Superb technology, astonishing graphics, crisp sound and, most importantly, missions and situations right out of a top action movie – Crysis could be the dream of every action player. And that’s only talking about the solo mode, there is a huge multiplayer component, too. But some aspects of Crytek’s second 3D shooter are deeply flawed. For example, the A.I. can be brilliant and lifelike – or just plain stupid. Nine of the eleven acts of the game are very well done – two are not. Our 10 page multimedia review tells you more.
At the beginning of our review, let us address a concern many readers might have: Yes, Crysis needs a fast machine, but not an outrageously fast one. If the opening minute or two of the demo or full version runs only as a still photo presentation for you, don't lose all hope: Once you're on the ground, things will improve. If you've got a Core2Duo (even the slowest one running at 1,8 Ghz) and a last generation Geforce (like a 7900 GT) or comparable Radeon board, you should be able to play the game in 1600x1050 and with all graphical settings at "Medium", but no Antialiasing. Rest assured that at “Medium”, Crysis looks better than most actual games at “High”. If you exchange the aforementioned 7900 GT with a Geforce 8800 GTS (or similar board), you can have about 4x antialiasing with all other settings at "High" -- again, in 1600x1050 resolution. We could even use the "very high" settings (see our how-to-news) and still had a fairly good frame rate! So yes, Crysis needs a good 3D board, but it doesn't need a 2500 dollar state of the art super computer. For multiplayer, though, where every frame counts, you might want to decrease some performance eating settings like shaders, AA and perhaps also the resolution.
The six pictures below show details of two different scenes in three standard settings. You can have a look at the original 1600x1050 screens (at "very high") here (Waterfall) and here (Tanks). "High" setting is not shown in the pictures, it would be closer to "very high" than to "medium". 1 At "very high", notice the seemingly 3-dimensional tracks in the ground, the detailed shadows (especially on the tanks), the lush vegetation in the upper left and the general color tone of the scene. 2 At "medium" setting, the tracks are clearly two-dimensional, there are much less shadows, the jeep in the background is less detailed, and a lot of bushes are missing. 3 "Low" setting takes away even more vegetation and most of the shadow play on the tanks. Also note that the tree in the top left is no longer a vector object but a simple 2D sprite. 4At "very high", the waterfall scene has everything: highly detailed vegetation, smooth, reflecting water and little twigs and leaves on the sand. "High" would nearly look the same, by the way. 5 At "medium" settings, the "spray" has gone from the water, the lighting is a little less sophisticated, and the water's surface is simpler and not as reflective. Some vegetation is missing. 6 At "low", the waterfall is not as "steamy", the lighting is simple, the sand very plain and without objects, and the water uses a very simple shader.
A Crysis developing
It’s 2019. The North Koreans have invaded a little island in the South China Sea where an American archaeologist team had been researching an asteroid crash site. The scientists have gone missing, and an elite fighting force is sent by the U.S. Marine Corps to find and rescue them. Not only are these Deltas specially trained soldiers who can kill from afar as easily as in close combat, who can drive tanks or pilot planes – they also have high-tech combat armor called Nano suits. These will, draining an self-replenishing energy source, make their bearer extra fast, extra strong (higher jumps, stronger throws and punches). Or he will get an energy shield to help him keep alive, or it will cloak him, making him more or less invisible. We’re using the term “more or less” for a reason: A cloaked soldiers’ shadow can still be seen, but not the flashlight he might have attached to his weapon. While this has little consequence in the solo game, your own shadow can lead to very unpleasant surprises in multiplayer mode.
Before we come to the story, we'd like to show you a video we've made which demonstrates the impressive stunts the game stages to immerse you in the action:
You are Ltd. Dunn, callsign Nomad. You are part of the Delta team jumping from the plane. But in these first minutes of the mission, something goes terribly wrong. You start alone in enemy territory – but as it will soon turn out, the trigger happy North Korean soldiers are not your worst enemy, although you’ll fight them for more than half of the game. By the way: Perhaps you’ve read in various previews that, depending on your play style, the North Koreans might help you in the later stages of the game. We did not see anything of that, nor can we imagine a point in the very linear story line where “friendly North Koreans” would fit in. They simply play their role until halfway through the game, then they are never shown or mentioned again.
Other characters like your team leader Prophet are incredibly detailed and use lifelike facial expressions.