Friday, September 19, 2008

So I Just Started Playing... - Crysis

I've decided to make a new feature for this blog (since it seemed like a good idea for my other blog). This feature will highlight some game that I've started to play a lot recently, or CD I've started to listen to, or movie I've watched. It won't be isolated to new products, mostly because I generally don't see movies in the theater, don't like new music, and don't buy games new. But that means that you'll mostly see me comment on things that you've heard of or tried out yourself, so hopefully it'll result in a little more discussion.

If you're worried that this will replace the halls of fame, you're right to be worried. This will replace the halls of fame. The reality is that, without a gallery and bronze busts of the inductees (or at least a list somewhere), there's just not much reason to keep it up. I could make the lists or fashion the busts, but we both know I have neither the motivation nor the tendency to succumb to modest peer pressure to do that.

So anyways, let's get to work. Crysis. When the game first came out, it was highly thought of for being an exceptional work of programming, specifically when it comes to graphics. Unfortunately for many PC gamers at the time of Crysis' release, the hardware demands made by this game prevented many from playing it at all, and prevented most from being able to really enjoy the full capacity of graphics that the game offers. But I just got a brand new computer with high-level components, so I've been able to see the game as it was intended, and let me tell you; it's spectacular.

All of the character models are solid, but you find solid character models in a lot of games. The explosions are very good, but again, not unique to Crysis. Yes, you can fell trees and blow up shacks, but the most impressive part visually is actually the terrain. The entire wilderness moves all the time, leaves rustling, seagulls scampering, and water running. This might seem small, but I assure you, it's huge. In most games up until now, you could find your enemies simply by scanning the horizon for movement or waiting to hear anything other than music. But when every bush and blade of grass is moving, and when there are fluctuations in environmental sound based on wind and wild animals, it's a much more difficult (and realistic) task to stay alive.

The gameplay is fun, similar to Halo in a lot of ways, but a little more realistic. Your character is a super soldier from a couple decades into the future, rather than a couple centuries. The actual tasks are relatively similar; you have to travel through the jungle, picking off or eliminating patrols, making your way to some landmark where you get information or take out a target. But it's such a beautiful terrain, and the game is pretty tough, so each leg of your journey is a new challenge.

The most unique part of the gameplay is the ability to gear your nanosuit to allow you to do different things. The default setting is for it to act as armor, giving you an extra health bar. You can also set it to stealth (cloaking you from your enemies), speed (giving you extraordinary running speed, useful for escaping), and strength (increasing the power of your melee attacks and giving you the ability to jump high in the air).

You can also customize your weapons, adding silencers, sights, and scopes, and switching between different kinds of ammunition. You can carry two rifle-class weapons, so you can have one long-range, non-silenced, scoped weapon, and one with normal sights and a silencer for eliminating enemies with a bit of discretion. Coupling a silenced submachine gun with the stealth nanosuit option makes for some enjoyable, movie-style assaults.

I like the game a lot. I'm not going to break it down into different categories, because different games will have different relevant categories. So I'll just give it a base-100 rating (and I'll do this for all of these kinds of posts).

Final Score: 93

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