“But, can it run Crysis” is an internet meme and passing joke made about new computers, that has come to symbolize everything that was disappointing with the original Crysis, launched by EA games back in 2007.
Crysis was one of the most sophisticated technology demonstrators ever released for PC gaming, and to many, it represents either a testament to their computer’s graphic prowess or the moment they realized they had to go out and buy a new gaming rig or costly hardware parts just to play it.
It took no less than a Dual Core CPU with 2GB of RAM and a high end Graphics accelerator card to get Crysis to run on even its “medium” settings mode. Even then, plenty of eye candy would be missed simply because the game was a graphical beast with numerous improvements to 3D gaming that had never been simultaneously displayed due to the tremendous cost of building a machine powerful enough to play…and also the fact that at the time of its release, there was no computer in existence that could play it at its highest resolutions in “Very High” mode with a good framerate.
Owning a gaming rig powerful enough to stand up to Crysis’ demands gives one boasting rights, and now, not even a year after the launch of the first game, the sequel CRYSIS: WARHEAD is already on shelves.
The first Crysis was almost pound for pound a Halo clone. In this game, you don a special military super suit that offers you powers such as : cloaking device, maximum running speed, maximum armor and maximum strength. As the character, Nomad, you and an American Special Forces team drop onto the Ling Shan islands to stop North Koreans from securing the remains of a crashed spaceship. After hours upon hours of beating North Korean heads in and filling them with bullets, you realize that there is an even more dangerous enemy present - the cryo aliens - who suddenly turn the sunny beaches and jungles of Ling Shan into a flash frozen desert. You then fight the aliens for the rest of the game until the situation escalates to a nuclear strike and an uncertain victory.
During your struggle, the only two members of your five member team who survived are a British former- S.A.S member named “Psycho” and a the stereotypical sci-fi squad leader Black dude named “Prophet“.
In this game, you take the role of Psycho, who during the events of the first game, is sent by JSOC to intercept a weapons container believed to be a rogue North Korean nuke. Psycho meets up with his old friend O’Neil who was passed over for Nomad’s position in Delta Squad. With O’Neil’s help and the help of US Special Forces and the Air Force, Psycho must stop North Korean KPA Colonel Lee from moving the container to his friendly forces.
Crysis: Warhead is a straightforward First Person Shooter that is designed similar to the game Far Cry with its “sandbox” styled gameplay. In most games of this nature, gameplay is extremely linear and you must play through most parts of it in a predestined order to get to the end. In the sandbox style, there are multiple paths to complete an objective. Instead of hiking a long way and engaging KPA soldiers, you can steal a vehicle and ride it. Or perhaps, you can use your suit’s cloak feature and become invisible to get past KPA guards. There are numerous vehicles to ride in such as jeeps and boats and a VTOL aircraft. Vehicle control has been refined and now its easier to drive around.
The centerpiece of Crysis is that your nanosuit allows you to jump higher, run faster or take more damage than you’d normally be able to. You simply hit a key for the suit menu and click the feature you wish to use. The suit’s features have a power gauge so, you must balance your use of powers with your strategy. If you run out of suit power when you come under attack, you won’t be able to active “Maximum armor” and the barrage of bullets that hit you will kill you. The suit adds a small bit of strategy to the game, but, I am left wondering, why is it that the North Korean Elite soldiers have nanosuit to? Does North Korea have that much money to spend on projects like this?
Crysis: Warhead still looks and sounds the exact same as it did in the original. The graphics are far prettier than any other game on the market. High Definition “everything” is the bread and butter of this game. The game even undergoes day&night changes like in reality, complete with shadows and ambient lighting effects.
The real story in the audio/visual department is that the game’s engine “CryEngine2”, has been streamlined in order to remove most of the bugs one experienced running the game on a last generation PC on Direct X 10 on Windows Vista. A computer that was able to run Crysis “OK” in High or Very High mode, will be able to run Warhead a lot better without having to upgrade.
To demonstrate that Crysis doesn’t necessarily take a costly, nuclear powered computer to run, EA and Crytek are backing a new PC called “warhead PC” which costs $700 and can run Crysis with an NVIDIA Geforce 9800GT, Core 2 Duo e7300 (2.66 Ghz), 2GB DDR2 RAM, and a 150GB Hard Drive.
I still recommend no less than an Intel Quad Core with at least 3 GB of RAM and most importantly, an NVIDIA GTX 280 (get the 260 if your broke). This way, you can run either game in VERY HIGH and pretty much every other game on the market.
Sound quality is still excellent. The Crysis theme song and the rest of the score is understated compared to Halo’s boisterous symphony but, it still sounds great. Explosions and gunfire are at their best with surround sound systems. A 5.1 system is a must have.
The first major improvement made to the game is to the A.I. of the cryo aliens. Instead of simply floating around waiting to get blasted, they’ll try to use cover more often and snipe you with their ice shards.
Unfortunately, A.I. is still not fantastic. Enemies still get confused when you use your cloaking device and it is possible to appear right in front of them without being recognized and attacked. There are still letdowns. Enemies on turrets sometimes don’t stop using it and face you in time to stop you from killing them and some enemies are oblivious when their buddy next to them gets sniped. Even worse, the enemy sometimes seems to know where you are telepathically even if seeing you in the brush should be impossible.
The other improvement over Crysis has been the addition of Team Deathmatch to the Multiplayer Online. Deathmatch and power struggle game modes benefit greatly from the improvements of the vehicle control and it appears that the designers rethought some of the placements of weapons and spawn points to stop the all to annoying “spawn killing”.
On the downside, the game is much more focused than the original and doesn’t lend itself as much to freedom of exploration. An upside to this is that the new focus on action and explosions makes the game much more entertaining and consequently more fun to typical console gamers.
Why o’ why does a game this graphicaly sophisticated not have a game engine that can do what the Ghoul rendering engine did when used with the Quake II engine did for Soldier of Fortune.
Why is it I can tear trees in half with gun fire, yet, shooting an enemy in the face does nothing?
I am not happy until gore models and Ghoul rendering is used in Crysis because it only seems logical that explosions and bullets should be tearing my enemies apart, rather than simply turning them into lifeless, featureless corpses. But, what annoys me most of all, was that gore rendering is something older than 2 game generations ago an the overrated CryEngine can’t produce similar effects.
Crysis: Warhead is also too short and not so much a sequel as it is a parallel story to the original game. The game takes an experienced Crysis veteran less than 7 hours to complete (some might do it faster). This lack of length is reflected in the price. The game costs only $30 brand new, and feels like an aptly priced expansion pack - even though it doesn’t require you to own the original Crysis to play it.
Overall, Crysis is a great game franchise and a fun experience for PC gamers. I wish PS3 and Xbox360 had the power necessary to actually run it, but we’ll have to wait till the next generation of consoles to see if Crysis makes a worldwide console release. Fortunately, you won’t have to upgrade again to play it.
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