Review by pi314159

"Crysis is great in many ways, but also terrible in as many"

Story:

Essentially, these archaeologists went to an island in the Philippines to look for some artifact they thought they saw. North Korea invades this island, fortifies it, and captures the team of scientists. You play as a Lt. "Nomad" of "Raptor", a US Special Force team equipped with special performance augmentation suits. Your mission starts as finding and rescuing the hostage scientists, but evolves into assisting US forces invade the island, then escaping the island once the aliens start attacking, and ends with simply trying to fend off the aliens as best you can. Also, the ending is sort of abrupt and very very clearly calls for an expansion or a sequel, but I personally thought it was otherwise really well done.

Also, the characters were all well developed that needed to be, they were interesting, and (for the most part) they were smart. The story is really well done.

Graphics:

Crysis attempts to be the best in this category, hands down. The game looks photo-realistic on "Very High" settings with high anti-aliasing, so photo-realistic it makes actual nature seem pale by comparison, but no reasonable machine that I am aware of can operate Crysis on these settings. For comparison, my machine has a 2.8 dual core processor, an 8800 GTS nvidia graphics card, and 2 gigs of RAM, and I can only play Crysis on medium detail with 1280×800 and get a reasonably-steady frame rate. My frame rate constantly varied, particularly when enemies were spawning, but was good a little over half of the time.

That said, Graphics are a mixed bag; Crysis is extremely hardware intensive, but if you have extremely powerful hardware, Crysis will look perfect and absolutely fantastic.

Sound/Music:

I played Crysis with a headset, so I can't speak for surround sound users, but the sound in Crysis was generally good. Bullets sounded fairly authentic, you could hear trees falling over, leaves rustling, Aliens screeching, and Koreans speaking Korean. The sound effects were definitely good.

Dialogue among characters was also really good; Characters said things one would imagine they'd say, and they said them in ways one would imagine they'd say them. Also, dialogue was original, interesting, and added to the game significantly. The Marine Major character has the best dialogue and voice acting of any character I have ever heard in any movie or videogame to date and was both really funny, really impressive, and surprisingly fitting (ie, not cheesy at all).

The Music seemed about average. It tries really hard to be dramatic and important, so it ends up standing out. I'm usually not fond of game music, so I had winamp running in the background for the latter half of the campaign. If you like the music you can turn it up, if not, you can turn it off, so all is well.

Gameplay:

Crysis gameplay revolves around a few center points, the most notable of which is the Nano-suit. You and a few other US special forces (and a few Koreans) are equipped with special nano-suits that grant you a special abilities: Specifically, your health regenerates, you can breath under water, and you can fall from reasonably high heights and not die. Also, your suit has an energy supply (which regenerates when not in use) that you can apply to one special function at a time, including Cloaking, Strength, Armor, and Speed. Speed makes oyu walk a little faster, and sprint much faster at the cost of energy. Cloaking renders you invisible until you fire your weapon, and uses energy based on how quickly you are moving (standing still uses very little). Strength increases the power of all your attacks (including firearms) and allows you to jump rather high. Armor depletes energy when you are hit, rather than depleting life (until you run out of energy) to increase your defense.

Crysis also allows you to customize your weapons through attachments, including laser sights, flashlights, scopes, grenade launchers, "tactical attachments" (which are little dart launchers, apparently), silencers and the like. These vary in usefulness; I only ever found myself using sniper scope and laser sights; the rest seemed arbitrary. It's a nice feature, however, and can turn an average weapon into a very powerful one.

Crysis includes the use a vehicles. In all missions against the Koreans, small civilian and light military vehicles can be found, the latter armed with .50 caliber machine guns which are useful for engaging enemies. One mission allows you to use a US tank and, later, a Korean tank. Another allows you to pilot a US VTOL aircraft. The implementation of vehicles was effective, smooth, and fun.

Controls:

Crysis features fairly standard controls for a FPS with some add-ons for functionality, specifically to control your nano-suit. The controls are completely customizable and the menu to customize them is virtually idiot-proof; Crysis gets major props for this. Also, You can press Q and E to lean left or right from behind cover, and Crysis gets points for being one of the few games to utilize this.

Stability/Understandability:

This is Crysis' major flaw; more than any other game I've seen in a long time, Crysis is unstable. Although it worked well for the first 80% of the campaign, the last 20% was riddled with severe bugs and crashes with no apparent rhyme or reason. Additionally, throughout the entire game, frame rates were highly inconsistent, even as I played below the settings the game recommended for me based on my computer stats.

Crysis also fails to adequately explain most of the important gameplay elements, and several important objective elements in-game. The big one was the first time encountering an enemy tank in a village. I was tasked with destroying it but not given any sort of direction or advice on how to do so. Also, rather than there being several ways to accomplish the objective, there was one: Find the random rocket launchers scattered about the village, and shoot them at the tanks. This may seem obvious, but I tried everything else first (including entering the tank via top hatch) so I was frustrated when I learned this.

Although a lot of it can be found by reading the game manual, this information should either be mentioned in-game or be available through a menu. Game manuals have become vestigial for good reason, and Crysis need not try to bring them back.

Difficulty/Replayability:

This is another area Crysis is below average in. Even though it has decent multiplayer, Crysis single player is incredibly Easy and there is little point in ever playing it past one run through. I played "Delta" on my first run through, which is the hardest of 4 difficulty levels available. I wasn't able to burst in every enemy compound and gun down people as bullets bounced off me, but it certainly wasn't difficult to consistently beat large numbers of enemy soldiers without any real prior tactical planning as to how I would do it before hand. All I had to do to beat them in a fire fight was hide behind a fence or something and aim for their heads.

Also, when the aliens showed up (and the Koreans left) it just became a straight-up action game with little else but "shoot the aliens" and lost any and all depth it had before.

Summary:

I give Crysis a 6/10 because it's just above average. Crysis doesn't add anything to the genre (other than modifiable weapons) and seems to be a mix between Halo, the Matrix, and Crackdown, 'stealing' elements from all three.

I'd recommend buying Crysis despite it's many flaws because the story is authentically interesting and there are several moments where all the gameplay elements come together to make an authentically entertaining experience. Just be careful if you have a lower-end system, as you're not likely going to be able to run this game.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/07

Game Release: Crysis (US, 11/13/07)


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