Crysis 2 in the test - Eng is a flexible term
It was only a matter of time before the octopuses want to conquer the world. The critters have more arms than we do, can change their colors without a styling consultant and do not need nuclear power to live - clearly the superior species.
In the first person shooter Crysis 2 by Crytek and Electronic Arts, a highly developed form of mollusc is making its way over New York, and only a man can show the mollusks why humanity will survive anyway: Because we have backbones! And read game reviews at GameStar!
Alcatraz, the hero of Crysis 2, not only has a backbone, but also a skull. From drinking. When he woke up at the beginning of the game, his comrades in the Recon Marines were getting ready for the mission: The soldiers drove into New York Bay in a submarine, where they saw the consequences of a deadly epidemic during a humanitarian mission should contain.
Humanitarian action? The men don't want to know anything about it. Because whoever calls the Recon Marines, obviously has a more malicious problem than a few viruses. And it is precisely this problem that tears the elite warriors open a few seconds later ... well ... the ship's side. Hit by an unknown object, the submarine sinks; the marines escape to the surface of the water, only to be slaughtered by a bizarre flying machine, which unexpectedly also emerges from the floods. Everything seems lost, when Alcatraz is saved at the last moment by an imposing figure: It is Prophet, a supporting actor from the first Crysis . He wears the nanosuit, the combat suit that we already know and love in Part 1, and destroys the alien drone in a wild shooting scene. When the hustle and bustle has subsided, Prophet drags the seriously injured Alcatraz ashore before it loses consciousness and the picture turns black again. What a dramatic start!
When Alcatraz comes to, the world is different. Not only is New York the target of a large-scale attack by the mysterious Ceph, Alcatraz is suddenly also wearing the Nanosuit.
The prophet, badly marked by the fight against the invaders, gave the miracle suit to the young marine while Alcatraz was unconscious, the old warhorse clears the arena for the next generation. As a result, Crysis 2 cleverly combines the gripping story introduction with the inevitable tutorial: Because neither Alcatraz nor the player knows what the Nanosuit can do, both of them now get a test drive.
The supercloth has two modes: armor and stealth. The former increases our damage resistance, the latter makes us almost invisible and allows us to take down opponents from behind with just one melee attack. Both functions consume energy, but this regenerates very quickly.
The strength and speed modes from the predecessor were removed in Crysis 2, but Alcatraz can still run at lightning speed, jump very high or throw heavy objects. However, that also costs electricity. While in the first Crysis we had to control the four Nanosuit modes via a radial menu, two buttons for armor and camouflage field are sufficient for Crysis 2 (Q and E by default). This means that the suit can be operated much more intuitively than in its predecessor. In addition, the new nanosuit has become more agile. When we crouch behind an object, one press of the aim button is enough and Alcatraz leans out of cover following our mouse movement. Cool!
In Crysis 2, we no longer have to jump onto obstacles pixel-perfect in order to climb them, instead the game helps occasionally and then has short animation sequences in which Alcatraz pulls itself up on the climbing edges.
We see his hands and occasionally feet, which gives our alter ego a believable body feeling, similar to Mirror's Edge . When Alcatraz crouches out of the sprint, it slides a few feet off the ground. Not only can we saber opponents with it, it looks pretty cool. Just stupid: We have always used Shift to crouch and CTRL to sprint. To press both at the same time (next to WASD and the space bar) we are missing a finger, and there is no secondary key assignment. In other words: no slides for us. This can be got over in the campaign, but in the multiplayer mode against human opponents it seems to us to be a disadvantage.
Speaking of human adversaries: When faced with an alien invasion, one would think that humanity is moving closer together. But puff cake!
When Alcatraz, newly promoted to super soldier, enters the devastated New York for the first time, he is immediately attacked by agents of CELL, the "Crynet Enforcement & Local Logistics".
Its client, the biotech company Crynet, developed the Nanosuit and wants it back. Because Prophet was not particularly cooperative in this regard, the mercenaries have the order to finish him off. And now everyone thinks Alcatraz is a prophet! At least the Prophet has shown our hero the way: He should help the scientist Dr. Go to Gould, he could help him. And so we sneak, shoot and beat our way through New York in search of Gould.
In the fight against CELL and Ceph, the two viewing modes of our combat suit also help us: Nanovision and "tactical advice". Nanovision corresponds to a thermal imaging camera that allows us to see in complete darkness at the expense of the suit energy. In Crysis 2 there is only one short place where the viewing device is indispensable, but in the multiplayer part the Nanovision does a great job: it allows us to recognize players who are camouflaged.
The »tactical advice« viewing mode is only used in the campaign. The Nanosuit gives us tips for our approach at regular intervals. It marks key positions, such as machine-gun nests, ammunition depots or weak points in the enemy defense, and lets us mark enemies we have spotted. These markings remain active after we exit planning mode - a legal wallhack. The tactical advice not only helps genre beginners, but also prevents us from overlooking important points in the levels.
The tactical advice also has another, more perfidious function: It is supposed to hide the fact that we can no longer move as freely as we did in the first Crysis. There we opened up areas of operation, some of which were square kilometers in size, that we could cross with a vehicle or on foot. Here and there along the way there were even side jobs. Crysis 2 is now much more linear and largely consists of classic tube levels. When the battlefield expands to the size of a soccer field, the overlay "tactical advice available" should hit us with our noses so that we don't rush straight through.
The level design
The levels of Crysis 2 are much tighter than those of the predecessor, but that doesn't mean that they are boring. Our way leads us through the ruined metropolis, past the remains of well-known buildings, sometimes through dark subway tunnels, sometimes over sun-drenched boulevards or bizarre ditches in the middle of the city center.
The proportions do not correspond to those of the real New York, but whoever has pummeled Times Square at night when it rains doesn't really matter. Whereby "blasted" is exaggerated: While we were able to blow up tons of greenery and corrugated iron huts in the jungle of the first Crysis, the levels in Crysis 2 are only superficially destructible. Cars or the usual explosive barrels are standing around everywhere, spectacularly bursting into flames under fire, but we only experience the complete destruction of buildings in the script sequences.
The script sequences
The script sequences are rather rare compared to the Call of Duty series, but they have washed themselves: When we want to cross the transition bridge between two skyscrapers, a Ceph spaceship rushes through the urban canyon towards us. In a cutscene that we always experience through Alcatraz's eyes in Crysis 2, we dive into cover just in time when the monster breaks through the building. Alcatraz falls into the street. When he looks up, two Army attack helicopters rattle overhead, in close pursuit of the UFO. We look after the machines: A few blocks further there is a firefight, the spaceship finally crashes into a distant skyscraper. Wow!
Crysis 2 compensates for the relatively narrow levels compared to its predecessor with its attention to detail. For example, even on the edge of a battlefield, we find a half-destroyed supermarket where we can operate (or destroy) the cash register, microwave, or vending machine. There is also a New York souvenir in the form of a plastic Statue of Liberty under the counter. With each of these tourist souvenirs we unlock pieces of music, video sequences or scraps of memory from the life of the Prophet. The nanosuit saved important events in Prophet's encounters with the Ceph, and the suit plays them back to us over and over again in the course of Crysis 2. This tells us what the Prophet actually experienced between the first crysis and part 2. However, these clips are only available as pixelated videos - a big break with the otherwise excellent look of the game.
Although Crysis 2 tries to establish a connection to its predecessor via the figure of the Prophet, there is an unmistakable discrepancy between the two games: the Ceph. In part 1, they were still aliens trying to turn the world into an ice desert.
Now these beings suddenly come out of the sea, at least according to Dr. Gould. Or they come from a hidden underground realm, because they dismantle New York out of the ground. Crysis 2 does not reveal how that fits together.
While the Ceph in the first Crysis were ethereal floating beings who wore flying, multi-armed robotic suits, the newcomers look like slimy sea creatures in humanoid machine bodies. We like the new opponent design much better than that of the predecessor, but it bothers us that obviously nobody except us has a problem with the spontaneous Ceph mutation - not even Prophet! There is no longer any trace of the previous icing plan, the new Ceph weapon are deadly spores that contaminate the New York population. She has therefore taken refuge in shelters and subway shafts. A (somewhat troubled-looking) explanation of why New York's streets are free of civilians.
The Nanosuit upgrades
When Alcatraz comes into contact with the Ceph spores, something unexpected happens: the Nanosuit develops antibodies against the disease. The suit is obviously not only a state-of-the-art armor, but also a kind of symbiote. No wonder Crynet wants it back. For Alcatraz, however, one thing is certain: the nanosuit is the only defense mankind has against the Ceph bioweapon. Until he has expelled the intruders, nobody can get him out of there anytime soon!
Fortunately for Alcatraz, the Nanosuit is getting more and more powerful. As a result of the DNA merging, we can collect so-called "nano-catalysts" from killed aliens and thus gradually unlock new suit skills. The "threat seeker", for example, marks the trajectories of enemy bullets and thus tracks down opponents, the "tracker" marks the footprints of enemies walking around for a few seconds - practical! Twelve of these upgrades are available in four categories, but we are only allowed to activate one per category. This enables us to adjust the capabilities of the Nanosuit to new situations and to adapt it to our gaming behavior.
Some of the abilities in Crysis 2 are only useful in multiplayer mode. The “stealth finder”, for example, which shows invisible opponents, is the most expensive upgrade in the campaign, but there is only one place where it would be useful. Once we have mastered this situation, we are overwhelmed with nano-catalysts and can unlock all upgrades - but Crysis 2 is over a few seconds later.
The idea behind it: If the player now turns a second story round, he has enough points for all Nanosuit upgrades right from the start. That is why our catalyst account is not linked to the score, but to the player profile. So if you absolutely want to unlock all upgrades in a campaign, you can play worthwhile sections several times in a row and thus "farm" points. But because you don't need all the upgrades in the end, you can save yourself that.
Many possibilities, little variety
Due to the cool nanosuit with its variable application possibilities and the level design, which is relatively free in some sections, Crysis 2 gives us the opportunity to solve situations in many different ways. This cleverly hides the fact that Crysis 2 has relatively little game-mechanical variety. While the predecessor entertained us again and again with interesting driving and even airplane sections as well as fat bosses, we can count the types of opponents in part 2 almost on one hand.
The very rare driving inserts are extremely short, and there are no real boss fights either, not even in the final. So we have to provide some playful variety ourselves by getting involved in the situations. The tactical evaluation of the nanosuit helps us with this. If you want to shoot through the whole story in tank mode, you can of course do so, but you shouldn't expect the countless script sequences of a Call of Duty and could be disappointed accordingly.
But all of that is criticism at a high level. Understandable if you look at the dream rating of the predecessor. Crysis 2 doesn't come close to that, because part 1 offered the more extraordinary gaming experience with its large island world, the more varied mechanics and the maximum freedom of choice. Nevertheless: The great graphics, the exciting story and the cool combat suit that gives us the feeling of really being part of this virtual world make Crysis 2 a great adventure. If this game doesn't make you hot, it's probably an octopus.
Test of the multiplayer mode of Crysis 2
Not only in the campaign, but also in multiplayer mode, Crysis 2 does a lot different than its predecessor. The first Crysis was heavily based on the Battlefield series. There were vehicles, huge battlefields, special infantry equipment, and a very tactical game mode. Combined with the functions of the Nanosuit, it was quite a complex matter.
Too complex, it seems, because the multiplayer mode of the first Crysis did not find too many fans. Crysis 2 is now completely different: Away with the big maps, the vehicles and the all too high tactical demands, on with perks, weapon upgrades and classic game modes. So it is clear who Crytek wants to dig the players from: the Call of Duty series.
The heart of the multiplayer part of Crysis 2 is of course the nanosuit. For this we are gradually unlocking 22 upgrades, some of which correspond to the perks of the Call of Duty series, i.e. faster reloading, invisibility for enemy radar, less scattering when shooting and the like.
Depending on the scenario, Crysis 2 can afford a few more wacky perks, for example the threat warning, which we already liked in the campaign. Many perks act as reinforcements or antidotes to the capabilities of the Nanosuit. Camouflage field seekers and proximity warning systems, for example, which are completely useless in the campaign, prove to be very helpful in the multiplayer part.
The 22 Nanosuit upgrades are divided into three categories: armor, stealth, and power. For each of these categories we receive our own experience points. Anyone who travels a lot with a stealth field, for example, collects stealth XP. With each new stealth rank we can then activate a corresponding upgrade. We are only allowed to take one perk per category into the match. Crysis 2 promotes our playful preferences, but at the same time motivates us with the ranking system to use all suit skills.
Weapons and rewards
As in any other multiplayer shooter, we will gradually unlock new weapons in Crysis 2. The arsenal offers twelve main weapons from the campaign, from the shotgun to the microwave cannon, four secondary weapons (three pistols and one MP), two types of grenades (HE and Flash), C4 and a bazooka. Each ratchet has its right to exist and also space for up to eight attachments in three categories, i.e. silencers, underflow grenade launchers or, especially cool, a hologram projector.
It creates an image of our character that even moves. So we can run the thing over an open area, look with the help of the threat seeker from where the poor hologram is being shot at and then hunt down the alarmed opponents. Very funny!
Unlike the Call of Duty series, in Crysis 2 we are not directly rewarded for series of killings. Instead, we need to collect the dog tags of defeated opponents. If we get a few tokens together without blessing the temporal in the meantime, there is a present: for three tokens a radar scan, for five a radiation attack from space, a radar or nano suit jammer and for seven an AI-controlled Ceph attack aircraft or a nanosuit energy boost.
The bonuses are all useful, but unlike the killstreak rewards from Black Ops, we cannot choose them freely. Instead, the goodies depend on the map we are currently playing on.
The dog tag system brings speed into play, because if you camp instead of collecting the tags, you don't get any bonuses. However, there is a suit upgrade for higher player levels that automatically picks them up by magic. So if you really want to sit as a sniper in the corner of the level, this perk is a must.
Incidentally, there are also rewards for players who are not very lucky: Those who are struck down many times in a row without scoring themselves receive one of three "fatality bonuses": 50% less damage from bullets or explosions or an interference field, snipping the view takes.
The multiplayer maps
Crysis 2 offers twelve varied cards with settings that we already know from the campaign. Here you can see the destroyed New York train station building by day and sunshine, but on the devastated Wall Street it's raining and it's dark there. The maps offer a lot of coverage and, above all, many levels on top of each other. It's great fun to frolic around here with the Nanosuit.
The only drawback: The levels cannot be destroyed or only partially destroyed. However, there are areas here and there that have an impact on our gaming behavior. For example, we shouldn't cross water fountains. The "drop pearls from the visor" effect can make it difficult for us to see at the wrong time.
Because of the Nanosuit functions, Crysis 2 is more complicated to control than the genre competition: mode change, Nanovision on and off and always squinting at the energy display, which demands. When the nanosuit is actually empty for a short time, we notice that such a super soldier actually moves very slowly - especially when there is no sprinting energy.
But that's not bad, it requires a certain tactic: We have to take cover regularly to recharge and we have to plan our approach a little. That brings tension. It's also great how easily we can climb obstacles. However, with our standard controls, Shift to crouch and CTRL to sprint, we cannot use the Crysis 2 slide function. But that's not so bad, it doesn't seem to bring any real advantages anyway, because we haven't seen a player who uses it so far.
The game modes
Crysis 2 offers six classic game types. Deathmatch and Team-Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill correspond to genre standards and do not need much explanation. In the case of »exfiltration«, the attacking team has to steal two canisters from the opposing camp and bring them to a waiting helicopter. The containers give the team that owns them nanosuit bonuses: one increases the performance of the armor mode, the other that of the cloaking field.
The most special is the "attack" mode. Here Nanosuit agents compete against normal soldiers. To keep it fair, the super warriors are only allowed to use pistols and fixed upgrades, but their opponents get big booms. The nanosuit wearers have to approach several computer terminals and loiter around in their range long enough to download secret data (in the German version they upload secret data, but what the heck). Your heavily armed opponents must prevent that. After a round, the teams switch sides.
We like "exfiltration" and especially the asymmetrical variety "attack" best because they have the most tactical depth. In addition to the standard setting, Crysis 2 also offers seven other modifications: The "New Recruits" option only allows players up to level 10 to access the server, with "Fast Rounds" there is no break between matches, "Classic" removes the nanosuit with it its functions, "One Life" removes the respawn (whoever dies, has to sit out until the next round), with "Solo" we cannot invite friends into battle and "Pro" removes all ads and increases weapon damage - a hardcore mode .
Looked at soberly, the Crysis 2 doesn't make too much sense: Without displays, most Nanosuit upgrades are also omitted, and that's what makes Crysis 2 special. But because the modifications can be combined, you can practically create a contemporary Counterstrike with »Pro«, »Classic« and »One Life« in »Exfiltratrion« mode.
Server browser and technology
The Crysis 2 server browser allows filtering by game types, cards, modifications and eight other settings. However, the game does not save our search settings, the filter is reset after a match or restart. In addition, the browser regularly displays false pings: German servers are listed in rows with a ping of 1000.
When we tried them out anyway, it turned out that the matches were going perfectly. This is not necessarily normal, because in Crysis 2 we occasionally end up on servers that seem to have got stuck in an endless loop: Either the players are stuck in the lobby, or the countdown to the start of the round is always reset. It's really annoying, especially because we depend on online games. Crysis 2 does not offer LAN support.
Some players report that Crysis 2 does not save their cd key. And in fact, we initially had the same problem on two of our computers. This can be solved as follows: Start the game, select the multiplayer mode and enter the key. Now switch back to the single player part, and then back to the multiplayer mode. If you now enter the key again, it should remain saved. Crytek is also working on a patch that will fix the bug.
The multiplayer mode of Crysis 2 is fast-paced, uncomplicated fun that relies entirely on quick reactions and good shooting skills. The game clearly wants to compete with Call of Duty. Black Ops, the current offshoot of the series, offers more scope and (after considerable initial difficulties) the more stable server structure. We can only hope that the multiplayer mode of Crysis 2 will quickly outgrow the technical teething problems.