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Crysis Retrospective

Crysis Retrospective

To make things worse it wasn't even like the plot was worth hanging around for anyway. In fact, there barely was one. "Rescue these people who look to be being held captive by Koreans. Oh no Aliens!" I think sums it up adequately.

In it's defence, Crysis is basically the equivalent to a summer blockbuster - twisting plots and subtlety aren’t really called for, but that barely excuses this Michael Bay gone wrong nonsense, and in no way does it excuse the characters. There are three main guys, Nomad, Prophet and Psycho, each named after the role they play. You’re called Nomad because you spend your whole time running errands, for example.

Nomad is the most likeable of the three, mostly for the reason that he doesn't say anything of substance. He throws out the occasional one-liner, possibly just so he doesn't get compared to another, more favourable silent protagonist, but his lines and voice acting are both passable. Prophet is fine pretty much all the way through if not exactly dripping character – until the end anyway, at which point he turns into a blabbering, nonsensical idiot. That’s where his name comes from.

Then there’s Psycho - a shaven headed mockney with an accent so bad it'd be comical if it wasn’t sadly serious. He's the only character with any actual personality and he’s utterly repulsive, mumbling on like a belligerent baboon with a wasp up it’s nose. It’s as if the only film the writers had ever watched was Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels… and even then they didn’t understand it.

Crysis Was Terrible Crysis Retrospective
That's Psycho on the left, the plonker

It's not even like the other characters need to be there anyway. The plot works perfectly well without them constantly turning up and forcing you through pace-breaking cutscenes, in which they only serve to point out the bloody obvious. It's actually as if they were put in just so you could see their super detailed faces and justify the technical work.

And if this has seemed like a relentless assault on Crysis so far, well you haven't seen anything yet. It hit a new low in the last third, though you need to understand the failings of Crytek’s previous games before you can appreciate how bad Crysis is. You see, Far Cry was great until the mutant Trigens turned up. Before them you had been fighting against relatively smart AI in some great levels. The Trigens, however, were the worst of all enemies, ever. They had a ton of health and the only tactic they had was to simply run at you swiping wildly – except for the one with rocket launchers, anyway. The Trigens got panned in every review and were hailed as a bad decision in an otherwise fantastic game. Nobody liked them and everybody said so.

So, in Crysis, Crytek decided to base the story around Aliens who have an amazing amount of hit points and that mostly stand on rocks and shoot lasers.

While the combat in Crysis with the Koreans often felt disappointing, there was still a decent enough shooter underneath – you could customise your weapons and so on to generate an illusion of good gameplay, at least. With the Aliens though, this went out of the window and rendered what suit powers you had next to useless.

Crysis Was Terrible Crysis Retrospective
Dear Aliens: Please, die

The Aliens were a miserable enemy to fight and as Crysis worked towards some sort of buggy, crescendo ending, it simply put more Aliens in and turned the whole game into nothing more than a depressing slog. What's most shocking about the whole affair though is that Crytek should have known better.

Yet, even after everyone slagged off these Crysis’ Trigens 2.0s, Crytek still had the audacious idea of making them feature heavily in the expansion - Crysis: Warhead. Of course, since the beloved Psycho was also the main character of Warhead, it’s impossible to even speculate on what Crytek thought they were doing with Warhead.

All this points to one thing: Crytek are, in my personal opinion, arrogant. They made a decent shooter but then they ruined it. They ruined it by giving it an absurdly high entry level when the one thing the PC format needed was less elitism and expense. They ruined it by ignoring every criticism they’d ever suffered and opting to make the exact same mistake again (twice!). And finally, they ruined it by shoving a ton of hype and marketing down our throats and failing to deliver.

Crysis was the epitome of style over substance. It thought it could get away with being an average game by looking pretty and shoving in a couple of gimmicks. Maybe it could just never live up to the hype and marketing that surrounded it. You could compare it to releasing Duke Nukem Forever now and it not being the single best game ever made. Whatever the reason though, it was simply a disappointment - an average game trying hard to be something it wasn't, and we can only blame ourselves. We should have seen it coming.

Don't forget to read our previous retrospectives, featuring BioShock and Far Cry 2.

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