The Crysis 2 demo is now live on Xbox 360 so we stack it up against the current most-played shooter
Crysis 2 multiplayer has been touted as the ‘next big thing’, but how does it compare to Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2? We went online only to find ourselves a more than a little disappointed. Here’s why…
Like Halo Crossed With Call Of Duty
We know what you’re thinking: two of the greatest multiplayer franchises combined into one? Must be great, right? Right? Wrong. It’s never a simple as taking element A and combining it with element B, to create great online shooter C – it just doesn’t work like that. There’s a reason Call Of Duty and Halo are the two most played multiplayer games, and never the twain shall meet.
The Nano-suit enables players to activate very Halo-esque abilities – from a stealth cloak to a shield. While the shield isn’t permanent in Crysis 2 as it is with Halo, it has a very similar effect – namely requiring a clip or two before you manage to bring an enemy down. Normally we wouldn’t mind, but it is jarring against the Call Of Duty form of gunplay. Hybrids, especially in multiplayer, just don’t work.
Level Design Is Limited
Black Ops has proven one thing: intelligent level design is a must for your multiplayer game to impress, and Call Of Duty has always been at the forefront of clever maps. And while Crysis 2 is certainly a gorgeous-looking game, with debris scattered throughout the one map we’ve played, its design leaves a little something to be desired.
“We went online only to find ourselves a more than a little disappointed.”
In a way this is a double-edged sword. We really enjoy the verticality of the gameplay, since being able to vault platforms or leap great gaps is immensely enjoyable, but it does cut into the level design. Where Black Ops maps can be navigated tactically, the multiple directions of Crysis 2’s maps means it becomes more of a run-and-gunner, rather that rewarding strategic combat.
Invisibility Is Unfair
Just to clarify, we’re not whining here, in fact we used the stealth cloak more than any ability. We love it. But it will become a little unfair when everyone cottons on to its uses. Snipers, in particular, will find this ability handy since – at long range – even the heat-sensing visor won’t detect their position and will have every opportunity to burst your noggin before ever you’ll notice it.
This isn’t to say that invisibility is overpowered, since counterbalances are in place – in the form of equip-able abilities – that make detecting nearby cloaked enemies easier. But unless you’re in close-quarters combat you just won’t see an enemy. We don’t want to criticise one of Crysis 2’s unique features, but we predict it will turn every match into an invisible war of camping snipers. And no one wants that.
Taking a cue from Call Of Duty, to unlock additional extras you will need to rank up before you can use them. But unlike Black Ops’ simplified version of this, where the only requirement is a handful of credits, Crysis 2 confuses matters. Ranking up is managed through experience points, which also rewards modules that can be spent on specific features.
For example, a new rank will provide a weapon unlock module, which can then be spent once on permanently releasing a chosen weapon for use in a custom class. To get an attachment, however, will require the completion of a set of ‘assignments’ – or challenges in Call Of Duty lingo. While these begin easy enough, such as kill a set number of enemies, it’s just another hoop to jump through before earning those attachment modules.
Similarly, there are three core Ability sets – or as Call Of Duty calls them, Perks – covering armour, stealth or powered abilities. Each of these will have their own unlock modules that can only be earned by levelling up the corresponding attribute when using it in a match. We don’t want the confusion, just let us pick and choose what we want to unlock!
Energy Is Important
Using the Nano-suit also drains energy. Stealth, for example, depletes energy quicker than armor, while firing a weapon with a cloak active will empty those energy banks. Even running will use up that vital suit-juice. This does mean that to be successful in Crysis 2 requires an element of self-management, making sure to not overuse abilities when not necessary.
This also adds to number of elements that need to be considered during battle, and when Crysis 2 already has a lot going on, it seems unnecessary to add in an energy-management system like this. Timed abilities would have been more preferable, or instant-use perks; anything that doesn’t require keeping a careful eye on a separate meter.
With all this said, Crysis 2 multiplayer still has a lot going for it.
The unique abilities, for example, are a great feature for the multiplayer. While this is clearly inspired by Call Of Duty’s Perks system, there are a few new abilities that might otherwise not be possible without a Nano-suit. Tracker, for instance, highlights the routes that enemies are taking, an excellent way of knowing where your opponents are headed and how best to tackle them.
Similarly, dog tags are acquired for kills – an idea originating in Battlefield. Like the playercard in Black Ops, this is a badge custom-picked from a selection of pre-created images, each with your current stats attached. A unique feature that gives a little background to the enemies you pummel.
And above all else, we’ll never tire of the feeling of agility that Crysis 2 give us. Sliding towards an enemy to avoid their fire and finishing with a shotgun blast to the gut, is a thrill that can’t be beat. Except, maybe, when leaping a seemingly impossible gap only to grab onto a ledge, climb up behind an enemy (who assumed he’d just seen a suicide) to beat him in the back of the head with the butt of a rifle. Brilliant.