So I've just seen Crysis in action, again. Not only seen it, but sat down and played some honest-to-goodness single-player. For the first time on one of these game shows, the guys and gals from Crytek and EA are showing an actual single-player level from the game.
I don't like that tank... Oblitirate it!
Come right this way, ya creeps! I'm waiting.
During the conversation with one of the folks from EA working on the game, we sort of came to a conclusion that Crysis, as beautiful as it may look, is not the best game to showcase for one of these events. Simply put, the levels are too expansive and the sand box mode of play which favors non-linear gameplay, doesn't really allow for the full potential of one such game to be realized in a several minute presentation.
Still, I got to see the main character's suit in action - the so-called Nano Suit, which allows him to go into stealth mode or use supernatural strength to overcome opponents. Using the various functions of the suit while playing was a piece of cake. Crysis, in addition to sporting the standard WASD setup as any shooter, has a very intuitive context menu, easily accessible with a press of the middle mouse button. From there you can choose the power-ups which the Nano Suit provides, or even fully customize your weapons on the fly; a neatly executed concept.
But no matter how helpful your fancy gadgetry may be, the soldiers on the beach won't be standing still either. In this case, we are essentially talking about one of the first levels of the game according to EA. The movement of the AI troops, especially the flanking ones, is very reminiscent of Far Cry. But, there are some new additions as well: the AI is programmed to call in for backup, so if that, for example, they deem the player as a sufficient enough threat and there is a box of flares lying around, they will be sure to use it to call in reinforcements.
This particular presentation of Crysis is a balancing act for EA at the moment. Even though they assure me the game is "almost near completion", they are not exactly prepared to reveal some of the more unique and spectacular features that the game has to offer. Yet the amazing display of pixel shader effects, coupled with the destructive environment proved enough of a draw for journalists literally flocking to play this one.
EA does admit though that Far Cry, for all its good sides, had story issues, and some art discrepancies with the mutants at the end of the game. This confession may have been helped by the fact they didn't publish Far Cry, so this is something that EA together with Crytek is looking to improve on in this spiritual sequel to the highly successful shooter.
That said, the alien race is officially off the table, even though the leaked trailer pretty much exposed that side of the story. But with that in mind, Crysis is looking like it's got quite a bit of potential.
Aside from the standard display of excellent physics and the incredible interactive environment, I should point out that the game is running on a MUCH better frame rate than it did in Leipzig. Granted, we now have more powerful hardware, but that's only part of the story.
On the other hand, the guy from EA explained that the team at Crytek is still fine-tuning the DirectX 10 version, and although he wouldn't go on the record saying it, it was pretty much clear that they are anxiously awaiting DX 10.1 and that the whole transition to the new API (and OS) hasn't been without problems. Even so, on top-of-the-line hardware, at the moment, Crysis is running much, much smoother than it did when last I saw it. We are talking solid 50-60 FPS here.
The good news for us XP whores is that Crysis does support Direct X 9.
When asked about the number of hours we might get from the game, I got a ballpark figure of 12-15 hours, which is sort of the standard for modern shooters.
Personally, I don't know what to make of the level that's being shown at the event. If you want my honest opinion, it looks more or less like the same stuff I see every year from this game, but as I mentioned at the start of the article, it really will take for us to sit down, and enjoy the game's expansive sand box environment while being treated to a few nice surprises as we unravel the plot.
The new special powers of the main protagonist offer a nice twist to what was a rather familiar Far Cry-ish combat in this one of the first levels of the game. Bear in mind, however, that this time around EA is pulling no punches when it comes to delivering the type of polished action oriented experience that felt a little rough around the edges in Crytek's virgin title.