A Short Crysis Review

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Far Cry was awesome, totally cool, with a wicked setting and solid game beneath the unparalleled graphics. Crysis is the sequel, the game that many people – myself included – had firmly in mind when building a new PC not long ago. Read on for my review… And please, beware of spoilers!

I really loved Far Cry. Sneaking around in realistic vegetation was damnably cool, and the tropical island setting was unique and well done. It fell apart at the end, and I’ve never completed it ’cause somehow I’ve saved with like five shots left and I’m in a dark lab full of things that want to annihilate me. By the time I got that far I’d had a great time and watched as the game became less and less linear. At the start I had free reign – I could go where I wanted and get things done the way I wanted, but by the end there was only one path.

Crysis, as a sequel to Far Cry, beats it in nearly every way. Visually it’s far and away the better game, with graphics that punish my 2-month-old PC so hard it runs a few degrees hotter than it does when idle. That’s hot indeed!

This time around you’re a US special forces something or other in a ‘nano suit’ that gives you superhuman strength, speed, armour or cloaking. You can choose one at a time and, like Half Life, you’ve got a limited time to use ’em while the battery runs out, at which time you’ve got to shut it off and recharge.

Running around the island bush is dreadfully fun: the graphics are unmatched by any other game yet released, and it’s not at all hard to imagine you’re really wandering around in the scrub and grass hiding from nasty men with big guns.

If this were a standard review I’d probably talk about the relatively decent voice acting, convincing physics and solid sound. Instead I’m going to cover two things:

1. Playing Crysis is pure bliss. It looks amazing, and the controls are easily grasped and your character in the game does exactly what you want him to. The first three quarters of the game are nearly perfect.

2. The last quarter falls apart more than Far Cry did. You get no more choices: you do what you’re told, and if you don’t someone will shut off your suit or tell you over and over what you should be doing instead of the more-fun thing you’re actually doing.

During the last boss battles I had the crap annoyed out of me by teammates who would repeat the same orders over and over regardless of what I was doing. “You must shoot the cannons!” as I’m shooting the cannons. “Use the special weapon!” which I didn’t actually possess. I was several times exhorted to do something while I was lying on the ground, very much dead. The final level scripting is draconian and inflexible, a marked contrast to the unrestrained bliss of the rest of the game.

Have I mentioned how good it looks? It’s fucking brilliant.

Most of the game was worth the cost of admission. The last level annoyed me so much I sold the game to a friend 12 hours after I beat it. The distaste was too strong in my mouth to keep it.

I tried multiplayer once, on a level so large that the three of us playing never once saw one another. Screw that, I’ll stick with Unreal Tournament.

[ Nov 24 2007 ]

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