Posts Tagged ‘crysis’

Crysis Warhead Features The Same DRM As Spore *groan*

October 5, 2008

Following the outcry and class action lawsuit brought against Electronic Arts in the wake of the Spore release, you’d think someone might think twice about including exactly the same much-derided digital rights management (copy protection) software SecuROM on the Crysis expansion pack, too.

Apparently not, as Crysis Warhead has shown. No surprise then that fans of the original game are at least as outraged as people were about Spore. Check out the Amazon reviews if you want proof. Stats at time of writing: 79 consumer reviews, average rating 2 stars, 60 reviews of 1 star, 13 of 5 stars, the rest occupying the middle ground.

I was about to buy it through Steam, but this has seriously put me off. Quite possibly, it wouldn’t affect me at all, since I’m not a developer and don’t run software that SecuROM considers problematic (like Microsoft’s Process Explorer).

But I really feel that it’s wrong to support the principle of this kind of behaviour. SecuROM is insidious software that installs itself more or less without a user’s knowledge, restricts the number of installs you can make, is difficult to remove, often grants itself access to privileged administrative levels, can cause system instability, and conflicts with other – perfectly legitimate – software.

Maybe the closest I’ll get to seeing the latest Crysis in action is the trailer…

Crysis: Review’d – Part 2

April 26, 2008

Crysis logoMissed part one? Check it out here.

The AI of the enemy soldiers delivers most of the challenge in Crysis. When it’s one-on-one – you vs. a single enemy – they don’t stand a chance. When there’s a group of bad guys, however, the odds are somewhat evened.

Patrols will respond instantly to suspicious noises like gunfire by fanning out and searching the surrounding area. If you give away your position you should expect to be pinned down by enemy fire while one or two Koreans try to flank you. This means movement is key – and you’ll derive a sadistic pleasure from the “de-cloak, down a couple of enemies, re-cloak and reposition” routine.

One major shortcoming in the AI reveals itself when you come across sniper towers. Assuming you can take out the current occupant, if you climb up you can effectively take out any enemies nearby with impunity… As long as you duck from time to time. No one will attempt to climb up or throw a grenade to flush you out. In fact, the only reason for not staying put would be if they call in a helicopter.

Crysis Screenshot 2For most of the first part you’re given a goal – usually something like “get to the science station on the other side of the island” – and it’s up to you how you complete it. More or less. Let’s be clear – this is not some sort of free-form Oblivion or S.T.A.L.K.E.R-esque RPG where you’re given an island to explore at your leisure. You’re on a mission soldier! You do have some freedom of movement, but it’s by no means total.

To give you an idea of how the tactical gameplay works, let’s look at the kinds of choices you can make when faced with an enemy encampment: a) rush straight in, guns blazing; b) creep round the side in the undergrowth; c) use stealth and patience to pick off the soldiers one by one; or d) bypass it altogether by hijacking a boat downriver and sailing past?

Okay, there’s more to it than that, but you get the idea. Often your movement will be restricted by insurmountable physical obstacles, like walls of a ravine, but it never feels linear like Half Life. It regularly opens up and it’s up to you and your nanosuit to take on an army of Korean bad guys.

And it’s a lot of fun. The game throws some variation at you in the form of enemies with the same super-suit as you, but generally speaking it sticks to a tried and tested formula of sneaking around, ambushing patrols, and blowing up trucks and buildings. Great!

Until the second part. (**MODERATE SPOILERS**)

Crysis Screenshot 1The last third of the game changes gear somewhat, starting off with a section where you’re floating around a buried alien spaceship. Then there’s an escape flight in a VTOL, and finally a series of super-boss battles with various alien nasties.

This represents a significant shift in pace and style – characterized by a much more linear, run-n-gun approach in contrast to the sneaksy stealth that preceded it. It’s a little disappointing, but not so much that it condemns the game.

There’s still plenty to enjoy in Crysis – not least the outstanding visuals – but sadly it narrowly misses out on classic status.

Crysis: Review’d – Part 1

April 25, 2008

Crysis logoIt’s not until you’re about 20 minutes into Crysis that its full breathtaking visual beauty is unleashed. It happens just after you’ve taken out a group of Korean soldiers on patrol in a ravine thick with undergrowth. In the early dawn light you loot the corpses for ammo and reload.

Following your CO’s lead, you head uphill, out of the jungle. Then, just as you emerge onto a cliff top overlooking an enemy encampment at the edge of a harbour, the sun rises…

Wow!

At this point, I guarantee your jaw will drop (assuming you’ve got a PC powerful enough to run the thing). First you just have to take all the details in: The sunlight glimmers on the ocean as the waves lap against the shore. The palm leaves above cast realistic soft shadows on the ground. The trees sway lazily in the breeze – if you’ve seen the demo, you’ll probably whip out your rifle and start creating some lumberjack mayhem here. The vegetation all reacts just as you’d expect it would when you unload 40 rounds of hot lead in 10 seconds flat…

I could go on. There’s all sorts of other DirectX10 shenanigans at work here too: depth of field; HDR lighting; motion blur… You name it. The whole effect is frankly stunning.

So it looks great, but how does it play?

Crysis Screenshot 3Crysis is a game of two parts: the first part (which takes up roughly two thirds of your playing time) is pretty great. It goes like this: you’re part of an elite commando unit carrying out a top secret black ops mission on an island in the Pacific Ocean… Blah blah – the usual shallow FPS plot guff ensues, but suffice to say it involves plenty of angry Koreans, one hot scientist babe and a mountain-full of multi-tentacled alien-robot hybrid things.

It also involves – and this is important – a super-suit with four different powers. Look, don’t ask: you’re a super commando, alright? The best thing is that you’re in your suit right from the word go.

I’d better say a little about the suit, since it’s the unique selling point of Crysis.

Default mode is armour, which drains energy instead of health when you get shot. And you’ll be getting shot a lot in this game. Then there’s strength which, er, makes you dead strong and that. Oh, and it also allows you to jump very high. I never used this mode too much, although you can see it a lot in the promo videos where players are levelling trees and shacks with their fists. Speed is less than useless thanks to it’s massive energy drain.

That brings us to the final, most useful mode. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be using cloak most of the time. As you might expect, this makes you almost invisible for limited periods of time. Perfect for sneaky, stealth-o-philes like me who were raised on sneak-em-ups like Thief and System Shock. Once you get adept with it, though, it almost makes the game too easy.

That’s it for part one. Tune in tomorrow for the second part of the review, where I talk about AI, gameplay choices and the disappointing final act.

Crysis Won’t Run on Next-Gen Consoles — Crytek

August 29, 2006

Team X-box are reporting Bernd Diemer, senior designer at Crytek, as saying that next-gen consoles like the Xbox360 and PS3 aren’t powerful enough to run Crysis “as intended” by the developers:

Full story (from Team X-box)
(via Firingsquad)

Apparently:

only DirectX 10 allows the game to run as it was intended by the developers because the next-generation DirectX API, which will ship along with Windows Vista, allows more effects and more objects to be drawn on the screen with a smaller computational cost for the hardware.

Of course, this could all be nothing more than marketing bluster, designed to increase the game’s cred among the “OMG!! H4rdC0R3!!” graphics-whore crowd. Nevertheless, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a smug, warm glow somewhere inside with the knowledge that next-gen PC hardware is already leaving behind the so-called “next-gen doesn’t start till we say it does” Sony teraflop-machine.

I’ve already commented that Crysis is looking sweet. But now the question is: will I ever be able to afford a PC good enough to run it? With this announcement, that’s looking increasingly unlikely.

New Crysis Screenshots

July 27, 2006

TechEBlog has posted a link to a bunch of new in-game screenshots and a video for Crysis, the sequel to popular PC FPS, Far Cry:

New Crysis Screenshots (TechEBlog)

Crysis screenshot

Clearly, it looks stunning. The full array of next-gen graphical whizzbangery is on display, as you’ll see in the video: real-time soft shadows, motion blur, advanced pixel shaders, volumetric clouds, and destructible environments. While everyone’s wondering whether it’ll be the Xbox 360 or PS3 which ushers in the next gen, the PC is quietly pushing the boundaries of technology to the limit. As long as you have a bleeding edge graphics card, of course.

Now, I’m just hoping that it’ll make significant gameplay advances to match the obvious graphical ones. Far Cry was a solid shooter, but what made it stand out from the crowd wasn’t the incredible visuals (although they were nice): it was the freedom that comes with having a whole island to explore, with multiple routes to your objective. Unfortunately, it was let down by some dull, linear indoor sections and a dumb (but rock hard) ending.

It seems from the press and the E3 demo that Crysis is staying with the open-ended approach, which is good news. But the question remains: does it offer anything fundamentally new in a market already saturated with high-quality FPS games? Upgrading weaponary is a nice touch, as is being able to destroy the environment; taking out a building with grenades and making it collapse on your enemies would be undeniably sweet.

However, I think Crytek (the developers) need to bring something truly unique to the table to fight the growing sense of FPS fatigue. They also need to make sure the game is consistently entertaining, and this means resisting the temptation to drag out the playing time with ludicrously difficult sections, as they did in Far Cry.