Summary: John Callaham takes us through his first impressions of Crytek's upcoming shooter Crysis. See his reactions and some screenshots here!
When we and other media folks have seen builds of the long awaited first person shooter Crysis in the past, we have seen the game set in the lush tropical island levels that looked similar to what developer Crytek created for their last game Far Cry. However, people who thought that Crysis was going to just be a graphical remake of Far Cry are going to be very surprised. At a recent press event run by Crysis' publisher Electronic Arts we got to see a couple of levels that are very different than the tropical setting we have seen previously. Today we will talk about our impressions of one of those levels, labeled ICE.
As the name implies, the level takes place in a region that is a tad colder than what we have seen of the game in the past. To be more accurate, the ICE level is actually set in the same tropical island but the aliens that have crash landed on the location have decided to do a little bit of Xenoforming ("Terraforming" but done by aliens) in order to make the setting more to their climate. Since these creatures like things to be a tad colder than Earth normal your character (clad in his Nanosuit) finds himself on top of a hill that's covered in snow after emerging from the inside of the alien ship (that's a story for another day). The palm trees have all been cut down and striped bare and snow continues to fall on the island. Massive sounds coming from the ship cause boulders from above and around you to start sliding down. The rocks have some substance; you can get hit as they come down the hill and have damage done to you by the rocks so it's best to avoid being hit by sthe rocks.
We moved down the snowy hill while playing the level, avoiding the steep cliffs that promised certain doom if we happened to fall off. At one point during our decent we encountered some of the alien trooper units in Crysis which look a bit like the Matrix's octopus like machines but glowing blue and with mechanical tenacles. The troopers like to fly around and hang in the distance before charging at you full force. We found that taking them out with the long range machine gun is the best way to dispatch the creatures; waiting until they get close and blowing them out with a shotgun blast is not preferred. The troopers came after us a couple of time during our time playing the level in packs of four and they seem to communicate silently with each other before commencing their attacks.
Our time playing the Crysis ICE level was relatively short but it was memorable. Visually, the game looks as good as we have seen it previously with great looking snow and weather effects along with terrific-looking character models for the troopers as well as our character's weapons.The visual effects from the alien glow to your own Nanosuit's abilities (including the Predator-like cloaking effect) was in full force during our time with the game. What's even more impressive is that the guys at Crytek deliberately brought the DirectX9 version of the game to demo at the EA press event. While the game will still ship with both DirectX9 and DirectX10 ports, it's clear that people who still have Windows XP PCs (and that's most of you) will still get an incredible game to look at and play. Of course that means the DirectX10/Vista gamers will have an even better looking game to check out.
While the ICE level was very cool to check out its not the only thing we got to see at the EA press event. Check out FiringSquad in the near future with some more hands-on impressions of other parts of the game that we got to see last week. All we will say is that Crysis is aiming to be not just a graphical feast but an original first person shooter gaming experience even without the cool bells and whistles (and don't forget a single player demo is due for release on Sept. 25). We named Crysis as our most anticipated game of 2007 at the beginning and in our time in playing various builds of the game we have seen nothing that will change that opinion yet.
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