Backlog Project: Crysis

You know how sometimes you have a really positive opinion on something, and years later you go back to it and find yourself as disappointed as Hercules in that notorious outtake? That happened to me with Crysis. I played all three of them, and although I liked the sequels, I always thought they had lost some of the magic, and didn’t quite measure up to the original. As it turns out, they were way better games, but the fact that the first one did something new made it feel so much better in my mind.

Crysis_Cover

  • Name: Crysis
  • Genre: Action | First-Person Shooter
  • Released: 2011 (2007 initial release)
  • Developer: Crytek
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows | PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360

When Crysis first came out in 2007, I remember the reaction being split in two major camps: one side was astonished by what seemed like a true next-generation action game, while the other was skeptical and assumed this was an underwhelming game coated in spectacular, never-before-seen graphics. I guess both sides were sort of right, in that it was in fact a fine game for its time, but the thing that really set it apart was how it pushed the visual quality of games. Well, that and the kick-ass nanosuit.

I actually first played this game on PC years ago, but seeing it offered for pocket change on the PlayStation Store made me want to go back – after all, at this point I still thought this was the best one in the Crysis series. It turned out the graphics are still pretty good considering how old this game is. The positive surprises, unfortunately ended there – while the nanosuit was still as awesome as ever, the game just wasn’t as good as I remembered.

Crysis still looks fine - many games that have come out in the last year or two struggle to look this nice. Screenshot credit: http://www.nowgamer.com

Crysis still looks fine – many games that have come out in the last year or two struggle to look this nice.
Screenshot credit: http://www.nowgamer.com

First off, progression was way more static than I recalled. I thought the world was much more dynamic, and somehow remembered you couldn’t always know for sure when you’d run into a Korean patrol, but I ended up still remembering most of the enemy placements and patrol routes even after all these years. That’s not really the game’s fault – it was mine for recalling something that never existed in the first place. But it made the game feel less multidimensional than I thought it was.

Avoiding or eliminating the enemies is still fun in many parts of the game, but some of the more difficult spots – like a bunch of enemies fortified in a hard-to-reach location – weren’t all that enjoyable. I ended up stumbling my way through a lot of the game, which is never satisfying. The general level design just wasn’t entirely pleasing to me, in that even with all the patience in the world I couldn’t always find a smart way to proceed.

Contrary to what you might expect, the aliens aren't fun. They're annoying and stupid. Screenshot credit: http://web-vassets.ea.com/

Contrary to what you might expect, the aliens aren’t fun. They’re annoying and stupid.
Screenshot credit: http://web-vassets.ea.com/

But the thing that bothered me the most – and was the biggest “shattered memories” kind of moment for me – was the latter half of the game. I somehow remembered that towards the end of the game, the aliens bust out of the mountain, and all you need to do is run down the mountain, survive the aliens on the way, and fight one final boss. As it turns out, waking up the aliens only marks the halfway point, and the latter half is frustrating and tedious as all hell.

There’s the seemingly endless segment where you swim around inside the alien construct, the annoying “protect Prophet” part, defending the outpost from the aliens, tracking down the dropship, running around on the aircraft carrier… I really wanted the game to end, but it just kept going. The part with the aliens just isn’t fun, and I suddenly remembered I never liked it in the first place – I just thought it was much, much shorter.

Going back to Crysis after all this time essentially ruined the game for me. But on the other hand, it made me appreciate the sequels that much more, which they deserve, being better games than I initially gave them credit for. The first game is at best an average shooter at its core, occasionally stuffed with some of the most infuriating and boring level design I can think of. The nanosuit salvages some of it, but it doesn’t make this a very good game, particularly by today’s standards.

Trophy Hunt

This was basically my quickest Trophy to date, taking me a day and a half, amounting to something like 12 hours. It’s possible to achieve the Platinum in one playthrough, but I missed several Trophies and had to go back for them.

I started the game on the hardest difficulty, to unlock the Cool in a Crysis Trophy upon completion, as well as all the story and difficulty related Trophies along the way. As I didn’t pay much attention to the Trophy list during the initial run, I had to replay parts of the game for ZoologyChoke HoldCatch This!Weapons MasterLong Distance Relationship and Something for Every Occasion.

Still, with all of the clean-up required, it was a really quick Platinum, and none of the Trophies were particularly difficult to manage. So at least the Trophy Hunt wasn’t frustrating.

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