The original Crysis debuted on the PC back in 2007, and the hype surrounding the game’s graphical prowess is legendary. For the most part, the game delivered the goods and those running fast computers saw the best-looking production of the generation. And although time moves fast and we’ve seen even more impressive visual presentations since, the graphics powerhouse still holds up surprisingly well. Unfortunately, a little something is lost in this conversion to consoles, even if the game remains a blast to play.
In terms of a console comparison, this year’s Crysis 2 is obviously a step above; it’s just more advanced, more polished, more detailed, etc, etc, etc. But the comparison may not be fair given the time gap, and besides, this port of the original looks pretty damn good. I still remember seeing it run on a super fast PC, though, and in this downloadable version, we’re missing anti-aliasing and the draw distance is definitely not as impressive. There are a few small glitches and inconsistencies, too, but still, there’s a lot to like and it remains a pretty, attractive adventure.
The sound is fine, although I’m not the biggest fan of some of the voices, as a few come across as forced. The sound effects are spot-on, though, as explosions and heavy ammunition really has a big impact, and some of the ambient audio effects add to the sandbox scope of the landscape. Skittering birds and other animals rustling the underbrush are nice additions, and the overall feel is one of immersion thanks to a compelling (if understated) soundtrack and those hard-hitting effects.
As you might expect, this is a first-person shooter with plenty of sci-fi appeal. You play as Nomad, a member of an elite military team and the owner of the bad-ass Nanosuit. They expanded upon the suit concept in the sequel, so don’t expect quite as much depth, but there’s something else to consider: the original Crysis is more open-ended. There’s more freedom in terms of movement, giving you multiple ways to approach various enemy installations. It’s a great bonus.
You will come across many enemies, both human and not-so-human, and the only downside to this thrilling, diverse quest is that the human foes are brain-dead. In this way, the game shows its age, as enemies will often not spot you in certain circumstances, and they’ll remain rooted in place as you slink closer while cloaked. But of course, despite their stupidity, they won’t miss with any bullet they fire, which is a relatively old-fashioned trait that is starting to die out these days.
There’s also the chance that your game will freeze right up at checkpoints, or during particularly hectic situations when a lot is happening on the screen. But this could be an issue in the PC version, too, so we shouldn’t call this a port problem. Beyond these issues, Crysis is still Crysis. You get an entertaining and surprisingly invigorating storyline, a fantastic campaign that is both challenging and rewarding, and a more open-ended approach that gives us a few more options.
We can modify our weapons, upgrade our suit, and choose to go all stealthy or all Rambo. It’s the gameplay choices and RPG-like options that make both Crysis titles that much more engrossing, so don’t just dismiss these games as typical, everyday shooters. You can complete secondary objectives in addition to the primary ones, and your abilities are simply mapped to the directional buttons. This replaces the ability wheel utilized in the PC version. You can drive vehicles, too, but I have to say, the control is way too loose.
Yeah, the frame rate isn’t quite where it needs to be, there’s some pop-in, and it just doesn’t look downright amazing due to today’s standards and this slightly lesser port. The vehicle control is loose and the AI is stupid, but this remains a lot of fun, and the campaign speaks for itself. It’s full of various elements, the Nanosuit is just awesome, the weapons are great, and the freedom is excellent. I really like being able to choose how I tackle my objectives. The on-foot controls are solid (even if I still think you move too slow) and the core gameplay is intact. If you never played Crysis before, you should be satisfied with this version.
The Good: Still looks quite good. Overall gameplay is solid throughout. Freedom for exploration. Control converts nicely to the gamepad. Nanosuit remains one of the best FPS features. Diverse and rewarding.
The Bad: Some graphical elements suffer. Human AI is stupid. Vehicle control is way loose. No multiplayer.
The Ugly: “For military enemies, you guys don’t move much.”
10/8/2011 Ben Dutka