Crysis 2 Multiplayer: Impressions

The Cryteam recently released a demo of Crysis 2‘s multiplayer, mostly for publicity’s sake. I don’t really blame them, I’ve heard next to nothing about the game since the announcement, but whatever. So, impressions.

Crysis‘ multiplayer (the first one, that is) featured mostly wide-open levels that required a vehicle to move around in well. They were frustratingly unbalanced, however, in the sense that every location turned into a grinder at the end of a long truck ride. Still, it had some good ideas and some truly enjoyable tanks.

You can definitely see the influence of the COD craze in the game when comparing it to the old one. The level that I played on was much more compact, it could have been in COD and no one would blink an eye. This isn’t a bad thing, mind you, its the grinder without all the driving; I’m simply saying that they’ve changed things quite a bit.

The powers have changed a lot as well, for better or worse. The COD-style customization system makes an appearance; unlockable classes allow you to pick your guns, grenades, and three types of perks based around the three modes.

While I can appreciate the gun upgrades, the first had them as well, the perks seem unnecessary. One of the great things about the original was that the suits were all the same, giving an even playing field. This added to the skill factor of the game; you couldn’t rely on a perk to do your job for you, it took some ingenuity with what powers you had to succeed.

Speaking of the suit modes, they’ve been changed a bit. Armor and cloak work as they used to, now bound to the RB and LB (Gods, I had to look at my controller, I was going to say R1 L1 still). Speed acts as the sprint function, and strength works by holding down the jump or melee attack button. All of these things draw from a common power source that regenerates fairly quickly when not in use.

However, I do have an issue with the latter powers. Okay, speed mode means sprinting, this makes sense. However, it would be nice if there was some way to control how much sprinting we can do. The original let you fly around on roller skates with speed mode on, although it did drain energy like no other. I kind of expected my speed mode to justify its energy-sap, minor as it is. More to the point, why can’t I run at all when I don’t have any suit energy left? There is a man inside that suit, I’m sure that he did some track-and-field to train for the position. There’s been many times when I’ve turned armor off and tried to sprint away only to crawl along like a kneecapped infant because I ran out of energy. Ducks in a gallery, anyone? It just seems weird.

As for the strength mode, the jumping works. I like that. I love the clambering movement as well, where you can automatically hoist yourself up on any ledge that you come in contact. It leads to some heart-stopping megajumps, leaping across a hole and grabbing the edge at the last minute. The triggers are reliable to a surprising degree, I’ve been in quite a few matches and parkoured my way across the rooftops without the game missing a single grab. A+, Cryteam.

However, the melee attack is… eh. I accept that the Xbox controller can’t handle the radial menu well, but holding down the melee button to do a mega-punch causes an agonizing moment of delay between wanting to hit and the game actually performing it. And, as we all know, moments can be deadly. Perhaps it’s there to curtail the reflexive death-punch of the original, but it’s still irritating, especially since it requires you to hold a bead on the enemy.

One of the strangest choices that the Cryteam made was with the killstreak rewards. Yes, the game even has killstreaks, and they’re the same ones that COD has.

It took me a while to figure out why I couldn’t activate the killstreak rewards, even with mad leet sufficient kills (still getting used to the controller… /sigh). I finally realized that you have to first kill the person, then physically walk over to his body and collect the dog tag that he drops. While this might not seem that strange, consider the implications. Snipers won’t get killstreaks because they can’t risk moving across the map to collect the tag. Knocking off one person a group then legging it won’t count towards the rewards because you can’t get to the body. The tag could drop somewhere really nasty too, like onto a tiny ledge or right in the middle of a killbox. And there’s always the baiting, since enemies can camp the body and wait for you to collect the tags.

This was probably put into place to prevent the constant stream of rewards that’s prevalent in the COD games, and I can appreciate that. Hell, I still call one of the games “Call of Duty: World at phweeeeeeeeBOOM”. I swear, I got shellshocked from playing that game, if only from the constant barrage of artillery fire.

However, if you’re going to make the rewards far more risky to obtain then you should make them much more powerful. Crysis 2… well, it doesn’t. I’m wasn’t kidding when I said that the rewards are the same as COD, it’s 30 second reveal at three, airstrike at five in the form of an orbital lazer (which has very little AOE damage), and a floating gunship at seven. They’re all the fun with five times the risk, but it doesn’t make you value them that much more. There’s a certain point when it’s just not worth it, and that point comes to pass often.
This is definitely not the kind of game where you expect to live for a long time. There’s just too many ways to die, especially with the various insta-kill methods, like the classic cloak-> shotgun in the back of the head. Or even better, take whatever time you need to draw a headshot, decloak, fire, and cloak again. Mobility and paranoid awareness are your only friends.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed the game. It’s like COD with superpowers and parkour, which is grand and a half. The annoyances I’ve mentioned are nagging things that don’t really get in the way of the game. That comes from the fact that it has that idiotic system of hosting that has become so prevalent. You know, THAT one. The one that makes you migrate the host every match. Although the game doesn’t actually pause when it migrates, but what can you do?
Let’s see how it goes.
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