rysis starts its story off the coast of China in the year 2019. A group of scientists have made a groundbreaking discovery on the island Lingshan, only to have the North Korean army move in and take over the operations. The U.S. responds by sending in a highly trained group of Delta Force soldiers armed with nano-suits. Upon reaching the island, a trail of dead and a team of apprehensive scientists suggest that this find may not be of this earth.
This nano-suit is the star feature of the gameplay, as it allows you to use enhanced abilities to supplement your battle prowess. The suit has four settings, each of which will aid you in different ways by releasing nanobots into your bloodstream to heighten a particular trait. You can use enhanced strength to steady your shot or jump to a higher sight plane, use the cloaking device to stay out of sight or stalk enemies, use enhanced speed to run to safety or rush a group of unsuspecting soldiers, or use the armor setting to create an extra layer of defense. Each setting drains your nano-suit, but it will regenerate when not in use.
Crysis plays much like its predecessor, Far Cry, with sandbox gameplay that lets you tackle missions however you want. On some missions you may choose to sneak past waves of patrols on your way to extracting some intel, while other objectives are better served by eliminating every enemy in the base. My favorite tactic was performing Predator-like cloaked hit-and-runs on my prey, only to disappear into the wilderness and leave the remaining squad feeling confused and helpless.
The majority of the game features a variety of riveting lone wolf missions different enough from each other to avoid repetitiveness. The North Korean foes are smart for the most part, but suffer from the occasional AI glitch when you are shooting them from behind or an elevated position. They are also wearing multiple bulletproof vests judging from the amount of bullets I sank into these guys. But when the game moves away from fighting the DPRK and into the alien structure, it simultaneously moves away from its addictive gameplay. Navigating the zero gravity environments is confusing, and shooting agile enemies while you are floating through the air proves tricky.
Crysis does nothing to diminish Crytek’s reputation of making stellar looking games. From the glassy open seas to the lush vegetation populating the jungle, Crysis sets the high water mark for emergent environments. Better yet, much of the environment can be used to your advantage. When battles go awry, find some thick brush and keep yourself hidden from enemy eyes. When you’re fighting a group of enemies, shoot down a nearby tree so it collapses on them.
On the multiplayer side, Crysis is a mixed bag. The Power Struggle mode combines objective-based gameplay with Battlefield-style conquest to create a fun and deep experience. But the paltry map selection won’t impress anyone, and newbs may find the game to have a high learning curve, as you must purchase new weapons after each death and the weapon selection is extremely limited if you aren’t racking up kills.
In the end, Crysis offers a similar overall experience to its predecessor. The sandbox gameplay is among the best in the genre, and its lengthy single-player campaign largely makes up for some questionable multiplayer.