– Summary –
Genre: First Person Shooter
Censorship Rating : MA (Violence)
Target Audience : Adult
Length : Days
Synopsis: You play a special forces marine sent into a hostile situation, to discover an alien ship and battle numerous forces of opposition.
Review : Stunning graphics and gameplay ensure Crysis remains one of the classic games of the genre. Taking a lot from FarCry and expanding on it, Crysoft have developed a 3D masterpiece.
Our Rating : 9/10.
Honestly, I feel utterly unqualified to review this game. As a game-newbie, I have virtually no skills at explaining things like PC games in computer-speak, so the following review will be in layman’s terms, okay? Okay.
With that said, I have had a chance to have a bit of a go at Crysis recently, on my new whizz-bang computer, and I have to say, I am more than impressed. Previously, about the only first-person shooter I had really played (and enjoyed) was Quake 3, and previous to that, Doom 2. Showing my age, I know, but then, I am not a really big gamer by any stretch. Which makes my appreciation of Crysis that much more profound.
The game revolves around you being some sort of super-soldier, enhanced by a magnificent suit of armour capable of enhancing your abilities: strength, speed, shielding, and a cloaking ability which is uber-cool. As this warrior, you parachute into the Phillippines to undertake a dangerous mission, although as you drop through the sky, things go wrong (as they do in games) and you have to find your own way through the jungle to regroup with the rest of your company.
An alien craft has been discovered on an island in the Philippines, and Nomad (you) and his team of special forces have been sent in to acquire some intel and control the situation. The Korean government has sent in it’s own soldiers (the Korean Peoples Army) into the area, and for the majority of the time it’s these fellas you have to fight.
As you progress through the jungle and mountains, you encounter various groups of KPA, all intent on killing you (of course). You have a variety of weapons throughout the course of the game, ranging from your standard pistol (with optional silencer or laser pointer) to full scale chain-guns and a rocket launcher, as well as a variety of assault weaponry. Each weapon comes with it’s own unique properties, allowing effectiveness to be more specific to how you shoot at the enemies. For example, you can adjust each weapon to be fired in either an Iron sights or Reflex style, meaning your aiming and accuracy is changed, depending on battle strategy. If you’re sniping enemies from distance, iron sights is probably preferable, since you want to be able to hold the weapon steady. However, if you’re fighting in close, a reflex setting is better for swifter weapon handling, allowing for greater carnage.
You can attach things to your weapons as well, via the on-screen menu system as you move through the game. Flashlights, silencers, laser pointers, even sleep-darts can come in handy, in a variety of scenarios you’ll encounter. Of course, not every weapon allows every extension to be added, which is probably more like real life than a more traditional computer fantasy.
You also obtain grenades (frag, smoke etc) throughout the game, although I have yet to figure out how to determine which one’s you throw. The grenade function is good, I found, if you want to clear out a quantity of enemies from around you. The frag grenades, especially, are really cool. Unlike grenades in games I’ve encountered before, the range of the blast is significantly increased, almost with a concussion effect. The bad guys spot the grenades, and begin to flee, but still become caught up in the blast, and are defeated quite easily.
Having played Ghost Recon a little recently on X-Box, I have to say the similarity in battle detail is quite decent: your “stealth” rating is a critical component of the game, as is your power level for things like stealth, super-power and speed. Take cloak, for example. Normally, you try and avoid being seen by your enemies, unless you decide to go out guns blazing if you’re stuck in a particular point of the game. Your stealth meter will indicate how aware of you the enemies are, and the more red you get, the worse it is for you. Generally, the more they’re aware of you, the more likely they are to be firing at you, indicating that you’re about to die.
By remaining still, silent and hidden, you retain the element of surprise, and thus are more able to sneak up upon unsuspecting cannon-fodder. This game is kind of like Rambo. You sneak up, unleash holy heck on the enemies, and then scarper off into the jungle while their backup searches in vain for you.
Additional sneakiness, in the form of your ability to Cloak, is essential for this game. Your cloak will run out of power the more you run around (or fire your weapon, or are hit by enemy fire) so use it sparingly. If you stand still, or crouch or lie prone, your cloak will stay on, so if you do become discovered, scaper towards the nearest cover, enable cloak, and stay still, ensuring your enemies cannot find you. The length of Cloak time is dependent upon how much you move and also the difficulty level, if you choose a higher setting of carnage, will be used up more quickly as you run around.
As a side note, one of the really cool things in the game is the ability to interact with almost any item in the game: You can pick up sticks, bottles, cans, boxes, chairs, almost anything. What this allows you to do it throw them, thus distracting the enemy in one direction, while you go off in another. Or, you can just hurl a bottle or chair at an enemy combatant and hope to injure him. Either way, this interactivity is “way cool”.
Speed, which is a fabulous (but for me, vastly underused) component of the game, allows you to move at incredible speed across the landscape, however, it’s an energy hog and you’ll soon find yourself out of suit power. It’s probably best used for running like hell from enemy fire. It’s short, unsustainable use is cool to cover distances at speed, but generally I never used it much.
Your suit’s Power setting enables you to use your super-strength to leap, jump, throw and crush with enhanced ability. This is good if you want to jump up high, or great distances.
The game is pretty similar to FarCry in it’s gameplay style: large levels that you can roam free around (if you want) or play straight through as desired. Thankfully, you have plenty of on-screen guidance, as well as vocal instructions from your commanding officer (who happens to be elsewhere) to let you know what you should be doing. You have a PDA that allows you to keep updated with current missions and tasks. You can collect ammo as you go, since you run out (unless you’re cheating) through the game, and it’s conveniently placed on the Enemy solders, meaning you should kill them to obtain it. Occasionally, a new weapon will be unlocked as you journey through the levels, although you’ll primarily stick to the assault weapons for the majority of the time.
The basic story is pretty thin, as are most in games like this. Essentially, you have to fight your way through a militaristic campaign to ensure hostages are released or captured, data is obtained, enemies are killed, Chief Bad Guys are assassinated, etc etc. It’s not much of a twist on an old cliché, but you’re not playing for the story, really. You’re there to kill everything and solve the variety of puzzles that crop up.
And here’s where Crysis takes a severe left turn into “what the?”. As you progress through the games, there’s a hint that all is not well on the island you’ve landed on. Strange creatures are stalking through the jungle (visible in the cut-scenes) that take apart both the Enemies and your own troops. Towards the end of the game, you begin to encounter more of these alien creatures, and that’s where things degenerate into a “you versus Aliens” game, which isn’t how it starts out. Although the Alien presence is indicated at the very start of the game, the fact of the matter is that the game is so much better when you’re battling human enemies with normal weapons than the aliens.
The “alien” part of the game is a little annoying. You start to encounter virtually un-killable alien creatures (that look a little like the Squiddies from The Matrix films) that zip and zoom across the landscape faster than you can aim and fire. This is such a different feel from simply chasing down the KPA dudes that it’s a discombobulating experience. Honestly, if I wanted to shoot at aliens with my weapons, I’d play a different game. Like Prey, although with that game you don’t get human guns, only alien ones. Still, the point is valid; the game takes such a dramatic turn into sci-fi (from relatively ordinary realism) that it removes the logic from the game and turns it into a different game. Disappointing. Still, there are those who would say that this is a personal preference, and does nothing to denigrate what is an otherwise superbly made FPS. Myself, I preferred the game before it became a Predator styled alien infestation.
As far as gameplay goes, the controls are easy to master, with the mouse controlling your aiming, fire, and a