|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Crytek||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: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-32 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
If you've been on the fence about whether or not it's time to lay down some big bucks for a high-end PC upgrade, then German developers Crytek have just provided THE reason to take the plunge. It may be hard to believe a mere first-person shooter could provide incentive enough to make a financial investment likely to run up into the $1K range, yet Crysis is not your average first-person shooter. In fact, when it comes to incredible visuals and superior gameplay, Crysis consumes other first-person shooters for breakfast. Unfortunately, the same goes for most affordable PCs on the market, and it takes a mean, high powered gaming machine to run this beast.
It's not far off the mark to say Crysis looks better than just about any other game out there. Besides cutting edge graphics, players can expect a slew of other excellent features designed to make for an unforgettable action-packed experience. Immense open-level designs lets you explore different routes to complete your objectives, highly interactive and destructible environments can be used to gain the upper hand against foes, a range of weapon modifications lets you tinker with your gear in the midst of battle, a sweet nano-suit gives you superhuman abilities, and top-notch enemy A.I. provides a realistic challenge. In general, the game affords players an enormous level of freedom to approach each challenge from any number of unique angles. This encourages swift thinking and frequent strategic adaptation in the heat of battle.
The action starts out fairly rudimentarily to give players a chance to get acclimated to the gameplay before quickly ramping up in complexity and intensity. Set in the future, the story focuses on an island in the South China Sea where a US archeological team discovers an unusual artifact before being captured by the North Korean Army. You'll play as an elite agent, who goes by the call sign "Nomad," as part of a high-tech US Special Forces squad sent in to conduct recon and retrieve the archeological team. After parachuting-in amidst an escalating war between the US and North Korean forces, it quickly becomes apparent something inhuman patrols the dense jungle killing friend and foe alike. The US archeologists discovered a deadly otherworldly secret, and soon a race of invading creatures enter the fray, unleashing destructive climate changes and flesh-grinding machinations. It's an adrenaline-fueled conflict that steadily builds to a crescendo right up the final confrontation.
Thankfully, combat in Crysis goes far beyond just blowing everything to bits. In addition to frequently scavenging enemy bodies for ammo and other equipment, players can pick up and throw almost anything that's not bolted down. There's a huge array of vehicles (which enemies can also blow apart piece-by-piece) to jump into and utilize including machine-gun mounted humvees, tanks, pontoon boats, choppers, and more. Practically every weapon in the game can be modified at any time with a range of scopes, silencers, and grenade launchers, among other helpful tools. Targeting is extremely realistic, and it can be difficult to pull off long-range shots due to the recoil and natural body movements. Scarcity of ammo adds to the need for constant improvisation since even on normal difficulty there will be many times where players will find themselves pinned down in a cross-fire with nothing but their fists and an empty clip. The enemy A.I., both of the North Korean and the extraterrestrial variety, poses a fun challenge as foes work together to flush you out from hiding and mow you down. It's certainly smart enough to give players a run for their money, so they won't feel like their just blasting away scores of meatheads.
In dire moments, your nano-suit, which bestows you with several different temporary superhuman abilities, is crucial to your survival. It also adds an interesting futuristic angle on the battlefield and opens up a ton of tactical possibilities for players. With a simple click of the mouse wheel third mouse button, a small menu pops up and lets you quickly select from an armor boost, superhuman strength, a speed boost or a useful cloaking device. A rechargeable energy meter limits use of the special abilities to smaller bursts. High speed is great for running away quickly or crossing open spaces in a short time to reach the safety of cover. Strength boost makes fist fighting in close quarters a brief affair and allows you to scale buildings or leap to other heights. The cloaking device will probably be the most used aspect of the nano-suit. It lets you engage in guerrilla warfare, or you can simply avoid certain overwhelmingly dangerous encounters altogether. It's useful for quickly getting out of sticky situations in order to rest and regain health. Stalking through the jungle brush, much like in the movie Predator, is also totally awesome.