Thursday, September 4, 2008


"An underrated gem in the FPS genre"

Crysis is a revolutionary shooter exclusive to the PC that has brought a whole new meaning to “interactivity.” Controversial before release for its famously high system requirements and lack of a console alternative, the game has become something of a punchline in gaming communities but has been a largely ignored classic-for those willing to literally pay the price.

Gameplay: Multiplayer: Crysis has two different multiplayer components: Instant Action, which is your standard deathmatch with the noticeably absent team component, and Power Struggle, a new and exciting game type that really brings replayability to the table.

Power Struggle seems simple: players are divided into teams, thrown into some of the largest maps ever created for a first person shooter, then told to capture buildings (a la Star Wars Battlefront) and kill opposing team members. This sounds easy until you learn that each building serves a specific purpose. Some build land vehicles like tanks, some build boats, some build aircraft, and others simply serve as spawn points where you can purchase weapons. Each time you perform a positive action-like killing an enemy or capturing a building-you get “prestige,” used as currency to buy weapons, ammo, weapon attachments, and vehicles. Weapons or vehicles can only be purchased at a building which your team controls. While the weapon selection is rather limited, there is a huge selection of vehicles to choose from, possibly the largest of any shooter.

The main target is the Prototype Factory, a large centerpiece building that produces alien technology and nuclear devices. When the Prototype Factory is captured by a team, it slowly begins charging; this process can be sped up by capturing alien crash sites. At 50% charge, ice-based alien technologies become available, but the big kahuna occurs at 100% charge, when nuclear missile-equipped tanks and the TAC Cannon, a handheld mini-nuke launcher, become available. To win Power Struggle, your team must blow up the opposing team’s base, which is otherwise impenetrable, with nuclear weapons.

Power Struggle is very fun and the core replayable component of Crysis, but it has a few flaws. The first major flaw is that some better weapons and vehicles simply cost too much for ordinary players to ever buy; thus battles are often won or lost based on a single good player’s performance. Secondly, lag is a major problem online-often times, shootouts will be won based on who has the better Internet connection.

Gameplay: Singleplayer: Crysis seems like an ordinary first person shooter, but there’s a twist-the player’s character is equipped with a “nanosuit.” This nanosuit gives you various superhuman abilities that you can toggle between at will. Maximum Armor is the default mode, which recharges your energy shields faster than other powers; energy is what powers your suit’s functions and extends your life. Maximum Strength gives you Hulk-like power and jumping abilities and lessened weapon recoil, but at the cost of energy recharge speed. Maximum Speed lets you run at extreme speed but drains energy quickly and rarely serves any good purpose. Finally, Cloaking allows you to go invisible and become practically undetected by enemies.

The nanosuit is used effectively during the first half of the game, but during the second half it begins to become more of a gimmick. It is easily possible to beat the game without ever using nanosuit powers unless they’re required. In addition, while the first few levels are very enjoyable for their sandbox-like gameplay, later levels are heavily linear and scripted. As far as story goes, Crysis isn’t anything special-a group of heavily armed soldiers are dropped into a mysterious jungle island where North Koreans have discovered an ancient alien stronghold. However, unlike other shooters where story is a nuisance, Crysis at least attempts to integrate the story with the gameplay-all cutscenes, for example, are in first person.

Graphics: Graphics are Crysis’s most coveted aspect. Quite simply, on its highest settings, Crysis is the most beautiful and realistic game ever created. There is a catch, however-you won’t be playing it on the highest settings. Crysis’s minimum system requirements are so deceptive that it should be illegal. Unless you’ve bought a new graphics card during the last year, you will not be running this game. That said, if you can run Crysis, you’re in for the treat of a lifetime. Trees and bushes look like they’ve been plucked straight from the Hawaiian jungle, water is as realistic as possible, and vehicles and buildings are perfectly rendered.

The physics are Crysis’s secret weapon, however. The rule of thumb in Crysis is “everything explodes,” this is quite obvious in earlier levels. Almost any building, vehicle, or object can be blown up or completely destroyed down to the last wall. Everything is destructable. You’ll find yourself spending more time playing with your godlike powers of destruction than actually killing enemies. Crysis has, hands down, the best graphics and physics of any video game on the market.

Music: Crysis has some catchy tunes, but nothing too memorable. Most of the game has ambient music; that is, quieter, more natural music playing in the background as you explore the jungle. There are some more epic, action-packed pieces, but they only play during huge, climactic sequences.

Replayability: Crysis’s singleplayer is more replayable than other shooters, mostly due to the huge level of interactivity. Multiplayer is also highly replayable through Power Struggle, but the game mode has several annoyances that may drive less patient players over the edge. In the end, Crysis’s replayability is directly related to how much fun the player had playing the game the first time.

TOTAL: Crysis is an extremely good shooter and a much underrated game that does not deserve its reputation as a graphical devil-monster. The singleplayer and multiplayer go above and beyond the normal FPS standards to bring an unusually replayable game. However, several flaws in the single and multiplayer can cause frustration and ultimately stops the game from reaching its full potential.

Total: 8/10
Release date: November 13, 2007
Platforms: PC
Originally written for GameFAQs

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