Baboom! I just finished Crytek's Crysis. I bought this game to see what my new gaming rig was capable of, but am glad to report that it has high scores for gameplay, too--assuming you like FPS, of course. While I'm a bit too burned out from writing to give you an in-depth review, I thought I could at least hit the high points.
Bear in mind that I was a fan of Far Cry, so I was biased towards this game from the start. Far Cry really made me happy because it was so action-based, with minimal "rotting horror" type crap that I don't really care for. Far Cry reminded me of a good Arnold Schwarzenegger film; non-stop action and lots of bravado--and the story wasn't half bad either. Crysis reminds me more of Terminator than Commando, though. Your hero has a nanosuit that gives him superpowers; however, don't get too cocky. These powers are desperately needed to give you any chance to win, definitely not something that's going to make it easy for you. The powers are speed, strength, armor, and stealth, and boy, are you going to be switching a lot. Here's one area the game could have been improved--I wish that it would automatically switch to speed when running, strength when jumping or bashing stuff, etc., but I guess that would've made it too easy. As it is, you hold down the V button and move the mouse to the power you want. All of them (except the passive armor mode) drains your batteries quickly, so you have to be right with the timing.
Anyway, the game is definitely challenging enough to force you to use strategy rather than just goin' in guns blazing. I found myself sneaking around a lot with stealth mode and a silencer; blast some enemies, stealth mode, hide out, repeat, etc. The vehicles seem to take damage fast and don't stealth, so I ended up doing most of my combat on foot. One part even has you flying a sort of futuristic troop carrier; it was very difficult to dogfight in that thing.
One extremely cool segment had you fighting in zero-G. I know that's something that got brought up a lot in Star Trek shows, so it was neat to finally see what it was like. Needless to say, it was tough!
On the negative side, I thought the characters were handled better in Far Cry. There, you really only had two characters on your side, so you got to interact with them a lot (though usually only to direct you to the next checkpoint). In Crysis, you have teammates, but they drop like flies. I'm sad to say that you really don't get to know any of them very well, not that Far Cry was much better in this regard. So, suffice it to say, the only major draw here is the gameplay. Again, if you really like characters in FPS, I strongly recommend Mass Effect, the best game I've seen in this regard.
There are plenty of nice touches. One is that if it's raining, the occasional raindrop will splatter on your helmet. It also frosts up if you're in freezing air, which is a very nice effect. I wrote a whole article about weather in games recently, so it was nice to see that some developers are taking this seriously.
It might almost be more fun to play this game in easy mode rather than normal, since then you could revel in the weaponry a bit more. At normal mode, you die pretty quickly, so you have to be either very fast on the draw or, more likely, quick to duck behind cover. The AI is pretty good, too, so the enemies will also run for cover and try to flank you. All in all, I was impressed.
Of course, if you buy this game, it's going to be for the audiovisuals more than anything else. This game is as close to cinematic realism as I've seen. Leaves flutter, bullet casings collect around you, everything can pretty much take damage and be destroyed. It's really fun blasting a watchtower with a RPG and watch the whole structure fall to the ground in a burst of flame.
The end is a cliffhanger that sets it up nicely for the sequel, but I haven't decided if I'm game for that, yet. There are still so many games out there just dying to be installed on this baby! She handled Crysis well, though a few times I did end up having to reboot. I guess the power drain was too much or the heat got to it; at any rate, the power went off on my computer. I don't really get it, since I upgraded the power supply to 500 watts. If it starts crashing regularly I'm going to get very upset.
Anyway, if you're on the fence about this game, I'd say go for it if you have a high-end system. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't bother, unless you loved Far Cry and can't wait for another game of that type.