|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Crytek Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-32||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Derek Hidey
Cryteks latest installments to the Crysis series, Crysis: Warhead and its packaged, stand-alone multiplayer component Crysis Wars, are the types of games that usually dont receive much attention. They arent your standard, add-on expansion packs that require the original title. Instead, both can be installed and played without the original Crysis.
In typical expansion pack fashion, Warhead incorporates technical updates and tweaks as well as a host of new weapons and vehicles. In fact, the only thing that isnt reminiscent of a standard expansion pack is the price.
Warhead isnt a sequel or prequel, it actually depicts a storyline that runs parallel to the original Crysis. This time, the player dons the nano suit of an original side character, Sergeant Psycho Sykes, the hot-headed former British SAS operative. Players unfamiliar with the original storyline may feel slightly lost at the beginning of the game, since Warhead wastes no time trusting the player into the action. But, if story really isnt all that important to you, then it probably doesnt matter.
First and foremost, Crytek made some design changes to the way the visuals can be scaled. This is a response to the many cries of disappointment from users with mid to low-end computers that had problems playing the original. While there did seem to be some performance increases, it was difficult to notice any improvements. In fact, the way the visual options were designed, replacing regular scaling terms with words like Gamer, Mainstream, and Enthusiast, may be easier to understand for those who have never played a computer game before, but it leaves veterans scratching their heads a bit. Despite the scaling options, however, the game is still amazing to see. The photorealism achieved in Warhead is no small feat and its only current competitor in this regard is its counterpart.
The story, also similar to the original, revolves around the player infiltrating Korean bases on an island, attempting to uncover the mystery behind all the strange activities going on. Shortly thereafter, bizarre aliens begin to emerge and attack everything on the island. The voice acting is on par with the original, delivering quality dialogue and emotion. Unfortunately, if fans were hoping for a more engaging and personal story, youll only find it in bits and pieces, while the rest will practically you that, Hey, this is an action game. Moreover, players will be reluctant to find that the campaign is significantly shorter, so despite the amped up action, there is a lot less to work with.
Crysis: Warhead does provide some great opportunities for more engaging action sequences. Sure, if stealth is your thing, there are options for that too, but Crytek made it a point to make each battle as exciting as possible. Improved A.I. certainly helps, as enemies on this side of the island seem much smarter than the ones fought on the opposite side in the original Crysis. Even the aliens provide a more challenging obstacle to the player; no longer ignoring you like the Borg would ignore a kitten. Conversely, there still seems to be some issues with the A.I. For example, enemies are alerted to your presence, even when youre prone in a thick set of bushes and foliage, still seems to happen.
A host of new weapons and vehicles give the player all-new ways of dispatching those pesky enemies; dual-wielding automatic pistols certainly makes for a fun ride. Weapons also appear to pack more of a punch against regular infantry, which is a nice change from having to plug half a magazine to drop someone wearing a t-shirt. Of course, the enemies wearing nano suits are back as well, and they are more difficult and challenging than before.