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February 25, 2008 | by  | in Games | [ssba]


Platform – PC
Developer – EA in partnership with Crytek
Genre – First Person Shooter
Hardware specifications – Extreme

Every year a game is released that is specifically designed to fuck with your computer and push it to its maxed up limit. To run Crysis properly you would need an Intel quad core system with two SLI NVIDIA 8800s overclocked and cooled in liquid nitrogen. That is not an exaggeration. This game needs serious juice. The reason it needs such amazing processing power is the fact that, like its spiritual predecessor Far Cry, it is essentially a tech demo… a tech demo with bloody good game play, amazing physics and a sub par storyline.

First up, the good bits. This game is fun. I like explosions, and I love guns, the bigger the better. Crysis has plenty of both. I also enjoyed its non-linear style of game play. Much like Far Cry, objectives can be completed in any order affording you the kind of freedom normally reserved to role playing games. It’s both a blessing and a curse; I loved the fact that I could sneak, charge or even swim my way to an objective. I loathed the fact that sometimes it was miles away, and half the North Korean military was in between. As can be expected from a tech demo, the graphics, physics (fully destructible environments!) and textures are beautiful to look at. The intricacy of the inside of the alien ship, both in graphics gameplay are unparalleled in gaming to date.

There are three things that turn this from a brilliant genre breaking game into a relatively average one. Firstly, the story line is shit. You play as Jake ‘Nomad’ Dunn, an almost identical character to Jack Carver (notice the Far Cry similarity) just without the massive balls. Along with the usual hodgepodge of back up characters you infiltrate a small island somewhere which has been overrun by the North Korean military, who just happen to have found an ancient alien structure.

Fast forward through four hours of game play, and somebody wakes the alien thing up. Hilarity does not ensue. American reaction is realistic; investigate via killing things, then when it all goes to shit – nuke the entire island. As a spectacle it’s fine to watch, but there was a better story in Rambo 4 for goodness sake. That being said, I was on the edge of my seat while bullets were flying thick and fast, buildings were destroyed into matchsticks, the Americans bombed stuff repeatedly (usually right next to you) and Nomad cracked awful one liners.

The second area it trips up on is vehicle control. Vehicles in Crysis are bombs on wheels. The second you enter one the enemy concentrate their fire faster than you can say “gratuitous explosion”. To break the monotony of sneaking behind North Koreans while cloaked and shotgunning them in the head, the game designers thought it would be a good idea to put in a Tank Mission and an Aircraft Mission. To put it bluntly the missions are fucking retarded. The tanks are slow, hard to manoeuvre, and are prone to a) trapping themselves between things, or b) driving over hills and landing on their sides. In a mission stacked with enemy armour there is no way to repair your tank or fill it with new ammunition. I eventually had to exit my neutered unmovable death can and continue the expansive mission on foot. Hooray.

Things appeared to brighten when the aircraft mission flew around. In an action packed scene your pilot is killed and Nomad heroically grabs the controls mid flight. I don’t know if the game designers were intending for you to have to experience the sensation of piloting a plane upside down, while strewn across the bullet riddled corpse of your former wingman, as he utters his dying wishes – but that’s what it felt like. It would have been nice for someone to tell this poor gamer that up meant down and rockets could lock on, instead of having to rely on thirty minutes of trial and error during an intense air battle – which had me contemplating binding save and load to the left and right mouse buttons.

Finally, the game suffers from an inability to tie all its ends up. Granted, it is the first in a trilogy that Crytek are to be releasing, so some suspense is acceptable. But the ending really was a major letdown. Every good instalment leaves you with at least of taste of what to come. Crysis does not. The ending was more disappointing than Duke Nukem Forever’s release date. But fuck, at least it looked pretty.


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