This has been a fantastic year for gamers with many highly anticipated titles being released. I have played so many recently, it is tough not to be overly critical when playing something new. Once again I find myself in a position to review a much-hyped game in Crysis. I was under the impression the Crysis was the follow-up to the very popular and system pushing Far Cry, only to realize that Far Cry 2 is on the horizon.So what exactly is Crysis? It is a quilt of a game, taking elements from a long line of very popular FPS and blending them together in an attempt to redefine expectations in the category. While I played, I had flashbacks to the likes of Deus Ex, Half Life, Far Cry, Halo, Descent (yes, I am that old) and many other noteworthy titles. Anyone can copy another’s work and call it cutting edge. The reality is that not many are able to pull this off.At its essence, Crysis is an apparently open-ended FPS. In the same way that Far Cry boasted open environments, Crysis leads one to believe that the path you take through the jungle does not have to be blocked by invisible barriers. The game does a nice job with this. In several instances I restarted checkpoints in order to see how wide a path I could take and, in most cases, the path was wide indeed. In a few instances, the road back is most definitely locked, but forward progress is open.The mechanics of the game are easy to adjust to if you have even a little FPS experience. The game does a good job of tutoring you on the intricacies of manipulating weapons and your character’s nano suit, which is one of the most interesting parts of the game. Certainly not a unique concept in the current gamer’s experience, you have the ability to, on a limited scale, make yourself superhuman at the press of a button. You can run faster, jump higher and even go invisible just like the alien in Predator. There is an energy cost for this. Each use lasts for mere seconds and regeneration takes some time. The only criticism I have of this system is that there was never an instant where I actually needed the nano suit to progress. Ultimately, it is a nice little distraction.In order to engage the nano suit modifiers, you simply click the mouse 3 button (scroll wheel) and a radial menu pops up. From here you can augment on/off specific features as well as customize your weapon. Weapon customization includes silencers, laser sites and flashlights. I found it odd that I actually needed my flashlight only once toward the end of the game.The weapons available are ok, but nothing struck me as particularly interesting. I tended to stick with machine guns and the like throughout most of my missions, even when heavy fire power was available. With the exception of the rocket launcher, most weapons seem to pack an equal punch and it becomes an issue of what you have ammo for. Even the alien weapons were just ok.Crysis does integrate vehicle use in the game as a means to cover a lot of ground in a little time. I found the physics of the vehicles to be a bit floaty and pretty similar across vehicle classes regardless of gross weight. The fact that a Hummer and a full-sized transport truck feel the same is a negative in my boat. Speaking of boats, I found the watercraft to be on the unforgiving side. I did enjoy flying the VTOL, but was not overly excited about the control scheme for the aircraft. In most vehicles it is possible to manipulate whatever fire power it may have while driving. The enemy’s required a separate gunner but, magically, the gun is able to read your mind while you drive.The story in Crysis is well-acted but very familiar. In some instances, being ordered by NPCs to go and fix or retrieve something seems out of place for an otherwise open-ended experience. Near the end of the game, I found myself saying “I bet I will have to come all the way back here to get this item that I was just shown.” In a case like that, I would prefer to just take it at that point. In the end, the story merely served its predictable purpose. Not once did my jaw drop as it had in so many other titles in the past.If you have the machine to run it, Crysis is arguably one of the prettier games released to date. The voice acting paired with the character lip animations are eerie at times. This technology just continues to impress me. The environments are exceptional and well designed. I did not find too many dead ends during my travels. In addition to the excellent graphics the sounds are well thought out and complimentary without being distracting. I will say that there seemed to be an inordinate amount of swearing going on. I a*ume it was to show that soldiers are “tough” and gritty. I found it distracting.The enemy AI is very good in the game. My only complaint is that very often enemies could spot me at great distance, even when I was in the seeming cover of the jungle. This is a problem, because I had not even spotted these enemies who were clearly out in the open talking in very loud voices. Still, it is nice to fight enemies who do not seem to be robots. My only other complaint is that the story is on the short side.Online multiplayer is certainly present and there is a good effort made at making it easy to get online. The servers are pretty stable, but there was nothing that made me want to stay out there and play the way Counterstrike or Halo do.Crysis is a very good game which, unfortunately, is being released in a year with other great games. While it may not receive many game-of-the-year nods due to the competition, it is certainly worth the money to play one of the best FPS single-player experiences out there.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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