Crytek's debut effort, Far Cry, didn't generate a long-lasting, robust multiplayer community, so with Crysis the company has gone back to the drawing board, crafting an ambitious Battlefield-esque mode called "Power Struggle" that encapsulates large-scale teamplay with land-sea-and-air dynamics and plenty of control points.
As in Counter-Strike, players are not assigned to specific classes but are rather able to buy new equipment and weapons at the beginning of every round, with more kills and captures conferring more money with which to suit up in purchase zones. All of this is combined with Crysis' nanosuit featured in its single-player game. With the suit, players can apply one enhanced effect to themselves at any given time: great speed, enhanced strength, toughened armor, or a personal cloak. Particularly useful in multiplayer is the ability to augment weaponry with various types of zoom scopes and other attachments.
Cloaking seems like the most useful nanosuit ability to employ in multiplayer, since it provides obvious advantages when attempting to infiltrate and acquire an enemy-controlled structure, while speed is useful simply for traversing the large map included in the multiplayer beta, particularly early in the game.
In general, the game demands a lot of coordination to really work. It is not enormously difficult to sidestep most of the game's large scale dynamics and simply go straight for the nuke tank, which is possible for teams earning a lot of money through kills and less ambitious captures. Of course, if your opponents have been doing their jobs, they will have plenty of their own equipment to stop you in your tracks.
The bottom line is that, from my experience, Crysis' multiplayer is certainly enormously full-featured, but it requires a lot of effort and coordination put in for it to really give all those features back. Compared to a somewhat similar game like Enemy Territories: Quake Wars, with its dynamic per-player mission system, Crysis' multiplayer may simply be too complex for its own good.
Gamers with machines able to do the game justice and a love for large-scale team-based gameplay may find exactly what they want in Crysis' Power Struggle, which is undoubtedly extensive, but for most gamers, the showcase will continue to be Crysis' single-player game--which, it cannot be overstated, is truly incredible. Check back later this week for hands-on impressions.
Click play on our audio player below for an excerpt from ShackCast 11 discussing Crysis