Thankfully, Crysis does feature a
multiplayer component although the first impression I got from the Gamespy integration wasn't a very good one - I have nothing against Gamespy in
general, it just isn't the most reliable online authentication system. Once you do manage to sort out your account and bypass the login and server connection
difficulties, the multiplayer gameplay can be quite good. Rather than pack the game full of different modes, Crytek have instead opted to focus on two main
modes - Instant Action, and Power Struggle. The Instant Action is self explanatory and is best suited for some quick and simple deathmatch style MP shooting,
while the Power Struggle mode is a little more complex, involving the premise of team vs team gameplay with points and locations to capture and objectives to
complete. The multiplayer can be quite fun particularly the Power Struggle mode (Instant Action is a little too simple for my liking), but I think its
impact on the MP FPS scene will be comparable
to that of Far Cry's - minimal at best because there are just too many other more in-depth MP experiences out there. That's not to say there won't be
gamers playing it because I'm sure there will be plenty at least for the first few months after release, just don't expect multiplayer Crysis to take
the market by storm.
Of course, perhaps the biggest selling point for Crysis heading up to release with its screenshots and HD gameplay videos was the graphics, and
here the game does live up to the hype for sure. The environments can look stunning (although very familiar for Far Cry gamers), and the effects are
definitely up there with the bestseen in a game
to date regardless of platform. However, as we all knew heading towards release, not just any PC will tame the visual beast that is Crysis, you will
need some serious hardware to see this game in all its glory. I'm talking quad-core, high end DX10 SLI sort of stuff here. While this will be quite a
convincing positive for those who do have the gear, for the majority of us who are not only more adapt to mid range hardware but not even on Vista,
Crysis' visuals won't really be that big of a deal. In fact, getting Crysis to run at a reasonable frame rate on the same hardware I used to
review Call of Duty 4 (which I could run at max visuals)
resulted in average visuals at best, without HDR or AA being an option unless I wanted to play in slide show mode. Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that
ATI may be partly to blame considering they just released a hot fix to fix some
issues (which didn't seem to help me much *shrug*), but in general unless you have a killer PC, the visuals in Crysis don't
really stand out much at all. As I said, on the same hardware, COD
4 was able to scale its graphics higher without frame rate issues for me, which again may come back to the likelihood mentioned above that a patch or two
will go a long way for this game.
I wouldn't go as far as to say Crysis is a complete disappointment, as it can be a very cool and intense shooter, but it just isn't the
genre changing PC platform defining experience it was being made out to be. The graphics, while great, won't be a huge selling point unless you have a very
high end PC, and in all honesty the gameplay feels like Far Cry even down to the same old AI quirks. Hell, even the environments look and feel much
like Far Cry's. The Nanosuit implementation
and the massive detailed environments produce some very interesting and intense moments but this doesn't save what is otherwise reasonably average FPS
gameplay that is regularly buggy and unpolished. I like the open ended approach to the gameplay but its execution just allows too much wiggle room for
issues to come to the surface. Like Far Cry before it, Crysis will probably end up being a better tech demo and videocard review center piece
than a true GOTY nominee, which isn't a bad fate,
just don't expect groundbreaking gameplay. A definite must have to show off your high end DirectX 10 rig, but otherwise it's basically just Far Cry
with a few new bells and whistles.
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