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Crysis Review

crysis001
Genres: FPS
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Crytek
Publisher: EA
Review Date: 18-3-2009
Review Platform: PC
Review Region: AU Available In Australia
Est Playtime: 7+ hours
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Crysis is a FPS where you play as Nomad, a Special Forces soldier equipped with the latest in the military technology Ė the Nano Suit. The Nano Suit can augment the playerís speed, strength, armour and can cloak their presence. All of these abilities will be needed to rescue a group of American archeologists who have been taken hostage by Korean soldiers in a surprise invasion of a small island in the Philippines Sea. It doesnít take long before things get complicated by what lies hidden on the island.

crysis007Crysis is the spiritual successor to Farcry 1 complete with vehicles, free roaming but level bound missions, and a tropical island. However this time around you have the Nano suit which allows you to perform super human feats and the story is less over the top and more much atmospheric. The impressive atmosphere is something that continues for most of the game and the first level is even favourably comparable to the first Predator movie. The gameís story helps to create this atmosphere but itís almost entirely down to superb scripting and level design. The character you play speaks so NPCs emote at you and walk around you which makes the in game cut scenes more engaging. As opposed to Farcry 2 where you are just talked at like sounding board.

crysis027 The Nano suit is a fairly integral part of the game. The enemies do a lot of damage, especially ones carrying shotguns, so youíre going to have to decide which mode best fits not only your style of play but the situation in front of you. Each mode consumes Suit energy differently; the Cloak mode rapidly depletes it while the Armour mode only consumes it when taking damage. So if you deplete all your energy in Cloak mode youíll have no energy left to protect yourself from enemy fire if you switch to Armour mode. It would be nice if this wasnít the case. Most of the time I just used Armour mode and charged in, taking cover when overwhelmed. Your underlying health recovers quite quickly so you can avoid death by hiding out for a while. The game rarely forces the player to use a particular mode and I can only recall needing to engage Strength mode to jump up to some ledges.

crysis008The staple of any FPS is the weapons and Crysis allows you to carry two primary weapons, dual pistols, grenades and a heavy weapon. Some of the gameís weapons include: Sub machine guns, automatic rifles, mini gun, gauss rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, and rocket launcher. For the majority of the game I used the FY71 rifle, which is what the Korean soldierís use, because I chew through the ammo. Speaking of ammo you have to actively pickup weapons to acquire it as thereís no automatic run over/pick up here. Itís minor annoyance that only increases when youíre waist deep in jungle foliage and canít see any dropped weapons. Weapon Modification is an option under the Suit Menu that allows you to customize certain weapons with weapon specific enhancements such as: sights, scopes, silencer, grenade launcher and incendiary rounds. The only complaint I have about the weapons is that the shotgun does too much damage - kiss goodbye to two thirds of your Suit energy.

crysis005The enemy AI is pretty good and their reactions are amusing when you cloak. Theyíll shoot wildly in panic and freak out when you decloak in front of them. Their accuracy is as good as Farcry 1/2 with trees and foliage being no hindrance to their aim. However enemy placement is no where near as frustrating as it was in Farcry 1 so you wonít get RPGed by someone two miles away. The gameís controls are somewhat lumpy and a bit sluggish, itís particularly noticeable when you side step. I think they were trying to make it feel like Nomad was actually taking steps. I donít like it but you get used to it. I prefer FPS controls to be Smooth with a capital S. Vehicle control has a similar problem; tap the keyboard and nothing happens so hold it down and itís into the trees. Again you get used to it.

crysis016The majority of the gameís levels are extremely good with only a few of the earlier levels letting things down. The game getís amazing when you get past these and it all starts with Assault. Itís basically when all out war starts and there are planes flying over head and getting shot down, explosions going on all around and regular radio charter. The atmosphere it creates is what really draws you in. Crysis also has some of the best vehicle levels Iíve ever seen in any game. The tank section has a particularly brilliant moment. A lot of the missions also have secondary objectives that you can optionally complete, but unlike Farcry 2 and its buddy missions these are always nearby. The down side is that game ends somewhat unexpectedly and it felt a touch on the short side.

crysis026And now for the single biggest flaw in the game: the bugs. Thereís a game stopping bug in one of the early levels where the next waypoint doesnít appear. The only way to know where to go is to google it and hope the next level triggers. The last level is also extremely buggy with some people reporting being unable to get a lock on the final boss or falling through the ground. I personally experienced a bug where a sub boss floated miles up into the air but I was thankfully still able to shoot him. Crysis will remain permanently bugged because the promised v1.3 patch was cancelled in favour of developing Crysis Warhead. This shows a lack of professionalism and ethics on the part of Crytek.

The graphics, of course, were good but my computer isnít powerful enough to run Crysis at high settings. The game identified my computer as medium but that was a touch on the optimistic side. Itís a 5200+ dual core Athlon with a Geforce 8600 and I had to put the quality settings down to low to get an acceptable frame rate which is one consistently above 30fps. At the time of its release the developers claimed piracy was diminishing their sales but I would suggest they look at the minimum system requirements instead of scapegoating. Farcry 2 came out about a year after this game and it runs smoother and bug free while looking better at low settings. Crysisí audio glitched and stopped completely on a number of occasions which was pretty irritating. The music reminded me not unfavourably of Giants: Citizen Kabuto in that it was soaring and orchestrated. Itís very fitting for a game set in a tropical paradise.

Crysis features some of the best missions Iíve ever played. Theyíre jam packed with atmosphere and pull you in with some occasionally jaw dropping moments. The Nano suit is a fairly essentially gameplay element and can certainly make the gameplay more varied if you choose to use it that way. Itís slightly on the short side but the game is lot of fun once you get past a few of the dull early missions. The only thing that holds Crysis back from being a Brilliant game is the bugs which will sadly never be fixed.


   Excellent
 
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