Crysis Warhead PC DVD
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Crytek
Release Date: Out Now
Last year we reviewed the rather impressive first person shooter called Crysis. The game was impressive for a variety of reasons but perhaps the reason that readily springs to mind was the quality of the graphics. To put it simply, the game when run on full settings looked just about better than any other game to date. Running the game at maximum details was virtually impossible for anyone who wanted to maintain a solid 60 frames per second however. In fact, even with the latest and greatest PC hardware, it's still not possible to have the game running smoothly in its full glory on anything other than a hugely expensive PC. One of the selling points with Crysis Warhead has been that it's possible to run the game on a mediocre PC with a decent frame rate but there's much more to it than that of course.
Crysis Warhead doesn't require Crysis in order to be played but if you're coming to it not having played Crysis you'll probably feel as though you're missing some of the storyline. In Crysis Warhead you'll play as Psycho, a British sergeant who was in the original game as a peripheral character. He also wears the Nanosuit that gives temporary use of an assortment of special powers and weapons that you can add attachments to (so from a game-play perspective it's very much a similar experience to Crysis). The events in the game run concurrently with events in Crysis so you could say it's helping to round out the storyline from the original game. You'll still have to deal with the North Koreans but they are far from being your most dangerous enemies as there are some rather nasty aliens to deal with too.
Where Crysis Warhead succeeds is in the improvements it makes. The enemy AI seems a little sharper and more realistic in how it behaves. The single-player experience is more action packed than Crysis and the storyline is gripping from start to finish. The single-player game will only take around five hours (unless you're playing on the hardest difficulty setting) but for those five hours you'll thoroughly enjoy what the game has to offer. On the multiplayer side of things it feels as though the experience has been improved and there's even a team deathmatch style mode called Team Instant Action. The included maps are also rather impressive which further serves to enhance the multiplayer experience. It's still puzzling as to why the multiplayer content is a separate entity and even has its own installation process however.
Your impressions of the visual quality of Crysis Warhead will depend on what settings you can run the game on. For your reference our PC included an ATi X1950 Pro (256MB) graphics card, an Intel Core 2 Duo 6600 (run at stock speed) and 2GB RAM. Whilst you can adjust the graphical settings in detail, the game ships with four profiles: Minimum, Mainstream, Gamer and Enthusiast. After scanning our setup the game opted for the Mainstream settings. Running on these settings the game looked decent but certainly far from impressive. Objects fairly close to our character popped-up out of nowhere and the general quality of the textures were disappointing. The frame rate was mostly fine but on occasions it did choke a little which was disappointing. We did run the game with the Gamer profile settings and it was unplayable. Sure it looked great but we were reduced to a slideshow every time some action occurred. Regardless of all the performance claims about Crysis Warhead, you're still going to need one hell of a PC, at least it will need to be much better than our aging system, if you expect the game to look good and perform to an acceptable level.
Crysis Warhead is just the same as Crysis was in regards to its deaf gamer friendliness. You can enable subtitles, which are turned off by default. The speaker's names are displayed next to the dialogue so you'll be aware of who is talking to you. You'll want to run the game at an acceptable frame rate. During our test of the Gamer profile settings (as mentioned above), various subtitles were not shown because our PC just wasn't keeping up. The Nanosuit voice isn't subtitled which is unfortunate, but you can ascertain all of the information this voice gives you by looking at the lower right of the HUD. The Tab key brings up your objectives as well as a more detailed map of your surroundings. Directional arcs show the position of enemies' fire. The mini-map which is displayed on the lower left of the HUD shows you which direction you should be heading to reach your next objective.
Crysis Warhead is certainly a game that FPS fans will enjoy. The action is more intense than it was in Crysis and it's very enjoyable if a little short. The single-player game will take around five hours to complete but it's an action packed five hours and when you also take the multiplayer content into account too it's certainly good value for the asking price of just under £20, especially when you don't need the original Crysis to play Crysis Warfare. Regardless of the claims made however it's still a resource hog and you have to sacrifice a lot of graphical detail to have the game running on an 'average' PC. For those who enjoyed Crysis and want to experience more of its world, Crysis Warfare is a game you can't really go wrong with.