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PSN Review: Crysis

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Four years ago, Crysis took the PC gaming world by storm. The first-person shooter was ahead of its time in the looks department and the gameplay and story that were built around the graphics engine were a force to be reckoned with. It was critically acclaimed and a best seller. When the sequel was released a few years later on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms with a revised graphics engine, console gamers were finally able to get a taste of the world Crytek Frankfurt created. The first game in the series, however, was nowhere to be found — until now.

Electronic Arts has released the original Crysis for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. The game utilizes the graphics engine that the second title used, and the results are a shooter that’s every bit as fun to play today as it was four years ago. This trip back in time on a PC port is totally worth while and something every console owner should consider if they haven’t had a crack at the Nano Suit.

The Crysis storyline follows a United States special agent, codenamed “Nomad.” The year is 2020, and some stuff is hitting the fan on a remote island occupied by North Koreans. An archaeological team that was on the tropical paradise has signaled for help, so Nomad and the rest of the Raptor Team head in from the skies to help them out. On the way down, something disrupts Nomad’s suit and soon enough you learn it was something of an extraterrestrial nature. So now, not only does Nomad have to deal with militant North Koreans, but he has hostile aliens to boot.

The story is rather captivating in a campy science fiction kind of way. Fans of the genre will definitely dig what’s happening on the island, and as a plot device the story carries events in the game forward. Players experience cut scenes at the end of level chapters and at intervals in between. It’s very much a “fly by the seat of your pants” tale and that makes for a great shooter that helped to craft a rich franchise (as seen in Crysis 2‘s story).

As far as the gameplay is concerned Crysis does a great job of making you feel like a super-powered bad-ass in a futuristic suit. The suit can do all kinds of nifty thing from giving Nomad super-human speed and strength, to increased jumping abilities, and optic-camouflage. The vast forest is an open playground for these powers and figuring how to pick off opposing forces is one of the game’s simple joys. Do you go in guns blazing? Or do you turn invisible and take soldiers out one by one? Either way works well and the game is open enough to allow players to experiment.

Aside from the super powers the gameplay remains very much straightforward first-person shooter. A myriad of guns, grenades, and rocket launchers make their way into Nomad’s capable hands and standing at the business end of those armaments are North Koreans and alien invaders. The controls are fairly standard with shoulder buttons firing, face buttons allowing players to jump, reload, and change weapons, and the analog sticks provide the maneuverability. If the wheel isn’t broken, what’s the point in fixing it? Anyone that has played an FPS will easily get into Crysis.

Gameplay variety continues as the game throws new things your way the further you get into it. Enemies gradually get harder and smarter, weapons get better, and once the aliens come into the mix the game is quite literally a blast. It’s rather long as well, with a single-player campaign clocking in at roughly the nine hour mark. The variety of levels and gameplay coupled with the length make for a rather meaty $20 download, so keep all that in mind.

Now, there are some differences between the original PC version and this console re-release. For starters, the groan-worthy “Ascension” level has been omitted — and frankly that’s a good thing. No multiplayer is available for owners of the Xbox 360 and PS3, though, in all honesty, that’s not such a bad thing. The multiplayer on the PC version was “okay,” but the single-player was where the real experience was at, so that’s what Crytek Frankfurt decided to focus on.

Another area that has changed a little in the port is in the graphics department. The CryEngine 3, that was used for Crysis 2, has been implemented here. The results are good all around, though it’s not quite as breathtaking as the original PC title was. The game really pushed PC builds and graphic cards to their limit back in the day and it’s really no surprise that it had to be scaled back for the home consoles. The result is a game that’s beautiful, but a little rough around the edges and lacking in some senses. With that being said, the lighting, art direction and atmosphere are downright fantastic and you simply won’t find better on the console download marketplace. The audio is solid as well with quality voice acting, sound effects, and music. Crank the sound system up with this one and you won’t be disappointed!

Crysis is a fantastic game that offers up a wonderful science fiction shooter. The revising of the original for the consoles may leave some purists saying nay, but for console gamers that never got the chance to experience the story it’s totally worth the download. $20 nets you a modern-day classic that is an absolute must play.

Crysis is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Violence and Language. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360 and PC.

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