Crysis

World exclusive Crytek studio tour - complete with multiplayer.

To get Eurogamer.de's unique take on Crysis (in German) from our exclusive studio visit to Crytek in Frankfurt, look no further. For Eurogamer.fr's coverage (in French), look right here.

You can get also exclusive, direct-feed movies of EA's beautiful shooter on Eurogamer TV and Eurogamer.de TV. And finally, don't be daft enough to pass up on not one and two galleries of exclusive shots. Did we mention all this was exclusive?

Much has already been written about the visuals in Crysis. But just how good does it look? This good.

Johnny: I know it's been hyped up and everything, but it does look bloody superb.

Ellie: Yeah. And that's not even running with DirectX 10. The demo bloke just told us this is DirectX 9.

Johnny: What? Really?

Ellie: Yeah.

Johnny: Oh. [pause] Well now.

We're standing in Crytek's Frankfurt studio, looking at a monitor displaying nothing more exciting than a stream running through a jungle. We can't help it, despite our time here being to find out whether Crysis plays as good as it looks, not just to marvel at visuals.

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As it turns out, there's an awful lot of marvelling going on, even though we never see the game - probably the most hyped PC shooter in development - running on DirectX 10 during our entire visit. Which is odd. After all, it's been more than a year since Crytek boss Cevat Yerli proudly demonstrated the difference DirectX 10 makes to Crysis using a side-by-side comparison with DirectX 9. Now we're just three months before release and you'd think he'd want to show the game off at its very best. Why not?

"For different reasons," says Yerli, an instantly likeable chap who'd probably get as much attention as Jade Raymond if more women played games. "We're still receiving drivers which are crashing. That's the main reason. We don't have a stable driver yet.

"Until we get it running on multi-threaded drivers on Vista we don't want to show any more. We're getting performance impact on Vista. We don't want to make Vista look bad either, because it's not Vista's fault. It's the driver right now."

Yerli says he's working closely with Nvidia to resolve the issues and is "absolutely" confident they'll be fixed in time for launch - "We will resolve them in the next two weeks, actually."

But for now, we'll just have to settle - if that can even be considered the right word - for Crysis working on DirectX 9, beginning with the single-player game.

It's a Far Cry

Crysis puts you in the shoes of a US special operative sent on a routine mission gone horribly wrong. In what many will recognize as Crytek's comfort zone, most of the action takes place around jungles and beaches on a lush tropical island.

Comparisons with Far Cry are inevitable, not least, as lead level designer Sten Huebeler explains, because the game's first mission has been designed with fans of Crytek's previous effort in mind.

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"While we wanted to show people a little bit of familiarity - players should feel back home in a way - we obviously want to show more of our new tech and how we've advanced. It was not meant to be too close to it: I think when you actually play the game you'll see it takes a different route to Far Cry."

Freedom is a main differentiator for Crysis, says Huebeler. "In general we're a lot more open than Far Cry. For most of the game, you can pretty freely choose your own path."

While open-environment first-person shooting may have become an increasingly crowded evolution of the genre recently - thanks largely to the excellent S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the impending release of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars - Crysis looks to be rising to the challenge brilliantly. That's partly because each environment is so expansive - in many cases there isn't an obvious path to follow - but in addition to a real sense of explorative freedom you get a huge range of choices when it comes to using objects in the world around you.

Naturally you can take cover in buildings and explode barrels with bullets, but there are more imaginative options in the form of a vast amount of objects which can be used as weapons. As the developer demoing the game informs us gravely, "Even a small banana can be very dangerous." Presumably if you leave the skin at the top of a flight of stairs.

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