Crysis PC DVD
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Crytek
Release Date: Out Now
There are plenty of great games that never sell well because they are either released alongside a glut of other great titles or because they are in a genre that's already crowded. Occasionally though, a game is released at the ideal time and even though it's in a genre that's already crowded, it manages to do well. Far Cry, developed by Crytek, was a game that managed to benefit from its timing. FPS fans were cheesed off with the delays to Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 and were left wanting for a quality FPS to fill the void. Far Cry filled that void rather nicely and proved to be not only a great game to play but also a great game to look at. At the time of its release, Far Cry was the best looking FPS and it's no surprise that Crytek's latest title, Crysis, once again raises the bar for graphical excellence.
Crysis is set in the year 2020 and you'll play as a Special Forces operative known only as Nomad who, along with his fellow operatives, has been called in to rescue a team of scientists who have been operating on a tropical island in the Philippines Sea. The scientists have been captured by the North Koreans and the game begins with a woman named Helena radioing for help. Nomad and his fellow operatives parachute down to the island to attempt to rescue the scientists. Whilst descending down from the plane however, Nomad is hit by something which takes him far away from the landing zone. A messy landing is the least of Nomad's problems however because he soon finds that a fellow operative, Aztec, has been killed and suspended from a tree and from looking at Aztec's body and those of the North Korean soldiers around him it's obvious that something probably not human has killed all of them.
Crysis is an impressive FPS. The weapons all handle well; the AI enemies are good (if a little stubborn at going down when they've been shot) in making good use of cover and tactical options. The level design is undoubtedly very good. All of the environments in the game offer a surprising amount of destructible objects. I'm sure most will have seen those video clips of trees being damaged so extensively that they fall and land on your enemies. There's much more to the in-game physics than that however, and it's probably the most impressive game since Half-Life 2 in terms of how real-world physics have been modelled in the game.
The Nanosuit and the abilities it gives you is a key feature of Crysis. There are four main abilities that the suit offers. Armour gives the suit stronger defences to provide you with added protection. Speed gives an injection of nanobots into Nomad's bloodstream to allow him to move at up to twice the normal speed. Strength effectively doubles your strength. Cloak makes you invisible. Should you fire a weapon when cloaked the cloak will be disabled. All of these abilities can only be used for a short duration as they drain your suit's energy. Once the energy is depleted, the ability in use will cease. The Nanosuit also has other abilities such as Aqualung which gives you a limited amount of time to breathe underwater and Night Vision which naturally allows you to see in pitch black situations.
The game also allows you to customize the weapons you have, to deal with specific situations. Take the rifle for instance. The Reflex Sight is suitable for close to mid-range targets that are on the move. A Sniper Scope is good for hitting enemies that are quite a distance from you. The Laser Pointer Module helps you to pinpoint a target although there is always the risk they will be aware of the laser. You can even add a Grenade Launcher attachment, a Silencer and a Tactical Attachment which gives you ammunition that debilitates your enemy for sixty seconds.
Those looking for a good multiplayer experience will also be pleased with what Crysis has to offer. You can choose to take part in a classic Deathmatch game (oddly there is no Team Deathmatch mode however) with up to 32 players or you can play a mode known as Power Struggle. In Power Struggle there are two teams (of up to 16 players each) and the idea is to destroy your opponent's base. To do this you'll need to capture a Prototype Laboratory and then take control of alien crash sites to power it and produce advanced weaponry. There are other structures that can be captured and used to your advantage too. Completing objectives earns you prestige points that can be used to purchase better weapons and equipment. In short it's a great mode and even comes with a subtitled tutorial.
There can be no denying that Crysis looks stunning when played with the graphical settings set to the maximum. The tropical, frozen and alien landscapes all look excellent. The characters models, the in-game physics and water effects are all superb. Of course you're going to need one hell of a PC to run the game in all of its glory. We simply couldn't run the game in anything like its full glory and had to settle for running everything on medium settings. The game still looked good but it was nowhere near as impressive and even then there were spots when the frame rate dipped.
Thankfully, Crysis is subtitled. The subtitles aren't enabled by default however. On starting a new game it was a little disappointing to see the opening movie, the one which shows off the capabilities of the Nanosuit, wasn't subtitled. This was strange considering the cutscene that followed it was subtitled and from that point everything was fine. The subtitles are displayed in white text and have the name of the speaker in front of them. All tutorial messages are shown in text. Objectives are shown in text and can be recalled by holding down the Tab key. Directional pointers will show you the direction you're being fired upon from. Your radar displays the general direction of your next objective. You also have a meter that shows you the enemy alert status which is rather useful. There is even a display that shows if you run a risk of detection with a green triangle indicating you run a low risk of being detected whilst a red, larger triangle meaning you're running a high risk of being discovered. To summarise then, Crysis shouldn't give deaf gamers too many problems.
Far Cry managed to take full advantage of the delays of Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 and went on to be a successful game. Crysis doesn't arrive at such a fortuitous time with superb FPS games such as Call of Duty 4 and The Orange Box to keep it company on game store shelves. This isn't a problem however because most FPS gamers were so impressed with Far Cry that Crysis has been eagerly anticipated. Everything about Crysis is impressive and it's difficult to see how any FPS fan could be disappointed with the game. Graphically it's excellent; the single-player game is impressive and even as a multiplayer game it manages to shine. In short Crysis is a must own title for any FPS enthusiast.