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.