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Category Archives: Crysis

Crysis 3 Final Reflection and Review

“A good soldier knows there’s only one thing he can rely on when the chips are down: Not his cutting edge intel, not his state of the art equipment, and not his top of the line weapon. Just himself; it took me a long time to remember that.” —Prophet

Since the events of last time, which were drafted during Thanksgiving, I’ve watched Prophet fight through the CELL’s facilities, blew their dam to pieces, accidentally activated the Alpha Ceph, and fight to stop CELL from activating the Archangel weapons platform, which, if fired, would trigger a chain reaction that would render the planet uninhabitable. Prophet subsequently resolves to kill the Alpha Ceph, who has since opened a wormhole to the Ceph homeworld and is coordinating an all-out assault on Earth. The Alpha Ceph is killed, and Prophet uses Archangel to destroy the first Ceph warship coming through the wormhole, causing it to collapse and ending the Ceph threat for the present. Throughout Crysis 3, themes about what constitutes humanity linger: unlike the previous Crysis installations, there is a single unifying theme in Crysis 3 that is driven home repeatedly. Thus, even though Crysis 3 might be a remarkably shiny title that reclaimed its throne as one of the best-looking games of all time, the presence of a well-defined theme means that Crysis 3 provides the strongest characterisations and narratives of any of the titles (besides Crysis Warhead). This aspect was not unnoticed by more seasoned reviewers, although one must wonder how these elements allowed Crysis 3 to remain compelling throughout the entire game, while maintaining all of the graphical fidelity that Crysis games are generally known for.

The answer to Crysis 3’s enjoyment value lies in the dynamics between Lawrence “Prophet” Barnes and Michael “Psycho” Sykes: in the years since the events of Crysis 2, Prophet was captured by CELL while seeking the Alpha Ceph, and in his opening remarks, suggests that how he had been able to achieve what he had was through sacrificing his humanity. Meanwhile, Michael resents that CELL skinned him of his Nanosuit, and that without it, he is unable to fight CELL or Ceph. The dynamics between Prophet, who regrets discarding his humanity and Michael, who desires the power to protect those around him, allow the two to act as a foil to one another, and after a major battle where Michael’s love interest, Claire Fontanelli, perishes, the two come to realise what it truly means to be human: it was never about their Nanosuits, but the men using them, that made the difference each and every time. This is the main message in Crysis 3, that to be human is simply to express concern for fellow human beings, utilising all of one’s available cunning and resources to protect one another. Thus, while Prophet has physically become more machine than man, his resolve to beat the Alpha Ceph for humanity’s sake ensures that he remains human, and similarly, while Michael may no longer has a Nanosuit, his resolve makes him as effective as Prophet. Watching this unfold, and watching Prophet come to terms with what he’s become, made each level in Crysis 3 enjoyable, adding the reason to empathise with and be concerned with Prophet’s fate as the game progressed.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The Nanodome is a CELL construct that was designed to allow them to destroy the remaining Ceph and keep the Alpha Ceph subjugated so they could continue harnessing its power. Stepping out here for the reminded me of Crysisfirst sunset, during which the darkness gives way to light and throws the world into sharp contrast to really showcase the game’s graphical fidelity.

  • The abandoned skyscrapers and rusting train yard satisfactorily captures the post-human environment that Alan Weisman describes in “The World Without Us”: in fact, he uses New York as a primary example in his book, and the first real mission of Crysis 3 has Prophet evading NAX to destroy a defense tower, capitalising on the tall grasses and ruined trains as cover.

  • That Prophet can pick up and use Ceph weaponry in Crysis 3 is amazing. The weapons cause Prophet’s HUD to take on a blue colour, and are incredibly powerful. A handful of shots are enough to take out NAX’s missile systems, but also leaves the weapon’s battery critically low.

  • Crysis 2 had been somewhat underwhelming when it came to graphics, but Crysis 3 takes things through the top. With known specs, I designed my new machine in 2013 to be able to handle Crysis 3 on high settings at 1080p, running at 60 FPS. On the whole, the game was a very smooth experience and there were only some scenes that caused the frame rate to drop to 45 FPS.

  • The hanger housing derelict trains is yet another fine example of how complex the lighting can be in Crysis 3 can be: the environment must be fairly dusty if light rays are visible. Here, I’m using the Mk.60 Mod 0 LMG; its high damage and rate of fire makes it quite effective against the Ceph, but it’s hampered by its reload time and low reserve capacity, which means that I discard the weapon once the Typhoon became available.

  • Even on “merely” high settings, Crysis 3 looks absolutely amazing, besting out most of the games in my library for the title of “Best looking game”. However, Crysis 3 also excels at storytelling in comparison to its predecessor, and here, I’m keeping two eyes out for feral Ceph stalkers, which continue to roam without the Alpha Ceph guiding it.

  • The L-TAG from Crysis 2 also makes a return, although I never really got too much use out of it: its 60mm grenades are quite heavy and fly in an arc, and ammunition for it is uncommon, limiting its usefulness even against tougher enemies.

  • The mission to destroy the CELL dam was quite memorable: skyscrapers and streets are buried under 30 meters of water, and on the dam’s other side, the bare foundations of damaged buildings are exposed, creating a surreal environment. I’m guessing that the Nanodome suppresses cold air and wind, otherwise, the pressure on the exposed foundation would have caused some of the buildings to collapse long ago.

  • While I predominantly play cloak and close-quarters, there were some cases where I merely wished to try the different weapons out, and here, made use of the DSG-1 precision rifle to pick off distance CELL soldiers. While the weapon can be suppressed and equipped with a variety of scopes, the default setup is the most optimal for the weapon’s role as a long-range weapon.

  • This whole scene is quite surreal, illustrating the extent that New York’s decayed since the events of Crysis 2. The Typhoon submachine gun can be found in the dam: chambered for 720 specially-shaped pellets, the weapon is absolutely lethal at close quarters and is said to be able to drop even Ceph dropships owing to its rate of fire. Its overwhelming firing rate makes it an excellent weapon to have, and ammunition for it is surprisingly common.

  • After entering the bowels of the facility regulating the Alpha Ceph, Prophet proceeds to destroy the subsystems in the hopes of crippling the CELL system and killing the Alpha Ceph once and for all. However, the plan backfires, as the Alpha Ceph merely becomes awakened and proceeds to coordinate all of the dormant Ceph in the area for a devastating counterattack.

  • After this point, the Ceph become common enemies, and consequently, it’s time to put the Nanosuit upgrades to good use. I decided to improve my regeneration, obtained the sensor upgrade (which makes hacking a lot easier), added deflection and improved my stealth module. I play with a combination of approaches, utilising both stealth and firepower depending on the environment, hence my choice to upgrade a variety of modes.

  • Because the Predator Bow costs zero energy when fired while the Nanosuit is in cloak mode, it is the perfect choice of stealth weapon: in fact, players going for stealthy tactics can make extensive use of the bow and recover the impact arrows off downed enemies. Special bolts (the explosive, airburst and electric bolts can only be resupplied at special containers, and those are relatively rare). Here, Prophet makes his way through Chinatown.

  • The Scorchers wreck havoc with CELL soldiers to the extent where one might feel sorry for CELL: these bug-like machines can be hacked to temporarily stop them, and they drop the Incinerator, a powerful plasma thrower. While killing them conventionally causes them to explode, they can be stunned using electric arrows or by a well-place melee attack in the right spot. The Incinerator is fun to use against Ceph: the weapon produces temperatures matching those in a nuclear fireball and causes the Ceph to explode, but is balanced by a short range.

  • There’s a dormant Ceph pinger that can be hacked for use against other Ceph forces, creating a convenient distraction that would allow Prophet to get to the next location. Ceph weapons become increasingly common, although the most common Ceph weapon, the Pinch Rifle, deals roughly the same damage as the SCAR and is less versatile.

  • In general, I tend not to use the Pinch Rifle or Reaper cannon from destroyed Ceph units, as the human weapons seem more versatile and adaptive, but for situations where destruction is on the recipe of things needed to complete the mission, the X-PAC mortar and Bolt Sniper are fantastic weapons.

  • The Grendel makes a return: it’s a burst fire weapon similar to Halo 2‘s Battle Rifle, and can be customised with a variety of optics barrels and under-barrel attachments. Because all of my special ammo is reserved for the Typhoon, which I’ve decided to carry throughout the entire game, I usually go with the bayonet for the Grendel and grenade launcher for the SCAR.

  • The Resistance is unable to prevent CELL from firing the Archangel orbital weapons platform, although at less than five percent charge, the shot is enough to destroy the remnants of New York. As the game progresses, the environments become increasingly sinister, and this is captured by all of the lighting effects.

  • The fifth mission is characterised by wide, open expanses that necessitate vehicles to traverse, and while a high speed buggy is available, I prefer the superior firepower that the APC offers. This is the closest to a tank that is in Crysis 3 and although not quite as fun as CrysisOnslaught mission, still provided a fantastic opportunity to use the APC’s cannon to wreck the Ceph Devastator, a massive Ceph that resembles Halo‘s Hunters.

  • The Gauss Sabot Rifle is the superior long-ranged weapon compared to the Precision Rifle, taking out any enemy in a single shot (Devastators require two to three well-placed shots), although ammunition is quite rare for it, and one can only hold onto one spare magazine. As a weapon requiring special ammunition, it’s not a good idea to pair it with the Typhoon.

  • The penultimate mission is set in a water-covered wasteland with the remains of skyscrapers dotting the landscape. New York is barely recognisable now, and there’s a despondent feel in the air, reflecting on Claire’s death as Prophet is tasked with destroying the Ceph anti-air batteries.

  • There is a lot of open space in this mission, and overall, compared to Crysis 2Crysis 3 returns to the open-world layout of Crysis, with a few linear spots every so often to set the stage for some spectacular-looking set pieces.

  • It turns out the Gauss Sabot Rifle is powerful enough to destroy an active Pinger with a full magazine’s worth of shots, although Prophet is also able to tag them and allow an immobilised but otherwise fully functional APC to destroy them.

  • The abundance of Ceph in the penultimate mission makes it possible to continuously use Ceph weapons as primary weapons while carrying the Gauss Sabot Rifle and the Typhoon. Here, I make use of the Incinerator to roast another Ceph solider. There are several side missions that can be undertaken here, and I decided to do them just for exploration’s sake.

  • At the crashed VTOL, I find an FY-71M, a previous-generation assault rifle seen on the Lingshan Islands that was used widely by the KPA. While technically a decent weapon, its specifications are otherwise inferior to the weapons available at this point, so there’s little point in holding on to it.

  • The Ceph Mastermind is the second last boss of Crysis 3, and spawns minions from the parts of destroyed Ceph. The best way to defeat this monstrosity is to grab a Ceph battery to super-charge Prophet’s Nanosuit, and hammer it with the X-PAC until it grabs Prophet, during which Prophet can use the Mastermind’s own energy attack against it. I eventually got to the third phase of the boss fight, and was armed with nothing more than the SCAR (I exhausted the Typhoon), but managed to beat it.

  • The last mission is set in a vast underground cavern filled with Ceph, and although Prophet is only armed with a pistol and the Predator bow, a good bit of stealth and precision shooting will allow Prophet to access the more powerful weapons. After interfacing with the Ceph terminals, the Nanosuit becomes supercharged, so in conjunction with the X-PAC, Prophet becomes a death machine.

  • Here, I find the X-43 MIKE, a microwave-based directed-energy weapon that will boil the Ceph alive from inside their armour, eventually causing them to explode in a shower of alien liquids. Because the Crysis 3 incarnation of the MIKE is reloadable and uses special ammunition, it makes a great weapon to have in conjunction with the Typhoon.

  • With the X-PAC, Ceph Batteries to provide supercharge, the MIKE and Typhoon, the Alpha Ceph becomes a boss that isn’t too difficult to best. Once the vulnerable spots are tagged and destroyed, the Alpha Ceph temporarily retreats and sends regular Ceph units to fight Prophet: these can be defeated with the Typhoon (and the Devastators can be wasted using the MIKE). The process is repeated until all three of the claws are destroyed, after which Prophet will finish off the Alpha Ceph with Crysis 3‘s signature weapon.

  • Destroying the Alpha Ceph does not stop the True Ceph from moving through the wormhole, but now empowered to hack into Archangel, Prophet turns the CELL super weapon into an instrument for saving Humanity. Because the True Ceph warship appears to resist a blast capable of incinerating a planet for a brief moment, this moment might hint at just how advanced the True Ceph are. However, the blast eventually destroys the warship and closes off the wormhole.

With a more cohesive story and superior, tactile gameplay compared to all previous installations, Crysis 3 represents the series at its most evolved stage. Each level accommodates for stealthy and aggressive play-styles: the inclusion of the predator bow and hacking means that one can adopt a truly silent approach to every situation, making use of the environment to move from place to place to complete goals. If one should choose an approach befitting of Rambo, this is also possible, as one can customise their Nanosuit to take more damage and improve firearm handling. The incredibly powerful Ceph weapons are now usable, and the presence of Ceph batteries scattered around the maps mean that Prophet has a chance to stand toe-to-toe with even the toughest of Ceph enemies. In particular, the boss fights were absolutely thrilling: at no point did I ever feel that I was ill-equipped to take on the bosses, making use of the environment and weapons to unleash destruction against the enemy. Crysis 3 also does a phenomenal job of portraying the Ceph, giving their true form as entities beyond human comprehension; it turns out that the forces that have been going to down on humanity are their equivalent of Homo Erectus, merely serving as guardians to a world that humans have since damaged. Beyond messages of what it means to be human, Crysis 3 also suggests that humanity should generally be more cautious about how we treat the Earth. All in all, Crysis 3 is perhaps the strongest installment in the franchise, taking back its title as one of the best-looking games of 2013 and also demonstrating that it’s possible to construct a reasonably compelling narrative in a game that might otherwise be seen purely as a technology demonstration.

Crisis 3- A First Look

“I saw a glimpse of what’s coming and there was nothing left of me to stop it. When the greatest combat machine fails…what do we do then? What do I do?!”—Prophet

Back in September, a chance sale saw Crysis 3 go on sale for ten dollars, and while this wasn’t quite as good as the Crysis 2 sale two years ago, I decided that it was high time to see if my my aging enthusiast rig could handle Crysis 3. Thus, after a glorious Thanksgiving dinner, I played my way through the first mission of Crysis 3. The settings are capped at high, and I’m averaging around 40-50 FPS on high settings, so my powerful PC is indeed capable of playing the game smoothly, sufficiently for me to sneak around with the Predator Bow and perform awesome ranged stealth kills on CELL soldiers. Set twenty-four years after Crysis 2, Crysis 3 follows Prophet as he’s being transferred to a CELL skinning facility such that the Ceph genetic data in his nanosuit can be recovered. However, he’s saved by a resistance force, which Psycho is a part of. In the twenty-four years, CELL developed a free energy source and used this to enslave those who could not pay for it. Over this time period, they’ve constricted a Nanodome over the remains of New York, and one mission in, it’s almost time to enter the Nanodome after fighting through the CELL holding area.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • An average FPS of 40-50 is more than acceptable, so thus begins my journey into a title that was released two-and-a-half years ago. By a curious turn of fate, two years ago, when I picked up Crysis 2, it also happened to be Thanksgiving, and I had taken a long stroll outside in the parks surrounding my area.

  • The Hammer pistol is the first weapon Prophet picks up: despite being a mere sidearm, it is not to be underestimated, as each shot hits quite hard. In the twenty-four years that have passed since Crysis 2, Alcatraz has become Prophet. The story in Crysis since the original has been somewhat crazy, but I’m here for the awesome graphics and weapons.

  • With that being said, Psycho is kind enough to explain what’s changed during the time skip, detailing how the CELL came to power. Like Crysis 2, the first automatic weapon I found was a SCARAB. Relatively weak compared to my preferred weapon, the SCAR, it’s nonetheless a good weapon for stealth when the suppressor is installed.

  • While Prophet is not initially receptive of the Predator Bow, it’s quickly become my favourite weapon in the first 40 minutes I’ve played. Incredibly powerful and adaptable, it’s the ultimate asset for stealthy gameplay.

  • Two years ago, I played through Crysis 2 and reminisced about Summer 2011, when I went to New York. At present day, I’m playing through Crysis 3 and reminiscing about Thanksgiving 2013, when I played Crysis 2. I’ve come to greatly enjoy the Thanksgiving long weekend: the weather was pleasant, so I went for a hike in the nearby park and took in the golden leaves on the aspen groves.

  • This year’s dinner consisted of a succulent herb-garnished turkey that was juicy on account of a new cooking technique, stuffing seasoned with parsley, shrimp cocktail, honey glazed asparagus and baby carrots, and a three-cheese baked potato. Besides Thanksgiving dinner itself, the leftover turkey has numerous uses: we usually make turkey congee for lunch on Thanksgiving Day itself and eat the meat straight off the bones. It’s absolutely delicious.

  • About halfway through this part, I ran out of energy for my cloak, alerting a group of CELL soldiers to my presence. A chain gun-equipped scout helicopter began assaulting my position, as well, and I was lacking anti-air munitions. My solution? Swap over to the explosive bolts on the Predator Bow, and two well-placed shots later, the helicopter was no longer a problem.

  • The SCAR was my favourite weapon in Crysis 2: it had a reasonable rate of fire, dealt good damage and ammunition to it was quite common. It could equip the reflex sight and assault scope, making it effective at medium to long ranges. Like Crysis 2, the weapons in Crysis 3 handle very well and feel powerful.

  • Crysis 3 is a comparatively short shooter, with only seven missions in total. Each mission does seem to last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour if stealth is employed (or if one is dying to swarms of enemies). However, if we treat Crysis 3 as a movie, then from a value perspective, the title is worth ten dollars.

  • I’ve found an ACOG SCAR, meaning I get to add the assault scope to my collection of attachments for the SCAR. One of the best features throughout the entire Crysis franchise is the ability to change up weapon attachments on the fly and adapt to any situation one might encounter.

Crisis 3 feels significantly smoother than Crysis 2 with respect to combat and movement, even though the technical requirements are much steeper, attesting to some of the improvements. Beyond this, having the Predator Bow and its ranged stealth capabilities add a new dimension to being stealthy. From a graphics perspective, Crysis 3 looks fantastic: environments are photorealistic, and it seems the game uses particle systems much more liberally to create incredibly detailed weather effects. Even on merely “high” settings, the improvements over Crysis 2 are noticeable. I’m most excited to see the Liberty Dome’s interior for myself, but for the present, a coincidence meant that the Star Wars Battlefront open beta was running concurrently with the Thanksgiving long weekend, so I’m going to try and get some screenshots of the gameplay with my newly unlocked blasters, and hopefully have an opportunity to play as Darth Vader, before the open beta ends. Once the beta ends, I’ll finish Call of Duty: Black Ops and then continue on with Crysis 3.

Crysis Warhead: A Reflection

“There are some rules that I do follow.” —Psycho

It’s been two months since the Steam Adventure sale, and as per the title, this is a talk about Crysis Warhead. I’m still playing my way through Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ (I’m about halfway through one storyline), but Crysis Warhead is completed now. Set in conjunction with the events of Crysis, Crysis Warhead is seen through Sergeant Michael “Psycho” Sykes’ eyes. After the harbour airstrike in the original Crysis, Pyscho is assigned with tracking down a KPA container, which JSOC suspects is carrying a nuclear warhead (lending its name to the game’s title). In pursuit of the container, Psycho learns that rather than a nuclear warhead, the container houses an alien war machine. Fighting through Ceph and North Koreans alike, Psycho eventually reaches an airfield and secures the container. Despite being a shorter game than Crysis, Crysis Warhead makes a more substantial effort towards giving Psycho depth and humanity, improves the way combat sequences are handled and implements new weapons and vehicles for the player to utilise.

  • Crysis Warhead dates back from September 2008, but the graphics nonetheless look amazing even relative to the graphics of some modern day titles, especially with respect to lighting and water effects. Modern games tend to have higher resolution textures, and it is here where the original Crysis begins to show its age. The age old query “will it run Crysis” no longer seems to apply: in the short space of a few years, GPUs have caught up.

  • Playing as Psycho adds a great deal of character to Crysis Warhead: whereas Nomad was depicted as a soldier who simply followed orders to get the job done, Psycho is more hot-headed and tends to follow his emotions. One of the earlier missions Psycho undertakes to is to secure O’Neil, a crashed F-35 pilot, and bring him to safety, against his commander’s orders to secure a container the North Koreans hold.

  • There’s no other word to describe the new Armoured Security Vehicles and their awesome weapons: the mini-gun version is great against infantry, but the anti-vehicle MG version excels in all roles: helicopters, jeeps and other ASVs are destroyed in seconds, and the explosive rounds can decimate infantry as quickly as the mini-gun in spite of a lower rate of fire. There are mounted versions of the anti-vehicle MG, and care must be taken not to get hit, since the rounds that work so well against the North Koreans will wreck even a Nanosuit fairly quickly.

  • The DSG-1 makes a welcome return in the second mission, Shore Leave, and before the Gauss Rifle becomes available, is the weapon of choice for long range engagements. It’s got a higher magazine capacity but deals lower damage compared to the Gauss Rifle, but the wide, open spaces in this mission make it an asset to use. Once it is found, Psycho also gains access to the sniper scope, which turns the SCAR into a long-range wrecking machine if used properly.

  • The submarine holds the container that Psycho’s superiors consider mission critical, but upon closing in on it, he discover that it is holding a Ceph scout, rather than a nuclear warhead as originally expected. While the mission adds a degree of urgency to things through dialogue, there’s not too much of a rush, and players can casually clear out the KPA forces before reaching the submarine. Psycho is captured by the KPA forces on the submarine, but before anything too crazy happens, the island is suddenly flash-frozen, corresponding to the point in time where Nomad exits the Ceph structure.

  • There’s a thrilling hovercraft chase that brings to mind the cinematics and atmospherics from Die Another Day. One of the modifications Crysis Warhead makes is that the Gauss Rifle deals less damage against the aliens than they did before. Notice that I’ve got the EMP grenades equipped here: while the game notes they’re excellent against Nanosuit soldiers, they can also be used to freeze swarms of alien troopers.

  • For one reason or another, this alien hunter lacks the shields that the hunter of Crysis had. For gameplay reasons, this makes sense, but as far as the story goes, this fight is chronologically before Helena Rosenthal discovers the Nanosuit can be used to disable the shields. I’ve got a grenade launcher here, and while it’s a fun weapon to use, it only makes appearances sparingly.

  • The USS Maine is seen in the distance: unlike the USS Constitution, it was patrolling Lingshan island and thus, was caught in the blast. It’s never mentioned in the original Crysis but is assumed to be of the same class as the USS Constitution. Again, the visual elements are impressive: while attempting to find a way into the carrier, there’s a massive wave of water that was clearly frozen quickly.

  • The tight spaces inside the carrier, coupled with the presence of Nanosuit soldiers, makes combat more high-paced. Care must be taken to ensure that one does not succumb to the power of their own EMP grenades. At several points during the mission, radio chatter from Prophet can be heard.

  • The icing effects make the optics (even the RDS) quite difficult to use, so for a large portion of these missions, I stuck with the weapon’s iron sights for maximum visibility. Here, I’ll point out the colour differences in the HUDs: by default, Nomad’s HUD in Crysis is green and can be set to the same red colour that Pyscho’s HUD is. The only difference between the HUDs is that Psycho’s has the additional text “Sykes Mod” to differentiate it from Nomad’s HUD.

Coupled with better combat sequences, the new weapons and vehicles make Crysis Warhead stand out above Crysis. The inclusion of the AY69 dual-wieldable machine pistols gives the player increased reserve firepower at close range. Here was a weapon that could reliable down KPA soldiers and Seph troopers if one had ever run out ammunition for their primary and secondary weapons. The FGL-40 is another new man-portable grenade launcher that can destroy light vehicles quickly but has a short range. EMP grenades allow Ceph and Nanosuit soldiers to be suppressed, buying the player some breathing room. The other new weapon is the Plasma Accumulator Cannon, the PAX, which is used in the game’s climatic battle to destroy an alien armada. New vehicles include the Armoured Security Vehicle (ASV), which is resistant to small arms fire and equipped with either the AHMG-138 mini gun or the 20 mm auto-cannon; the former is exceptionally efficient at decimating foot mobiles, and as an anti-vehicle weapon, the latter will wreck anything it hits in a few shots. These weapons can be found as stationary emplacements, and in the sixth mission, there are a large number of these mounted on the train Pyscho is tailing: this turns the mission into quite literally, a rail-shooter, and the overwhelming power conferred by these weapons provided a vast amount of amusement. The new weapons made each battle entertaining, and despite being the same game as the original Crysis (from a gameplay and graphics perspective), Crysis Warhead does manage to stand out from its predecessor as a title that is worth playing.

  • This fight against an onslaught of aliens took forever to finish, and I found myself making use of the AY69 to defeat the troopers at close range. I also was able to find another FGL-40 lying around, and used it to clear out clusters of alien troopers. The Gauss Rifle’s limitations were quite apparent here, as it took numerous shots to shoot down the scouts, and after several deaths, I finally succeeded in clearing this part.

  • Curiously enough, there’s actually been very little need to make use of the rocket launcher against enemy vehicles in Crysis Warhead thus far in the game, since the anti-vehicle MG on the ASV do an excellent job already. Instead, since I’d been running with a fully-stocked rocket launcher the entire time, I decided to speed up the last bits of the mission and used it to destroy the scouts. There are orange scouts that can be shot down more easily, but have homing projectiles that explode on contact.

  • Inside the mine, temperatures are apparently warm enough for the frost to melt off the weapons, making it a fine time to re-attach one’s preferred sights to their weapons. I typically roll with the holographic sight on the SCAR, and generally attach the laser sights to weapons that are hip-fired. Apparently, this mining complex and the mine tunnels is not the same mine as the one from Crysis: several geological features suggest that this mine is a few kilometers from the mine of the original Crysis.

  • Back in November, the extremely cold weather meant that mice were getting into the house: I had been working on a paper and something moved in my peripheral vision. It turned out to be a mouse, and after an afternoon of trying to continue with the paper, I gave up and decided to catch the mouse myself. I laid out a plastic bag and some gloves, and as luck would have it, the mouse wandered into said plastic bag, allowing me to capture it. The Nanosuit would allow one to catch rats fairly quickly; it’s possible to pick up the rats scurrying about here.

  • In the penultimate mission, From Hell’s Heart, the goal is to follow the container, and the heavy weapons emplacements on the train plainly broadcast to players that it’d be a good idea to make use of these weapons. Thus begins what is a relatively linear, but immensely enjoyable section of the game as Psycho makes use of these mounted weapons to devastate everything that moves: even helicopters don’t stand a chance.

  • This is the container that is referred to in all of the missions: after some four hours of gameplay, the container is finally secure and ready to be pulled out by VTOL. My choice of weapons for this final part of the game are simple enough: the SCAR and Gauss Rifle are more than enough for long range combat, while the AY69 will excel in close quarters. On my first playthrough of Crysis Warhead, I held onto the same SCAR the entire way through. Unlike Crysis, Ammunition for it is plentiful, and even if it wasn’t, I use the SCAR in semi-automatic mode unless squaring off against the aliens.

  • My memory’s a little rusty, but I definitely remember using an APC during Awakening of Crysis; apparently, they are only accessible in some cases, and will normally be occupied by KPA forces. Armed with an auto-cannon and a missile launcher, this vehicle is an immensely useful asset when taking on the other APCs on the airfield: the missiles will make short work of them, and the autocannon can devastate everything else. There is a single KPA soldier on the tower armed with a Gauss Rifle, and left unchecked, he can finish Psycho off in a single shot.

  • The weather undergoes a dramatic transformation, setting the stage for the final boss fight. My first experience with this level brought to mind a YouTube playthrough of it that was posted during 2008: the uploader had a GeForce 8800 GT, and to give an idea of how far video cards have come, my GPU has around 4.8 times the overall performance compared to it. Once the weather shifts, it’s time to go back down to ground level and retrieve the PAX.

  • The PAX is located in a crashed C-18 down the runway. Psycho will come under fire from the aliens, and although it is possible to use the AAA guns to destroy them, the aliens can also damage the AAAs fairly quickly, which results in instant death. A combination of quickly using the AAA’s missiles to destroy the alien scouts, and the Gauss rifle for the troopers will buy enough time and space for Psycho to reach the aircraft.

  • The PAX (Plasma Accumulator Cannon) is the single most powerful weapon in the game and will destroy the Red Hunter in around eleven shots. It’s the preferred way of taking down the Red Hunter, and despite a slow recharge time, its unlimited ammunition and high damage make it hugely useful here. One must be careful not to discharge it in close range for obvious reasons, and after the Red Hunter is defeated, the closing cutscenes for the game play, ending this short but immensely entertaining installment in the Crysis franchise.

At the end of the day, the discount price on Crysis Warhead meant that picking it up was a no-brainer; I enjoyed a shorter shooter that felt more polished and focused than the original Crysis, and with Crysis Warhead now complete, the only Crysis title I haven’t played is the third one. If sources are to be believed, its campaign is just a little longer than that of Crysis Warhead’s. The inclusion of a compound bow and usable Ceph weapons are some of the reasons I’m considering Crysis 3, but the hardware requirements are quite steep, meaning that my current rig will probably be best suited to running the game on high settings rather than ultra. If I am to pick up Crysis 3, it’ll probably be a ways into the future once I resolve my current backlog of games: I’ve only to beat Tomb Raider: Underworld and Alan Wake: American Nightmare before I am finished with my old backlog. I’ll probably take a break from Battlefield 3 over the next few months to at least complete Tomb Raider: Underworld before moving onto Valkyria Chronicles, which is said to have upwards of 30 hours of campaign time and will likely be as entertaining as Deus Ex: Human Revolutions.

Crysis 2- Final Impressions

After two months of purchasing Crysis 2, I’ve finally beaten it. The second half sees Alcatraz defending Grand Central Station from the swarms of Ceph forces and Times Square from the same to buy civilians enough time to evacuate. Upon finishing this task, Alcatraz is sent to infiltrate the complex on Roosevelt Island, where Hargreave is located, and takes down Commander Lockhart in the process. Reaching the complex means finding Hargreave in stasis after an injury sustained at Tunguska: the subsequent conversation ends with Alcatraz receiving the final upgrades to the Nanosuit. The last goal in Crysis 2 is to destroy the Ceph spire in Central Park before the US Department of Defense launches a tactical nuclear strike on Manhattan. Once Alcatraz makes it, the game ends on the note that the Nanosuit has assimilated Prophet’s memories into Alcatraz, bringing Prophet back to life and setting in motion the events of Crysis 3, which would release in March 2013 and is so GPU demanding that my current loadout can only run the game on high settings, rather than ultra settings.

  • The Grendel fulfills the role of Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4‘s Battle Rifle. A high-caliber battle rifle, the Grendel has semiautomatic and three-round bursts, making it useful as a marksman rifle at medium to long ranges. Lacking automatic fire, it’s less useful at closer ranges, meaning I typically will pair a shotgun with it.

  • There’s a Swarmer missile launcher in Grand Central Station somewhere; it is particularly useful for shutting down the Pinger that storms in later. Crysis 2 performs very nicely on my system, running at a cool 80 FPS, but the frame rate does drop sometimes when I’m inside a building.

  • I don’t think I have any images or mention of it, but the X-43 MIKE is a high-power experimental directed-energy weapon based around weaponized microwaves, causing the water and fat molecules in organic systems to heat rapidly to quickly take down a target. Against the Ceph, even a short exposure causes them to explode violently, making the weapon useful against Ceph Devastators. The MIKE only makes an appearance five times in the campaign and extra ammunition cannot be found for the weapon.

  • There are two separate phases where one will need to hold out against the Ceph. At Times Square, there is a HMG that will shred the Ceph: the Ceph are tougher to kill compared to CELL operatives, although they can be downed very quickly with stealth kills. These are surprisingly entertaining to carry out, even though there are only a few animations for the stealth kills.

  • A careful eye reveals that the cityscape on either side of Roosevelt Island is the same, but that doesn’t matter, since the overall effect is very pleasing. By this point in the game, I had enough Nano catalyst to unlock all of the stealth upgrades and had an incredible time sneaking around the complex, dispatching CELL soldiers with stealth kills or silenced headshots from a silenced SCARAB (which I had discarded earlier for the SCAR).

  • Commander Lockhart is protected by a force field of some sort, and wields one of the few Gauss rifles in the game. A combination of stealth and use of cover allows for the distance to be closed, and any opposition to be silenced. From there, defeating Lockhart proves to be straightforward enough: it’s not a true boss battle, but a cutscene, since Lockhart is an ordinary man with a Gauss rifle and probably would result in a disappointing fight.

  • The interior of Hargreaves’ complex is very ornate and in fact, brings to mind Drake’s castle from 007 Nightfire (the console version). Previous iterations of the Nanosuit can be seen in the glass cases, and soon after Alcatraz meets Hargreaves’ true form, Ceph break in. It is advisable to have a good close-quarters weapon at this stage to make the fight easier.

  • After Hargreaves announces his intentions, he orders the CELL to assist Alcatraz along with the self-destruction of his facility. The ensuing explosion wrecks the Queensboro Bridge while Alactraz is running across it, providing a harrowing few moments. As powerful as the Nanosuit is, Alacatraz is taken off the bridge by a falling vehicle, but is found by Gould and Strickland.

  • En route to the floating remains of Central Park, the player is given a rail-shooting assignment. Even though Ceph soldiers and Devastators stand between Alcatraz and the destination, the tank’s main weapon is very effective, while the missile launchers make things a little too easy. For one reason or another, I love rail shooters, as they allow me to focus entirely on shooting while someone else focuses on driving.

  • The final “bosses” in Crysis 2 is an entire army of Ceph (they defeated by a bit of patience and stealth), and four Ceph Guardians. The Guardians can cloak and have the highest durability of any Ceph in game: when I first encountered them, all I had was the K-Volt. I managed to defeat all of them by emptying entire magazines into them at near-point blank range and drawing each one out individually for a stealth kill. Once they are beaten, crawling into the Ceph spire will effectively end the game; beyond this point, the Nanosuit takes care of everything else, and thus ends a thrilling ten-hour journey through New York.

As an eight-dollar deal on Steam, Crysis 2 was something that I was considering when it went on discount back in October. Upon beating the campaign, I was very satisfied with the solid, tactile feeling from the gameplay. The Nanosuit, despite feeling less powerful compared to its Crysis iteration, allowed me to play through sections of the campaign as I preferred. Collecting nano catalyst from downed Ceph and upgrading my suit to fit my preferences was a very nice touch, giving me superior armour. By the time I reached Roosevelt Island, I had defeated enough Ceph to fully upgrade both my armour and stealth ratings. I took a liking to using silenced weapons to place headshots on distant soldiers without my cloak dropping: this is something I couldn’t do back in Crysis. I also cannot stress enough how enjoyable it was to have the ability to grab onto ledges and perform power-slides. These elements add variety to the gameplay, and though Crysis 2 may be less open than its predecessor, it captures the feeling of an urban jungle very nicely. The story aspect is, while a little inconsistent or inconceivable in some places, nonetheless entertaining enough to stand on its own. As a shooter, the gunplay is solid and the weapons feel powerful, again, being customisable to one’s preference. Overall, limitations in its graphics and story aren’t enough to take away from what is a fitting entry in the Crysis series. Of course, the fact that I netted this for eight dollars means that a part of my enjoyment did indeed come from that Steam Sale.

Crysis 2- Halfway point impressions

I think I’m a little more than halfway into Crysis 2 now. The campaign has proven to be an incredible experience. even if it is handling a little less fluidly in some cases. By now, I’ve come across a diverse range of weapons, and have taken down enough Ceph to acquire all of the Nano-catalyst needed to customise my suit. With all of my catalyst going towards improving armour, the game suddenly allows me to take a very direct approach towards completing objectives. Many players prefer to cloak and sneak around the map with a suppressed weapon, but there’s more than one way to play Crysis, and so, I’ve been running around with modules that confer improved armour that drains more slowly and allows the Nanosuit to take twice as much damage. Forgoing stealth for brute force, I find great joy in using the MK 60 and the Jackal. However, getting to the point where I can afford to eschew all stealth for straight-up survivability is a thrilling story all on its own.

  • The SCAR was my weapon of choice for the first few chapters of the campaign. Adaptable and powerful, it is ideal for those who prefer to use firepower rather than stealth. Conversely, the SCARAB is superior for stealth-oriented players.

  • Ammunition is far more common in Crysis 2 and can be found in crates almost everywhere in the game. This allows players to stick to weapons of their liking and play the game with their own styles. This means I’m going to go back later and try to beat Crysis 2 with just a pistol and stealth mode.

  • Two years ago, I watched gameplay footage showing CELL forces decimate Nathan Gould’s lab and Gould remarking that years of research disappeared after his severs were smashed. While incremental improvements to consumer technology has since occurred in the last two years, lab research data is still largely stored on either personal computers or servers. This approach will probably remain common until innovation allows for hitherto unknown means of storing data efficiently and safely to become more commonplace.

  • Nathan Gould’s apartment is cluttered and distinctly feels like someone’s home, although there is a fancy holographic display that is probably more costly than most people would choose to purchase for personal purposes. Two years ago, one of the lab members I was working with was designing natural user interfaces for our software. These NUIs rely on more intuitive inputs, such as gestures and swipes, to manipulate computer UIs and are becoming more common with tablets and smartphones. For PC, however, the traditional mouse and keyboard are still superior.

  • I could be mistaken, but that appears to be the Trinity Church: located at 79 Broadway, it is one of the oldest churches in Manhattan and was built in 1864. I visited the church back in 2011. There is some degree of creative liberty taken with the surroundings, though. There are no buildings with a patio close to the church steeple, and the entire area is surrounded by high-rise buildings in the real New York City.

  • The K-Volt is a submachine gun that fires electrically charged pellets and sends CELL soldiers flying backwards. When used on the Ceph aliens, it stuns them. The weapon has a high rate of fire, but its ballistic behaviour is more similar to that of a paintball gun, making it most useful at closer ranges.

  • The demolition SCAR is one of the most versatile configurations, featuring an under-barrel grenade launcher that can be used to clear out groups of enemies very efficiently. Attachments for a shotgun and guass gun are also avaliable, providing the SCAR with options for engaging enemies at short and longer ranges, respectively. They draw ammunition from their respective pools, although the grenade launcher attachment has its own ammunition pool, allowing for a maximum of six shots to be carried at any given time (one in the launcher and five in reserve).

  • The DSG is the first sniper rifle the player will encounter (I think it’s found in Road Rage) and can be stablised (à la Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare) using the shift key. Doing so will drain suit energy but significantly improves shot placement,

  • Once the Ceph start showing up, the really cool guns become avaliable for use, including the Swarmer, a multi-round rocket launcher that can be used to devastating effect against anything on the receiving end. The automatic shotgun, the Jackal, and the L-tag also become available about mid-game. This brings to bear my favourite (if somewhat untrue) gaming paradigm: “The cooler a gun looks, the more effective it is in-game.”

  • I’m now tasked with reactivating missile batteries and escorting civilians to the Grand Central Station. Fighting through night-time Manhattan gives the game a very Enter The Matrix-like feel to it, bringing to mind the “City Rooftops” mission for its depiction of a night-time cityscape. Enter The Matrix was a 2003 release and required a GeForce 256 to run. The graphics are ancient by comparison, but I nonetheless enjoyed it for its ambiance and setup, giving me a chance to immerse myself in the Matrix universe.

The feature I enjoy most about Crysis 2 right now has to be the ability to perform powersliding and grasp ledges, giving the game a very tactile feel to it. These features are particularly nice to have, allowing players to feel like they have a high degree of control and freedom in their environment. In most games, jumping near a ledge doesn’t do anything, setting Crysis 2 apart from the others. It is elements like these that allow Crysis 2 to succeed in giving players the impression that they are indeed a Nanosuit 2.0 operator. For the present, I can’t wait to finish the campaign: I admit that the graphics are somewhat dated, but they nonetheless look very polished, and the gameplay itself is superb, so I’m uncertain as to where all the displeasure online is coming from. Of course, players looking for photorealism can either modify Crysis 2, or buy Crysis 3 and/or Battlefield 4. I’ll probably buy the latter once the winter break rolls around.