Crysis • Page 2

World exclusive Crytek studio tour - complete with multiplayer.

Nano nano

What really gives you freedom of choice is the now-infamous nano suit. A futuristic Spandex all-in-one designed for all-terrain combat, it has four main features, each of which can be turned on and off at will. The default mode is Armour, which makes you twice as hard to kill. Strength allows you to jump higher, kill with one punch and throw heavy objects, including enemies you've picked up by the throat. Speed boosts the rate at which you walk, sprint and reload weapons.

The most interesting mode is Cloak. With this turned on you become invisible, up to a point; get too close to enemies they'll see through your disguise. Or rather, they won't. Obviously useful for sneaking around undetected, Cloak's also handy for getting yourself out of sticky combat situations: turn it on and enemies will be left shooting at your last visible position while you move into cover.

Realists might argue that if someone has the technology to develop a suit that makes you jump higher, punch harder, move faster, live longer and blend invisibly into your environment, they really ought to be clever enough to make it do all those things at the same time. But where would be the gameplay in that?

The nano suit introduces strategy on several levels. Firstly, you can only use one mode at a time. Secondly, you can only use its functions (apart from Armour, which never runs out) for a limited period before recharging. So, for example, you can't just "do a Predator" and spend ages running round the jungle without being seen.

You need to constantly assess the right function for any given situation. Invisibility might get you past a group of guards, but will you make it to the next cover point before the energy runs out and leaves you wide open to the enemy? You could try using Speed to race your way to shelter, but would it be better to choose Armour and take them on? The nano suit is a clever way of giving you choices and making you think, without making you feel like you're playing a strategy game rather than an FPS.

Mass power struggle

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The nano suit adds a new dimension to multiplayer too. "Unleashing the nano suit into the Deathmatch experience reimagines the experience. It becomes completely different," says Yerli.

Having tried it out first hand, "completely different" seems a bit strong. You're still running round (landscapes include the obligatory industrial complex complete with iron staircases and a vast amount of oil barrels), picking up mysteriously unattended weapons and blasting anything that moves.

Undeniably, though, there is extra fun to be had jumping way up high and landing right next to an unsuspecting enemy, or turning on Cloak and moving into the perfect position for a close range shotgun hit.

Power Struggle mode is much more original and complex than Deathmatch. Fighting for either the US or North Korea, your mission is to destroy the enemy's HQ, or, if you've set a time limit, conquer the most territory before the clock runs out.

Territory takes the form of bunkers and alien crash sites, which you capture simply by positioning yourself and pressing a button. The complexity comes with deciding which areas will give you the biggest advantage, using a map you can bring up at any time to get an overview of who's captured what and where team-mates and enemies are located.

Strategy, obviously, is key to Power Struggle. Stick together and you've got combined firepower on your side, but you risk leaving positions undefended or letting the enemy spread out and capture multiple points while you're focusing on one.

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Weapons are accumulated by earning "prestige points", which are awarded for capturing positions and murdering enemies. Having spawned in a choice of any of your team's occupied bunkers, you can use them to buy guns, ammo and extras such as parachutes and night vision goggles.

It might sound simple, but in practice the learning curve seems steep. The map, so integral to success, can be confusing - icons are small and can be difficult to distinguish. If you don't communicate well enough with your team-mates, it can start to feel like plain old Deathmatch. You seem to spend more time running around trying to find people, hiding from enemies and working out what's going on than following a strategy.

Neither Deathmatch or Power Struggle mode look as good as the single-player game, as you might expect. There were also worrying issues with lag in the version we played - something Crytek has time to sort out, if not much.

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