In Crysis 2, the base mode of the Nanosuit is more powerful at all times. You can always sprint and always jump. You'll be able to jump across rooftops, jump up onto high ledges and jump across huge gaps in the game's dense urban environment without too much worry that the suit will run out of energy. It's a more streamlined system that allows players to combine powers, doing things like cloaking while sprinting, an experience Nathan likens to "being like a ghost".
The upper body strength granted by strength has been moved to armour, meaning when you're in the middle of combat you can punch a car into a bunch of enemies, or pick up something and throw it at enemies, while soaking up bullets. It also means you can rip a machine gun turret off of its mount and use it to lay waste to everybody and anything in your way. "Both on console and PC, the controls for the Nanosuit are very accessible now," Nathan says. "It's easy for people to find these types of gamer styles and create their own."
Layered on top of the changes Crytek has made to the way the Nanosuit works, and the old weapon customisation system, is Nanosuit customisation. Via a certain number of slots you'll be able to turn on "two or three" modules that'll help you "express your gamer style even further". You can push cloak further, armour further, or the amount of tactical information you gather about the environment further. While everyone will be able to build the suit up so that they can play the game the way they want to, Nathan anticipates that the hardcore, the people who really understand the game, will go one step further and customise the Nanosuit just before each encounter. They will size up each gameplay space individually, thinking, "I want to do this to my gun, I want to put these things on my suit, and now I'm going to jump in and cause havoc".
And havoc is exactly what we see during Nathan's gameplay demo. New York is deserted save for an alien infestation and the patrols by a private military company called CryNet Systems (Nathan refuses to divulge their motivations). Nomad, called "Prophet" by chatting CryNet soldiers, surveys the Wall Street area. His objective is to infiltrate a CryNet-occupied building. Why? We don't know. But we do know that he'll need to go through loads of enemy soldiers to do it. The first thing I want Prophet to do is leap onto an unsuspecting bad guy and punch him in the face. Then, maybe, punch everything else, just to see what you can destroy. But the sheer number of CryNet soldiers pottering about the rooftops demands a more strategic approach.
After listening in on a bad guy conversation, identifying the location of a few well-placed snipers, and then firing off a few cheeky sniper shots of his own, Prophet leaps onto a rooftop and starts pumping bullets into enemy flesh. The environment comes to life, bursting and popping and tearing itself into bits at the mere glance of your targeting reticule. The smoothness and vibrancy of the destruction rekindles memories of Modern Warfare's best moments - glass shatters, green foliage is ripped to shreds and concrete is smashed to pieces. It's like the infamous Lobby Scene from The Matrix, except outside and with more colours.
Inside the building the player will encounter some interior combat and a key cutscene we're not shown ("if it got onto the internet it would spoil the story for everyone"). But we do know you're captured by CryNet, they power down your suit and you're escorted out of the building. Here, the demo starts again. As Prophet lies dazed and confused on the floor, a building shakes then crumbles. The aliens are back with a vengeance.
I haven't seen nearly enough of Crysis 2 to get a feel for how it'll better enable the player styles Nathan talked about. The Nanosuit looks and sounds just as cool as it did in the first game (I just love the suit's voice), and I get the impression that it'll be less stingy when it comes to regulating power use. But really, all I know for sure at this point is that Crysis 2 exists and looks absolutely incredible. Still, that's enough to whet my appetite, and now that Crysis is finally coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3, millions of others'.
Crysis 2 is due out on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in holiday 2010.