was tired, I opted to just try and keep myself in close quarters battles to save my eyes the strain. Calling in a Ceph gunship brings the fps down to probably about 5 fps. Even if you are indoors on the other side of the map, the game feels like it is about to drop connection. I can handle the low fps as it is, but the gunship cripples the game and renders it practically unplayable for 5-10 seconds. This should be a top priority on Crytek's fix list.

Not all hope is lost though in terms of graphics. Though the game seems to run at a rather low resolution, environments and textures are still quite a beauty to look at. Before matches, your camera is placed at an overhead shot of the map, and from here you see what Crytek has done right. Trees look vibrant, and the light flows through the leaves leaving accurate shadows on the other side. Lighting in many areas is top notch as well, indoors and out. Player models are crafted with great detail. Getting up close and personal in combat allows you to see a high level of detail that looks great in real time. To sum it up, the games looks fantastic if you stand still. Take off sprinting though, and you will find yourself wishing you could appreciate the beauty around you.

Fortunately, what was lacking in graphics was compensated with highly engaging and addictive gameplay. The Nanosuit is the central focus of Crysis 2. Without it, Crysis 2 would be another Call of Duty clone. But with it, the doors fly wide open, granting you freedom to play however you want, whenever you want. Instead of making you pick between cloacking, super armor or the ability to become a virtual pro at parkour, you are granted all of these things. Wanna beef up your armor to go head on with 2 enemies that know you are coming? Check. Wanna go sneaky on that sneaky sniper? Check. Wanna get from Point A to Point D in about 3 seconds? Check. Wanna do all of this in the same respawn? Fuckin' check. Each and every encounter can be handled in a variety of ways.

Crysis 2 offers a great mix of strategy and run and gun gameplay. Snipers seem to be less effective that many of its counterparts, but still deadly in the right hands. "Killstreaks" are also present, but you must collect dogtags from your fallen enemies in order to build towards them, so camping is also slightly discouraged. While I did see a few campers, more aggressive tactics seemed to be more abundant than your average online FPS. It is reminiscent of the early Call of Duty 4 days when people would go fight for their objectives and kills, rather than sit and wait for unsuspecting prey. Though there are certain "perks" available to customize your class with, the way your manage your Nanosuit will be the deciding factor in life or death. I believe this gives the game more balance, instead of Lady Luck deciding which abilities the guy around the corner has.

The guns in Crysis are what you would expect from a shooter. Assault rifles, shotguns, LMGs, etc. And of course, all of these have upgrades that are unlocked via progression. Most of the time, enemies died rather quickly. But then there would be instances where it felt like a full clip was just bouncing off an enemies armor. Hopefully this is an issue with the netcode and not the actual game itself. I did notice that when I had host, my enemies were going down considerably faster, and my shots felt more consistent. Some users have reported a slight input lag with the controls, but I personally never felt that way. Aiming and movement felt precise as far as I could tell. More so than Killzone 3 in fact. The ability to jump to great heights really eliminates the feelings of being bounded by walls. This freedom of movement in an FPS really makes the world feel wide open. Oh, and dropping down onto an unsuspecting enemy with an Air Stomp is a moment you will find yourself trying to replicate repeatedly.

My only real complaint with the gameplay is the horrid melee system. Hitting someone with the butt of your rifle feels like punching a pillow, and your foes are way too slow to drop. In fact more times than not, you will throw another melee when it is not needed due to the delay. I see this being patched by launch or soon thereafter. The energy for cloaking could use a little tweaking though. Losing sight of an almost-dead-but-now-cloaked-and-sprinting enemy leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It is far from game breaking, but it may be something that should be re-evaluated.

Crytek's first venture onto consoles has been a bumpy ride, and the game has not even launched yet. I truly hope that all fans of FPS games give Crysis 2 serious consideration though. All of this bad press has left gamers weary, but there is so much to enjoy for fans of multiplayer games. Many of the limits imposed by other games are non existent here. Being creative with your Nanosuit abilities is immensely fun in itself. Add some guns to the mix, and before you lies a shooter with the potential to be a game that you won't want to put down. Gameplay>Graphics.

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