by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
Back to the alien-infested island
Everyone who has ever enjoyed first-person shooters knows the name Crysis. And even those who don't normally enjoy the said type of games should really have tried it out to see what has been achieved in the genre. When Crytek Studios announced that they were making a sequel to Crysis called Crysis Warhead, I – who rarely play any FPS games at all – found myself getting excited at the prospect. Let's take a look at what Crysis Warhead has to offer us.
Same island, same enemies?
Crysis Warhead basically tells a story parallel to that of the original. Whereas the hero in Crysis was Nomad, you will now be playing in the shoes of Psycho – an NPC that appeared in the original. Psycho has most of his adventures on the other side of the same island that Nomad explored, but, suiting with the style of the character, his adventures are more violent and feature bigger explosions than Nomad's lazy picnic did.
For the most part, the enemies are the same as in the original. First, you take on a few missions with mere human enemies but then, quite quickly compared to the original, you start fighting the now familiar invading aliens. Also, on this side of the island, both the human and the alien enemies seem to be a little smarter than the ones who were sent against Nomad. Or perhaps it is just that Psycho is _less_ smart than Nomad and thus the enemies seem smarter in comparison... Well, nevertheless, the enemies now know how to hide behind cover and move towards your position without making you feel as if you are on a shooting range, picking off easy targets. Similarly, the aliens have better AI and circle their prey as they attack, instead of just hovering in place and waiting for you to empty your clip at them.
Um, how about vehicles and weapons?
With the changes in enemies, you should not be surprised to find similar changes in the weaponry. In addition to explosive charges, you can also use Claymore mines, grenade launchers, full automatic pistols etc. Also, even the old weaponry has received a face-lift and have a far more detailed look. Whether everything just looks better on this side of the island or if the changes are merely the result of a generic graphics update is anyone's guess.
There are more vehicles to drive as well, the most lucrative new experiences of which is definitely the hovercraft, which is a very handy vehicle to have when everything suddenly turns into ice on this tropical island. Good thing the locals thought to keep a few of them around, then. All in all, all the vehicles in the game are easier to drive than they were in the original – they simply turn more smoothly and give you a better tactile feel when you drive them at speed.
However, with increased AI smarts also comes vulnerability. Whereas you sometimes had to shoot your human enemies several times in the original unless you got a direct head shot, the human enemies in Crysis Warhead seem to drop at three shots at most. This makes the world of Warhead far more realistic and the battles faster and more hectic than what we've got used to.
The faster gameplay is also mirrored in the way the nanosuit now works - it recharges power much faster than Nomad's suit did. This discrepancy is explained away by colouring the suit HUD differently (red colours instead of blue) and calling it a “Sykes Mod”. Why Nomad never bothered to mod his suit to perform better, we'll probably never know.
No Pros and Cons at this time