Crysis - hands-on

Bernd says that if they’d realized just how insanely hard full destructibility was going to be, they wouldn’t have even tried. But now that they’ve done it, everyone who plays Crysis has a hard time going back to anything else. Things just don’t feel like they’re made of wood unless they snap the way they do in Crysis. And it’s so darkly satisfying to shoot the base of a tree you suspect a soldier’s hiding behind, then nail him in his shocked face while he scans for alternative cover.

At some point before you reach the crashed alien craft, its inhabitants activate an on-board weapon that freezes the entire island to make it more habitable for them (they come from a subzero world, naturally). This is what they’re planning to do to the whole planet, and if the effect on this island is anything to go by, it will highly suck. The tropical paradise turns into a surreal Siberia, and the aliens come out in force now that they can roam more comfortably. Your team regroups to cope with the alien onslaught, hostilities with the Koreans are dropped in deference to the greater threat, and you press on to the craft itself as a team.

The aliens’ cryogenic weaponry can freeze any of you in your tracks. Centrally heated nanosuit supersoldiers such as yourself can shake off the ice with a brisk wiggle of the mouse, but Korean soldiers in their breezy fatigues aren’t so lucky. If they get frozen, they shatter, and the shards of their icy flesh become lethal shrapnel.

The temperature theme runs throughout everything about the aliens: they’re actually blind to everything except the infra-red spectrum. That means if you’re standing right by something that’s on fire, you’re almost invisible to them. But even if you’re crouching in the darkest corner, you’re lit up like a firework unless you’re using your suit’s Cloak mode to bring your surface temperature down.

Naturally, turning the whole jungle into a brittle popsicle of its former self only heightens the cathartic fun of smashing everything in sight. But despite the enormous amount of effort that went into the destructibility system, Crytek don’t consider it the most important feature of their futuristic new engine. That, they say, is the sheer size of the areas it can chuck around. Far Cry let you boat around huge rolling vistas before picking an angle of approach, but Crysis levels are bigger still; the one we played - the third mission of the game - takes two and a half hours to complete.


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