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Anyone who has played Crysis has strong opinions about the game. You either
loved the ground breaking graphics and open landscapes, or you loathed
the fact you needed the pc equivalent of a small nuclear power plant to run
it. The followup Warhead is more action oriented which manages to keep
all the strong points of the first game and adds new gameplay elements
while lowering the computer requirements. A sure success? ... let's find
Warhead is a companion expansion with a story which runs concurrently to
the original. An alien artefact has been discovered on a tropical island
and after North Korea and the United States charge to capture it, an
alien invasion starts which freezes the island (in a similar fashion to the
You now take control of Sergeant Michael Sykes (you may remember him as
Psycho) and the romp is held on the other side of the island. The storyline
runs in parallel to the first so you will already know the outline if you
played the first.
As a structural piece, the opening cinematic reaffirms Psycho as all in one
gun tottin』 action man as he leaps off cliffs into moving trucks while
kicking the ass of many North Koreans. Thankfully this time around the
presentation is higher with some great third person cinematics setting
the mood nicely. To further enhance the dynamics of the game there are some
great musical pieces which help to build dramatic tension.
Again there is considerable focus on the nanosuit, the multi faceted body
armour from the first title which gives you a lot of superhuman
abilities, such as superstrength and superspeed. Using the nanosuit was
always fun, but this time around the game is running much better thanks
to engine optimisations and enhancements. The open nature of Warhead lets
you dictate the terms of combat and I always really enjoyed this aspect
of the game, you aren』t merely running from point A to point B via an
invisible ingame tunnel. The wealth of tactics at your disposal with all
the suits abilities can lead into some wonderfully versatile combat
situations. You can sneak up behind a group of soldiers, drop a grenade,
sprint to the side, watch as it takes half of them out, then rush back
in, and grab one then hurl him across the landscape into a tree. This is
where the game scores very highly, in the freedom of combat and movement.
The game developers are aware of the main characters abilities and power,
so most of the combat situations involve you again a plethora of enemies.
This time around however the game seems to be more relentless in a Call
Of Duty 4 style and you rarely get time to breathe which makes for an
adrenaline fuelled experience.
Those people who like to run away from a fight to make quick map time
will be frustrated to hear that sometimes the foes follow you, so you may
have ran past situation 1 into situation 2, only to find the original bad
guys are on your ass while you are dealing with the new group. I think this
is a great aspect as it makes you aware that you can』t just skip
sections of the game to make quick progression. The AI is rather good as
well, so you frequently see the aliens darting around a lot quicker than
the humans behind cover and there are various Alien types now including a
shield carrier who protects the grunts from bullets. This means normally if
you see them you need to concentrate on killing them first otherwise they
make your life a living hell.
There are some new weapons, such as the new submachine gun and six shot
grenade launcher (awesome!). Also you are given some new items, such as
antitank mines which prove useful later in the game. Lower difficultly
levels in this game allow you to collect ammo by merely walking over it
which is sure to appeal to the pure arcade gun and runners out there.
Warhead isn』t as long as the original game, however as it is basically
an expansion pack I think this was expected. That said, there is still
enough gameplay to last quite a few intense hours, I beat it in 6 hours
or so. Considering it only costs $29.99 I feel it』s pretty good value. The
replay value is quite high as you can change your combat tactics if you
fancy another blast through the single player mode on a higher difficulty
The environment deserves special mention as Crytek have vastly improved the
landscape, now certain sections of the ice covered environment shatter when
bullets hit them. As I briefly mentioned earlier, the performance issues
with the original have been fine tuned and resolved.
Equally so, some people might be expecting the graphics to look worse,
amazingly even though the game runs better, the graphics are even better.
The lighting is improved, there are enhanced particle effects and the
textures are higher resolution. This is the game to test your new high
end graphics card to the hilt, I lost track of how many times I just paused
the game to look around the environment as the light broke through the
trees to cast shadows on the ground in front of me. It really is
My system for the review was a Q6600 with a 260 GTX and I was able to set
the graphics to 1920x1200 with details at Enthusiast level (basically the
same as very high from before). The game not only looked amazing but it ran
around the 35-50fps mark. Anyone with a 8800GTS or higher will be able to
enjoy Crysis at high resolution with the eye candy on full. For those
with slightly less impressive hardware, you can comfortably use Gamer
setting, which increases frame rates by a good 20%. You do lose a little of
the image quality obviously but it』s still very impressive.
The original Crysis had a multiplayer mode which was called Power
Struggle which received a fair amount of abuse from the public for being
laboured and complex. Crysis Wars improves this situation by introducing
a new array of maps geared for deatchmatch style games, with the added
twist that everyone is in a nanosuit. This means all the tactics you
learned in single player with the suit can still be used in multiplayer,
you can hide in foliage in invisible mode while waiting on another player
to blindly run past. You can change into strength mode to land a killer
blow on the back of his head .... yes the options are almost endless.
The maps are wonderfully designed and the lighting effects can bring the
levels to life, the foggy style graveyard battles are my personal
favourites. There is also a vehicle map which is great fun to play,
Battlefield style with tanks, helicopters and APC』s a-plenty. Infantry
still should not be overlooked however as they can still take them out with
anti vehicle weapons.
Crytek have promised to deliver more dynamic content as the months pass, so
potentially this section of the game could prove to be very successful,
if they keep to their word.