Crysis ReviewJosh Vanhorn
Before Crytek released Crysis on the PC in 2007, the development team had acknowledged their intent: to create a game so demanding of users' hardware that most high-end PCs at the time probably wouldn't be able to handle the game at maximum settings. Such ambition had kept me from experiencing Crysis back then. Four years later and about six months after the release of Crysis 2, Crytek finally brought their acclaimed shooter to consoles. And at a budget price that's well worth the investment.
Lacking are the eye-popping graphics that the PC version is known for. That however, is not to say that the console versions slouch in the visual department. Far from it. While the foliage can seem upsettingly low-res at times, understanding how much of said foliage is being rendered at once, knowing that trees will collapse in hectic battles and that the leaves of bushes will bend as you brush past them, it's all actually quite impressive. The environments generally look spectacular, especially the areas containing bodies of water.
Also missing is the multiplayer found in the original PC version. Though to be honest, with all the multiplayer titles stealing your weekends as it is, it's a counterpart of the single-player portion of Crysis that most gamers wouldn't have spent more than a couple sessions with, if they would've toyed with it at all.
If you're familiar with Far Cry, you'll know what to expect from the first half of Crysis. You're given an open landscape on a fictional island near the Philippines, accompanied with main and secondary objectives to complete. There are a handful of weapons you can equip and modify to the way you want to play (silencers, incendiary rounds, scopes, et cetera), along with a few different vehicles you're allowed to use in order to get around faster, or to simply spread some destruction.
The difference in Crysis comes in the form of a Nanosuit, a military supplied outfit that has multiple perks on the battlefield. Sprinting at super speeds, leaping to great heights, cloaking to near invisibility, activating a type of protective armor, and lifting soldiers with a single hand to use as a human shield as you defend yourself with a pistol are all things the Nanosuit will permit you to do throughout the course of the game. However, these powers are limited by a rechargeable meter you'll need to be constantly cognizant of in order to succeed.
Without spoiling any story elements, I will merely say that the gameplay of the second half of Crysis strays a good distance from its origins. Its focus becomes much more linear, less about open-world exploration and more about gunplay and unfolding the plot. Gone are the secondary objects, the expansive environments, the vehicles. I felt as though Crytek had thrown me in a sandbox and said "Here you are. Have fun," only to drag me out without much warning to read me a story and put me to bed. In other words, I was a little bothered by the direction Crytek had chosen to veer in the latter parts of the game. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the second half of Crysis: I had a good time with it. But I couldn't shake that feeling of what could've been.
If you own a good surround sound system and enjoy blaring audio effects as much as I do, Crysis is a real treat. There were moments in the game where I refused to put a silencer on my weapon even though I was aware it would improve my chances with the enemy, solely because I yearned to hear the bullets fire out the end of the gun's barrel. The sniper rifle is particularly impressive, the immediate discharge utterly explosive as the aftereffects reverberate off in the distance.
The only major problem I found with Crysis was the inability to manually save my game. The auto-save function kicks in whenever you complete an objective, or when you enter a certain zone on the map. Multiple times I had the game save on me while surrounded by enemies, thinking to myself that it certainly wouldn't be an advantageous position to start in had I died. Luckily the auto-save didn't present too much of a problem for me-that is, until the very final sequence of the game. I experienced an auto-save as I was very near death, and in the middle of switching weapons. Right after the save, I perished, and upon reloading the game I was unable to switch to and use the weapon I needed to put the finishing touches on the final boss. The weapon was invisible on my screen and refused to fire. I was forced to start the entire level over. Needless to say, for about 30 minutes I wasn't exactly the happiest of campers.
With that said, Crysis still comes highly recommended. It's a full-fledged, grade-A title at a budget price. You'll find a couple minor stutters along your journey, but overall I think you'll love the final product.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.