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Crysis Review

publisher: EA
developer: Crytek Studios
genre: Shooters

PIV 2800, 1GB RAM, 12GB HDD, GF 6800GT or better, Radeon 9800 Pro or better
ESRB rating: M

release date: Nov 16, 07
» All About Crysis on ActionTrip

You've all waited a long time for this one and so have we. After so many promotions, demos and media, Crytek's latest major endeavor - a.k.a. Crysis - finally arrived. I've just finished playing the game's last chapter, so without further ado, let's get to critiquing.

I'm sure that if you've played the recent single-player demo, you certainly know what to expect in terms of hardware requirements for this puppy. Wait, did I say "puppy?" Actually, it's more like a freakin' "great dane mounting a robot war elephant." Before you even consider playing Crysis, make sure there's enough juice in your PC to tackle everything this demanding game throws at it. However, if you're prepared to sacrifice the next-generation eye-candy in order to play the game on a modest rig, you can always lower all the settings to medium or even low - in which case, you'll miss out on the visual splendor everyone's been raving about. As for us, we've played Crysis on an Intel CoreDuo 6600, 2GB RAM, NVIDIA 8800GTS. This was the DirectX 9 version under XP. Of course, if you want to find out more about the DX9 and DX10 shenanigans, I suggest you read our report related to the single-player demo.

When it comes to the visuals, the game certainly does look breathtaking when it's firing from all DirectX cylinders, all ten of them. The thing you have to know is that the game looks cool on High settings in DX9. More so, players with modest rigs shouldn't be discouraged too much, because Crysis still looks impressive even when played with medium settings and in DX9.

The story in Crysis is undoubtedly clich', but it should be enough to keep you going through the single-player campaign. So, here it goes. The year is 2019. US scientists have made a major discovery on a remote island in the South China Sea. When all contact with the team was lost, the North Korean Government sealed off the area. US quickly dispatches an elite team of Delta Force operatives, to find out what's going on. As part of this recon team, you parachute your way onto the island, along with the rest of your squad. Pretty soon you encounter a colossal alien ship in the middle of the island. The mysterious alien species manipulates ice and uses it as a weapon. What's more their presence has begun to affect the global climate. Things heat up, or should I say freeze up, when the aliens awaken and start spreading chaos throughout the island.

Essentially, apart from its hackneyed structure, the only negative aspect of the game's narrative is that it ends rather abruptly, leaving the player somewhat frustrated.

Similarly to Far Cry (Crytek's critically and publicly acclaimed shooter), Crysis emphasizes open-ended gameplay allowing you to improvise and use a near-infinite variety of combat tactics. It's all a matter of combining weapons and the characteristics of your high-tech nanosuit. Assessing the terrain and enemy positions, our hero can adapt and use his abilities in any way he sees fit. Quite effectively, the suit doubles your strength and agility, making you a really tough target for any opponent. Using its potential turns you into an efficient killer, but you are no Superman and you cannot just activate "Maximum Strength" and take on an army of foes head on. The way the developers balanced these features and mixed them with an assortment of weapons is quite admirable. More importantly, it's innovative and a praiseworthy improvement over the familiar gameplay mechanics most of you will recognize from Far Cry. Those who prefer the cloak and dagger approach can always rely on the suit's camouflage ability.

Using nanosuit powers works intuitively. You access them via the mouse and keyboard controls. It may take a bit of practice, but generally, it works flawlessly once you get into it. Incidentally, the game features a Halo-inspired HUD, so both your health and nanosuit powers will regenerate after being drained (provided you stay safe from harm for a few seconds).

In addition to all this, you get to utilize vehicles. The choice varies from boats, SUVs, jeeps, trucks and tanks to helicopters and the so-called VTOL. This portion of the game is in many ways similar to what we've seen in Far Cry. Of course, the odds have been raised with use of the game's realistic physics, giving you a chance to destroy anything that lies in your path with massive vehicles.

CryENGINE 2, the technology used to power this game, certainly has its moments, from the brilliant physics, to superb animation and convincing character facial expressions. Each of these elements contributes to the game's visual appeal, as well as the gameplay. Experimenting with the physics can denote anything from destroying shacks, small houses and huts (shame on you!), to crushing trees in a mighty tank. Grabbing diverse objects and tossing them at enemies by using boosted strength is also a possibility.

Modifying weapons is the next thing you are likely to enjoy in this game. Whether you're wielding a submachine gun, pistol or a standard assault rifle, you'll be able to tweak the weapon to your liking. For instance, when using the assault rifle, you can add a silencer, laser sight, grenade launcher, sniper scope, different types of ammo (ordinary bullets or incendiary ammo), etc. In most cases, everything you add or detach from your weapon can heavily influence combat. The whole weapon modification facet is yet another addictive segment of the game, which, coupled with the nanosuit, gives you the opportunity to try out any sort of approach against enemies. This is fun sandbox mode gameplay in full effect.

The AI in Crysis is somewhat of a touchy subject. It seems to me like Crytek didn't make any noteworthy improvements from enemy behavior patterns seen in Far Cry. To be more accurate, enemy alertness needs a bit of fine-tuning. On a number of occasions, when I fired at North Korean soldiers, they started running around and looking the wrong way instead of turning towards me. Basically, what 2lions said about the AI in the single-player demo, stands for the entire game. When they want to flank you, opponents sometimes walk right past you; plus, they remain inattentive even when you gun down their nearby comrades. This behavior continues until they get a good look at you, at which time they start behaving more realistically. In a nutshell, as much as your foes can act intelligently, they sometimes appear bewildered in an unnatural way, which definitely deserves attention from the developers. These issues didn't occur too often, so they didn't ruin the experience, but it's still something Crytek needs to address. Encountering the alien AI is a challenging experience to be sure, but nothing out of the ordinary. They rely on their aggressive nature and powerful ice-technology, which makes them slightly tougher than North Korean soldiers, but overall, this type of AI is nothing groundbreaking.

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9.1   Excellent

A visual and audio treat, weapons and the nanosuit allow for a truly great variety of tactical possibilities in combat, compelling atmosphere, high replayability, solid multiplayer;

Unresolved AI issues, it will beat any PC to its knees, abrupt ending may disappoint gamers.


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