See what I did there?
I got Crysis in the mail this Tuesday and have been enjoying it for a few nights. My first impressions are very positive. First of all, the game runs surprisingly well on my rig – my X1900XT is still a pretty good card, but my single-core Athlon 64 3800+ is embarrassingly outdated now. In spite of this, the game runs fine with all settings on Medium and it looks just as good as Call of Duty 4. I can only imagine how it must look with everything on Very High, but I’m perfectly happy to play on Medium until I get a new CPU.
The game is a lot deeper than I expected. I anticipated a gung-ho fragfest, but it turned out to be a pretty tactical game where you need to cloak a lot, plan your approach, and use your suit’s abilities to survive in a firefight. Crysis is quite reminiscent of what Deus Ex would be like if you set it on a tropical island and took away the RPG elements. Due to the lack of character progression and the way you start out with a full suite of abilities and perfectly adequate weaponry, there’s not a lot of strategic planning to the game (no worrying about whether to focus on Rifles or take a few levels in Lockpicking like in Deus Ex), but the excellent AI adds further tactics to the gameplay so it balances out.
The suit powers are hilarious, but I’m mainly impressed about the stealth. It’s a new approach to stealth from what I’m used to in highly light/shadow-based stealth games such as Thief or Splinter Cell or more disguise-based sneakers like Hitman or Assassin’s Creed, and it takes some experimenting to work out what tactics are viable for playing Crysis as a sneaker. But once you understand how the suit’s cloaking is meant to be used – as a mere supplement to simply hiding in the foliage and avoiding enemies’ FOV – it works surprisingly well as a stealth game. Especially the way you can grab an enemy and throw him or knock him out is a good touch, though I wish there was a more discrete way to take them out once you’ve grabbed them.
The fighting itself works very well. I like how the suit highlights grenades so you can see where your explosives land (and GTFO if an enemy throws one at you), and I like that your suit recharges your health if you duck out of the fire like in so many other modern action games (thank you, Halo and Call of Duty 2). My only real problem with the combat is how many hits it takes to put the enemies out of commission. You have to get headshots or you’ll be pounding round after round into those Koreans until they die. It’s especially annoying that Koreans with helmets on need two shots to the head before they die.
The real attraction of Crysis is how many features and details it has – sadly it’s not very good at communicating them. For example, only when I read it on a fan site did I realize the weapons have fully implemented bullet chambers, making them much faster to reload when you still have a round chambered. I would’ve never realized bullets lose power over distance or that silencers decrease their stopping power if EA hadn’t helpfully pointed it out in the registration confirmation mail they sent me. Or how about being able to pick up new weapon mods from the weapons of enemies you kill?
Crysis is a very entertaining game with excellent core gameplay and very fun, tactic, and haptic combat. The only area where the game really lacks, I’m afraid, is the plot which fails on almost every possible level. For the first part of the game alone, it’s earned a recommendation from me. I’ve heard the gameplay changes a lot about half-way through. If I change my mind when I reach that, I’ll post a new entry.