Crysis Reader Review
It's a good sign when the flying sequence of a first person shooter is better looking and more fun than most flight action games.
The 'spiritual' sequel to the impressive Far Cry comes to save Nvidia and Amd from ruin. Much has been written about the look of the game and the quality of the lighting, the high resolution textures, the shadows, the facial expression, the crazy number of texture passes to render a face and so on. Not much was written about how the game would play except that we could expect another Far Cry.
Far Cry was a seemingly free roaming game on a island paradise where the combat was designed around a guard and patrol AI system that was the basis for every encounter. In Crysis they've refined the system and made it better but they have also added a lot of extras to make the experience seem more natural. Of course this AI system is all about combat so you shouldn't expect them to do anything besides waiting for you to start firing. Even though there will be instances where guards are taking a leak or sleeping on the job.
But what makes the game better than Far Cry and what makes it rival Half-Life 2 is with the story line. Crytek has spent quite a large effort on creating natural looking characters for the game and they've created elaborate in engine cutscenes to build the relationships and to present the more spectacular scenes. The main character that you are playing is surprisingly not the silent type and it's refreshing to see a developer putting words in his mouth and to effectively use him as the narrator to events. Though to be honest, this character is just another tough soldier type and I'm guessing the only character progression we'll see will be in the technology of his suit. There is no back story potential but they save that for the other characters and they successfully play with one of the more important ones.
As already mentioned the game pulls no punches when it comes to graphics and you'll be astounded from start to finish (assuming your hardware can cope) and if you're anything like me you'll love the 'reveal' sequence in the cave.
Game play wise the game is solidly based on the Far Cry roots with a couple of small extras like the Nano-suit powers that help solidify the one-man army concept. You will with the powers have access to a wider range of options on how to handle each situation, you can go in all powerful and wreak havok with the power mode, you can speed run in to grab an enemy as a shield and shoot your way out, you can go for a combat route and max your armor or you can go for the stealth approach (which is highly recommended if you decide to play on the appreciated Delta difficulty level).
The designers have just as all other game designers decided that to keep the game fresh to the player they need to mix the main game play with various bits n bobs. In Crysis they keep you close to the basics by giving you various types of vehicles to control. Like a Boat-section, Tank-section (which strangely reminded me of Medal of Honor) and a VTOL air combat section (which reminded me of A-10 Tank Killer 2). There's also a anti-gravity section which while it is quite confusing is a rewarding sequence. What Crysis does well is integrate these sections fully with the standard FPS controls. And what separates them from other First Person Shooters is that they place vehicles of various types around the levels for you to play with if you are so inclined, they will mostly only help you get faster to your destination and you can almost never (except for the three sections above) solely use them to solve your objectives. The game is still very much focused on the on foot combat.
There is quite a lot to write about the game, suffice to say that I enjoyed it a great deal even though my computer wasn't quite up to snuff for the graphical detail they had intended. The combat was interesting and difficult at times but you never felt like the game was annoyingly difficult even on the hard Delta difficulty level.
9 / 10