I expected better from the creators of Farcry. But hey, it's a fun game none the less...
But as all good things must end, so did the age of quality games came to a close. As the video games became more popular, more money was pumped into commercials, flashy presentation and overhype of any blockbuster title. And far less into development of the game itself. The end result? FPS games haven't really made an inch of progress since the very first Half-Life title.
OK, some progress was made, but only as far as the graphics are concerned. And sometimes even that progress can mean a huge leap backwards. But what does that have to do with Crysis? Well, the thing is, Crysis kind of embodies the peak of evolution of 21st century's gaming. It's kind of fun, but incredibly dumb, shallow, flashy and plagued by the same flaws that plagued FPS genre since it's humble beginnings. Hurray for progress!
So what gives? Well, first let me tell you about a few things I noticed about FPS games lately. Apart from the games getting more shallow and flashy, I'm beginning to notice a few more patterns. First of all, the overall lack of violence. Does anybody seriously think that the images of a non-existing pixel dude blowing holes through another non-existing pixel dude will corrupt a fragile, innocent minds of kids who grow up watching "Inglorius Basterds" and "Sweeney Todd" (not to mention Reality TV and MTV)? For God's sake, get out of kindergarten already and let us adults have some fun!
Second of all, no matter how great our technology is, we still have to deal with annoying enemies that are practically retarded and are constantly respawning. And, of course, the "revolutionary" physics engine that makes me feel like I'm throwing an oversized Ken doll every time I grab my enemy and hurl him off the cliff. Or drive my armored Humvee across a boulder.
Don't look at me like that! You will encounter all of these problems in Crysis! Think of the worst FPS cliches ever since Wolfenstein 3D - that's Crysis! Period.
OK, so... now that we got that covered, let's say something about the story, characters, and... Oh, wait! Sorry, the story is so lame I forgot what it was all about. Something about finding an alien artifact on some island, and North Koreans capturing some scientists. Your character is, of course, mute. The rest of your mates aren't but that doesn't mean you'll give a damn about them either. As far as I was able to figure out, you're a part of an elite squad of super soldiers, iron clad in the latest high-tech suit of armor. That gives you superpowers, which is kind of neat. After a failed HALO jump, you are left stranded on a tropical island with what seems to be the entire North Korean army. If the entire population of North Korea increased by 10 times from it's current size, that is. By 2020, which is when the game takes place. After reuniting with your squad leader, you decide to suck it up and continue your mission of saving the world.
Even tough it takes place on a "huge" island, this is a completely linear game. You can explore a limited amount of terrain, sure, but exploration is generally boring and completely unrewarding. Since all of the extra ammo and neat accessories for your weapons you inevitably find in an obvious, plot-designated places. What sets this game apart from the rest of the bunch, is your high-tech suit. It gives you stealth, speed, strength... all you can ever wish for! And you have to rely on it all the time, since the only way to beat all those huge crowds of enemies is by using stealth to pick them off one by one. So it's more of a stealth game, then a shooter.
Of course, you can use vehicles sometimes, which gives you greater protection and extra firepower. But then again, you can just as well use your stealth and good old assault rifle to kill the bad guys. The levels are not nearly as huge as those of Farcry, so vehicles are more of a flashy accessory then a real help. As you progress, you can also upgrade your weapons with some useful and some useless stuff. Useful stuff, like scopes and grenade lanchers. Useless such as flashlight and laser aiming device (your suit's night vision capability as well as standard crosshair kind of makes it useless).
As far as the gameplay is concerned, it starts really great. It's fun to sneak up on your enemies like a jungle predator, and clean out every enemy base in your own unique way. But unfortunately, as the game progresses, it becomes more annoying. Since your enemies are not really smart, and you are pitted against dozens of those morons that just keep on coming and coming. At a certain point of the game I nearly gave up after I came to the spot where your enemies are constantly respawning. I had to use the walkthrough to tell me that I have to go COMPLETELY sneaky on this one, instead of just killing all the bad guys and walking through their base like I own the place. After which I had to fend of hundreds of them, including 2 tanks, while my team mate just stood inside one room, doing nothing. So much for "elite super soldiers" thing...
Seriously, the A.I. is so messed up in this game, your enemies often just stand there like idiots, not having a clue where you are, even tough you just cloaked right in front of them. They don't use any tactics at all, and I often found myself sniping them one by one in a single machine gun nest. You know... you kill one guy, another one takes his place manning that very same machine gun right after that. You can kill up to 20 of them by using that strategy. I counted. But they're insanely fast, accurate and can take up to 10 rounds in the chest without even slowing down. Annoying, yes... Look, I know some of them are wearing some sort of crappy body armor, but damn it! This way I have to shoot them in the head all the time, in order to stand a chance. Which is really, really boring!
Dammit, guys, Left 4 Dead features a fully dismemberable enemies! And it doesn't take a nuclear powered supercomputer in order to run it! Do some research, will ya?!
I could go on about many flaws in game's logic, such as your ability to chop down only some certain trees with your machine gun, or why an SMG is more effective at killing dudes then an assault rifle. But let's just say something about the oh-so-praised graphics. There are even jokes about how there is still no hardware capable of running Crysis with maximum graphics settings. Look, if your game is so badly optimized that not even the latest $ 2000+ computers can run it properly, then you did a crappy job. Period.
I don't care how much the leaves in the jungle are glowing, and how pretty the shaders are, if the frame rate drops, that means I can't move or aim properly. Which just about kills the entire experience. And in Crysis, the only thing that they have to show us is glowing leaves and weapons. Wait, what the hell?! Is the entire jungle covered with baby oil or something? Crappy physics engine and lack of satisfying damage model on my enemies doesn't help your cause either, Crytek. But hey, the game is kind of fun. For 2 or 3 days at least. After that you'll just ask yourself why you even bother with this and call it a wrap.