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Three years late to the party

and now I still haven’t seen the ending to Crysis, because a game-breaking bug has stopped me at the last part- literally the last shot- of the final boss. The only way around this seems to be to just restart the level and never quick save, which is annoying because it’s mostly a dull slog through tight corridors and heavy on un-skippable story sections. Which is the opposite of the mostly lush, open environments of the previous nine hours.

Playing as the usual game hero cliches packed into a nanomachine-powered battle suit and dropped onto a pacific island swarming with angry Koreans, Crysis initially feels a lot like a futurist version of its spiritual predecessor, Far Cry, with an improved CryEngine throwing around even more impressive explosions and vistas.

(Which is interesting- in that the original Far Cry developers went off and made what is essentially a very similar game (right down to the “monsters” showing up part of the way through), while the team brought into push out the obligatory sequel made a game where you can set fire to an open-world approximation of a small African country.)

What sets it apart, though, is the nanosuit, which grants the user improved armour, speed, strength, and invisibility, but not all at the same time. In Crysis, you are as much of a weapon as the customizable assault rifle you are carrying, and if the game is remembered for anything it should be for how it pushes the idea of being superhuman in games. Particularly the physical aspects.

(and I don’t mean superhuman in the way that almost every FPS player character is a regenerating bullet-sponge.)

Games like Deus Ex have covered augmented humans before, but that was before physics engines and ragdolls became standard. Now- and by now I mean three years ago- Crysis has given us a world where I can grab a surprised Korean and throw him off a cliff, or sprint into him and knock him flying. There’s the obvious sense of empowerment that this gives, but also the satisfaction of intelligently applying the suits abilities, which is comes from just how limited they really are.

All of the suit’s powers drain its energy when their specific function (absorbing a bullet impact, punching a car, etc) is used, and it’s surprising just how quickly it can vanish. Even with a full power bar, two seconds of super-sprinting is enough leave it empty; more often than not it felt like I barely had enough energy to get by, but that just makes the decisions of how to expend it more important, because getting caught by a squad pissed off Koreans with no suit power is not fun.

What’s also worth pointing out is that- aside from from a few rocky areas that need to be leaped- the game never forces you into using your powers just to get by, and the powers that you do rely on are going to define your experience- whether it’s as Korean puncher extraordinaire, a shotgun-wielding spectre or somewhere in-between.


This is Somewhere In England!

ONE, TWO, THREE,  FOUR!