Late to the Party: Crysis Warhead

19 08 2009

It’s been mentioned that I rarely have the money to buy games right when they come out.  The main disadvantages have been intellectual ones, as when I get around to buying, and beating a particular game, everything in that game is discussed and over with. This is why I decided to make a new post series, in my ever-increasing series, entitled Late to the Party. The inaugural edition will be about Crysis: Warhead.

I bought it at the Circuit City firesale way back when, a steal at $15. To put it into perspective, I’ve spent more on uncooked Chinese food, and that experience only lasted 8 hours. I knew that I was getting into a single-player game in the vein of an action movie. There is multiplayer, but I have no interest in it. My expectations were not low, by any stretch of the imagination, as I liked what I heard about the original Crysis from ex 1up staffer Shawn Elliott, even though he gave it a pitiful 8. Why so low, Shawn? Why so low?

A few weeks later, I installed it when I had a nice break after a brutal exam week, and it was impressive. At first, I was impressed that the game ran well on my 4Gig, Mild Core 2 Duo, and GeForce 7900GS machine. The game decided that my graphics were mainstream (oh noes), and set them accordingly. Honestly, they looked amazing. I can only wait until I get my new video card and a fresh 64-bit install of XP or Vista to hold me over until the Windows 7 release. Lately, in accordance with the Windows effect, the game has been running slower. I turned the shaders and textures down to the minimum setting. The game is still gorgeous.

Above: Gorgeous

Above: Gorgeous

This is what gamers have associated with Crytek, Crysis was a technical marvel, and Crysis became associated with high-end PCs that people don’t actually have, and the game itself was an afterthought. Having played C:W, I can say I’m a fan of the series, and all the technical criticisms need to be re-evaluated. I have a fairly modest PC. It was modest two years ago when I bought it. Like I said, the game still looks amazing.

What really amazed me was what it brought to the shooter table. Crysis puts you in the super-suit of a soldier, the suits grants you increased strength, speed, blah blah blah. That is the central focus of the game, but it’s been done. I hear you asking “so what? what’s the big deal, GAME did that, and that was TIME ago”. Well, douche bag, Crysis lets you choose between enhancing the speed, shield and strength of your character, or activating a cloak at any given time, adding a level of strategy to the equation. Yes, an invisibility cloak like in Harry Potter.

Boom goes the dynamite

And boom goes the dynamite

There is the ubiquitous energy bar that gets used up with these things, so you can’t perma-sprint through an entire level. This adds more strategy than your standard super-soldier shooter.  This favors combos, which are not only the best part of the game, but add variety in how you take down each wave. You can use super-speed to run past the front lines, then use the shotgun and blow them away. For the social outcast, you can activate strength, which increases accuracy, then trick out your gun with a rifle kit, and do some medium range sniping. If you just want to run in with a semi-automatic and run and shoot from cover, you can enhance your shield, for obvious reasons. Hell, the invisibility cloak and melee might be the combo if you like playing the rogue in WoW.

Why did I get the pistol?

Why did I get the pistol?

I haven’t beaten it, yet, but I doubt much will change. This is a really really fun game. From a pure shooter-porn perspective, this is awesome in the way a good Jason Statham movie is. Even a bad Jason Statham movie. There is a story, but it’s more of a premise for super-soldiers and aliens. There’s foreigners to shoot (Koreans?). There’s a main character from an exotic land (Australia). The most important part is that you have fun playing it.

Oh, the full version is my wallpaper. Why?

Oh, the full version is my wallpaper. Why?

It doesn’t have monotonous parts, it doesn’t try to work in environmental puzzles (so far), it knows it’s a shooter, and it stays true to that. If you like action games, definitely give this a try. If you play shooters, also give it a try. If for nothing else than to see what it brings to the table, and learn from it.