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Crysis

Crysis

Publisher: EA
UK Price (as reviewed): £26.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $42.99 (excl. Tax)

Crysis is the name of the game and, for this game, that’s pretty much all that’s needed for the introduction. The name alone communicates all the various levels of hype, scepticism, awe and pant-fillingly beautiful gameplay and graphics to anybody with even half an interest in computer games.

The latest effort from Crytek, Crysis is the spiritual successor to Far Cry and once again puts PC gamers on the edges of their seats as the battle through the most graphically lush game ever put together and fight both aliens and Koreans in an effort to save the world.

For the record, I’m not sure what it is about the word ‘cry’ and this particular developer either. I did ask Martin Lancaster, story-writer for Crysis, last time I spoke to him but he carefully dodged the question.

Crysis
Yep, that's in-game

Normally, I’d spend a few more paragraphs now making a few lame jokes and giving a gentle, general introduction to the game. Not today though – the hype and anticipation is far too strong and, as I said before, Crysis kind of speaks for itself. Even if it doesn’t then these screenshots will.

So, Crysis. Let’s just get on with it.

Insert pun based around the title here

I spent a good twenty minutes thinking up a good long list of puns and word games I could construct out of the developer’s obsession with the word Cry. In the end though I figured that it would just cheapen the article somewhat, so I cut it out. The somewhat B-movie level plot of Crysis cheapens the article enough really, in my opinion.

It’s hardly surprising that happens though. The plot for the game sees players as Codename: Nomad, an American soldier who is part of an elite, high-tech soldier squad who is tasked with evacuating some archaeologists from a small group of jungle-filled islands after the Koreans take them all hostage.

I’m trying to remain utterly spoiler-free here, but I think we can all see where this is going, right? Yep, aliens. They arrive on the island due to the meddling of aforementioned archaeologists and promptly set about doing the usual alien-things. Flash freezing the island, abducting people and so on.

The plot does take a few twists and turns, but mostly it’s a by-the-numbers kind of affair and serves only to contextualise the violence a little bit. The focus of the game is very much on the graphics and gameplay, not the story. That’s fine though – if gamers were really interested in a character-driven game with a strong plot and several different arcs then they’d play something else.

Crysis Crysis
Click to enlarge

The game tries to stay vaguely realistic nonetheless and gives players a load of abilities to help make things more than just a run-n-gun, which are explained by way of a futuristic nanosuit. Every man in your squad owns a nanosuit and can use a whole load of different power-ups while the suit still has charge – including speed, strength, armour and jumping augmentations. The suit also lets players cloak themselves and customise their weapons by adding new attachments and so on.

As the story chugs along, players will be running around doing all sort of different things – but mainly killing Koreans and turning off radar scramblers for the first part of the game. The story is nicely paced though, so just when you’re getting tired of blowing up bases you can expect something a little different to happen. Personally, I didn’t really get tired of blowing stuff up at all, but nevermind.

The thing which really plagues the game's opening though – both in terms of narrative and gameplay – is the complete lack of a decent introduction. The game makes the assumption that you’ve read and understood all the manual, which isn’t unreasonable, but is a bit unrealistic. Everyone knows they should read the manual, but nobody ever does, right?

WASD, mouse, shoot the bad-guys is usually all you need to know for most games. The problem is that Crysis isn’t most games and has been aggressively marketed on the premise that it’s a cut above the rest – so something as simple as explaining what the hell a nanosuit is, why you have it and who exactly you work for is a bit odd.

For the intricacies of gameplay the game does help you out by putting up on-screen messages, but that’s on-going throughout the game and therefore serves only to break any immersion the player had.