It has been a great year for the PC, and in particular the FPS genre. With both the Half Life 2 and Call of Duty series seeing a new
release, multiplayer gaming featuring a new Enemy Territory and a new Team Fortress, and a new name to the scene in the brilliance that was
BioShock, it's safe to say this has been one of the most expensive years ever for the PC shooter fan with so many must have purchases. Of course, the
list of anticipated 2007 PC FPS gamescouldn't
complete without perhaps the most hyped of them all - Crysis. From developers Crytek, responsible for the Far Cry series, Crysis was set
to redefine the genre from almost every standpoint, and while there is no doubting its technical and visual excellence, the lofty expectations, as they often
do, become largely unfulfilled with what is a rather ordinary shooter.
The main premise behind Crysis is a conflict between the USA and North Korea in the year 2020. Tensions boil when, in an area known as
the Lingshan Islands, a team of US archeologists discover what appears to be a mysterious alien artifact. The North Koreans act quickly to secure
the area taking the archeologists hostage, which doesn't sit well with the Americans. Not to act too hastily, the US send out a small elite special forces
team to scope the situation and extract the hostages. Little
knowing their true purpose on the island let alone the events that will ensue, 'Nomad' - the gamer controlled character - and the other special
forces team members find themselves in the middle of an escalating war with the North Koreans, and an escalating buildup of an unknown alien invasion
Being the year 2020, Crytek play off the real world buzz that has been created by military technology futurists who insist perhaps not even in the too
distant future, soldiers may be equipped with a "super suit" that enhances their strength, durability and even allowing for invisibility. The
'Nanosuit' as it is known in Crysis does all these things in-game while utilizing a limited power source that regenerates when not being used. The
motto of the game is "Adapt, Engage,
which refers to having to draw the abilities of the Nanosuit at key times to deal with particular situations. For example, if you need to get up on a higher
ledge you may be able to jump up there with the Strength ability selected. If you need to escape quickly, the Speed ability will allow you to flee and if you
need to hide from overwhelming forces, you can initiate the invisibility cloak, which can last a reasonably long time if you keep movement to a minimal.
The Nanosuit is definitely the main focus of the single player gameplay in Crysis. Throughout the whole game you will experience moments and events
that are specifically designed to take advantage of the suit's abilities and this does add a nice degree of dynamic control to the gameplay. How you deal
with a particular situation is really up to you - this game can be a Rambo style gun showdown or more of a stealth hand to hand combat game, depending on how
you want to play it. This control over how to
play the game is extremely well supplemented with perhaps the most open ended and massively scaled environments you'll ever encounter in a shooter. Most of
the time you are in an environment almost as large as the island itself, packed full of tropical forest and hill sides that dictate how you can approach
certain objectives, but there are also often roads, rivers and other pathways to follow as well, and it is up you on how to move about - do you trek
through the concealing nature, or hop in any available
land vehicle or sea vessel for quicker but less covert movement? Crysis is definitely an FPS that leaves most of the decisions up to its gamer.
The Nanosuit and the environments you play in are definitely both very cool, but unfortunately these two aspects just about sum up the positives
in Crysis' singleplayer experience. Very early on in the game - probably within your first few kills - one rather glaring issue
will rear its head, and that's enemy AI. For those who played Far Cry, the AI in Crysis will feel all too familiar, and by this I mean you will
see robotic reactions and uncanny accuracy mixed with some very
stupid and uninspiring moments where baddies will fail to react at all to the obvious death of a near by buddy, or react by running around aimlessly. It
seems you'll only rarely encounter realistic reactions in this game from the AI enemies which really does a great job of limiting the enjoyment and enhancing
the frustration on offer.
For example, enemies in boats, tanks and choppers in Crysis are completely unrealistic most of the time. While going invisible and using the
environment to conceal yourself will help you keep out of the these enemy's sights when you attract their attention, all this does is stop them from opening
fire on you, and even then sometimes it doesn't do that much. They still know exactly where you are because they still seem to follow you despite being
invisible or at least very well hidden whenever
you're forced recharge your suit. Even if a building is blocking their line of sight, they will seemingly know the instant you pop your head out from
the bushes and open fire, sometimes not even moving to get an actual clear shot of you and simply firing into whatever is in their way. Your only hope in
situations like these is to either stumble across an anti air/tank gun, or simply crawl your way to your objective inch by inch remaining invisible for as
much of it as you can, which can be very time consuming
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