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I also didn’t encounter game characters that exhibited the amazing level of detail of those images released very early in the game’s development. As Crytek has begun the final push to get the game out the door, I think they’ve begun to realize just how much visual fidelity they’ll need to sacrifice in order to ship a game that’s playable on mainstream hardware.
I didn’t get to play enough of the single-player campaign to render judgment as to whether I think the game will be fun (again, that wouldn’t be fair based on an unfinished game). There also wasn’t much to the level we were given to play. Our objective was to secure an alien crash site before the AI-controlled North Koreans got to it. But for as much as has been made about Crysis in the umpteen million previews we’ve seen, I didn’t see much during my time with the game that will significantly advance the first-person genre. The graphics were pretty, but they weren’t nearly as sumptuous as all the early screenshots have been.
Can the hype match the reality? It's not likely with today's hardware.
The same could be said for the multiplayer matches. EA and Crytek divided the press into two camps: The U.S. and the North Koreans. Our objective was to capture and hold a bunker and then an alien crash site, the latter of which would generate energy for our team. According to Crytek’s wiki, bringing these artifacts back to your HQ will enable you to add alien technology to human weapons, but we weren’t able to do that in our preview. The ultimate objective was to capture the other camp’s HQ. Without headsets for communication, it was impossible for either team to establish much of a coordinated effort, so the game quickly devolved into something of a free-for-all. I don’t think this is a flaw in the game, only the conditions in which we were playing.
I was impressed with the variety of weapons and the accessories with which they can be equipped, both of which you purchase with “prestige points” you acquire during gameplay. You buy and can outfit your weapons and change your nanosuit’s settings from within the safety of a bunker or your HQ, where you’re relatively safe from enemy fire. But I got shot every time I tried this out on the battlefield, leading me to doubt the suit’s practicality. When I watched the Crytek team members play, however, I could see that it just takes a little practice: These guys could change their suit’s capabilities so fast it was difficult to see what they were doing.
The soft shadows, on the other hand, do look impressive.
EA allowed the press to shoot video of the multiplayer games, but they wouldn’t allow us to take our own screenshots. Instead, they sent the screenshots you’ve seen in this story. These are from the same multiplayer levels that we played, but they were not taken from the actual game sessions we played.
I hope my impressions of the game’s graphic quality are off base, and that the game as shipped looks as good as has been promised. Barring that, I hope that the game is at least as much of a blast to play as Far Cry was. I guess we’ll all find out next month.
Here are a few more screenshots, courtesy of EA:
Here's a good example of the the particle effects available in CryEngine 2.
Crytek tells us the day/night cycle in the multiplayer versions will impact strategy because your character will cast a longer shadow as the sun begins to set.
The multiplayer level on the aircraft carrier USS Hornet seems relatively small.
If Crysis is as intensely fun to play as Far Cry was, Crytek will likely be forgiven if the new game isn't as graphically intense as originally promised.