Race and Shoot in New Ways With EA's SHIFT 2, CRYSIS 2

EA held their Spring 2011 showcase for press in New York City this week, and as embargoes lift, we'll have looks at some upcoming titles from the monster publisher over the coming weeks.

 

First up today are two very different games, both sequels, and both out in late March.

Crysis 2 is the long-awaited followup to the game that famously taxed even the highest-end PCs. This time around, while still pushing the limits of the current generation of consoles, the game is designed to run smoothly on high-end PCs but on Xbox 360 and PS3 as well. Since we last saw Crysis 2 a couple of months ago, the game has become much smoother and more "show-worthy." Graphics are crisp, and the level shown this time around is in the bright daylight, instead of the dismal grey of the last demo. Sunlight gleams off shattered husks of buildings in this futuristic destroyed New York City. Combat is swift and the AI is much more natural, using flanking tactics and cover very accurately. Where the game now really shines (and where it really lacked before) is in its use of 3D.

 

Viewing/playing the game on an Xbox 360 and a passive 3DTV was an incredibly pleasant experience. The passive screen and its accompanying lightweight glasses (think the ones you're now used to in theaters) were comfortable and gave little to no strain, even after an extended experience. There was no choppiness to the graphics in 3D, and things like sniping and the Heads-Up-Display looked simply stunning. It made you feel like you are actually in this advanced Nanosuit 2, living the life of this future super soldier. Crysis 2 has made leaps and bounds each time we've seen the game over the last year, and is shaping up to be a fantastic first person shooter, perhaps even a 3DTV seller. It's due to ship March 22, 2011.

 

On the opposite side of the gaming spectrum is the racing sequel Shift 2 Unleashed (it's a "Need for Speed" title, but EA decided to leave that out of the actual name this time around). Despite the naming confusion, the game itself has some interesting new features. Being the second NFS released in just 4 months upon its March 29, 2011 scheduled date, the EA representative at the demo acknowledged that the entire racing genre is in danger of "becoming stale." However, this is a very different type of racing game from the action-oriented Hot Pursuit, instead focusing on delivering a very deep simulation racer. This is the racing game for the fanatic that always wanted to get behind the wheel themselves.

Enlisting an actual driver as a creative consultant, the most immediate difference between this and all other racing games is the perspective from "helmet camera" mode. For the first time ever, if you choose to do this first person in-the-car view, the field of vision will accurately reflect how an actual driver would act in a given situation. "I've always been told to look where you want to go," said the racer. Well that's what the new camera view does, turning the driver's head and field of vision to follow the path of the track. It's a simple adjustment, and makes for a more realistic - and hopefully more fun experience. Night racing and environment/vehicle "degradation" add to the experience as well, with the Autolog rivalry tracker shifting (sorry) over from Hot Pursuit racing (sorry again) its way over to keep you and your friends busy outpacing (once more) each other.

Stay tuned to Newsarama for many more EA Previews over the next few weeks!

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