Crysis: Warhead Hands-on Preview

Written by Joe Martin

July 28, 2008 // 12:09 p.m.

Tags: #cry #crysis #crysis-warhead #crysis-warhead-hands-on-preview #crytek #ea #expansion #nomad #piracy #preview #psycho #sykes #warhead

English Stereotype of Choice

This is probably why EA and Crytek are keen not to label Crysis: Warhead as just a sequel or expansion pack, because technically it neither offers anything beyond the first story nor truly expands on it.

Instead, it goes the root of the excellent Half-Life: Opposing Force and the less excellent Half-Life: Blue Shift, offering up a chance to see the same events as the parent game but from a different perspective.

And, where Valve and Gearbox chose Adrian Shepherd and Barney Calhoun, Crytek has chosen Psycho, the aggravating British soldier from the original Crysis.

If you’re having trouble remembering which one Psycho was then; he was the skinhead who was inexplicably a member of the all-American Delta Force who had a Jason Statham obsession and probably a secret passion for hooliganism and wearing womens lingerie under his nanosuit.

Crysis: Warhead Hands-on Preview Crysis: Warhead Hands-on Preview - Story

As far as the game goes though, Psycho is the perfect choice for such an expansion as this. In terms of the story his character is forthright enough to be instantly memorable to anyone who played the first game and striking enough to make an impression on newcomers to the game – even if that is for all the wrong reasons.

In terms of the story Psycho, AKA Sgt. Michael Sykes, is also a good choice as he spends the majority of the game physically separated from Nomad, the player character of Crysis.

Instead, while Nomad is exploiting the open-nature of the gameplay and alternately sniping the enemies (when I play) or just punching them all and pelting them with chickens (when Richard plays), Psycho is on the far side of the main island and getting into all sorts of trouble.

That means you will have to be prepared some rather striking gameplay differences though, especially since this is the first game to be developed by Crytek’s new Budapest studio. Whereas Nomad in Crysis was pretty much a blank slate for the player to begin creating their own tactics with, we got a different impression from our time spent hands-on with Psycho.

Crysis: Warhead Hands-on Preview Crysis: Warhead Hands-on Preview - Story

Instead, the action in our experience tended to lean heavily to the all-out action side of things and saw us chasing down tanks and running head-on into enemy bases. That’s not to say that that’s either good or bad, it just is.

Granted, the open nature of the game still meant that we could sit back and scope the enemy out or go in fists swinging and guns blazing as we wished – but the action did seem to push more to the latter style as a matter of course.

It wasn’t so much a feeling of being fenced in to a particular type of violence, but there was a sense that Crytek was urging you to go for the Rambo approach and would offer up the cookies only to those who obeyed. We do anything for cookies, although I'd prefer muffins personally.

Some of this more out-and-out action feel is evidenced through the level design, but some of it comes across through the new content and weaponry too. Warhead for example brings across the ability to dual-wield certain weapons so that you can punch out twice the lead – though inevitably reloading takes a bit longer than you’d think and accuracy suffers as a consequence.
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