CES 2007: Our Crysis gameplay

Vegas baby! DMV, CTZ, Pedro, and I went off on our own for a while and constantly pointed in four different directions at once for Puppet to film. Despite our starvng stomachs, spirits were as high, and we set out to find some games to play for you guys. Crysis sound good? Thought so! But perhaps we have a bit of Vegas sand in our vaginas, because we actually aren’t too impressed. Hit the jump for my write up on our first impressions.The quality of the graphics is just as amazing as you had hoped, and for a second or two when the level loads you won’t even want to move. The dude showing us the game booted it up on a hard difficulty with a menacing smile of satisfaction on his face, and I set out into the first level. “How many levels total are there in this game?” The dude replies that there’s 10 total missions, and each takes 20 minutes to an hour to beat.” I can’t write the amazing shading algorithms to this game, but I know enough math to realize that’s damn short. The guy tells us there’s rocket launchers hidden in the scenary, but I run right into battle foolishly. I right click to zoom in and go for the headshot, but instead of blood all I see is lag. Wasn’t expecting to see lag… BOOM – headshot! Except I’m the one on the ground. The amazingly lucious ground.

“Kay — you try it Puppet.” The guy decides to turn the difficulty down and tells us what to do to get through the small level, with the goals culminating in shooting down a helicopter. This time I catch what code he types in: “map suit_demonstration” — so this is probably just a level they put together for the show. Puppet sets out down the same path I went, but this time without the lag. After a few frags he moves on to a small town of mostly empty shanties that you can use for shelter from random enemy fire — textures still looking great — until a pure-black wall appears out of nowhere. The guy is surprised and mentions it’s just a level graphics bug, and for some reason I finally decide to ask him if he actually helped make the game. “Yeah, I’m Jack Mamais, the head designer.” Well damn.

We asked him what he was most proud of, and he mentions the characters’ suits without much hesitation. We throw some more questions at him and he answers them one by one, telling us that they’ve been working on the game for two and a half years so far, and that the game will be out in 2007. We ask for a month and he says summer or winter, making it clear he’s not sure, so I don’t expect it coming out until the end of the year.

He gives Puppet some more controls now that we’re getting close to the end of the level, and shows how you can lean to the left and right with the Q and E buttons, use binculars with B, and can pickup/throw/use objects with F. Puppet picks up a barrel and throws it at the enemies, then resorts back to spray and pray. Shooting enemies in the chest sadly has very little animation response, and headshots just spew a little bit of blood from the falling corpses. Nothing at all is terrible, but we all had higher expectations for every aspect of the game, like true fickle gamers. Although, when Puppet zooms in on an advancing enemy, the sneaking foe cautiously crouches and creeps down to a crawl with smooth and realistic animations along with a convincing facial expression.

The tactical radar looks decent, nothing too out of the ordinary, but before we can get any further the game crashes. Uh-oh. We get it restarted and start the level again, and I finally notice that there’s craaaazy amounts of blur in the game when you’re looking around, but Jack tells us you can turn that off. Blackness again . . . Crysis keeps crashing . . . not good. But to be fair we quickly learn the problem — they keep the high tech computers enclosed in drawers with no ventilation. So we decide to move on and let him fix the problems. We might go back for some more questions and gameplay, but for now my main impression is that the game will just be a fun few nights of highly immersive, beautiful gameplay. Nothing wrong with that at all, but there’s not enough yet to suggest that a game of the year is on the way like we had wanted to see.

Still worth the money? Yeah, it does look really amazing, but Jack Mamais said that they still haven’t written a single piece of Xbox 360 or PS3 code for the game, so you had better save up for a new computer now if you want to play it by the end of the year.

Tom Fronczak