Friend of mine that's been in Australia the last week FTP'd me the full version of crysis. I played it non stop until about 10:30pm. About 7 hours of delta difficulty game play. And in my opinion, it's the ONLY way to experience this game. The AI is noticeably smarter and really challenges you to maximize the environment and your suit and weapons.
Aside from that, here are my thoughts on the game so far.
Ok, first and foremost, I think that the visuals play a key role in the game. The atmosphere that the surrounding environments create is unlike anything I've ever seen before. I can easily see this game not being AS enjoyable on a lower end machine to some BUT the fun and action will still be the same.
So, with that being said, I'll discuss the overall feel of the game thus far.
It feels very much like a well polished, albeit mildly clichéd, action movie turned sci-fi action movie. The scripts and sequences, cut scenes and missions are all extremely well written and planned out and as the developers promised, you the player control how these scenes will unfold. They can be very quiet or all out Rambo/Delta force blow the whole village up style. I've found that different "scenes" natrually feel better (to me at least) played a certain way. I've found myself naturally gravitating towards a stealthy approach to the forest and heavily jungled fire fights with KPA patrols (sort of how the predator hunted in the first predator movie) and for the village and small outposts and bases, I've found that there are always numerous sniping opportunities to pick off guard patrols and thin them out followed by plenty of stuff to blow up to create chaos in the place as I storm in capping soldiers left and right.
The weapons are very well balanced as well and as you progress further into the game, the koreans wear more body armor making them harder to take down. It requires a face shot rather than a head shot as a head shot would just knock their helmet off (unless you're using the precision rifle
). they also slowly start introducing more powerful guns and more heavily upgraded guns. You'll slowly start to see KPA's with laser sights, silencers, sub machine guns, precision sniper rifles, scopes and eventually High lite for mild spoiler -> Nano suits
OK back to graphics.
The graphics are quite simply jaw dropping. Crytek has done an unbeliveable job creating these magnificent sprawling valleys and mountains and incredibly detailed forests. They've done a fantastic job recreating the environment you'd see in an eastern pacific island. The flat valleys with rice patties surrounded by enormous mountains and cliffs, the waterfalls and rivers wandering through the jungle forests and the eerie swampy bog areas thick with dead vegetation, scraggly old trees, low lying fog and long forgotten old run down shacks do an increidble job of creating an atmosphere that really has never been seen or experienced in a game thus far. Oblivion's long sprawling world and forests were nice and all but at very high detail settings, crysis absolutely destroys oblivion in every way visually.
As most of you know, at one point in the game, you are put into an alien environment. This isn't a spoiler as the developers have made this known for a long time now. And without giving anything away to ruin the experience, I will just say that it's by FAR the most awesome alien environment experience I've ever seen in a game. The zero G environment environment is extremely cool and the best way to experience this environment. Crytek really did an amazing job taking you out of a human world. They could have just tossed some new textures and stuff at you but the totally 3D movement you have in this new environment removes some of the linear-ness out of the game and adds a bit more immersiveness to the overall experience.
I know there were a LOT of eyebrows being raised when they first announced that you would be put into an alien environment becuase we all know how miserably it failed when they tossed gordon freeman into Xen but I think Crytek really pulled it off well.
The frozen world is also extremely cool (hah. pun) No offense to the modders who have made some snow textured maps but they can't even come close to the frozen environment that crytek have made. The way you freeze if you stand still for too long, the way ice and snow forms on your suit and gun, the way the gasoline and flammable liquid in the explosive barrels are now solid and don't blow up (the environment is "well below -200*C")
The air craft carrier was expertly done as well. The attention to detail is unreal here. Everything was done extremely well and this gave the game engine a chance to show off it's uber dynamic lighting system as the shadows and lighting are extremely well done.
Was this game worth the wait? Absolutely. It reeks of extremely polished game. The character models are impeccable, the weapon models and vehicles are extremely well done, the character animations are jaw dropping, facial animations are incredible and the voice acting is not cheesy the way it could have easily been. The story is very well laid out and very well paced. You don't spend too much time fighting endless waves of enemies and you don't find yourself wandering around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do next. The free roaming abliity really opens up so many ways to play what could easily have been very linear and predictable fire fights. Crytek really put in the development time into this game and it shows. The game just oozes quality and pro feel.
I can't help but want to compare it to other great FPS games like HL2 and in that regard, Crysis doesn't quite have the same claiber of memorable moments because HL2 seems to be sectioned from one very identifiable scene to another filled with small breaks of random nothing activity to get to the next scene. Crysis isn't like that, be it good or bad, becuase it seems like the whole time is one very long scene. Yeah there are those idle moments where you're not killing or blowing something up but you've always seemingly got something going on. The beginning is slow but at the point where the demo ends, the action picks up hard core and really doesn't stop. It just keeps getting more and more intense so the little break periods where you catch your breath are typically spent running around restocking on ammo.
I definitely didn't want to stop playing and never felt burnt out from too much shooting or the feeling that they were rehashing the same fire fight over and over. Totally different surroundings in several base camp assaults practically eliminate that feeling because you have so many different ways to approach the situation which ultimately IS the same "blow up the base to gather intel" task. I never sat there thinking to myself "geez how many times do I have to do this??".
I've got over 250 screen shots at the moment here with me at work. I'm weeding through them discarding the uninteresting ones and will upload them all to photobucket this afternoon when I get home and probably pick some that are my favorites to post and then just post a link to the album for those who want to see the rest.
Now for the spoilers. Highlite the text below if you want to read my thoughts and opinions on what I would consider spoilers. If not, enjoy the game and then come back and see what you think.
Ok, first thing is first, I love the fact that Prophet didn't die. It also opens wide up some degree of speculation on whether or not he knew everything about what was going on before the mission started. When you get to the carrier and he's in the chair in that little science lab, the military scientist and that chick you rescued from the mine are sitting there saying they have no idea what it is yet somehow he managed to rig up the alien weapon to integrate into his suit power and modifiy it all in the field and Prophet just sort of blows off their remarks. I can only assume he knew exactly what was going on the whole time and that some sort of top secret govt agency has known about this ancient technology for some time.
Next, I think the alien characters in the alien environment really are sub par compared to the soldiers. When the camera takes you up through that initial door and throws you face to face with one of the alien creatures, there's really no detail at all. Just lots of blue and green color.. blah. Maybe it was supposed to be that way but if so, BOOO.
In the tank mission where you're going across that huge flat valley and you experience the first earthquake that reveals bits and pieces of the alien structure within the mountain, that was the first point in the game for me that conveyed a sense of just how epic this game is in all aspects.
I'm to the point where I just defended the aircraft carrier from the alien gunships and turned on the nuclear reactor and just now have gotten wind of that hand held mini nuke gun so I can't wait but I'm very curious to know how that chick scentists is going to be able to use my suit to kill the aliens. I saw a brief what seemed to be small EMP burst from the suit there in the reactor core but it didn't kill them. Just stunned them. I want some sort of emp on demand where I can control it.
I'm also reeeealy hoping (and pretty much assuming) that you go back to the island to get Prophet again so I'm curious to see if the Admiral's nuke actually penetrated the ice globe and ravaged the mountain or if it just sort of blew up when it hit the globe. Either way, I'm really hoping to see a nuked landscape but I'm not holding my breath.
Also, I'm wondering if there's any other way to kill the koreans in the nano suits more effectively than what I'm doing but I'm just running up behind them if possible and using the strength mele or grabbing them and strenght punching them. Because the one shot head kills that you tyically get with the precision rifle against all other soliders don't do anything. I've unloaded an entire clip into the head of the nano suit guys and still not dead. They take 2 missles from the rocket launcher too.
It's sort of the same way with the little alien drones. I'll pop them twice with the strength melee and down they go. For the big flying guys, I'll hit them with 2 rounds from the gauss gun and they die. Seems like (aside from the rocket launcher) that's the most effective way to drop them.