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Review – Crysis

posted on November 28th, 2007 by tyson

Taking First Person Shooters to a New Level of Suck

After a long day of working, it’s nice to come home, jump on my computer, and blow the living daylights out of people, monsters, hookers, you name it. For me, playing an FPS after a day of work is akin to getting an Oreo Cookie Blizzard on a hot day; it just feels right. I don’t have to think, I don’t have to care about hurting people, I just shoot and all of my stress melts away. As blood sprays across the digital walls and bodies drop, mangled and lifeless to the floor, I grin and become new again. When I heard the news that Crysis was in development, I was happy. FarCry, while not a perfect game, was an ok shooter so I figured Crysis would follow suit. I was regrettably wrong.

At some point in the Crysis development cycle, I am guessing there was a conversation that went something like this:

“Oh, hey Franz, did Adolph’s team finish the AI algorithm for the new game?”

“Yeah…about that. Adolph took his guys out to some crazy bar last Friday and a creepy guy in a purple sport coat slipped all of them GHB. When the group came to, three of them were missing a kidney and Ooter and Fredrick from marketing came down with a weaponized version of herpes.”

“Oh crap, so the code didn’t get finished and our marketing guys have super herpes?”

“No, the code got done but Adolph and his guys were pretty high on Oxycontin, not to mention being hung over from the ruffies. I checked it out and it works but…”

“It sucks.”

“Yup.”

From that moment on, the Crytek team knew that in order to take the heat of the horrible, pathetically weak AI, the game had to be a stunning visual masterpiece that would make the players focus their attention on the environment and not the actual fighting that was to be had. The AI in Crysis is so mind-numbingly stupid that you would have sworn it was coded in 1993. Actually, if you took a bunch of retarded kids and gave them all guns and party hats, they would be tougher opponents than the aliens and Koreans that you battle in Crysis. At least some retarded kids can swim, Koreans cannot. It may come as a surprise that the peoples of a country that has one whole border facing a sea, cannot swim. In fact, they are terrified of water. It may also come as a shock that an alien race so advanced as to figure out how to construct holographic computer systems and cool guns can only move in a certain preset pattern unless locked on to you. It is like standing at a carnival game with a BB gun, waiting for the ducks to pass in front of the barrel of your rifle.

Crysis is an extremely pretty game, even when some settings are on medium, the game is graphically stunning. So much so, that I would like to be able to enter a code that removes the enemies from the game and just wander freely through the environments and stare at its beauty. Since I am not a millionaire, I don’t have a computer that is capable of running the game at its highest settings but I imagine that on a state-of-the-art system, this is easily the best looking game made to date. It is just a shame everything else about it sucks and feels like a bastardized version of Halo.

There are so many parallels between Crysis and Halo that if I were a Bungie IP lawyer, I would seriously be considering filing a suit against Crytek. In both games, you stumble upon an alien life form much more advanced than our own. As an elite soldier, you have this super suit that makes the game unbalanced when compared to the other people on your side, especially in Crysis. Both games force you to interact with advanced Marines, but at least in Halo their dialogue is funny and adds a tiny bit of depth to the characters. In Crysis, they are more like militarized monkeys on meth. I could go on but I have other stuff to complain about.

While the environmentss of Crysis are a trip to take in, they are buggy as hell to interact with. There are areas, key areas, in which I have fallen through walls into places I wasn’t supposed to get to, making me have to restart the level because I couldn’t exit the supposedly un-enterable areas of the game. After much time playing, I think it is a glitch in the kick from the shotgun and how it throws you back. The math doesn’t match up somewhere and when against a wall and shooting a boomstick, you stray into a nether realm that I have named “Shitty Codeberg”. This doesn’t work all of the time and other guns will cause it too, but the shotgun seems to cause the most instances of dimensional rifts in the code of the game. In some areas, you can also walk through rocks and other stuff that you can’t walk through in other areas (or reality).

Speaking of places I can and cannot go, if you are going to put an area into a level and I have the ability to get to that area thanks to my super suit, don’t put some magical glass roof over everything and make me jump like a rabbit on crank to see if I can get on to the ledge only to find out that if I were to have gotten on to the ledge, it would have spoiled the level and so you made it unreachable, despite the fact I should have been able to reach it. Yes, that was a run-on sentence but like the crappiness of this game, sometimes I just can’t stop myself.

The environmental glitches also include the way the physics of the game work with the levels. There have been many times that, while playing the game, something has blown up and rained debris over the area. This is cool. However, sometimes bits and pieces of blown up crap get stuck, preventing the crap from landing the way the programming wanted them to land, so they just hover in the air and constantly make their “I’m hitting the ground now” sound. This makes me want to stuff kittens in a burlap sack I have soaked in gasoline and throw them off a canyon edge. This is the kind of crap that should have been worked out in beta but somehow ended up perturbing me. I am not a beta tester, I don’t want to see your programmer’s screw ups.

The last gripe I have is about the badass super suit your guy is equipped with. Thanks to this suit, you can become super fast, super strong, super tough, and super invisible. All of this is good and makes for great fun when killing mentally handicapped Koreans but it seriously tilts the game in your favor. Through most levels, I found myself going into cloaking mode, wandering slowly through a level, de-cloaking to blow someone’s head off, and then cloaking again and wandering away. Maybe that is how the designers wanted it to be, but I think it makes the game way too easy and I have it set to difficult.

It is also in toggling your powers on and off that you can fiddle with doodads to put on your guns. This is one part of the game I enjoyed, all of the guns are customizable and different things can be added and combined to make your guns rock. There is nothing that screams badass like a silenced, SMG with a laser pointer and sniper scope on it. Then again, I am one of those guys that think all guns looks sweet with a red beam of light coming out of them. Anywho, if this suit and the mechanics that go along with it are how the designers intended it then fine, but I have a feeling that beta testing for this game included twenty minutes of play time followed by a buffalo wing feed at Hooters.

In the end, the game is pretty and I kept playing just to see how much better looking it was going to get. Aside from that, I couldn’t help but sense that not a lot of thought was put into any other aspect of the title. Crytek should be ashamed of the piss poor AI and all of the weird glitches that come out of the woodwork when traipsing through this game. I haven’t seen a game this buggy since Bethesda’s release of The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall. Come on guys, this whole trend where graphics are the only worthwhile aspect of a game has to end. Grab some better programmers and rescue your beta testers from the fleshy tendrils of scantily clad Hooters chicks and make a real game, please.

6 Comments

  1. TrueTallus said on November 29, 2007:

    If your primary, marrow-sucking enjoyment of FPS games is laying waste to hoards of blood filled virtual humans, doesn’t using super powers to mutilate terrified mentally deficient hydrophobes seem right up your alley? I know the stupidity and relative weakness of all those grunt level soldiers in the beginning of Psi-Ops made exploding their heads and throwing them into open incinerators more satisfying than the drawn out firefights with psi-powers resistant super troopers in the end levels. It’s certainly undeniable that glitches and artificial design limitations can ruin a game, but fighting clueless pushovers can be a lot of fun if it’s done right.

  2. tyson said on November 29, 2007:

    I agree that killing stupid people can be fun. But when a game gets as hyped as Crysis was and still is, it was quite a let down to see that graphics was really the sole concern of the development team. I know FPSs aren’t exactly rocket science as far as depth and gameplay are concerned but you would have think there would have been some thought devoted to it. Now that Crytek has announced there will be a third game to round out the trilogy, I shudder to think what it will be like because they have already said the sole concern of this game is to make it the most visually stunning game ever made. The are aiming for as close to live action as they can get without actually hiring actors. This is very disconcerting to me because it shows the story will be an afterthought and if anything, that is what the graphics should always be in the priorities of game development.

    I have played a lot of crappy looking games with excellent mechanics and story and have found them to be a much more rewarding experience than the dressed up, thought devoid games that seem to be the trend at the moment. If the story is good, the game will draw people to it and keep them. If the graphics are good, the game will draw people to it until the next best looking thing comes out. Graphics are nothing more than a cheap thrill to cover up shortcomings elsewhere in the game.

    Having said that, yes, I enjoyed killing idiotic opponents for the first little while. But these guys were not much higher up than the intelligence of creatures in Doom 2. They basically stood there or walked in their pre-programmed path until they see you and after they spot you, they shoot at you. There is no thought as to how the groups of men work together, there is no inkling that these troops had any kind of individual motivation. For a game to be released on the eve of 2008, it is nothing short of pathetic to implement the AI that came with Crysis.In no current FPS should I be able to get away with hiding behind a door and shooting the 20 people that walking in, one right after the other. Ever. That scenario was extremely common throughout every stage of the game.

  3. TrueTallus said on November 30, 2007:

    Fair enough. I guess there’s fun dumb and lame dumb.

    I’m curious though; does the AI seem more competent with some space to run around in? Perhaps the the Goldeneye vintage tactic of waiting behind the door works better because opponents were programmed to be fought wild and free. Or do they suck just as bad out in the open?

  4. tyson said on November 30, 2007:

    They are a little more clever out in the open than in close quarters. I have also noticed that if there are three or four of them together, they have some hint of tactical teamwork but the second one or two of the guys die, it all goes to hell.

  5. Rarefiedgrit (PS3 tag) said on April 19, 2008:

    Thanks for your post here it cheered me up no end. I have been sitting looking at my desktop icon of Crysis for 20mins, debating about playing the game and remembering in disbelief how stupid the AI was. The last big patch actually made the AI stupider how on earth did Crytek manage that one. I found this article with a google search on “crysis idiotic ai”, as i wandered if i was alone in this, glad im not :).

  6. CrapsnRoullete said on April 29, 2011:

    Man cant wait for this years E3,nintendo is gonna blow us away

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