Reality, what does the word mean to you? Does it equate to the sum of everything you perceive as living and organic? Or perhaps it’s the quotient of all life’s experiences? Regardless, more often than not, the real world offers an intangible connection that our imaginations do not.
Still every now and again the lines get blurred to the point where it becomes difficult to distinguish reality from fiction. It’s this undefined line that so many developers over the years have strived for, and yet so few have achieved.
Prepare to blur your perception of reality, because to simply say that Crysis is the most beautiful game I have ever seen would be an understatement. Not just in terms of blunt graphical performance, Crysis also boasts one of the most fluid, natural gaming environments ever created by anyone — ever.
Crysis won’t be the last to claim the figurative crown of technical achievement, however it will leave its mark, and likely be remembered as the game that ushered us all into the NEXT next generation of gaming much like Doom 3 did almost four years ago. The similarities don’t stop there between Crysis, and id’s sci-fi shooter, consequently both where branded on podcasts and message boards alike as being the game that everyone wants to have, yet no one can afford.
The sheer amount of money needed to get into PC gaming has always been an obstacle towards the mainstream success of the platform. The stark reality has never been more apparent than it is now, you get what you pay for! An obvious statement, made all the more true by the barrier to entry saddled onto modern gaming PCs.
With costs ranging from $250 to $500 for a single piece of hardware, it’s easy to see where outspoken message board posters are coming from. That said, the visual superiority has never been more apparent than it is now. The CryENGINE2 reminds PC gamers why they’re the bleeding edge in terms of graphics and next gen gameplay. Not only do environments look stunning, but they also feature destructible buildings and foliage, which adds an enormous amount of realism to the game.
Cover never conceals you for very long, as enemy AI will flank your position, inevitably blowing up any shanty or hut you happen to seek refuge in. It makes for a visceral experience that no other game has matched, while still keeping framerates in the green.
With this level of technical marvel, it’s easy to overlook the other end of the proverbial coin. If this game came out two years from now, with every game likely looking very similar from a graphical standpoint, would it still be worth playing? This thought process is the backbone for my review.
In many ways, graphical prowess and fluid gameplay have become symbiotic to each other. When everything around you looks and feels real, you tend to think more in terms of what you would do in real life, as opposed to in a video game. For instance, when you get shot to the point where your nanosuit runs out of energy, your gut instinct is to to run to cover and wait for it to recharge. However, more often than not, your cover will be blown out from under you, or the enemies will come and flank you from behind. It’s this level of realism that often times makes the game frustratingly difficult, as you just aren’t used to it.
Enemy AI isn’t the only thing you have to worry about either, as aiming from a distance can be extremely challenging as well. Bullets don’t fly on a perfectly straight trajectory once they leave your weapon. This makes equipable items like the rifle scope, and the targeting laser all the more necessary. The down side to using these however, is that they use up your power meter, in the same way your four suit powers do.
The powers include Speed, Strength, Armor, and Cloak. Sadly, while these features are fun, they are the only powers you will have throughout the game. The “fab four” become very repetitive, and the games lack of powerups seemed like a missed opportunity. Indeed this is Crysis’ biggest problem — the fact that everything just gets overplayed. It seems like they showed their hand too early, with later levels seeming relatively bland compared to the lush jungles of the beginning stages.
Pacing seems to be another issue, I often times just got burned out after firefights that seemed to take longer than they should. Now this is all subjective, and you’re experience may differ from mine given the open ended nature of the game. However, this feeling, compounded by the “LOST” meets “Predator” storyline made for a slightly disappointing experience (especially when you consider the games ending).
While the Multiplayer experience is not exactly as eye opening as its single player counterpart, it offers up a respectable amount of replay value. However, my one complaint is with the underpowered weapon selection. It’s not all that cool when nearly every attempt to kill your opponent can drag on for minutes, as you unload rounds while they cloak out or speed run away.
One thing the developers definitely deserve credit for, is their solution to the Battlefield vehicle problem. For those of you who’ve never played any of the Battlefield games, every time you want to get a decent vehicle, someone is almost always there before you, camping to get it first. Should you ever be lucky enough to get one, your own teammates shoot you out of jealousy. It’s totally asinine and it pisses me off to no end! In Crysis however, players are offered the chance to buy their own vehicles as opposed to finding them in static spawn areas. This approach works well, and keeps everybody happy.
This game has the style and the substance, so what does it lack? Forgiveness! Crysis brought my quad core, three gig, 8800GTX machine to its knees. It won’t change the way you look at gaming, and it probably won’t change reality as you know it, but what it will do is offer up some of the most stunning visuals ever created, combined with truly next gen gameplay that’s worth the price of admission.