The Crysis demo appeared last night, in an effort to confuse everyone. It's a whopping 1.77Gb (123.8 Peggles), and can be downloaded from all sorts of places, helpfully gathered together here.
And it's really rather good. This is a huge chunk-o-game, which if explored gleefully could take you well over an hour to play through. (I'm sure idiots could rush through it in minutes, but I care not for the antics of idiots). And finally, we can believe in the powers of the suit. But there are some problems. So, in the interests of not being a miseryguts, here's what's good about the demo:
Throwing a metal box at a corrugated iron hut and watching it collapse with Proper Physics.
Doing that again to another hut.
And another one.
Punching over a building.
Jumping on a building, then punching the roof in.
Now, this may all seem rather similar, but seriously, it's awesome. Things break so beautifully, exploding and collapsing in spectacular style. And for once that hoary old lie developers tell about things breaking where you shoot them, but really actually only breaking in one place with a pre-programmed animation? It's true! Shoot a palm tree anywhere on its trunk, and that's where it'll splinter. Shoot it midway, and then as it starts to fall shoot it further down? That works too! Crytek have actually delivered on a genuinely destructable environment.
Now for what's less good:
Power suit needs better batteries.
Koreans are apparently bullet proof.
It does get a bit Max Payne Do 'Ave 'Em at times.
Whoever designed the suit might have wanted to spend a little less time on the glowing lights, and a bit more time on making it energy efficient. From the designers of Gordon Freeman's old torch, every ability lasts for about 0.004 of a second before needing to be recharged. I want to be a superhero! Not Captain Waitalot. Punching with Strength on is especially ridiculous, lasting only three or four punches before it's exhausted. Or the Speed mode, which does up you to a decent pace for no cost, seriously lasts about a second on sprint. The Armour is pretty useless too, able to take about two bullets before you did to have a sit down. Could we get a really long extension cord and just plug it in? The problem is, it leaves you feeling really underpowered. Which isn't helped by the teflar-coated Koreans.
Further immasculating you is the seeming invincibility of your opponents. If I'm sneaking up on a regular dude with no special hat on, I think a couple of bullets in the head should polish him off. But these soldiers brush off such mortal wounds, requiring you to empty clip after clip into the absorbant bodies. It's pretty bloody rubbish really, and seriously Crytek, fix this if there's still time. The armoured aliens to come can be as difficult as you like, but since I apparently need hospitalisation after a couple of hits to my armoured future-suit, why the hell don't regular, unprotected humans drop when I fire at their faces? It makes what's otherwise a really fun demo feel a bit embarrassing.
As for the Max Payne style clumsiness, as much fun as knocking down buildings definitely is, they do seem a bit keen to go down. Occasionally just a tap, or knocking over a box can be enough to see the walls and ceiling come crashing to the floor. This is a minor niggle, of course, because who cares? It still fell down!
If tweaks are still an option for Crytek, I'd really hope to see the suit abilities extended to the point where they become practical. I'm sure they don't want the player to be Superman from the opening moment, but I'm also fairly sure the player does want to be Superman from the opening moment, and making him feel a bit rubbish is a huge disappointment. That, and how about some realism when it comes to murdering those pesky enemies?