Calling this a Classic make me feel old, Haxmonster reviews Crysis by Crytek.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: ,

In 2007 Turkish-German game developer Crytek released ‘Crysis’, a cryengine-built first person shooter which exceeded the graphical norm at the time more than any other game ever did or would later do. Almost no computer could run it at the time and for many years it would be the ideal game to test new gaming PC’s with, but even disregarding this main strength of the game Crysis is a very decent FPS. 

In Crysis you take the role of an American soldier named ‘Nomad’ who is part of an elite squadron of nanosuit-equipped soldiers . You are sent to the Lingshan islands in the pacific to rescue a team of archaeologists from North-Korean soldiers who took the place over. Story is not quite the part of the game that deserves closest examination because of that it is quite generic. After all, even back in 2007 there were already quite a few games that had the player kill soldiers while playing as an American soldier himself, but luckily the story takes a bit of a back seat here. It would not be until Crysis 2 that other things than combat would be given some attention. In terms of story delivery there is also nothing new here.

What you would want to play Crysis for, if not the superb graphics, would be its gameplay and it does this quite well. Although it uses pretty standard FPS mechanisms the nanosuit makes for a welcome addition. Basically the suit gives you a choice of four superpowers, which consume from one general energy bar. There is a speed mode, pretty self-explanatory, a cloak mode that makes you largely invisible, a power mode that lets you jump higher and fling heavy objects and an armour mode. Using whatever improvements your power gives you costs energy and generally this system holds up pretty well. It is nice that you are given the choice between stealthing a section with the cloak or fighting through it normally, and if you choose the latter you can also pick different tactics with either the speed or the armour mode. A nice small addition on the side is that you are at any time able to modify your weapon, which means you can pick your sight, add a suppressor or make other small modifications. 

The game also excels in giving the player freedom. Before Crytek set about on making Crysis they made the original Far Cry. Why these developers are so attached to the word ‘cry’ remains a mystery. But anyway, Far Cry was an open world game which was, like Crysis, set on a tropical island and sometimes it seems as if the developers carved a big and wide linear path out of Far Cry’s sandbox to make Crysis because Crysis feels about as unlinear as a linear game can be. The entire game has a structure similar to Half Life 2, in that you are never teleported to a different location but always go there yourself. There are almost no missions that all of a sudden take place somewhere else unless the last mission had you go there by yourself. Some objectives give you entire towns to play around in, a lot of the houses can be smashed up and most objects can be grabbed and thrown as weapons. What also makes this game feel like some fenced-off sandbox is the completely free use of vehicles. When you need to go to the next firefight you can walk there if you want, or you can get in a car which the game just puts outside most villages. Driving mechanics are not very good though, so if you are being shot at you are in more danger in a car than on foot.

Although Crysis is indeed a very good FPS it does have a few minor issues I want to mention. Firstly that would be the story. I understand that a game like this leaves little room for something outrageously good, but they could perhaps have done a little less effort to make the North-Koreans look like jerks because in a game based around so much military excessive force, as showcased in a level where you take part in a big tank offensive, making the enemy seem evil just puts the entire game in a big cliché. Of course in a game with such a simple story you want to have your side as the goodies and the other side to be the baddies, but emphasizing that so much makes it all feel a bit fake. Some enemies come across as silly cartoon villains. My other nibbles mostly restrict to specific sections and mentioning them spoils parts of the game for you, so be warned about the following part. What peeved me a bit about one level that takes place in an alien space ship was that the entire place is extremely disorienting. Although that bit still looks extremely gorgeous graphics-wise, I found myself moving through the same looped corridor about five times before I found the right way by accident and the beauty loses something if it is forced upon you for so long. Another annoying part was one section where your squadmate, ‘Prophet’, has a damaged nanosuit which means you have to escort him and bring him to some kind of heat source every few seconds to prevent him from dying. It is not even hard at all and the combat is not harder with him around, so the entire thing just feels like a silly delay. On the side, I found the game’s soundtrack to be very unimaginative. It does nothing to increase the atmosphere.

So, in conclusion I would certainly recommend Crysis, even today. Although the graphics don’t excel anymore and the story is pretty rubbish, the gameplay is still very nice and you have plenty of liberty to explore the nanosuits potential, and that certainly outweighs the game’s few issues.


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