I had no experience with the Crysis series before touching the game, but after a thrilling intro sequence to the game I was ready to play. The sequence mentioned, had a super-agent powered by a nano suit rushing in, grabbing a enemy by the throat and tossing him into his pals, leaping onto a roof and opening fire, and then cloaking to take down a few more baddies. Are you able to do all these things in the actual game? Sure. Are they as fun as the video? Not so much.
Crysis starts in 2020 as you parachute into the Lingshan Islands. Raptor Team, your squad, is tasked with reaching the islands and rescuing a team of American civilian archaeologists led by Dr. Rosenthal. The team had sent out a distress signal saying they found something that could change the world. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to reach the team and extract them while gathering intel about what was found and keeping it out of the North Korean’s hands. I think even Crytek, the developer of the game, knew that this plot was relatively stale. So suddenly your team is accosted by aliens. Not knowing what is going on and angry about not being briefed your team presses on to try and find the doctor and discover what is going on with the islands and the beings that decimate your squad.
The plot never gets much deeper then that. Throughout the game I cared little at all about my teammates and really felt no connection to the overarching narrative. Some shooters have a problem from the game being about following a nav-point to the nearest checkpoint and rinse, wash, and repeat. Crysis stumbles in this particular regard completely. I found myself bored and out of touch with the game with no reason to drive me forward. To me a compelling narrative should be attached to a game if it wants to compete and in this regard you can tell the game is aging. These days just because you’re a shooter doesn’t mean you really get to skimp on the plot.
Shooters are all about the gameplay though, right? We don’t want talking and cutscenes as long as we get to blow stuff up. So how does the gameplay stack up? The game is based around the nanosuit that your entire squad wears. Luckily that gives our military the advantage as others haven’t gotten their hands on the technology at this point. The nanosuit comes with an array of modes which feature stealth, strength and armor.
A tap of the button and your soldier cloaks and becomes mostly imperceptible to the enemy. I say mostly because once up close the Koreans will see you and open fire. I found the cloaking satisfying; that is until I attacked. Immediately your nanosuit is completely drained and your left open to fire. If you had any idea of being a nano ninja when you read cloaking, forget it. The ability becomes more of a safety fall back instead of the stealth killing goodness it could of been. In addition when you come out of cloak mode don’t expect the brush to hide you. Those eagle-eyed enemies spotted me from hundreds of yards away while laying down in the bush. Remember Far Cry 2 anyone?
What is overly disappointing is that I think the overall stealth could have been easily remedied. If when you had attacked an enemy and weren’t seen you could go back into stealth mode, I believe it would have made the gameplay much more compelling.
Strength mode allows you to punch your enemies to death and leap tall rocks in a single bound. I found it underwhelming as well because well this is a game about bullets. Throwing boxes at your opponent while it can be deadly leaves you open to fire and you’ll find yourself dead quickly. Punching through walls is also a bullet-point, but I never found any need to employ it. Run and gun is usually the answer here.
Armor mode does just what you would think it would do. A press of a button essentially gives you shields to buff your soldier. As your energy wears down so does your armor and once it’s gone your health starts to fade under fire.
Unfortunately I feel the main thing that makes Crysis different from other games, the nanosuit, is horribly underwhelming. The suit has an energy timer that rapidly decreases when you use anything on the suit. Cloaking, armor, strength and even running all take a toll and you’ll rapidly find yourself without any protection at all. Once the nanosuit is out of the equation the game devolves to an even more mediocre FPS. After playing games such as Halo, Resistance and even Killzone I found the weapon selection bland and unmemorable. However, the most frustrating thing is the pace at which our protagonist moves. A snail could complete objectives faster then our boy and the only way to speed him up is to run which as stated above drains the suit dry. You’ll find yourself many times running into trouble with no suit to fall back on because you couldn’t stand to walk that slow any longer.
I should mention that there are a variety of vehicles in the game and they drive moderately well. Some have turrets that for a mystical reason you can fire from within the vehicle. I’m going to just say they’re powered by an advanced computer though my theory is flawed since Koreans ride in the back and fire the weapons when you aren’t driving them. One of the only things I truly enjoyed was customizing my weapons. By pressing select you can painlessly switch between silencers, tactical scopes and so on. It’s not a huge add-on but something that I welcomed.
Finally I’d like to mention what made this game hit headlines in 2007; the graphics. What used to be the belle of the ball is simply subpar now, though honestly it’s to be expected. First off, this isn’t a PC and so the graphics aren’t going to be quite as good as they originally appeared and secondly, this is a four year-old game. Considering those factors I would say the graphics are serviceable, though I have to admit to being let down after so much hype. After playing current games like Killzone 3 it was hard to go back to the graphics of a game this old. I will say this though the vistas can be absolutely stunning and the gameplay is open so usually you can approach any situation from pretty much any direction.
Reading through my review my criticisms may sound harsh and you might be wondering was there anything I enjoyed about the game? In fact yes. When the nanosuit worked as intended I did feel like a predator out to take down all these poor Koreans. Those glimpses of greatness though just left me feeling worse about the experience which was deeply flawed. I only recommend this download if your a huge FPS fan and have to play just about everything out there. In a industry flooded with high quality FPS shooters there are far worthy franchises to sink your time into.