Crysis09 Apr 2008 0
The Bottom Line (at the top)
Crysis has had plenty of hype and its fair share of bad press since its release but there is still sufficient debate as to the merits of the game on a variety of fronts. Are the system requirements too steep? Is the game buggy? Is it even fun? How’s the plot? There’s no doubt that looking at a few screenshots of Crysis provide more than enough eye candy to entice the graphics junky and shooter fiend. But, as we’ve seen to a painful extent in Doom 3, graphics aren’t going to deliver a great game, especially a game that has no plot and repetitive gameplay.
A large fan flaming the debate raging over Crysis is the fever pitch of hype leading up to the game’s release which helped to raise into the stratosphere the hopes players from the game’s masterful predecessor, Far Cry, and almost any other shooter fans. That being said, and to get the nasty anti-box-quote sentence out of the way forthright: Crysis is not as good as the hype. As a regular game taken into consideration among the tons of shooters that have been released this year, it is an amazing piece of technology. But when the game is elevated to the “mega-shooter” status of Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3, it pales in comparison. Make no mistake that Crysis is still more than entertaining enough to keep one’s interest through the campaign (for those of us that can actually finish the game, but more on that later). But gamers expecting to purchase this game and have an otherworldly first person shooting experience will be sorely disappointed as Crysis is in many ways pedestrian and bound by common shooter pitfalls that distinguish the fantastic works in the genre from “the rest.”
Phew, that was liberating. Now on to the review…
Now That’s Nifty
Crysis furnishes the player with a wide variety of firearms to get the job done in addition to a few other gadgets and systems that give the game a “futuristic warfare” feel to it. One notable convention that remains from the original Far Cry is the player “stealth meter” which indicates how aware the enemy is of your presence. An empty stealth bar means the enemy has no idea where you are or that you’re even near them. A partially filled bar means the enemy knows you’re around but they don’t know where you are. This is a precarious position to be in because the AI is quite good at finding the player when it knows that they’re in the vicinity. Careful use of stealth and patience can generally diffuse the situation though. A fully filled bar denotes that the enemy knows the player is in the vicinity, they know where he is, and if the player isn’t already under fire – he will be real soon. The “stealth meter” is extremely important for players who favor the stealth approach to most situations. I found myself looking at it every few seconds when I was trying to sneak around.
Crysis also has a pretty gnarly weapon upgrade system that allows the more adventurous players among us to collect different weapon upgrades and attachments to the weapons the player starts with or scavenges for. For instance, the player can find an iron sight, grenade launcher, ultra-quiet tranquilizer dart, laser sight, silencer, flashlight, and more for weapons ranging from the AK-74, sniper rifle, an “extraterrestrial-looking” minigun, or tactical shotgun. The number and range of addons to each gun varies depending on the weapon, but the nifty thing is that players can adjust the weapon’s abilities on the fly (even in the middle of combat if desired). This further allows for the custom-tailoring of gameplay style depending on what the player wants. Perhaps a laser sight and silencer suit a stealth fan, or the action junkies want a grenade launcher and iron sight to make runnin’ and gunnin’ easier for them. It’s all up the player.
It should also be noted while we’re on the topic of gadgets that the player will have a chance to drive a bunch of different vehicles. Some of this is nothing new from Crysis’ predecessor, Far Cry. The player can drive jeeps with mounted machine guns, they can drive boats all over the open sea, and there are even two missions where the player is a tanker and then aircraft pilot. The tank and aircraft mission are nothing particularly remarkable, but they do bring an interesting change of pace – until my tank was destroyed right after I hopped out and I had to battle multiple armored contacts with a dinky rocket launcher and some C4 (annoying!).