Crysis – impressions

Whilst I enjoyed Crysis 2, I felt that it was a little rough around the edges and didn’t quite deliver the fully immersive experience I was hoping for.  Crysis #1 however, the famed graphics-intensive PC hit that crippled even the most powerful of gaming PCs has arrived as a download-only release, for about £15, and promises to show us console owners what we’ve been missing for the last four years since the game was first released.

Now a four year old game you might think would feel dated, but I can confidently say this has all the polish and visual excellence of a full priced game, and with a near 20 hour single player campaign and a huge tropical island to explore, value for money can never be questioned.  Crysis has you playing as Nomad, a highly trained super-soldier sent into investigate a mystery discovery on a remote island.  Problem is the Korean Army have already arrived there, and before you can find out what has happened, you must take on their forces.  This game plays like a mix between Battlefield and Far Cry 2 with a stunningly realistic world, intelligent enemy A.I. and a wealth of weapons and vehicles to use to ‘blow shit up’.  The fun here is the freedom you have to approach objectives however you see fit, and how you can detour from your path and just go exploring.  Using the famed Nano-Suit to switch to cloaked camouflage or maximum armour or the ability to run at high-speed is as much fun as it was in Crysis 2 even though the suit is in it’s profile 1.0 version rather than Crysis 2’s version 2.0 meaning some modes are not available.

For a game heralded as ‘not possible on consoles’ and being one of the most acclaimed games on a graphical point of view, this XBOX 360 version runs very smoothly and looks fantastic.  I can safely say that its one of the best looking open world jungle / island set games I have ever played, and although some interior scenery is a little cut & paste and lacking in detail, the wealth of effects, excellent lighting and distructable scenery means that even on consoles, Crysis is a beauty.

Crysis originally came with a multiplayer mode, but that isn’t available here.  Crytek focused on porting over the single player, and have done a fine job, but for taking out one mission where you get to fly a jet, which apparently wasn’t that good anyway.  Otherwise it’s all here – and it’s brilliant.

Download this now.

Crysis 2 – final thoughts

I completed the single player campaign of this great game the other night, and apart from a few issues, I had a very satisfying experience.  It’s a good length game, clocking in at over 10 hours when playing on Veteran difficulty, and the locations and different story elements were all very impressive.  Less impressive was some rather annoying bugs, glitches and inconsistent enemy A.I. which did take me out of the game from time to time.  Enemies would get stuck in scenery, or just plain disappear, and other times the sound would act all weird and you were unable to hear your gun firing etc, and the otherwise stunning graphics suffered from very noticeable texture pop-in throughout.  But these were not game-breaking issues at all, and it kept me coming back day after day.  The enemy designs, especially the Ceth aliens were brilliant, and proved more than a match at times, especially the hulking ‘heavy’ aliens and the big robot tripod things.  The set-pieces also were quite epic and well-realised giving the game a big-budget hollywood feel.

For an XBOX 360 game, it’s surely one of the top-tier titles in the looks department, and with impressive lighting, shadow, fire and particle effects, complete with (semi) distructable scenery, this can’t help put keep one’s jaw-dropped throughout.  The multiplayer, which I’ve had time to get into is very enjoyable if you keep on your toes, and with the added use of the nanosuite, it brings a different style of play compared to what you may be used to with the Call Of Duty games.  It may copy that franchise with the awards, unlockables etc but with the Cry Engine 3 behind it, it certainly looks a step up. 

If Crytek could patch the game in the future to sort out the glitches and enemy A.I. then this would easily rival Half-Life 2 for a ground-breaking First Person Shooter experience, but in its current form, whilst still very well made, it lacks the polish to allow it to stand alongside the greats.

Crysis 2 – impressions

Have I been waiting eagerly for this!  The fabled sequel to one of the most acclaimed, graphically demanding games on PC now finally makes its way to consoles.  The jungle environment of the first game is swapped for the ‘urban jungle’ of New York City following an alien invasion, and you are a lone soldier forced to take matters into his own hands when you are given a prototype suite (the nanosuite 2.0) which enables you to take on the enemy with super human abilities.  On first impression, this very impressive looking game, featuring what has to be one of the best realised game worlds yet, this game offers a more tactical and at your own pace playing style compared to the follow the leader action-fest of Modern Warfare for example.  Here you get wide open areas where you can navigate the environment, climb up ledges and figure out your approach to certain destinations, whilst taking on the enemy either using stealth or going all guns blazing.  Enhancing this is the varied modes of the nanosuite, where you can use invisibility or enhanced armour for a limited time, making every fire fight unique and immersive.

I must applaud developer Crytek’s work on this as combined with the stunning visuals, the gameplay feels deep and enjoyable and I can see myself coming back to it many times after completion due to the fun the nanosuite offers.  On a side note the multiplayer, which I’ve only briefly dipped my toe in, seems well done and offers the perks and progression of Modern Warfare / Call Of Duty with the added tactics of the nanosuite for more imaginative gameplay.

I’ll report back on this at a later stage when I’ve seen all this has to offer for a fuller opinion.  For now though, I’m very impressed.

Gaming musings 2011

The year ahead does look very exciting for gamers.  Some very big hitters are just on the horizon, either coming our way in the next few weeks, or making an appearance sometime during 2011. 

Of the ones I’m looking forward to the most, I’d have to place Crysis 2 as my most eagerly anticipated game this year.  A sequel to a game I never got to play but heard a great deal about.  A first-person shooter set in New York City during an alien invasion where you play as a super soldier with a specialist suit that gives you superhuman strength and other special abilities.  Developer’s Crytek have promised an open-ended game world where you can approach any situation from a variety of paths and tactically use your suit’s abilities to infiltrate, creep up on and generally overthrown the alien scum.  As Crytek are renowned for their expertise with graphics and artificial intelligence, from the brief snippets of gameplay and leaked footage I’ve seen, this could very much become a classic in the industry.

Another game that has got me excited is the Rockstar Games developed L.A. Noir.  Sort of Grand Theft Auto meets LA Confidential where you play through a rookie Cop’s ever evolving career as he rises up the ladder solving crimes and taking down bad guys.  The game is revolutionary for its use of motion capture facial animation and promises to change the way you play games with gameplay mechanics such as looking at a witness’s face to figure out if he’s telling the truth or lying.  This looks kinda like this year’s Heavy Rain with its deep movie-like storyline and fleshed out characters, and will certainly be one of the more unique games this year.

Epic Games returns with the latest entry in its gung-ho shooter series, namely Gears Of War 3.  Although I had a few issues with some of the gameplay and level design choices of Gears 2, I will still be picking this up just for it’s unrivalled shooting action, it’s never-bettered cover system and it’s stunning visual design, something which is a given when the game uses Epic’s much celebrated Unreal Engine 3 technology.

I.D. games makes a comeback too with open-world shooter / adventure Rage, a Mad-Max inspired post-apocolyptic actioner with ground breaking graphics and industry applauded design.  I.D. have rarely disappointed in the past, considering they were behind such classics as Doom and Quake, and with a helluva lot to prove considering their long hiatus, this will hopefully be well worth the wait.

Portal 2 will also be a sure bet when it arrives, coming from the genius game designer’s at Valve, the guys responsible for my favourite game of all time, Half-Life 2, and following on from the highly regarded, brilliantly designed Portal, this promises to be an evolution in the puzzle game genre, with as expected Valve’s unique sense of humour, gifted story telling and superb game mechanics. 

So to conclude.  2011 look like being a classic year for video games.  Some of the titles mentioned could well go onto to be award winners and looked back on as milestones in their field.  I will hopefully be getting my hands on all of them in the months to come, so expect my usual impressions when that happens.