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Crysis is an amazing game. I cannot believe that I waited this long to play what has become a genre- defining title. Admittedly there are issues in the game that keep it from being perfect, but overall, those issues are tiny in comparison to the amount of sheer satisfaction the game supplies. From beginning to end, Crysis doles out massive quantities of hot-leaded justice with a side of Superman style beat-downs that never fails to amuse.
It really doesn’t need to be said, considering the graphics in the game are still a benchmark for most video cards, but the game is unimaginably beautiful. One thing I want to talk about quickly is water. Water is the most abundant substance on Earth and is a bitch to graphically render. You have to consider issues like reflection and refraction, translucency, and so on. It has become my personal test of a games graphical quality: whether or not the water in a game behaves and looks anything like actual water. In my opinion, Crysis has the most realistic water I’ve ever seen in a game. It shimmers and flows like the real thing. Hell, it even splashes like real water. That is a powerful testament to the rendering capability of the Crytek engine.
Other things like fire and explosions are just breath-taking. I could stand and watch the tide come in, it’s so beautiful. Then you get to do something awesome, like blitz into a town and fisty-death all the Korean Patrols. It makes you smile just to see the look of shock so perfectly rendered when you pop out of stealth and some guy gives you his O face just before you introduce him to a bleak oblivion at the barrel of your silenced pistol. That PFFT sound that a silenced gun makes will become like music to your ears.
Crysis defines a complex game at its core. While most FPS games are content to just be a shooter, Crysis attempts to tackle the multifaceted issue of stealth, hand-to-hand combat, and vehicle combat; sometimes all in the same level. I would be remiss if I said it does all of these things well. Vehicle movement is tricky, and having the same person control both the movement of the vehicle and its firing is hard to get a hold of. There is an entire level in the game where you control a tank. You drive and operate the gun. In real life, tank teams are at least 4 men strong. The reason is that driving and shooting splits your attention, and so you either miss a lot or end up stuck on rocks. I died a whole lot in that level because the tank is so unwieldy. The driving is an issue that seriously needs to be addressed.
The hand-to-hand combat is awesome. Punching through a wall to hit the dude on the other side in the jaw is plain rad. Grabbing a massive container or barrel and chucking it at an enemy and watching them ragdoll as they are crushed by whatever you pitched at them is so satisfying. I would have liked the inclusion of a knife, simply because no Special Forces team goes anywhere without a sharp knife. It just would have been sweet to stab through a man to knife the guy behind him. Other than that, simple additions like combat moves would be sweet, but in a game about guns, going into a roustabout with a team of soldiers isn’t the wisest tactical choice, as gun beats fist 90% of the time.
The stealth play is perfect. I could not have asked for a better system of cover and stealth than what the developers gave me. I will say that certain very small issues do exist, like not being able to crouch against certain surfaces. However, if you move maybe an inch to the left or right this issue is resolved. I loved how even though I was wearing visual camouflage, certain soldiers still shot me right in the gob. All it would take was a branch snap or a leaf moving, and I’d get lit up like Christmas. I know that if I was a Korean soldier and someone told me that there was a guy out there that could hide like he was invisible, I’d be throwing bullets at every sound that wasn’t immediately identifiable. I’d also be seriously considering a change of nationality.
Most of my issues with Crysis are negligible. I didn’t like that with how precise the game expects you to be as far as how you move and when, other more important issues were ignored, like limb damage. I have problems moving when I stub my toe real hard, I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to run with a rifle round in my thigh. I really thought with as much attention as they paid to realism, shooting the legs out from under a man would equal a guy on the ground worrying about his future in the Olympic North Korean track and field team. Most of the time, it equals a limping and angry, but still combat-ready enemy. A simple change of hit location and limp failure would make it spot on.
I also think it’s kind of stupid to have super jumping skills, but no climbing. I’m supposed to be a John Rambo quality super soldier, and I can’t get my tired ass up a damn rock face. I know that impassable terrain is a developer’s way of saying that you’re not supposed to go that way, still I can’t help but feel that with a game that gives you as much freedom as Crysis does, that simple limitation becomes a glaring poke in the eye to the player. Other rather simple elements, like constantly having to actually pick up weapons and such, could be fixed by just walking over them, or touching them. The reload times could be faster as well, but again these are tiny imperfections in a well-oiled machine.
One thing that I must commend the developers on is length. This game is LONG for a First person shooter. It took me at least 20 hours to complete, and I booked it through some of the more treacherous areas. I’m sure if I went super stealth mode, and was sneaking around constantly, the play time would be much longer. I loved that you could play the game any way you chose. I went in all brick style, and found ways to do it so that I never got shot and beat the holy snot out of anyone who dared get close enough. However, I just as easily could have avoided all contact that wasn’t extremely necessary. I’ve never really played a game like this that didn’t force you into handling certain situations a very specific way, thus making an otherwise open world game into a linear one. A small detractor for me was that near the end of the game, everything switches gears, and the combat space becomes very claustrophobic. I would have liked it much more if certain interior spaces were as open and generous with choice of approach as the rest of the game had been.
The story is wonderfully crafted too. It hits you with left turns you never see coming and keeps you interested all the way through. I felt like I was actually watching an awesome movie during cinema sequences, and never got to that “just get on with it, I want to shoot something” place. You will explore the whole island and have a myriad of squads and squiddies coming after you. The game also rewards you with weaponry that allows you to dole out the hurt in massive quantities. I will always remember jumping into a building I had just RPG’d and laying waste to the survivors with the shotty. Every once in a blue moon, I find a game that I want to play when I just need to do something amazing and Crysis has become that game for me.
I would recommend this game to anyone who likes to shoot things or be a bad-ass butt-kicking nanotech-enhanced soldier of death. If my mom played FPS, I’d tell her to buy it. Its graphics will amaze you, the story will enthrall you, and the combat has moments that leave you giggling to yourself like you’re four and someone just said ‘poop’. With minimal change, Crysis could be the perfect FPS. I anticipate playing through the other titles Crytek has made, because if they are anything like this, I am sure to love them. Pick this up as soon as you can, it will be one of your favorite titles. I can now officially say, I am one of the cult of Crysis. Also, the movie Skyline totally ripped off their aliens. I had to throw that in there.
Crysis is developed by Crytek GmBH and published by EA. It is available on PC.
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