Never underestimate the power of a good demo-er. From what should have been a sterling first look at the gameplay of Crysis 2 ended up as a bit of ham-fisted blast-a-thon that barely showed off the brilliance of this New York-based shooter. It's ironic as we were told at the beginning of the demo just how varied the game allows you to be - stealthy, gung-ho or tactical. Yet they were all mashed into one big bullet-filled patty.
Above: You can play Crysis 2 like a straightforward FPS if you like
Regardless, you can still just about see the genius shining through. Everything about Crysis is big and dramatic. From the way that Prophet (what they're calling the hero in the demo) drops from the sky and lands with a thunderous thud when leaping from buildings to the huge sniper rifles you can fire while invisible. Heck, you can even twat enemies with parasols if you like. But it's the NYC setting, which thrills us most. A place, say the developers, will help to drive the story rather than the island action of the previous game.
OK, so loads of titles use the Big Apple as a backdrop but combined with the superb visuals that Crytek are capable of producing Crysis 2 is already looking hot.
Above: Everything promises to be big in this sequel. Including the explosions
The demo we were walked through starts off with Prophet staring out from a bust up building on Wall Street. Choppers fly past and debris falls from the skyscraper as the camera pans around the incredibly detailed destruction below.
A quick leap to the ground, from some 20 stories high or so, and Prophet is scanning the area. Marking off his targets with his nanosuits goggles. All starts off well - a huge jump lands him behind an enemy on rooftop who meets his maker with a stealth kill. Another enemy is at the end of walkway but rather than remain invisible all hell breaks loose as Prophet opens fire with a machine gun that's as loud as war. Soon there are soldiers flanking and peppering our hero from all angles, which he quickly deals with.
But as the dust settles, Prophet is invisible again and staring down the sights of a sniper rifle ready to take out a distant enemy, sadly a stray shot is fired and suddenly his position is revealed again meaning more strafing and shooting. It's at this point we wonder whether God mode is on.
Above: If ever there was a hero shot of a game, this is surely it
The rest of the rooftop action is full of run and gun, apart from two key moments when a) a guard is picked up by his throat and thrown through a window to his death and b) a parasol is used to twat an enemy unconscious.
We also get to see our hero in an unfamiliar, vulnerable position as he's captured by the enemy and has all his powers depleted. Mysteriously, his suit powers up again when a giant enemy spike erupts through a building and kills all the grunts around him with its spooky power.
As he regains full strength he takes on a few aliens in a dazzle of explosions, grenades and uber violence and then the demo ends. We're already looking forward to this immensely, and even though the demo was a bit slap-dash it's plain to see it's going to be great.