Buying us time
The PC used to be the ‘Holy Land’ of shooters. Reigning supreme in the genre, consoles were forced to dedicate their existence to Platformers, Adventures, Fighting and anything arcade. In recent years the landscape has changed and most FPS’ are also making their way to the consoles. Unreal Tournament 3, Bioshock, Haze, Call of Duty 4, Blacksite: Area 51, Timeshift, the list of cross platform shooters goes on and on. Now I’m not saying this is bad at all, but this remarkable change is causing this year to be the first year ever that console owners are getting more FPS’ than PC owners. At this rate, there may even be a day when mouse and keyboard won't be considered over analog sticks anymore.
Before this doomsday of sorts arrives, Crysis will buy PC owners a little bit more time by showing fans of the FPS genre just why the PC platform is still the best place for First Person Shooters.
You play Nomad. No, that’s your name, not your occupation. You are part of a special military force that uses futuristic technology in the form of a Nano-Suit and are tasked to rescue a group of scientists that are being held by North Korea. The perfectly planned mission goes awry and soon enough you will be fighting everyone and their mother to survive.
Every now and then you will be taken out of the game and treated to a cutscene. These are all in first person, add to the suspense and help push the story forward. Yet the most awe inspiring sequences occur ‘in-engine’ and this is one of the marvels of Crysis. It doesn't really attempt to change the way of storytelling, it is just an amazing game that tells a great story in order to get you from one place to another. It hits the right spot in both length and quality. It also ends properly and -after the abrupt endings of games such as Halo 2 and Half Life 2- I feared to expect great endings of great games.
Crysis dresses the player up in a unique and cool looking Nano-Suit. This special suit allows you to switch between four different powers on the go, giving you the edge that you will need to fight and defeat your foes. The four powers are Strength, Armor, Speed and Cloak. Each of them is useful in its own way. Strength lets you tear down walls with your bare fists, Speed allows you to sprint out of harm’s way, Armor absorbs a fair bit of damage and Cloak makes you invisible to your enemies.
When the Strength power is enabled, you can jump much higher than you would normally be able to. This often leads to cool shootouts that have you hovering in mid air, emptying your gun at your enemies on the ground. Switching to cloak mode will conceal your presence for long periods of time. This is perfect for waiting for the right moment to pop a silenced bullet into some unsuspecting head. And the Speed power really –does- speed things up considerably. The world will fly by so fast that you actually have to be careful not to bump into anything; I have had a case or two of ‘palm crashing’.
It is amazing how easy and intuitive it is to change from one power to another. The Crytek folks have managed to provide a great system in which all the powers feel cyclical, meaning that you are constantly switching between them. A perfect balance exists between the powers and you will have to use each and every one to survive.
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