Preview: Hands on with Crysis 2 multiplayer

(Photo courtesy of Electronic Arts)

As much of the competitive video gaming community is inconceivably transfixed by today’s newly released map pack for “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” a slightly less notorious game is about to snipe Activision’s love child back to the respawn point.

“Crysis 2” is a futuristic first person shooter set in an alien-ravaged New York City that offers an elegant form of satisfaction while annihilating opponents. Although the game immediately feels familiar by incorporating the best assets of the heavy hitting “Battlefield,” “Call of Duty,” and “Halo” franchises, it adds a unique layer of strategy through the Nanosuit and verticality.

Cybernetic combat armor known as a Nanosuit, originally featured in the award winning “Crysis,” adorns every player and bestows the ability of sprinting beyond Olympian speeds, becoming a bullet absorbing carnage wreaker, and turning invisible.

Each ability used drains an energy meter that slowly refills when it’s unexploited. Failure to properly manage this meter will result in an untimely demise.

Moreover, unique to “Crysis 2” players may combine particular armor abilities together, creating a new form of choices such as sliding attacks and an aerial ground-pound that incapacitates or kills any opponent caught in its shock wave.

While the invisibility capability is a bit overpowered, “Crysis 2” includes a kill-cam similar to the one introduced in “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” that, with a smidgen of teamwork, prevents invisible players from camping for too long.

Furthermore, unlike “Call of Duty,” the kill-cam isn’t longer than three seconds and provides a stellar slow-motion death cinematic when killed by a head shot.

Perhaps the best exclusive aspect of “Crysis 2” is verticality. The multiplayer maps are designed with New York City’s infamous skyscrapers in mind to utilize the Nanosuit’s ability to leap into the air and automatically grab onto any nearby ledge, swiftly mantle it, and continue fighting.

The hyper-jump function is irrefutably useful in countless situations and allows for every player to have a unique combat style.

A player who prefers assimilating with New York’s towering scenery as a sniper may choose to cloak, sprint and then climb to higher ground for the best possible vantage point, decapitating adversaries on the way. While perhaps someone who prefers the personal connection of close-quarters combat will activate the sprint function, grappling rails and performing incredibly epic parkour feats until he or she is close enough to assassinate the target.

A multiplayer beta demo was released on Jan. 25, exclusively for the Xbox 360. Included in the demo is the rooftop-garden map “Skyline” and a small taste of unlockable content.

The demo contained two playlists: Team Instant Action, a typical team death match, and Crash Site, a capture and hold variation.

While the public beta still has several technical issues, such as graphical inconsistencies pertaining to melee attacks and the outbalanced invisibility, the game is certainly a revolutionary first person shooting adventure.

With retina-melting visuals and fantastically fast-paced gameplay, “Cryis 2” will dominate 2011’s first quarter by easily identifying skilled players from novices, and swiftly becoming one of the best multiplayer experiences available.

The full game will feature 12 unique multiplayer maps, five preset and five custom load outs, six different game modes, more than 20 Nanosuit modules, 50 ranks and 200 dog tags.

Crytek UK, the team formerly known as Free Radical who are recognized for the “TimeSplitters” series, is solely dedicated to creating the “Crysis 2” multiplayer and has promised to observe the demo results and modify any combat inequalities.

“Crysis 2” publisher Electronic Arts and developers Crytek GmbH and Crytek UK announced that a PC version of the demo will be launched in the upcoming weeks.

“Crysis 2” is scheduled to release on March 22.

Reach the reporter at tdmcknig@asu.edu.