Crysis Warhead, the sequel to the critically acclaimed first person shooter Crysis, delivers a parallel side story to the first game. Based on a very tweaked and optimized version of the CryEngine 2, it delivers the same stunning beauty from the first game without the absurdly high system requirements. It offers a pretty entertaining gaming experience and some interesting surprises which I won't spoil for you. The vehicles and enemies will keep you hooked on the game, but the stereotype missions will bore you.
As I said, the game is based on a parallel side story to the first one. You play as the British Sergeant Psycho Sykes who, after parting with the first game's main character, Nomad, follows the North Korean General Lee and his mysterious cargo. Presumed to be a nuclear warhead, hence the title of the game, Psycho is tasked with tracking down and apprehending the cargo for the United States. On his pursuit of the general, he saves his old friend, Sean O'Neill, who in return acts like a guardian angel through most of the game helping Psycho out with his VTOL aerial craft. On his journey, he takes part in a lot of cliché missions and reaches a harbor where the cargo is shipped to a submarine. After climbing aboard, he is knocked out and awakens being tortured by the general, but in a different environment, as all of the things are frozen by the same aliens from the first game.
After chasing the general with the help of a hovercraft, one of the most exciting aspects of the game, he joins up with another team of marines. After defeating one of the large exo-suit aliens, he travels through the elaborate mine system of the mountain. Combined with the lack of a functioning map and the claustrophobic environment, it really is a recipe for the player to get lost, as I did.
After escaping the mining system, he is tasked with escorting a train the cargo is on through the jungle riddled with North Korean soldiers and later on, aliens. After another encounter with the general, he has to invade a Korean airstrip filled with hostile soldiers and vehicles. Against all odds, he defeats all of the humans but is faced with the arrival of an upgraded exo suit type alien.
The concept of the game is pretty simple, although Nomad, the lead character in the first game had the most important job, help rescue the American scientists and then defeat the aliens, Psycho's job is also very important. But you can't really help the fact that it is the lesser story of the happenings from the island. It isn't as grand as Nomad's adventure, or as exciting as his. The missions are all pretty cliché, with escorts or defensive missions making up for quite a decent part of the game. I have to admit that the fights with the big aliens are pretty entertaining, but they don't really make up for all the downsides of the game.
It is definitely good for all the Crysis fans who want another nano suit dressed adventure battling North Koreans and aliens, but for the average shooter player, it isn't much to look at. All of the boring missions really take the fun out of a pretty smart and entertaining shooter (in the end). As I discussed with my colleagues here at Softpedia, it's like Crytek wanted to make two games using the same universe. One filled with innovation and a compelling story, which is Crysis, and the other molded after classic shooter clichés, with the stereotype missions and characters, which is Warhead.
In terms of actual gameplay the title, aside from various small modifications, is pretty much the same as in the first game, which in actual playing terms isn't that bad. The same nano suit is present with its familiar controls and very useful options. In terms of the weapons available, very few innovations were made, like the pulse rifle. In terms of equipment, the anti vehicle mines or claymores are noticeable new items, with a special EMP grenade designed to disrupt the power of nano suits also making an appearance.
Concerning vehicles, you will be experimenting with quite a few new ones. From regular military jeeps to armored personnel carriers (equipped with big guns) or tanks, you will definitely have an alternative to just walking around the island. Noticeable vehicles in this version are the hovercraft, on which you will be engaging the general on the frozen sea, or a train, which you will be tasked with guarding.
Another nice feature is the fact that, at some point in the game, you will be helped by other people, be it O'Neill, with his VTOL or other nano suit teams from the Special Forces. Considering that the amount of enemies is quite large, this is really a good thing. A downside is the fact that the actual game lasts only about eight hours.
Visual and Audio:
In terms of the graphics aspects, you can't ask for anything else. Once again, the CryEngine 2 proves its power, recreating a gorgeous tropical island, and its frozen counterpart extremely well with the minutest details in place. The surroundings are very beautiful and can sometimes really distract you from the mission. The special effects, like explosions, are marvelously well done, I myself trying to blow stuff up just to watch the effects which portray it so well. As a special feature, the part of the game where the island is frozen is very realistically rendered, with the likes of North Korean soldiers frozen in a wide variety of positions.
The audio part of the game is also well done. The sounds associated to the vehicles are very realistic, with the engines sounding very different as the vehicle is taking damage. The sounds of the jungle are also very well done. Although its peace is almost always disturbed by the gun fire and battles going on there.
The multiplayer aspect of the game, entitled Crysis Wars, is a very interesting part. Although it came on a separate disk, it was incorporated in the Crysis: Warhead pack. Aside from the Instant Action and Power Struggle modes, the new mode entitled Team Action is very entertaining. The wide range of maps offers a very good experience, without the player being (too) bored.
All in all, it's a pretty decent game. All shooter fans will have a reasonable experience, although, at times, a bit annoying. Crysis fans are sure to enjoy this title, bringing their favorite universe back to life in this new adventure. Psycho is a more enjoyable character than the enigmatic Nomad from the first game. If you enjoy shooters and want to wear the nano suit again, then you definitely should buy it.
CPU: 2.8 GHz or Faster
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Hard Drive Space: 15 GB of Free Space
Graphics Hardware: 512 MB video Memory, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT/ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
Sound Hardware: DirectX 9.0c Compliant Card
Size: 5.745 GB
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