But that doesn't necessarily mean players of the sequel will have less abilities. [UPDATE] To clarify, Crysis 2 allows players to switch between two main modes, Armor and Stealth, usable alongside additional Power or Tactical functionality. Power provides elements of Strength and Speed, and Stealth lets one move about the level both invisibly and silently for a brief amount of time, as noted by an on-screen indicator. [/UPDATE]
This streamlining also means there's no need for a power-selecting pop-up menu a la the original Crysis. Instead, the presentation indicated that players can easily switch between modes and activate their powers at a press of a button.
To demonstrate, a portion of the Xbox 360 version was shown running in real-time.
The demonstration began a first-person view of our power-suited protagonist looking out the shattered window of a skyscraper, smoke billowing out from the ruined New York City landscape as trash and debris fluttered in the wind. The objective, shown in the upper left-hand corner, was to infiltrate the headquarters of Nanosuit maker CryNet.
Switching to Power, our hero leapt out the window and landed on the rooftop below--a fall that presumably would have killed him if not for his use of Armor. He then surveyed a neighboring rooftop using the Nanosuit's tactical visor functionality, only to find it being patrolled by the human private military contractors of CryNet Security.
Running forward, our avatar approached the edge and made a Power-enhanced jump to that rooftop, cloaking via Stealth in-mid air to land silently and invisibly. After approaching one of the patrolling guards from behind and snapping his neck, he hid behind solar panels while the suit's cloak recharged.
As the remaining guards took notice of their fallen comrade and made their way to his position, our hero drew his gun and fired through the array. The ensuing fire-fight resulted in a few less guards but also reduced the panels to shiny fragments.
Later in the fight against CryNet Security, our super-powered protagonist ripped a turret off its mount and used it to mow down even more of the opposing forces.
A second demonstration highlighted this and offered a few more narrative tidbits. Having been captured by CryNet Security, our hero finds himself being escorted to a helicopter. But as that helicopter takes off, the building below begins to shake, causing a torrential downpour of dust and broken glass, before exploding as some manner of massive alien pillar pierces the building and sends the copter plummeting towards the ground.
The ensuing crash temporarily disables the Nanosuit, giving players little to do but watch as alien forces tear through CryNet Security and their inevitable backup.
However, these aren't the flying squid-like aliens from the original Crysis. These are hulking humanoid brutes--complete with two arms and two legs--that are heavy enough to crush the cars they're walking on top of. They also just so happen to be equipped with armor that shares a few visual similarities with one's own Nanosuit.
"I can say they're related [to the aliens of the original Crysis]," executive producer Nathan Camarillo told us afterward. "That's all I'll say." But what about the similarities between the player's armor and that of the alien, I asked. "Don't you want to play it?" he joked.
Of course, one of the big questions is how Crysis 2, as the sequel to what some still regard as the game to beat graphically on PC, will look and run on consoles.
On visuals, the Xbox 360 version--the only one shown running in real-time--looked gorgeous from the back row of the Tribeca Grand Screening Room. However, that's a far cry from the typical home theater experience so I can't say much else there.
As for how it runs on Xbox 360, the current build--keep in mind, the game isn't done yet--displayed some framerate and screen-tearing issues when the action got too intense. But again, it's still a work-in-progress so don't read too much into this.
What of the PC and PlayStation 3 editions, I asked Camarillo. "PlayStation 3, it looks just as good as [Xbox] 360," he replied. "We're pushing the hardware of both consoles to the limit, probably further than anyone's pushed them."
He added: "The goal for us isn't comparing each console to each other or console to PC, it's about giving each gamer the best experience for their respective platform. That doesn't mean that we're giving a different story or different levels or anything like this, but Crysis 1 is still the heralded benchmark of visuals on PC gaming, and we're gonna kick our own butt in that regard... PC gamers won't be disappointed, console gamers will be blown away. It'll be better than anything that they've seen."
Developed by Crytek and published through Electronic Arts, Crysis 2 is due out PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 between October 1 and December 31, 2010.