Known for being that one game with the “good graphics” that annihilated PCs back in the day, how does Crysis as a whole stand in the current-gen market?… From the get-go, it’s inherently obvious that Crysis draws a lot of inspiration from the Halo series; specifically in the art direction and game design, but it is a well-commended aspect in this case.
Super-suits?! Awwww Yeah!
Crysis amps up the futuristic tone with the iconic Nanosuits, versatile armour sets that grant the wearer special combat-oriented functions and abilities. What’s awesome about the Nanosuits is their tactical adaptability. Nomad, the protagonist can camouflage himself with the environmental cloak, opt for strength and fatally throw enemies into each other, choose speed to whip around the battlefield and gain the upper hand or focus on armour to gain a shield buff in the throes of a firefight. The amount of fun you’ll have testing out the suit’s capabilities in and outside of battle, adds so much depth and richness to the experience, compared to more straightforward first-person shooter offerings.
These powers allow the player to approach the campaign’s missions in a bunch of different ways. Notably due to how immense these battlegrounds are.
Believe me when I say some of the environments and enemies in this game are big, MEGA big! Probably a little too excessive on occasion actually, as some sections have you walking for minutes at a time between objectives. But the overall scope does work well in its favour.
Back to the action, Nomad can propel himself with pace underwater and remain undetected, save ammo and take down enemies individually with hand-to-hand combat, or go guns-a-blazing with armour in a more traditional FPS experience. It’s little touches like this that make the Crysis gameplay formula fresh and exciting.
To tackle the harder difficulties of Crysis, understanding how the functions operate mechanically are crucial to survival. Hence you’ll probably figure out that spamming the cloak ability will quickly become a staple in your arsenal. As being able to turn literally invisible for a short time can change the tide of battle, dramatically. Especially useful in smaller-scale encounters, enemies can be easily neutralised before they even realise what’s happening, or flat-out avoided with discreet, precise movements.
The cloak is a somewhat game-breaking mechanic at times though, and it can make the adventure seem a little too easy on occasion. To be fair it does offer a stealth-like approach to Crysis which is a big plus, in turn, complementing the guerilla warfare atmosphere.
Speaking of game-breaking; the AI would sometimes glitch out on occasion, getting stuck on geometry or be caught staring at walls for some reason, while they’re patrolling. These bugs only appeared a handful of times but they were blatantly obvious when they did, sucking out some of the immersion factor. That being said, the enemy AI does put up a strong fight. They’ll spread out and flank Nomad’s last known location or try to overwhelm him with sheer numbers – their combined damage output can be pretty devastating too. The shooting controls feel nice and tight thankfully, and from an audio-visual perspective, there’s a real weight and impact to the sound and feedback of the weapons.
The overall graphics and landscapes are even more gorgeous than they were back in 2007 too. It looks absolutely stunning!
Adding to the experience; Nomad can customise his weaponry with a heap of modifications, there’s some tank, aircraft, and vehicular sections which all work decently well, and most of the environments are physically destructible – almost always leading to bonus casualties. You’ll even find a tinge of horror elements later on in the game (but I won’t spoil it for the first-timers), adding additional layers of depth to the short but sweet, 10-12 hour campaign.
How’re The Story & Characters?
Transitioning to story and characters; unfortunately, this is not where Crysis shines. The tale being told here is mediocre sci-fi at best, and most of the cast feels very… Trope-y? To say the least. Pretty much everyone just barks orders at each other; the dialogue coming across as super generic, army and science lingo that doesn’t leave much of an impression. I did laugh a few times I must say, at the character named, ‘Psycho’ – he’s actually really funny.
The problem is, there’s no way near enough spotlight on the emotional core of the characters, instead focusing more on the mission objectives and topics at hand. I can’t think of a moment where they let the characters breathe or simply reveal what’s plaguing them – the lacklustre story scenes just… happen, then they move on like nothing’s wrong.
It’s all spectacle, minimum substance.
The music and instrumentation by Inon Zur on the other hand, have a full-sounding texture and presence to them, fitting the ambience of each scene quite well. The melodies themselves aren’t the most memorable, but the majority tracks get the job done adequately. I loved the usage of environmental and animal sounds in some of the tracks, like a radio voice-over or tiger growl – cool touch!
Remastered Additions… Or Lack Thereof?
For those who enjoyed the Crysis multiplayer back in 2007, I’m sad to say that it won’t be returning for the current edition. Crysis Remastered is purely for the single-player experience and not much else. This also means the 2008 side-story expansion called Warhead won’t be included or available to buy separately either. A massive missed opportunity by Crytek to bring back the multi-player scene and expanded material there.
Crysis brings it’s own unique flavour to the sci-fi FPS category; the Nanosuit powers help change up the traditional gameplay trappings of a a tired genre, and delivers it in such an awesome-looking package to boot! The story may not be its biggest draw-card and there’s no multiplayer or Warhead expansion, but there’s so much to love about this game. The precise controls, expansive map, vehicular sections, suit powers and more make for an awesome 10-12 thrill ride! Definitely pick this up when you get the chance!
Review by Anthony Culinas
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