On first glance, I wondered "What was all the fuss about!" On second glance, I tried to answer that question. This is a game that, in its time, pushed game performance technology to the limits and still does to a degree. To people who are really into that kind of thing, I suppose it was like an exciting new toy. However, I think it was this one aspect that caused Crysis to be hyped way out of proportion in relation to it's "overall elements." This is not to say that Crysis is in any way a bad game, it's just not the be all and end all of games. What kind of score you give it will really depend on your playing style and what settings you can play on. Performance issues will probably dictate mid range for many systems. What I want to remind you off when reading the glowing reviews on its graphics is that they are based on running this game on high or very high settings which adds all the details you won't see on the lower ranges. Keeping in mind that Crysis is getting a little long in the tooth now, the end look of this game may wow you on optimal settings, but for the average user it won't particularly look better than many other games. That said, back to what it's all about.
The year is 2020 and the Korean People's Army has kidnapped a U.S. team of archeologists working in a South Pacific island. The reason for this is unknown given that the two countries are not at war. In order to keep it that way, a special covert team is sent in with instructions to extract the hostages without engaging the KPA, if possible. Ha Ha! That, of course, will not happen. You play one of this team and your code name is Nomad. The team is outfitted with special gear called Nanosuits, which enables the wearer to activate the functions of faster speed, heavier armor, a cloaking device and greater strength. These are your best defenses against the enemy. In my opinion, the Crysis interface for these functions is one of the best and fastest I've seen even by today's standards. In addition, similar to Far Cry, you have binoculars that can tag the position of individual Koreans and any vehicles.
You are not given particularly special weapons and will actually end up using the Korean guns that you pick up. Some of these can be highly modified with various attachments such as lights, lasers, silencers and scopes. The bodies disappear fairly quickly, though, and ammo can be very difficult to spot without this reference point. A little secret is to activate your binoculars, as the weapons will then have a blue glow and become easier to find. You can carry dual pistols, two assault weapons, a missile launcher and various types of grenades. Your choice really only gets down to which assault weapons you want to carry. In addition, you have a GPS system and a map. There are also quite a few vehicles included in this game and at various times you will be driving armored cars, boats, a tank and an airplane.
Shortly into the mission, you start to lose team members through some mysterious attacks not perpetrated by the Koreans. When a strange creature carries off your squad leader, you are left on your own to perform the missions that will allow the rest of the main unit to move forward. Occasionally you will meet up with this unit, but circumstances will have you on your own again fairly quickly. In the information you pick up along the way, there is reference to some kind of ancient fossil the archeology team has uncovered. During their research they discover this thing is still alive. The Koreans want to use it as a weapon and have kidnapped the scientists to activate it.
Crysis is an open world environment and you can choose to either shoot it out with the Korean patrols or find a way to bypass them, which is sometimes advisable. The AIs are fairly smart and will try to outflank you. The story really isn't anything outstandingly creative and takes quite a long time to emerge from the basic "engage the enemy forces" plot. During the first half all you do is fight the KPA regulars in different locations, but in similar fashion. It's not until you reach the mine that the story becomes more interesting. There's a lot of sameness to the maps with rundown shacks looking like they would in any poor country. You really don't get to see too much variety till later in the game. The maps are very detailed though, and the outdoor graphics are quite impressive if you pay attention to the way the vegetation moves and the play of light and shadow.
The control system is very user friendly and you don't have to tie your fingers in knots to get the job done. Activating the Nanosuit's functions and changing weapon attachments can be done very quickly and easily. The only thing missing is a crouch toggle, which can be added through the console commands if you want it.
Even today there are performance issues with this game on mid range systems. There is a lot of tweaking options and advice on how to configure it in the console and ingame files. The last boss fight is very buggy so be sure to keep lots of saved game files during this.
Although there is a linear story, Crysis is somewhat open-ended giving it replay value. You can also play around with the different nanosuit functions during combat. All in all, it ranks pretty high in first-person shooters and is recommended if your system can handle it.