Have You Played… Crysis

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

When later entries in a series go wrong, the disappointment tends not to blight the original people liked so much. Unfortunately Crysis [official site] couldn’t maintain the things people liked about it for even its own running time. Yeah, the aliens were a bit guff, but there was so much in Crysis to like from its open stealth-action beginnings to its bombastic finale.

Everyone remembers it’s FarCry-ish opening hours, in which you’re dropped on an island with a nanosuit and able to approach its combat bubbles from a great distance. You can chain together your suit’s powers to run, jump and invisibly skip into enemy bases, for non-lethal or melee take downs on the Korean soldiers patrolling the area. You can switch to armour mode and operate like a walking tank, carrying normally stationary turret placements and punching buildings so hard their roofs cave in. You can steal a nearby boat, maybe, and park it off the coast and attack from there.

It’s only ever a wide corridor rather than a true open world, but it’s wonderful enough that the pain when it’s taken away in favour of something more restrictive and linear is understandable. Thankfully, the linear stuff is normally pretty good, too. Not as good, and with some terrible missions, but frequently spectacular and fun. I loved driving a tank across open fields while a mountain cracked open in the distance. I enjoyed exploring the spaceship inside that mountain in zero-gravity. I was entranced by the splendor of the tropical island becoming encased in ice. I enjoyed the spectacle of a nuclear explosion going off and rocking a fleet of military ships off the island’s coast. I still tell people about the little LCD-screen ripple when a soldier’s finger touches its surface.

Crysis was a great game, then a bad game, then a good game again. It’s still a game worth playing.

57 Comments

  1. EhexT says:

    Crysis 1, best played on the hardest difficulty. Not only is Korean speaking Koreans more immersive, it actually requires skill to get through, and every armor mode has an equal importance.

    The only issues it has is that it’s aliens aren’t as fun to fight as it’s koreans and Crysis:Warhead fixes that. The less said about Crysis 2 or 3 the better (just retcon everything into Halo edition).

    • subedii says:

      It’s funny, but it took until Crysis 3 for most reviewers to admit that Crysis 2 wasn’t as good as the first game. I lost count of the number of times I replayed that game (or heck, even just individual levels like the Harbour level). Crysis 2 and 3, I played them both through once, each. And just didn’t care to go back again.

      Personally I really enjoyed playing the game on “no cloak” stealth runs, something that was still possible back in the first game with all the dense foliage around. You could be in a bush literally a few feet from a dude and they wouldn’t see you.

      Also tip for anyone trying the game: There’s a big temptation amongst new players to stick with armour mode and get into stand-up direct fights. Try going with Speed mode as your default instead, move and flank around rapidly, you’ll likely survive much better when fighting starts. Armour mode is best reserved for when you can’t maneuver.

      • subedii says:

        Also agree that Crysis actually felt far more like Halo 2. Which in itself isn’t strictly a bad thing, it was actually quite a good Halo game. But it left me disappointed all the same since it quickly became clear that we probably wouldn’t be returning to the gameplay of the earlier game.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      Yes, I enjoyed Crysis so much that after playing on normal playing like Rambo I went straight back and played it on Supersoldier or whatever like Predator. You could play with the soldiers for ages, pulling them across the map and splitting them up. Also, one of the few games where I made endless stealth kills with a shotgun.

      Ah damn, I’m reinstalling this later.

      • dangermouse76 says:

        But will it run windows 10………….eh eh. I’m leaving.

      • ZeDestructor says:

        I preferred to use the sniper rifle as a shotgun, paired with FY71/SCAR as alternate. Great fun…

        Combo also work quite well in C2 and C3.

        Personally, I liked C3 quite a bit: it’s so pretty, the aliens are much more fun to fight and the gunplay is better IMO, but it lacks the nice open-world feel of C1.

  2. jonahcutter says:

    One of the truly great fps games. Right up until the silly flying-squid-aliens appear.

  3. skyturnedred says:

    True open-world would be wonderful with the suit powers.

  4. killias2 says:

    (Far) Crysis 4 would be an instabuy to me. And I skipped 2 and 3.

  5. SuicideKing says:

    Yes, but never had enough FPS to actually finish it.

  6. Eldritch says:

    Pretty sure “carrying normally stationary turret placements” was only in C2 and 3.

    • PoulWrist says:

      There were these big miniguns that you could carry around while moving slowly, they dropped off some big mobs wearing powerarmor or whatnot.

  7. Darth Gangrel says:

    Crysis 1 is an FPS like no other and often felt like more than an FPS, e.g. a kind-of open world RPG or a Deus Ex-like game because of the multitude of options at hand.

    I bought it together with the Warhead expansion and my great enjoyment of the open-ended gameplay has kept me off Crysis 2 and 3. I fear that they are more traditional FPS games, with their narrow areas, scripted sequences and other stuff to prevent you from approaching an objective in multiple ways.

    I often enjoyed just walking around and pretending like I was on a holiday sightseeing tour, just armed with a nanosuit, heavy weaponry and occasionally shot at. When the commander spoke to me and demanded me to get moving by rhetorically asking “do you want to fight this war alone?” I wish I could respond “yes, that’s exactly what I want to do and it’s going along just fine”.

    • Spuzzell says:

      There is no such game as Crysis 1, it’s just Crysis.

      I actually thought the aliens were good in terms of the narrative, but then I don’t mind things being intentionally irritating to hit and hard to kill as my cack handed FPS skills mean I find EVERYTHING irritating to hit and hard to kill.

    • Ross Angus says:

      “You are leaving the mission area”

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        That “leaving the mission area” crap is one of the worst sins of modern games. I call it “Ubisoftening” when the game forces me to play in a certain way, choose a certain path, just because that’s the way it was intended by the devs. Then it’s not a game anymore, in the sense of offering playful, fun exploration, but rather more of a backseat driver threatening to pull out the car keys from the ignition unless you stay on the intended path.

        However, I don’t remember seeing that in Crysis 1 (yes, Spuzzell, I’m gonna keep calling it Crysis 1 since there are now more than 1 Crysis game). The later part was more linear: do this, wait here, fight off these enemies here before you can move on. I only did that part to finish the game, I only replayed the early, pre-alien parts.

        • subedii says:

          I’ve seen it happen once or twice, but you had to work hard to effectively break out of some of the level bounds by finagling your way up cliffs you weren’t supposed to be able to. Really it could happen, but it was kind of a back up since you weren’t really supposed to see it.

          For the most part you were free to roam the level, and what boundaries at the edges were typically held by things like battleships and sharks.

        • Spuzzell says:

          No, there’s only one Crysis game. The next games modifier was Crysis Warhead, then there was Crysis 2 and Crysis 3. There was never a Crysis 1, it didn’t exist.

          Call it Crysis 1 if you want, but be aware it makes you sound like a 8 year old who doesn’t know any better :-)

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            Your comment makes you sound like a child, but whatever. I’ll to continue write Deus Ex 1, Diablo 1 and so on to distinguish them from the other games in those franchises (or just because I know it annoys you :P).

          • Cinek says:

            You’re like a new form of grammar nazi

          • NomadSoul says:

            That would certainly be better than a troll who doesn’t have a solid grasp of the English language, but decides to try to correct others. You are completely incorrect, when you refer to Crysis you are referring to a game and a franchise. If you say “I love Crysis, it’s the best!” you are being too ambiguous. The person you are talking to has no idea whether you mean the first game in the series or the series as a whole. In order for the statement not to be ambiguous you would need to signify which title within the series you are referring to. Stating that you like Crysis 1 or the first Crysis clearly and correctly conveys to the reader that you are talking about a specific game within the series and not the series as a whole.

          • ButteringSundays says:

            This is such meaningless pedentry, and there’s only one person in this conversation that sounds 8.

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            Phasma Felis says:

            So, are you trolling, or…?

        • SuicideKing says:

          Definitely happened to be a few times before the aliens part, when they want you to move through the valley with the waterfalls.

  8. Kefren says:

    I enjoyed a lot of the gameplay, and was immersed for a time, but remember there was some dick of a commander on a boat. I knew he was a dick so tried punching him and he just ignored me as hundreds of mega-augmented punches connected with his face. I tried shooting him but it wouldn’t work. Then I thought “Oh yes, I forgot – this is a scripted game and they’ve disabled protected this guy from my attacks in case I do something like choose my own ending.” Then everything blew up, I waited for a chance to tidy it all up, or for the story to finish, but it didn’t. It just ended without resolution. “WTF!” I cried. “It’s Half Life 2 all over again!”

    • subedii says:

      I didn’t mind the cliffhanger ending so much as the fact that in the sequel they pretty much ignored it and scrubbed Nomad from existence altogether. Kind of ridiculous.

      • BooleanBob says:

        Where in the world is Adrian Shephard?

      • gebrps says:

        That was unbelievable and unforgivable. They made their big entry to the industry thanks to that game. I loved the end and was hoping a great trilogy with spin-offs being Nomad or others of the team. With Warhead I thought they were in the right path.

        What happened then? They released a 6-issue comic continuing the plot, leaving most of all the fanbase they achieved without knowing what happened in the way to Crysis 2.

        Those ridiculous plot decisions and disrespecting the PC (that was what put them on the map) did the rest, and a very promising franchise, with a strong lead character like Nomad, went to the sewer.

        I really don’t understand what they were thinking. It should have been very easy just to follow the plot that they left in the ending of the first game. I was hoping to play as Prophet, in his adventure but noooo, let’s release a comic with that and let the protagonist disappear.

        Very “clever”. Sorry for my english.

  9. LennyLeonardo says:

    Such a great game. I must’ve got 10 hours out of the demo alone. This is what all sandbox FPS should aspire to. Apart from the plot and the aliens and stuff. That was awful.

    • subedii says:

      I’m one of those rare people who didn’t mind the aliens. Felt like a change of pacing to keep other gameplay elements from getting stale. Also liked the short flight sequence.

      Oh, but the tank level was awesome. Especially since even there the openness of the gamplay showed through, and if you wanted you could quite simply exit the tank and do the whole thing on foot, and the level still worked.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Absolutely, the tank level was incredible. Felt like nothing else I’d ever played. Also, I admit: I liked the zero-g space ship. The visual design there was great

        • subedii says:

          Now that you mention it, yes, the visual design was freaking awesome. They really did go out of their way to make it feel like you’d boarded an alien mothership for that sequence, right down to everything being in Zero-G (er… despite it still being on Earth).

      • Cinek says:

        Tank level was IMHO the best one in a game. And aliens were nice too, they certainly got some interesting ideas is. But floped when transitioning them to C2 and 3.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        There’s actually one great sandboxy set piece involving both the aliens and the Koreans, but that’s about the only part with them that I like. They are bullet sponges, and most of the areas with them are linear — not to mention the horrible escort mission with Prophet.

        Like my grandmother always used to say, “there’s nothing worse than fighting big, flying, bullet sponge octopuses on a linear escort mission.” God bless her.

        • Arglebargle says:

          No kidding! I quit the game at the stupid escort mission. Just not interested enough to go through that BS after the increasingly terrible design. I’ve replayed the game a couple of times, but pretty much quit at the squid levels.

          Plus it wasn’t that stable when I was playing it, would corrupt saves every so often.

          And a nod in the direction of your great grandmother….

  10. The_Greg says:

    I loved Crysis when it came out. Felt like it was the true successor to Far Cry. Tried to play it recently though, and hated it. Maybe I’ve been spoilt by all these open world ‘approach it your way’ shooters.

  11. evilsooty999 says:

    Loved it and don’t understand a common criticism that it’s a ‘glorified tech demo’. I even liked the appearance of the aliens! I played it years after release knowing nothing about them so it was a nice shakeup of the gameplay to have to fight a completely different kind of enemy half-way through.

  12. ResonanceCascade says:

    Yes, Crysis is mostly and excellent game that was wrongly dismissed by the collective internet as being a dumb, pretty, generic FPS. It also holds up brilliantly, both visually and in terms of gameplay.

    I will also slightly defend Crysis 2 and 3 as solid shooters that are worth a playthrough now that they’re cheap. They have nothing on the first game though.

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    Risingson says:

    I played it until I got stuck in the tank level. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to have a bunch of saved games, each one of them in a worse situation than the last one. As I did not want to restart the level, I abandoned the game.

    It was fun, much better and fair than Far Cry, with loads of tricks that I enjoyed and a loveable over-the-top attitude that wasn’t too insistent on being smart. The only thing that I did not quite like is how some times the enemy was extremely accurate. Once I was being hit by a helicopter that was so far away than it appeared as a tiny pixel. Scripting, I guess.

  14. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    I liked Crysis 2 and 3. I will admit that they are very different beasts than Crysis 1, but they are, in my opinion, very solid, entertaining shooters in their own right.

    I also feel that the stories are stronger than people give them credit for. While on the surface they seem like dumb ‘Hollywood’ blockbusters plot, I found that some of the underlying elements of the narrative to be interesting, especially the nanosuit. While they could have had the nanosuit just be a cool piece of technology, like in Crysis 1 or dozens of other games, they did far more with it (which I will not go into further to avoid any spoilers).

    Which isn’t to say they are the world’s greatest shooters, but I think they get more hate than they deserve.

  15. Pulstar says:

    Played them all.

    Disappointed they didn’t make enough mods for any of them.

    • EhexT says:

      Don’t really need a Quantity of mods when you’ve got the single greatest Battletech game ever made as one of the few that did get made. A full Battletech sim, from tanks over mechs to Aerospace fighters (and gunships, and elementals) on giant multi-km maps with day night cycles and a fully realized C3 sensor gameplay layer (and crazy map gimmicks, like a rapidly rotating asteroid that flips from REALLY hot to REALLY cold as it gets exposed to the sun, including bodies of fluids freezing and melting).

      Then PGI forced them to stop development so they could push MWO more.

      • Pulstar says:

        I tried Living Legends bitd, too bad they never got around to implementing bots. As for MWO, the less said the better :|

      • bad guy says:

        MWLL is amazing. It was my main game for years. I bought Crysis just to play MWLL. Never played Crysis.

  16. zxcasdqwecat says:

    MAXIMUM PUNCH.
    Cloaks.:J

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      My favourite was getting close to an enemy (using cloak or not), use Maximum Strength and grab him by the throat, then jump up into the air and try to toss him as far away as I could.

      Running them down using Maximum Speed and then punching/shooting them is also a fun alternative.

  17. Ravenger says:

    Loved Crysis, hated the DRM.

    The first version had a Securom CD check which was pretty much normal at that time, but later re-releases, including the Steam version had limited activations.

    Warhead originally shipped with 5 activations and no revokes – until they eventually released a revoke tool.

    I believe the DRM is still there today, though the activation limit may have been increased. I’m very surprised it’s never been removed.

    If they re-released the games on Steam or Origin with no Securom I’d rebuy them in an instant.

    As for the game itself it’s amazing how much better Crysis is than it’s sequels, mainly because it’s a PC game and plays to the PC’s strengths. 2 and 3 were dumbed down and consolised and didn’t have that open world feel of the original.

    A lot of people didn’t like the space ship section, but I thought it was amazing, as it really felt alien, and the zero-g movement was a nice change from the normal action.

  18. liquidsoap89 says:

    Most people say how Crysis is good up until the aliens. I posit that Crysis is good up until the game breaking bugs arrive, which is (coincidentally) shortly after the aliens arrive. I loved the zero-g exploration in the ship, and I loved the look of the frozen island. The alien fights certainly weren’t as fun as the Korean fights, but I still enjoyed them enough.

    But everything goes to hell for me during the VTOL level. It took me dozens of tries to get through that one! It turns out that one of those random tornadoes that were scattered throughout the level was invisible, and every time I flew near it I lost control and crashed. Every time. Every. Time. Invisible tornado… THAT is a real natural disaster!

    And then there’s the boss fight on the battleship. My solution to that fight was to continuously reload quicksaves until the game determined I was ready for my attacks to actually hurt the boss. Most of the time rockets would literally just go through the boss, and whenever I managed to get an actual hit, I would save.

    I don’t know why it happened, but the quality at end of that game dropped HARD, and it really soured what was an otherwise excellent experience.

    • phelix says:

      I quite agree with you about the aliens. Exploring the alien ship for the first time felt like an escapade into a weird Cthuhulian (is that the word?) dimension, complete with different physics (well, zero-g at least) and bizarre geometries.
      The novelty wears off quickly, however, and after the initial alien level (and on subsequent playthroughs) the aliens just become annoying bullet sponges. It feels like more could have been done with that.

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    “You can steal a nearby boat, maybe, and park it off the coast and attack from there.”

    Except the aim for any of the mounted guns for you is like firing an Uzi while driving off-road, but for them it’s like a bloody rapid fire sniper rifle. Most annoying part of the game in my opinion. Although, I generally think that constant-stream attacks in games are pretty lame to begin with.

  20. malkav11 says:

    I liked Crysis all right, but your “super soldier” with the fancy nanotech powers is far squishier than most FPS protagonists that are theoretically normal human beings. Even more so when you’ve opted for any of the other modes, all of which are absurdly limited in duration and awkward to combo due to the switching interface. This meant that I occasionally managed to feel like a badass with a supersuit, but mostly felt like I was woefully outmatched and constrained to lurking in the periphery and gradually whittling down incautious soldiers. Crysis 2’s decision to combine the armor mode with one of the others (can’t remember whether it was strength or speed, but probably the former) and generally make things a bit more friendly meant I enjoyed it more, although I haven’t finished that one either. Neither really capture the power fantasy I wanted, though. And that’s fine. Not everything has to cater to me.

  21. Jason Moyer says:

    My Crysis experience consisted of using invisibility to bypass everything in the open-ish world parts, then being forced to sit through a bunch of awful setpieces and on on-rails sections. And no Crytek-engined game has ever looked good enough to justify the horrible performance. 10/10

  22. TheManko says:

    Crysis had the best difficulty scaling I’ve seen in modern shooters. On Easy you can play like they do in the intro, shooting right in the open, punching people in the face. On the hardest setting it’s a brutal stealth game, with the AI handling it very well as they don’t cheat when searching for you.

    I’d recommend playing the game on both, because it’s like two different games. On Easy the game is hard because you start playing recklessly, while it on the hardest setting turns into a completely different challenge.

    I liked Crysis 2, but hated 3. It’s like they didn’t know what they were doing anymore in 3. There was no point to taking it slow and carefully, as they kept spawning enemies behind you. The defining moment was the VTOL sequence which was an on rails scripted sequence like Battlefield 3. They couldn’t trust players to fly on their own like in Crysis 1 anymore. They’d turned into the kind of studio who thought Ryse was a good idea.

  23. Marclev says:

    “it’s FarCry-ish opening hours”

    Crysis is basically the real Far Cry 2 (made by the same team), but IIRC it’s “FarCry-ish opening hours” lasted for longer than the “FarCry-ish opening hours” of Far Cry, before that game became unplayable due to tank aliens taking all the fun out of it.

    In fact I’m pretty sure that fighting the Koreans takes over half of the game, and by the time the aliens come along it’s a welcome change as the game’s really done all it can do with the Koreans.

    I’d go so far as saying that Crysis is the last of the great PC shooters.

  24. clorex says:

    “I still tell people about the little LCD-screen ripple when a soldier’s finger touches its surface.”

    Where does this happen in the game?

  25. vorador says:

    Is still holds up nicely, and by nicely i mean amazingly well for a game that is almost 8 years old.

    The sequels are not worth mentioning.