Thursday, 9 August 2012

Now Playing: Crysis

In Crysis, a first person shooter originally released in 2007, you assume the role of Nomad, a special forces soldier equipped with a tactical nano-suit providing you with enhanced strength, speed, armour and stealth capabilities.

Literally dropping you straight into the action, the game opens with the occupation of a tropical island by a North Korean force, but as you quickly discover, there is a greater threat lurking on the island, something extremely hostile and alien in nature. The first half of the game is excellent, as you slowly advance further into the island, rescuing hostages and engaging the NKA.

The game looks fantastic and the combat is fluid and satisfying thanks to a decent range of weapons (with some nice on the fly customisation options) and the combination of nano-suit functions. The action builds at a fine pace, with battles becoming epic in scale and your individual actions becoming part of a larger objective. Thanks to the large, open maps and your suit capabilities, there’s a lot of ways you can approach mission objectives. Replaying certain sections always feels different depending on how you approach it and how the excellent enemy AI reacts.

But then you reach a point just over half way through the game where the alien force becomes the primary threat, and that’s where things start to get a little, well, bland. The game suddenly becomes a very linear, very forgettable shooter. The alien opponents are nowhere near as interesting to fight as the human AI, and battles with them quickly devolve into dull, circle-strafe fests.

Exploration, strategy, planning and precise execution are thrown out of the window in favour of uninspired static turret sections and a few vehicle shooting galleries.The levels turn into a series of large scale set pieces which, while enjoyable to watch and to a certain extent play, just aren’t very interesting compared to what came before, as you suddenly feel rather pointless in terms of your contribution to the action and your nano-suit practically becomes redundant.

It’s undeniably exciting at certain moments, but you become strangely disconnected from the action and it feels completely at odds with the approach to combat during the first half of the game. So yeah, first half: excellent. Second half: Uh, not so much. So would I recommend it? I think so. Even though the latter half is disappointing, it’s still enjoyable to play through once. If I was going to replay it though, I’d probably just stick to the first half.


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