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A lush graphical environment, amazing AI and immersive game-play

A far cry from your everyday adventure!

The year is 2019 and a massive asteroid has crashed down to Earth in a remote island off the coast of North Korea. The United States dispatches an elite Delta Force team to assess the situation while North Korea moves to claim the asteroid for themselves. To everyone's surprise, the asteroid bursts open and an enormous alien ship emerges. The invasion of Earth is now underway...

Crysis is German developer Crytek's next foray into the first-person-shooter genre. Published by Electronic Arts (EA), Crysis employs their proprietary engine "CryENGINE2" to deliver an experience that is literally out of this world! For those who played and loved Crytek's previous adventure Far Cry, this is a game you won't want to miss!

In Far Cry you played as Jack Carver, an unlikely hero who found himself stranded on an exotic island under a shroud of mystery from obscure genetic experiments. This time around Jack is nowhere to be seen and the stakes are much higher as you join forces with the North Korean military to try to save the planet from a common threat in the form of aggressive aliens. The arrival of the alien vessel is also playing havoc on the local and global weather systems and you will have to deal with a living, breathing environment where natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and tornados constantly change the scope of the battlefield. You will need to take advantage of everything at your disposal including a wide range of customizable weaponry and armour as well as land, see and air vehicles if you hope to have any chance of defeating the alien horde.

It's all in the engine...

Far Cry was a critically acclaimed release because it brought such lush graphical environments to the PC. It was an extremely polished adventure that offered a large variety of situations including the use of vehicles, excellent enemy artificial intelligence and a constantly evolving (albeit thin) storyline. Crytek hopes to build on those successes with the next version of that engine, the "CryENGINE2". Utilizing the power of the technology (which can also be licensed to other developer studios) and running under DirectX9 or DirectX10 (in Windows Vista) they want to offer the most realistic environments possible with dramatic physics, lighting, special effects and perceptive enemy and friendly AI. In fact, they claim that the alien opponents will work together so intelligently as to present the most challenging opposition ever encountered in a first-person shooter. Those are bold words indeed!

The first of two scenarios Crytek has shown to-date at the Game Developers Conference and recently at E3 involve taking down a large alien on-board the deck of a naval aircraft carrier. While a number of smaller alien drones cause distractions, you participate in a battle that is seemingly hopeless. The alien crushes the human resistance, swatting down a helicopter gunship in the process and throwing the remains into the carrier bridge. The action is fast-paced and the effects are amazing ? fires rage throughout the ship and the smoke and debris make getting a weapons-lock on the alien difficult indeed!

The second level shown involves a firefight on the island in the dense jungle environment (presumably against North Korean soldiers). You find yourself flanked and pinned down by a number of the ?bad guys?. The jungle foliage shows an incredible amount of detail and reacts to all of the shots fired, bending and breaking along the way. At one point the top half of a palm tree falls off and the branches drape over an enemy jeep. The enemies pursue you relentlessly using the thick jungle to their advantage and the whole scene moves at a frenetic pace. Seeing the action in motion is a jaw-dropping experience.

In terms of extras, Crysis will offer 32-player multiplayer situations including an all new mode combining player equipment modification and tactical objectives. An extensive mod toolset will also be available allowing the Crysis community to dream up their own single and multiplayer game modifications. Let's hope for more mods than we saw for Far Cry.

Hit the road Jack!

A lot of people (including me) were hoping for Jack Carver to reappear in a Far Cry 2 title on the PC. The Xbox and 360 consoles have seen a couple of Far Cry spin-offs that were variations of the PC game but a true sequel to the original has never emerged. However, from what we've seen of Crysis so far (including video from E3 2006), we won't be missing Jack for very long. The stunning detail produced by "CryEngine2" is simply amazing and really shows what "next generation" graphics are all about. Of course, this power comes at a price and it's likely the case that only high-end PC's will enjoy all of the next-gen graphical glory. Far Cry tested the limits of video hardware at the time and I can only expect Crysis to do the same. That aside, I can honestly say that Crysis is my most anticipated PC title of 2006! I look forward to giving the North Koreans a high-five on the battlefield as we wade our way through beautifully modeled, earthquake-stricken jungles and an alien-infested mother ship. As the Crysis team might say with their liberal vowel substitutions, "Bryng it!".