Blog 473: Crysis Maximum Edition

So, Crysis.

I was in town a couple weeks ago and splurged a fiver on Crysis: Maximum Edition, which contains Crysis, Crysis Warhead and Crysis Wars. Since one third of that triad is multiplayer only, it is absent from the following.

Crysis

The first half of Crysis is a lot like Far Cry — lots of jungle to tromp through. Of course, it’s several years of technological improvement better jungle; foliage parts for you, you can mash down trees with your cars, and so on. But still jungle.

However, Crysis feels a lot more directed than Far Cry, and since it’s a straight shooter this is to its advantage. Rather than a few “get here… somehow” objectives with miles of wide open, pretty but lifeless jungle islands, Crysis has a definite corridor — albeit still a wide and varied corridor with plenty of vehicle and foot options (almost like a shooter version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, though in later levels the corridor gets a bit tighter again).

And boy, is that corridor full of life. Along with the stealthier solo infiltration and one-man-army shenanigans, you’ll also be dropped into the middle of serious war zones — jets flying overhead, explosions everywhere. Action, drama… Not much storyline, but plenty of action and drama. And small birds that seem completely unperturbed by the explosions all around them.

This is why I don't drive.

Fight For Your Right

Weapons in Crysis annoyed me. You can only carry two real guns and the pistol(s). Realism, huh? On top of this, you can carry one missile launcher, a big pile of C4, and a stack of anti-vehicle mines. Why can’t I trade all those mines I’ll never use for another gun? Far Cry‘s limit of four was much more reasonable; I like to have a shotgun, an assault rifle and a sniper so I’m equipped for anything, then something with a little more bang in the top slot in case of vehicles. But no.

Suit customisation annoyed me too. It felt so… contrived. You can’t jump unless you’re in this mode, but then you can’t run (Deus Ex clearly got it wrong when they tied speed and jumping together), and you can’t punch through doors unless you’re in punch mode… “Suit customisation in real time” was more “juggle modes” — I was hoping for some more RPG-esque fine-tuning of suit parameters so I could get my own comfortable balance of speed, armour and punch.

Weapon customisation was a little better; as you progressed, you picked up more different attachments like sniper scopes and laser sights and underslung grenade launchers. Rather than the game forcing you to swap between attachments like the suit modes, here you could set things up as you felt comfortable and roll with it.

If I can't run like a supersoldier, I'm going to bloody well admire the scenery like one. Crysis is unashamedly gorgeous, even if it's a bit "fur coat and nae knickers".

How Long Is a Carbanocarbon ROM Module?

Crysis  is far too short.

While Far Cry was the gift that kept on giving (even though it… didn’t have that much to give…), Crysis just conks out after an — admitted pretty intense — final boss. The game ends crying out for a continuation; a continuation which, sadly, stand-alone expansionWarhead does not provide. Aside from the game only seeming to have eleven levels, the whole plot is left annoyingly dangling. Almost like they ran out of time and/or money and just chopped the last three levels off.

Crysis artificially recycles weapon progression by stripping everything from you half-way through. That comment has nothing to do with the picture.

Crysis: Warhead

Warhead is more of the same, except this time its cinematics really confusing. Crysis tells its story from the first-person perspective; you never see Nomad from the outside because you are him. Warhead does the same, then sometimes quietly switches to an external camera — but keeps up the “you are in somebody’s face” techniques. It took me until quite a bit through the intro before I realised that I was Psycho (How was I supposed to know his real name was Sykes? Read the manual or something?) and not some other person following him around.

Warhead also doesn’t add much in the way of new weaponry; then again, since it’s coincident with the main game it wouldn’t make much sense for Psycho to have discarded that bad-ass plasma gun from the final boss before leaving Nomad with cruddy weapons for the real finale. But that’s the shit you get into for retconning.

I don’t know if it was a symptom of my familiarity with the controls or an improvement in level design, but I certainly felt that I was swapping suit modes more often and more fluidly in Warhead. Strength to jump and back to armour mostly, but that’s more than just sitting in armour for all of Crysis itself except for when the game put contrived mode-change “puzzles” in your face.

Is that me or am I in the jungle with him?

The Verdict

Having said all that, if I now saw Crysis 2 in the shops and it looked like I could feasibly run it I would go for it.

It filled the same hole as Hollywood blockbuster action-films. Explosions, action, stunning visuals — it’s got them all. It does have enough story to keep it going, but as noted, it unceremoniously dropped it when there was still plenty of natural milage left in the plot (even if that material would have had to lead to a proper downer ending where everyone died so the door could be kept open for a sequel).

Well, I paid a fiver for it and wasn’t disappointed for that price.

If you want a cheap but fun thrill for a few nights, go for it.

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8 thoughts on “Blog 473: Crysis Maximum Edition

  1. I thought that Crysis had lots of content, but that was probably because I only played it on the hardest difficulty, which takes monumental amounts of effort to get through.

    But they speak Korean! Totally worth it. :T

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    • I don’t really get that as difficulty. Nobody shouts “RELOADING!” every five seconds in any game I’ve ever played before, so Korean shouts are as good as no shouts which puts us back… where we’ve always been.

      Still, it would have been fine if not for the ending. If everyone had died or gone home or something, fair enough. But they didn’t!

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    • Yeah, I think they mistakenly equated realism with difficulty.

      But while the plot did seem quite unfinished, I was quite satisfied with the actual length of the gameplay.

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      • Apparently Crysis 2 continues the story and there will be a third to make it a trilogy, so it’s not impossible that they could rescue the ending later with RETCON MYSTERY.

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  2. Meh Crysis 2 has some better visuals, but overall less special sequences like the flying sequence in Crysis and the massive alien attack at the end on the ship. But the upgrades system makes it more fun C:

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