Crytek is one of the few start up game developers that began with a hugely successful first title. Their 2004 first person shooter Far Cry, published by UbiSoft and using Crytek's first version of their own CryEngine, was a revelation of graphics , physics and AI combining to create an immersive game experience. Crytek could have taken the easy route and made Far Cry 2; instead they sold off the Far Cry IP to UbiSoft who are indeed making a first person shooter called Far Cry 2 but which has no other real connection to the first game.
Crytek decided to make a second game, Crysis, that not only isn't a sequel but uses the second version of their impressive CryEngine. While Crysis is an excellent follow-up to Far Cry in many respects there are some issues that keep it from being the title that were hoping it would be.
The game is set in the year 2020 on a South Pacific island that has been invaded by the North Koreans. There's some kind of secret that has been buried at the island for millions of years. Your character is a US Special Forces military officers that is equipped with a Nanosuit; basically an outfit that can do some interesting tricks to keep you alive. As you and the rest of the US military battle the North Koreans on the island, its secrets begin to come to the surface; in other words, there's some aliens from outer space to deal with and they are very unhappy.
The first half of Crysis kept up to our high expectations of the game we have had for so long. Your character's intro via a HALO jump gets things going with a bang and the Nanosuit's functions get a workout as you go though the tropical jungle settings of the island. The Nanosuit has several different abilities that are limited by the suit's energy bar; there's super-strength (mostly use for leaping great heights); super-speed (very fast movements for brief periods) armor (the most used ability that keeps you alive from attacks and regenerates you if you get to cover) and stealth (a Predator like light bending field that keeps you hidden from enemies). Of course you get the assorted weapons to choose from; machine guns, rocket launchers, shotguns and later some alien weapons. There's also some customization of weapons to add scopes, grenade launchers, laser pointers and more. There's also some drivable vehicles to use (jeeps, tanks and the like).
Crysis's first half is basically an improved version of Far Cry as you fight the North Koreans on the island. The enemy AI in the game is quite challenging and you will likely find yourself dying a lot, especially in the first couple of levels as you find yourself out gunned and out numbered. Enemies try to out flank you constantly and back up and take cover if they find themselves under fire. You will find yourself entering enemy bases, shooting down AI helicopters, sinking a cruiser inside a loading dock and engaging the enemy in a vast outdoor tank battle. While the North Koreans are mostly human you do deal with some Nanosuited powered foes who have the same abilities you do; speed, strength, stealth and armor.