Obviously, at some point you will always bring the high explosives out to play and start instigating trolley death, but the Korean sections of Crysis make it the most replayable shooter I've ever played. And as for the feeling of having two final bad guys running after you in a freshly decimated base, having unlimited breathing space to concoct inventive deaths for the poor souls is a paramount joy.
As you move from seaside restaurant, to fortified village, to military base and onwards to shipyards and mortar-pocked harbours I'd be lying if issues did not arise. Enemy AI is either very good or absolutely pig stupid - and very little lies in between. Grunts manning vehicle machine guns are lost as to what to do when you're close by, while those on gun emplacements are often oblivious to World War III breaking out a couple of metres behind them.
Every now and then you come across a soldier who just clearly doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing (but then again if a six foot man in a grey muscle suit had just decloaked near me and was about to reach for my throat - well I guess I'd look a bit dazed too).
Something that really surprised me though was that the vehicles just aren't
as much fun to use as they were in Far Cry. This is presumably because Crysis' vehicles have been designed with its 'CS meets Battlefield' Power Struggle mode in mind (see box left) - and the added realism and more cumbersome handling that this brings just lessens the feelings of freedom and fun.
Compared to the sheer delight of charging down a river taking out multiple helicopters with your ultra-manoeuvrable speedboat in Far Cry, doing something similar with a big old dinghy in Crysis just isn't as thrilling. I mean, what's even the point of being given the option to sit in the back seat of a jeep when on a solo mission?
The Koreans aren't just here bullying local archaeologists and building military installations for shits and giggles though they're here to dabble with forces that they cannot begin to comprehend.
As premises go, it's a faintly familiar yet excellent one, but don't start expecting any narrative cleverness or characters who do much beyond move the plot from one stage to the next. Crysis is the anti-BioShock - and never pretends to be anything else.
I mean, one of your fellow squadmates is an English chap called Psycho (who's sadly no relation to Stuart Pearce) whose dialogue contains more 'wanker's, 'bloody's, 'f***'s and 'bollocks' than are edited out of the average episode of Jeremy Kyle.
To be fair though, this never really becomes a major issue - mainly because Crytek are far more keen on expressing their world to you through the things you see and the things you do. Like standing among a tank convoy staring up at a gigantic distant mountain and hearing the distant rumble as its insides start to churn, and huge chunks fall from it into the valley below. Or when you first meet the aliens.
Oh yeah, the aliens. I'd almost forgotten. As I've previously mentioned, the men behind Crysis have built it to tease and entice throughout - even 'gasp!' by pulling a bit of a Xen trick halfway through. Now I need you to be aware that I will start bitching in a little while, but I admit that at first this is a fairly successful ruse.
After levels that have plonked you into tank assaults and a frantic one-man attack on an open mine, the moment you nervously approach the strange, organic wonder that is the long-buried alien structure is priceless. The moment at which you find yourself in zero-G (and here's to the cheekily psychic nature of US military tech designers for the boosters on my suit!) is a real pleasure, and the first appearance of your squid-like foe genuinely terrifying.