First impressions: Crysis

I have a low-to-medium spec PC and wasn’t looking forward to Crysis too much. My system: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+, 2 GB DDR2 533 MHz, GeForce 7600GS 512 MB, running Windows XP. I’ve been playing with the settings for a couple of days now and have settled on most settings on low, some on medium. Getting a second gig of RAM helped a lot and cost all of 20€. On low levels, it doesn’t come near Far Cry’s level of beauty, especially since you need to drop the resolution and anti-alias, too, but its entirely playable, only chugging in heavy close quarters combat. When you’re not in combat, I could push it up to medium levels and yeah, it’s a huge difference. I’m sure I’ll revisit this once I get a new GPU some day. The physics feel like something new, too, but obviously they require a lot from your system. Even on low levels, they’re impressive, with trees coming down from stray bullets.

Once you get over the looks and accept that you’re going to be looking at something much worse than you’re used to, there’s a game in there, too. It’s been compared to Far Cry a lot, but really, this is so much better. The much-touted nanosuit makes all the difference. You’re changing suit modes all the time to adapt to the situation. So far I’ve spent most of my time in cloak mode, sneaking around enemies and picking them off one by one, but it’s easy and quick to, say, switch to strength mode to clear a big gap and go back to cloak while still in the air, switching again to speed mode to cross the opening ahead and so on. It really makes you feel like a super-soldier.

And that’s the big idea they’ve got, I think: instead of making you look like a lost tourist (Far Cry) who just happens to be able to take clipfuls of bullets and still return the favor, you’re clearly much superior to your enemies. You look like a techno nightmare (the suit resembles bare muscles you’ve worn on top of your body) and tear through whole fortifications with ease. Still, it requires tactical thought, because a couple of shotgun blasts from up close will still take you out, or getting caught in a crossfire. It’s actually something new, as an FPS experience. I wasn’t expecting that at all.

In addition to the nanosuit modes, the various weapon accessories have a lot of effect, too. Unfortunately I really can’t use the scopes as the visual effect wreaks havoc on my performance, but the others are sweet, too. I find myself switching weapons and accessories all the time, whereas in most games you quickly find your favorites and have no reason to ever deviate from them. You go with a silencer and reflex sight when you’re infiltrating, take off the silencer and put on a laser sight when you’re discovered, and so on. It really adds to your options.






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