posted 12/31/2007 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Crytek came on the scene with a bang with Far Cry. It offered some unique features for a first person shooter, mainly the open island that you can wander around. Now,Crytek is back and this time they are pulling out all the stops with an impressive engine powering Crysis. Did Crytek produce a worthy follow up to Far Cry?

Crysis isn't a sequel to Far Cry as that IP belongs to Ubisoft. You play Jake Dunn, a United States Delta Force operative going by the nickname of Nomad. You're part of an elite group that's power by aNano Muscle Suit. The suit enhances your abilities and also provides an invisible camouflage for you to sneak around in. You're sent to investigate an island that's not all that it seems to be. You'll encounter North Koreans, helicopters, vehicles, and alien invaders. Like Far Cry, the majority of the action takes place on an island but you'll also fight on an aircraft carrier and inside an alien aircraft.

Nomad's Nano Muscle Suit adds a little something different to the game. There are four modes available to the suit giving you various abilities when activated. Maximum armor protects you from gunfire and other forms of damage. Maximum speed lets you run faster and used in combination of the sprint mode, you can really cover a lot of ground quickly. Maximum strength lets you throw things farther, pick up heavy objects, and steady your aim so you don't waver as much when you are sniping or looking down the barrel of a gun. Cloak turns you invisible with a Predator like effect. All of these modes use energy and when you run out of energy the effect wears off. Of the four modes, cloak was the one I used the least. The faster you walk with cloak, the more energy you use and it can drain pretty quickly. Still it's pretty cool to sneak up on someone and grab them by the neck and the cloak did help me out of some hairy situations. After the first few hours, I pretty much ditched the cloak feature opting to use the other three modes instead.

Most of the guns you'll use can be upgrade with some attachments. Various scopes can be used to change an assault rifle into a lethal sniping tool. If you want to clear out areas, attach a grenade launcher to your gun. For those that like to take guys out quietly, an attachment that shoots a tranquilizer dart is available as well. If you like to shoot from the hip rather than looking down the barrel, a laser sight can be attached so you can see easily where the bullets will go. They won't all be dead on with the dot but the bullets will be shot in the vicinity of where you aim with the laser sight attached. To pick an attachment you can quickly bring up a menu that overlays over the weapon giving you the options available. You'll start out with just the basic reflex site and add more as you pick them up along the way. You'll only be able to carry two main guns along with a pistol and a rocket launcher so you have to make some tough choices at times on what you want to carry. There were situations where I opted to carry a shotgun around instead of a sniper rifle and so forth. You'll learn to bring along weapons that will benefit you in certain situations.

During my first few hours of playing, I was pretty frustrated at how inaccurate the weapons were. I had my sight right on the head of the enemy and I had to shoot an entire clip to finally get a bullet into the head. Up close, it seemed enemies took an entire clip to bring down. It wasn't only until I got a few of the scopes available and learned where to shoot did I realize that the game rewards for patience, use of equipment, and a little bit of luck. Once I got the sniper scope and I steadied my hand with maximum strength, I was finally able to bring down the enemy with one bullet from a regular assault rifle with a shot the head. Other scopes provide a general area of where the bullets are going to be at and it wasn't uncommon to see bullet sparks explode right next to a person's head. It was only when I had the sniper scope that I could be really accurate from afar. Running and gunning will use up more ammo then you want to as enemies are tough to bring down so using some patience is the key. Bursting will get you a tighter spread of bullets. It will take a little time to get used to how the aiming and accuracy works but you'll benefit in the long run with some practice and patience.

The funny thing about the game though is even though it takes a good amount of bullets to take people down, a throw of a chicken can kill an enemy instantly. In fact, almost any object thrown at someone will probably kill them making the game pretty uneven as far as what's deadly and what's not. Even spinning barrels can be fatal as one time I threw a barrel at an enemy and it kept spinning on its end. Now, Icould've thrown something else or perhaps shot at it to make it stop but I decided to walk up to it and just as I reached it the spinning motion took me down and killed me even though I had full heath and armor. So it goes to show if you're out of ammo in the game, even ordinary objects can be great weapons.s

Freedom is touted in Crysis where you can wander around various areas of the island like Far Cry. It's not total freedom as there's a slight linear path you do have to follow but you can deviate from the path a lot during the game. I did run into some interesting features by doing this in showing up to areas I shouldn't have a little early. For example, in one building a large group of Koreans came flooding out trying to kill me. I was able to sit in a doorway and see the enemies spawn after each one I killed killing the illusion that there are a large group of enemies stationed in the building. One bug I ran into because of this freedom was I didn't trigger an event to lead to the next mission. It wasn't until I read the message boards and found people with similar problems that I was told to take a trail for a long period of time to go to the next act. Later on in the game I was able to go to an area where I wasn't suppose to yet clearing out the enemies and coming back after I triggered an event in another area. While I didn't find anything to stop me from moving on in the game, you might experience some unexpected behavior because of the design in letting you be free to enter areas from different positions.

Because there's such a vast amount of area to cover in the island, you'll be able to commandeer some vehicles to get you to places faster. Boats, tanks, jeeps, and trucks are some of the many vehicles you'll be able to use. The vehicles have damage areas and on the automobiles, you can shoot out the tires so they are harder to drive. Sometimes I used this to my advantage when I saw a truck load of North Koreans heading my way. Later on you'll be able to fly a drop ship so you'll get to experience land, sea, and air travel all inCrysis. Enemies also have a helicopter that hunt you down relentlessly so you better be packing some RPGs to take them down because they don't leave you alone. Like Far Cry, the vehicles compliment the first person shooter areas of the game giving you a little variety other than running and gunning.
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