Crysis Hands-On - Multiplayer and the Magic of DirectX 10

We meet with Crytek, check out the latest work-in-progress version of Crysis, and spend a little time with the game's competitive mode.

LEIPZIG, Germany--We've seen a fair bit of Crysis recently, what with our visit to Crytek's offices in Frankfurt and everything. What we hadn't seen anything of until today, though, was the game's multiplayer component, which we dutifully waited in line for at the 2006 Games Convention, after a meeting in which Crytek showed us some of the recently implemented features.

In case you haven't been following our previous coverage of the game, Crysis (like Far Cry before it) is set on a beautiful tropical island where things aren't nearly as peaceful as they might first appear. In Far Cry mutants were the problem. In Crysis it's North Koreans...oh, and aliens who travel down to Earth on some kind of asteroid and flash-freeze a good portion of the game's tropical paradise in the process. The secret to success in Crysis, at least according to the senior game designer that we met with, is that you must "adapt to survive." This not only means that you should carefully plan your attacks on enemies rather than running in with guns blazing, but also refers to the fact that both your weapons and your high-tech nanosuit are customizable.

Tinkering with your nanosuit's energy-consumption settings, for example, will give you an opportunity to augment your speed, your strength, or your armor (which also determines your health-regeneration rate--there are no first-aid kits in the game) at the expense of other attributes for extended periods of time. Weapons in Crysis are even more customizable, since most of them boast interchangeable scopes, silencers, grenades, and ammo types, among other things. All of these customizations can be handled without interrupting the action in any significant way, and we were told that with practice you could even customize your weapon in the middle of a gunfight.

When changing a weapon's configuration on the move, you'll see the gun held up at an angle on the screen, and all of the components that can be swapped out will be highlighted so that you can click on them with your mouse cursor. The most exciting optional extra that we got to see during our single-player demo was the tactical ammo, which lodges itself under the skin of your target without alerting them until you choose to detonate it. You'll be able to fire off multiple rounds before pushing the button, so although shooting a guard out in the open and only letting him die when he's concealed from his colleagues might be useful, shooting the whole crowd and then watching them fall to the ground simultaneously promises to be downright entertaining.

The level that dominated our single-player demonstration was set in a jungle location that you'll explore when you're about a third of the way through the game. North Korean enemies were scattered all over the expansive locale, and in the distance, the sphere of freezing ice surrounding the alien asteroid (or vessel?) was clearly visible. The Crytek employee demonstrating the game had a god mode turned on and so, because he was invincible, he spent most of his time running and gunning like a madman (to show off how impressively destructive the whole environment is), rather than giving any thought to his visibility and audibility as you would if you were attempting to sneak up on enemies. Trees fell to the ground convincingly and vehicles on which every component sustained damage individually became fireballs shortly after their fuel tanks were hit.

As impressive as the destruction was, it looked very ordinary compared to what we got to see next: a simulation of what Crytek hopes Crysis will look like when played using DirectX 10. To try to describe just how impressive the simulation looked with mere words seems a futile gesture, but know that everything had realistic physics (this was especially noticeable in the leaves of palm trees when they were toppled), that the resulting smoke and dust particles in the air shifted with gusts of wind, and that the shafts of light coming down through the jungle canopy showed off these effects quite beautifully. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to say that comparing the DX9 and DX10 (simulated) versions would be akin to comparing Xbox and Xbox 360 versions of the same game; the simulation really looked that good.

When our meeting with Crytek ended, we headed down to Electronic Arts' main booth, where a long line of people were waiting to get their hands on one of Crysis' team-based multiplayer modes for the first time. After almost an hour of standing in line, we finally made it to the front, and after just another 30 minutes or so (a server had to be restarted because the game's performance was causing some concern), we were invited to grab a mouse and keyboard and jump into a four-on-four multiplayer game.

Since German isn't our first language, we're not entirely sure what our team's objective was, but we can tell you that the map we played on appeared to be a large island designed for far more than eight players, and that while the North Korean players spawned inside a barracks, the US players started out aboard a moored submarine. We can also tell you that a vehicle factory in between the two spawn sites, which there were numerous different paths to, appeared to be the map's main choke point. Onscreen messages alerting us to the presence of any players entering the factory suggest that our goal might have been to secure it, but we hardly needed to know why we were on the island to have fun racking up headshots against the enemy. Those headshots were worth 10 prestige points each, incidentally, though right now we really have no clue what the significance of those is.

Despite the fact that we were among the first to play after the server restart, the game's performance varied quite wildly at times. When the frame rate was smooth, Crysis' visuals were a feast for the eyes, but when the game started stuttering or freezing up for two or three seconds at a time, we'd quite happily have sacrificed some graphical bells and whistles for a smoother gameplay experience. These issues aren't likely to hamper the finished game, of course, and having enjoyed a brief taste of what it offers right now, we can't wait to see what else Crytek has in store for us later this year.

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Discussion

83 comments
Sidrat2004
Sidrat2004

Fjpadilla. They could be using mock up hardware. But if they're using software emulation image just how good it's going to be when the hardware gets its silicon coated hands on it!!! Hmmm. Silicon.

fjpadilla
fjpadilla

excuse my poor english. I have a question about dx10 and games like halo 2 , crysis, etc... If there is no dx10 hardware yet, and a game development can take many months, how can they make a game without the necesary hardware to test it??

lordfear
lordfear

hey yo sharder 1234 ive never heard anyone be soo right in my life, nice goin bro, as for u kids, hes right. halo 3 is for you, and let the true gunners play crysis, murahrahrahrah.

Stick32
Stick32

The game type they were playing was the new "power struggle" mode. Basicly, it's a cross between BF2 and a real time strategy game. It's to bad, they really should have tried to take the factory.

alifont
alifont

I'm getting the best gaming PC you can buy in 2006 to play this game so it better be worth it...cuz if it's not...there's pretty much nothing i can do about it...

shikovi4ik
shikovi4ik

I´m affraid, that I can´t afford a dx10 card for a looong time

x505
x505

atticusg47 wrote: "haha, soon as dx10 comes out along with the new series of cards pc gamers like myself will just sit back and laugh at all the console gamers who thought their 360 or ps3 was top of the line. and btw console gamers who claim pc's are instantly outdated and you constantly "must" upgrade, pc games have the option to play at whatever level of detail you prefer or your computer can handle unlike consoles which are outdated atleast 6 months before their even released." Most people, including myself, buy consoles with the fact that they're going to be outdated soon in mind. I play both ways. PCs are undeniably better for shooters where as I prefer consoles for everything else. Seriously though...stfu and just play Counter Strike or whatever it is in your basement.

rich639
rich639

well it looks good but ill have to get a new pc to play this game.

GTJimmy
GTJimmy

sweet god i cant wait to be playing crysis while are the n00bs are hyping gow. lol

CaribouLou5
CaribouLou5

thanks for the link scifishooterguy, I have the card they speak of and I was wondering exactly that, so I feel a little better about myself. good looking out!

Envig
Envig

Really looking forward for this game! :)

Last_Grimreaper
Last_Grimreaper

C'mon just upgrade and smile. You've gotta upgrade sometime. Why not because of this game and other games to come?

StEaKAsSaSsIn
StEaKAsSaSsIn

atticusg47 I love you for that comment you made on the DX10 cards and console gamers XD wasd4life stfu we all know we want the best graphics why do you think people bought the 360 or are gonna buy the PS3 not for **** graphics I'll tell you, Im buying one for the graphics and gameplay not gonna shell out 600 bucks for Crap graphics and good gameplay...

SciFiShooterGUY
SciFiShooterGUY

thats good to hear. I hope it's really true. Because I'll "Cry"tek if I miss out on this game. LOL

Deadp1xel
Deadp1xel

This goes to ScifiShooterGuy : The game WILL run on dx 9. It will even come out before Vista...

XtremePhsyco
XtremePhsyco

soooo sick. i am soo bloody excited for this game now.

SciFiShooterGUY
SciFiShooterGUY

Sorry Megamef, XBOX 360 doesnt have DirectX 10 support. It has DirectX 9.0 support. But my PC is pretty up to date and supports DirectX 9.0C. So, I'm hoping the game can be played on DirectX9.0C as well. If so, you might get lucky, and they might try to make an XBOX 360 game. I mean Crytek did that with Far Cry, which was even a demanding game for the original XBOX, at the time. I personally like the Far Cry graphics the way they are, so I hope they have a graphics setting like classic Far Cry or something.

sharder1234
sharder1234

It's not coming for consoles, kids. Just hype Halo 3...let the big boys play Crysis. :)

Nemuss
Nemuss

It's a great Game!!! Of course,a game with BIG LETTERS!!! :-P

ochi0
ochi0

What do you think?Did Geforce 6600Gt wil compatible DX10?

mc2k4
mc2k4

Hi. I'm getting a PS3.

7_armageddon_7
7_armageddon_7

" DX10.. my card supports dx9 .. i hope it will run crysis" - Gyrolion DX10 isn't even out; it'll be released with Windows Vista. And Crysis will work with DX9 cards, it's just that it won't look as good.

5telio5
5telio5

It's like a copy-paste of Far Cry...... but I think it's going to be really good......

megamef
megamef

i'll play it on 360, when it comes out on there. If people think that it won't come out on 360 and ps3 then your wrong, games companies want to make money and 360 and ps3 owners will make up a large market soon. i'd bet that a year after it's out on PC, 360 owners will get their hands on it

zekere
zekere

This looks like a great game for millionaires out there, as it will cost about 1500 dollars : new operating system, new video card, and of course the game !!

gyrolion
gyrolion

DX10.. my card supports dx9 .. i hope it will run crysis

wasd4life
wasd4life

Atticus I just love how people like you exclaim "console gamers" not stop, maybe some people aren't biased fanboy graphics whores and play all games whether what system their on? Oh you don't understand that? You think everyone is either a pcgamer or console gamer and confine themself to their platform? And always possess the title fanboy instead of gamer? Ofcourse you do, you're a PcGamer. P.S. If you thought I was a "console gamer" and I don't play PcGames...... LOL!

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

As lovely as Crysis seems to look in DX10, I'm probably not gonna upgrade my comp for a while. Hell, I probably won't even adopt Vista until a year or two into its lifespan, when all the kinks can be finally worked out. I've never enjoyed being an early adopter of anything, and a new generation of videocards and a brand-new OS is definitely something I'll stay away from, at least until other people test the waters and show me that its alright to jump in with them. Besides, I can manage at least a couple of extra years with my 7900GT, right? :-D

StEaKAsSaSsIn
StEaKAsSaSsIn

I wish there was a Demo out, but my card couldnt handle it anyways *gasp oh well now I can officially confirm me getting this.

atticusg47
atticusg47

haha, soon as dx10 comes out along with the new series of cards pc gamers like myself will just sit back and laugh at all the console gamers who thought their 360 or ps3 was top of the line. and btw console gamers who claim pc's are instantly outdated and you constantly "must" upgrade, pc games have the option to play at whatever level of detail you prefer or your computer can handle unlike consoles which are outdated atleast 6 months before their even released.

heccer
heccer

I cry fore,. Crysis

noda_90
noda_90

i have a radeon X1900XT(512mb DDR3) and i dunno if it will run this game but i think(ofcource if it has the capability to also run it on DX9.0 with DX10 like some games we see now that supports DX8)then my card will handle it well also the X1950 series from ATI is just out(not in stores yet but u can see it on ATI's official site,,,so maybe they support DX10(coz if they support only DX9,then no one will buy them) still,,i think crysis will be the best graphics game for pc at this time

SciFiShooterGUY
SciFiShooterGUY

You shouldn't have to upgrade your newest rig, unless you are more than despirate to play it with DirectX10 Capability. I still am amazed by DirectX9.0C, as it is.

CaribouLou5
CaribouLou5

this may be the first game my X1900XTX CAN'T play at high resolution with all settings maxed out. Too bad I dropped $600 on it only months before we would all hear about DX10. Guess it's already time to upgrade my rig...

SciFiShooterGUY
SciFiShooterGUY

Ill be able to play this game at medium settings more than smooth enough, without a drop in framerate. Which I believe will look as great as Far Cry maxed up. Far Cry still looks like a great game, and Im still amazed by it. So if it looks like Far Cry, only with the new physics, i'd be more than happy to play. As long as it runs on XP too.

Xlyger74
Xlyger74

The 6800GT i bought just a year ago seems ancient... *Sigh* I wish i could use an Xbox 360 and somehow fuse it with my PC so it uses the processing and graphics of the 360 AND PC.. yesh... and then the PC XBOX combo will breathe and have veins coming out of it and ooze goo while giving me a steady 500 fps...What was i talking about again?

nicholasnavarro
nicholasnavarro

I have a nvidea 7900 gt ko and amd 3700. good set. and you can get windows vista beta 2 free from windows

AwesomeHall
AwesomeHall

So if you looking into getting a new computer soon, it would be smarter to buy a cheap video card and upgrade once DX10 comes out? Also I'm looking at getting aVisita Ready computer. So it can run it but just doesnt atm.

ColonelAhmed
ColonelAhmed

No graphics cards out now supports Direct X10, along with Windows Vista complete support.

PotatoSan
PotatoSan

lol it's funny how gamespot didn't really know or care what they were playing.. they just had fun :D

raikoh05
raikoh05

no, because you need a directx 10 video card to run dx10. no card currently availible can do it.

AwesomeHall
AwesomeHall

Think a Core 2 Duo @ 2.66 and a Nvida GeForce 7900 GT w/ 512 MB will be able to run this with DirectX 10?

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

AHAAH!. Console fanboys... no matter what happens, PC will always be technologically advanced. You guys just kill each other in the console wars, while we just watch and say"Dance my little puppets...DANCE!