Definitions

Crysis

Crysis

Crysis is a science fiction first-person shooter computer game developed by German video game developer Crytek and published by Electronic Arts, and is the first game of a planned trilogy. It was released on November 13, 2007 in North America, November 15 in Australia, November 16 in Europe and November 23 in New Zealand. Well-received by critics, early NPD figures for the US market were taken as a sign that the game had flopped; however, EA has recently reported being happy with sales, reporting that the game has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.

Crysis is based in a fictional future where an ancient alien spacecraft has been discovered beneath the Earth on an island near the coast of Korea. The single-player campaign has the player assume the role of United States Delta Force operator Jake Dunn, referred to in-game by his call sign, Nomad. Nomad is armed with various futuristic weapons and equipment, most notably a "Nano Muscle Suit" which, according to Crytek senior game designer Bernd Diemer, was inspired by the United States' Future Force Warrior 2020 program and other projects relating from the Natick Soldier Systems Center. In Crysis, the player fights both North Korean and extraterrestrial enemies, in four different locations: a tropical island jungle, inside an "Ice Sphere" (consisting of the same jungle, but frozen), the alien ship itself (with a zero-gravity area) and a United States Navy aircraft carrier. Crysis uses Microsoft's new API, Direct3D 10 (DirectX 10) for graphics rendering, and includes the same editor that was used by Crytek to create the game.

A standalone, but related, game titled Crysis Warhead, was announced on June 5, 2008. Crysis Warhead was released on Steam September 17, 2008.

Gameplay

As with Crytek's previous game Far Cry, Crysis is an open-ended game with many ways to meet objectives. An addition to the previous Far Cry formula is that most weapons may be modified with devices such as suppressors, telescopic sights, and targeting lasers.

The protagonist, callsign Nomad, is also capable of selecting various modes in his military prototype "Nano Suit". The suit is capable of four modes: armor (absorbing damage), strength, speed, and cloak. Due to the ability of constantly regenerating health, the game is completely devoid of first aid kits. All of these actions, however, use rechargeable energy reserves that power the suit; health is recharged most quickly while in armor mode. The suit can be quickly switched between modes using a rapid mouse gesture system, which adds a strong tactical element to combat.

The suit's integral mask has its own HUD, displaying typical data like a tactical map and current energy levels. The view is electronic in nature, shown in-game through things such as a booting readout and visual distortion during abnormal operation. Onboard utilities include a two-way radio, PDA and audio-visual logging capability, with features like image zoom and night vision provided by optional equipment (given by default in single-player).

The artificial intelligence (AI) in Crysis also aims to be realistic and believable. Enemy soldiers employ tactical maneuvers, work as squads, hide and ambush amongst the scenery, and adapt to changing environments and conditions. AI soldiers will also respond to sound and subtle movements triggered by the player's movement. While not engaged in combat, the AI soldiers will also exhibit typical and lifelike behavior, such as smoking, yawning, talking, urinating, patrolling, saluting superior officers, etc. Sometimes these actions depend on whether or not the player was detected earlier. If Nomad has not been sighted in some missions, he can find some enemies sleeping upon arriving to his destination. In contrast if he has been spotted they will all be alert.

Weapons

The game features assault rifles, sub-machine guns, pistols, RPGs, shotguns, miniguns, sniper rifles, an Alien energy-based mini-gun like weapon (MOAC), and the TAC gun (a nuclear grenade launcher). As mentioned earlier, all weapons can be modified with attachments; these attachments may be given to the player by default, acquired from picked-up weapons, or purchased in multiplayer. Once acquired, they can only be removed through death or scripted loss of inventory if in story mode, e.g. if during normal play, a player attaches a flashlight to a rifle which is later discarded, the flashlight is not considered gone and will still be available in the future.

Attachment options are given a fair amount of leeway even if the end result may seem strange. For instance, a 4x/10x sniper scope can be attached to the buckshot-firing shotgun. Additionally, most weapons have multiple firing modes (single/rapidfire) and different ammo types. Crysis also incorporates some features that have appeared in other recent shooters, such as being able to throw hand grenades without needing to formally equip them first, and accounting for already-chambered rounds when a reload occurs.

Vehicles

A large selection of vehicles are present, with most being available to players for personal use. Available ground vehicles range from pickup trucks to tanks, while naval vessels range from motorboats to light military hovercraft. All vehicles (Humvees, pickup trucks, and even tanks) have a turbo mode that can be activated via the sprint key. The aircraft selection is limited to one North Korean attack helicopter and a fictional American VTOL aircraft, each of which can transport eight passengers and two crew.

Damage modeling is limited in wheeled vehicles, most noticeably the ability to burst their tires. Tracked vehicles such as tanks or APCs have the ability to lose their tracks as well, but maintain their ability to operate via the wheels which would normally drive the tracks. Exposed gas cans on vehicles can also be shot at to detonate their contents, usually resulting in the vehicle exploding as well. Flaming wrecks will cause proximity heat damage to objects and characters. Of note is that a vehicle can still run even if all the tires are gone, slowly rolling along on its rims. Unavailable vehicles shown in-game include jet aircraft, excavator, and for reasons of scale, ships like destroyers. None of the alien machines can be commandeered by players either.

Multiplayer

Up to 32 players are supported in each multiplayer match in Crysis. There are two different modes, each with six available maps: Instant Action, a deathmatch type mode; and Power Struggle, which are played by two opposing teams, each trying to destroy the other's headquarters.

Power Struggle features the American Delta Force soldiers fighting the North Korean Army; both sides, however, have nanosuits. All players begin armed with only a pistol and a basic nanosuit, called the "prototype" suit. In order to purchase weapons and vehicles, the player must complete objectives, or kill enemies. The aim of Power Struggle is to destroy the enemy headquarters, a task which is done using either alien technology or nuclear weapons, gained by capturing alien crash sites. Without these technologies, it would be difficult to win, due to multiple automated turrets guarding headquarters; they can be destroyed only by powerful human weapons, or alien technologies. All vehicles in the game are available in Power Struggle, though they must be unlocked by capturing a zone that specializes in manufacturing a certain vehicle—for example, capturing a zone with a port would allow the building of water-based vehicles for the team in possession of the zone. However, vehicles may be stolen, by picking their locks, even if their team has not captured the zone producing that type of vehicle. Depending on the settings determined by the host, a game of Power Struggle could potentially take up to ten hours, which would cover multiple day/night cycles, if playing on a DirectX 10 server. Again, the duration of day/night cycles depends on the host's settings.

Capture The Flag, originally planned to be included in the game, is no longer part of the game mode line up, due to its similarity to Power Struggle. Even so, Jack Mamais, a Crytek employee, stated that Crytek hopes that this mode will be developed by the modding community. Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli also said that Team Action would not be included as a multiplayer mode, because players would gravitate towards either Instant Action, or Power Struggle.

Plot

Set in August 2020, the Crysis plot follows United States Army Delta Force operative First Lieutenant Jake Dunn — codenamed "Nomad.As Crysis begins, an American team of archaeologists is taken captive by the North Korean Army as they make an important discovery in the South China Sea. The United States responds by deploying a team of Delta Force soldiers — supported by the USS Constitution Carrier Strike Group — who engage the North Koreans' large military installations.

The game begins with the five-man squad (Prophet, the squad leader; Nomad; Psycho; Jester; and Aztec) being air-dropped over the island. An unidentified attacker tears Nomad's parachute causing him to free-fall into the water and miss the landing zone. Working his way up the beach, he encounters Jester, and together they search for Aztec, whose parachute has got caught in the trees. Before they can reach him, however, he is killed (along with a squad of KPA soldiers), again by an unknown attacker. To avoid the North Koreans getting their hands on the nanosuit technology, Prophet vaporizes Aztec and his suit via remote control. Jester is left to clean up the scene of any remaining evidence of US forces, and Nomad is sent to destroy a KPA radar jammer.

Nomad then moves up the beach, through a KPA checkpoint and a command post, where he learns that KPA operations on the island are being conducted by General Kyong. Nomad then rendezvouses with Prophet, Jester and Psycho at the battered remains of Dr. Rosenthal's research ship, which has mysteriously become covered in ice. Just then, an alien bursts through the hull of the ship, taking Jester and killing him. Prophet now too vaporizes Jester's suit. Nomad, Prophet and Psycho are left to conduct the rest of the operation on their own. Nomad is sent up the coast, to recover an archaeologist from a KPA installation. The archaeologist turns out to be a CIA spy, sent to investigate the KPA's excavation efforts on the island.

Afterward, Prophet and Nomad continue on, only for Prophet to be abducted by the alien that had killed Jester and Aztec. Nomad, directed by Major Strickland, dismantles a number of KPA outposts and attempts to recover Dr. Rosenthal, who is examining one of the alien machines he has exhumed from the rock, and arguing over the monitor with General Kyong. The machine activates itself, freezing Dr. Rosenthal and the inside of the complex. Nomad then makes his way out of the area along the river, towards the ocean. He is directed to move to an area where he will be picked up by VTOL and transported to the fight. The area turns out to be guarded by KPA soldiers in primitive nanosuits, who have all of Nomad's abilities, but whose suits are regarded by him as "cheap knockoffs".

After evac, Nomad is transported to the bay, where he is ordered to disable a number of KPA anti-air units, so that heavy VTOLs can airlift tanks to the area. After a drawn out armored assault, the mountain at the center of the island begins to crumble, revealing a two-kilometer high alien structure beneath the surface, out of which alien machines emerge and begin attacking both US and KPA forces. Nomad is sent into the excavation site to stop General Kyong. Inside the mine, he is ambushed by two KPA nanosuit soldiers and held while Kyong activates the structure. The resulting energy pulse causes Kyong's nanosuit to malfunction, and the two soldiers' suits vaporize, killing them. Nomad kills Kyong, and he and Helena Rosenthal attempt to escape via the lift. The lift fails, and Helena is airlifted out by VTOL. Nomad is left behind, and is forced to enter the alien structure.

Exploring the zero gravity environment, he gathers valuable information about the alien invaders, who try to halt his progress through their sanctuary. Upon exiting the structure, Nomad discovers that it has affected the surrounding area around the island by creating a frigid energy sphere that lowers the ambient air temperature to and flash freezes every living being within it. Making his way through the frozen environment, Nomad encounters Prophet, who wields a weapon he constructed from his own gun and parts from one of the alien war machines. His suit has been damaged, and Nomad must escort him from heat source to heat source in order for him to survive. They exit the sphere by crossing a partially destroyed bridge, as an alien warship flies overhead.

After exiting the sphere, Nomad and Prophet link up with some of the survivors of the attacks. The men, commanded by Lieutenant Keagan are soon ambushed and are forced to leave their temporary base behind. The two are later forced to rescue a trapped Helena Rosenthal in a downed VTOL, after, intense battles with the new alien attackers outside the sphere, Nomad and Prophet are given time to escape the sphere's expansion using a VTOL by Major Strickland, who deliberately chooses to sacrifice himself. Flying back toward the USS Constitution, and escorting a flight of VTOLs as they evacuate stragglers. Once aboard the carrier, Prophet repeatedly tells Admiral Morrison, the commander of the USS Constitution Carrier Strike Group, that they must go back to the island. Morrison does not listen, and after having a few repairs and upgrades made to his suit, Prophet returns to the island in a stolen VTOL, with the weapon he constructed. During this time, Nomad also receives some upgrades to his suit, allowing Helena Rosenthal to broadcast a signal through his suit to disrupt alien defensive systems. A nuclear strike is then ordered on the island, despite Prophet. The strike only fuels the alien machinery, expanding the sphere and prompting a massive attack on the fleet by alien forces. Prophet is presumed dead. The attack destabilizes the ship's reactor, and Nomad is sent belowdecks to fix the problem, lowering a few stuck control rods and shutting it down. During this time, he also watches as several aliens attempt to drain the core of its energy. They are defeated when the "upgrade" to his suit disables them. Nomad then returns to the flight deck after acquiring a prototype nuclear TAC cannon from the weapons lab, just as the carrier is attacked by an alien Hunter exosuit. Helena then uses the upgrades to Nomad's suit to disrupt the Hunter's shielding, allowing him to destroy it. The brief victory is overshadowed by the appearance of the alien warship Nomad and Prophet had witnessed inside the energy sphere. Helena again uses Nomad's suit to deactivate the warship's shielding, and Nomad is able to destroy it using the TAC cannon obtained from the weapons lab. The warship's destruction sinks the Constitution in a massive whirlpool. Helena informs Nomad that a United States Navy fleet is en route from Japan, and will arrive within the hour. They then get a transmission from Prophet, who is still alive, and inside the Ice Sphere on the island. The final scene sees the camera pulling back from Nomad, and the VTOL with him, Helena and Psycho on board flying back toward the sphere.

Groups

United States Military

United States Army

Raptor Team is the U.S. Army Delta Force unit that the protagonist, Nomad, is a part of. At full strength, it consisted of five men, Aztec, Jester, Psycho, Nomad and the team leader, Prophet. The true names of the characters are revealed in the CryEngine 2 Sandbox 2 editor that comes with the game. Aztec and Jester die quickly during the course of the game, leaving just three alive. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is their ultimate overseer, though later in the game they are more directly in touch with USS Constitution personnel.

  • Nomad (First Lieutenant Jake Dunn): The player's character. His face is unseen throughout the game, and he pursues mission goals with single-minded fervor. The player assumes this role throughout the game.
  • Aztec (Harold Cortez): Part of the initial team, he is rapidly mutilated by an alien at the start of the game along with a four-man KPA patrol.
  • Jester (Martin Hawker): Also present at the beginning while at the site of a strange discovery, a boat far inland and frozen, he is captured by an alien machine. It takes him a short distance away before discarding him, at which point his mutilated body is discovered.
  • Psycho (Sergeant Michael Sykes): A former British SAS Operative, who later joined Delta Force. He tends to use British English, and has the SAS insignia tattooed on the back of his head. Psycho survives the initial events and assists Nomad for the rest of the game. His adventures on the island during the game are revealed in the expansion, Crysis Warhead.
  • Prophet (Major Laurence Barnes): The Raptor squad's leader, who after some time into the game is kidnapped by an alien machine and presumed killed; at that point, Strickland assumes mission command. He miraculously reappears at the point of the story where Nomad exits the alien ship, but exhibiting strange behavior. He has somehow managed to steal a complex alien weapon, and seems to have a much deeper understanding of the aliens than anyone else. At the end of the game, he heads back to the island announcing that he intends to destroy the aliens himself. He is again assumed to be killed when the U.S. Navy nukes the island, but at the end of the game Nomad and Psycho receive a transmission from him and head back to find him.

United States Marine Corps

Locally led by Major Strickland, the USMC contributes most of the ground military hardware in the game along with the Marines themselves. They operate from the USS Constitution carrier strike group, deploying via a sizable number of United States Navy VTOL Aircraft. Major Strickland takes over mission command after Prophet goes missing, but himself falls in battle later on: to distract a massive alien machine from attacking nearby evacuating aircraft, he deliberately stays behind to draw its attention, sacrificing himself.

United States Navy

Locally represented by the USS Constitution carrier strike group, and led by Admiral Richard Morrison, USN. The American aircraft seen throughout the game belong to the U.S. Navy, and also seem to be carrying considerable ordinance, as seen when they deploy an F-35C fighter jet armed with a nuclear missile. The carrier strike group meets its ultimate demise at the hands of relentless waves of alien machines and also an alien "War Ship". At the conclusion of the game Helena informs Nomad that there is another U.S. Navy fleet incoming from Japan that will arrive within the hour.

Rosenthal's Team

Doctor Rosenthal's archaeology team is on the island to search for remnants of the alien race he discovered clues of elsewhere in the world at the behest of North Korea. He brings with him his daughter Helena (also a scientist), another scientist named Badowski, an unnamed scientist and unknowingly, a CIA agent sent to secretly monitor him. The CIA agent is rescued by Raptor Team during the hidden alien spaceship's first ominous rumblings early in the game and is not seen again. The scientist Badowski is the first to be killed, found by Nomad in the jungle with numerous ice shards lodged in his back. Dr. Rosenthal is killed when he is flash-frozen by an alien flyer craft he excavated intermittently activates. Helena's unnamed colleague is shot in the head by General Kyong after Kyong doesn't have any use for him anymore. Helena survives and will likely feature in any sequels.

North Korean People's Army

In 2008 North Korean President Kim Jong Il II is superseded by his son, Kim Jung Soon, Soon revolutionizes the North Korean economy making Pyongyang one of the most wealthy cities in the world in terms of technodollars, using this new wealth the KPA buys the newest military hardware from China, making it a force to be reckoned with for the 21st century, North Korea also has nukes. (found by listening to a radio in a NK command post in the first level.) Led in the game by Colonel General Ri Chan Kyong, known for being a brutal person. Their intent to hang onto the islands is clear, shown by the significant allocation of forces ranging from infantry to tanks and military aircraft. According to Kyong, the Koreans are interested in the archaeological findings because of the potential to use the alien technology as a profitable power source. It is later revealed that they have nanosuit technology, which Nomad thinks "look like cheap knockoffs". Their nanosuits are limited solely to Kyong himself and his elite personal guard. Kyong is encountered midway during the game as a boss character, complete with nanosuit.

Aliens

Operating out of their massive ship embedded in the rock, the aliens themselves have streamlined bodies with which they "swim" through the weightless internal environment. Their organic-looking war machines comprise the bulk of their forces, ranging from small ones able to maneuver indoors to flying ships that can sink destroyers by ramming them head-on. The massive number of machines that deploy at the end of the game, along with filler text for multiplayer maps, indicate their interest in Earth is on a global scale.

In terms of offensive technology, most of their weapons are portrayed as being centered on coldness, shown in-game by the presence of weapons that either freeze targets outright or launch ice shards at high speed. These weapons do not require ammunition in-game, merely having a short "cooldown" time after periods of prolonged firing. They do, however, have weapons outside of this type, such as the sci-fi "Singularity Cannon", or more traditional implements such as directly built-in blades and spikes. Some unarmored aliens, which Nomad encounters in the alien ship, also use smaller, weaker versions of the larger aliens' MOACs that have a traditional blaster-like design. These aliens also use melee attacks.

Development

Game engine

Crysis uses a new engine—the CryEngine 2—that is the successor to Far Cry's CryEngine. CryEngine 2 is among the first engines to use the Direct3D 10 (DirectX 10) framework of Windows Vista, but can also run using DirectX 9, both on Vista and Windows XP.

Roy Taylor, Vice President of Content Relations at NVIDIA, has spoken on the subject of the engine's complexity, stating that Crysis has over a million lines of code, 1GB of texture data, and 85,000 shaders.

Demo

On August 27, 2007, Crytek announced a single-player demo would be released on September 25; however, the date was pushed back to October 26. The demo featured the entire first level, Contact, as well as the sand box editor. On October 26, Crytek announced that the demo would be postponed for at least one more day and was released to the public on October 27. However, on many sites it was provided a day early, and an oversight allowed people to grab the file directly off an EA server earlier than intended.

Shortly after the demo's release some enthusiasts found that, by manipulating the configuration files, most of the “very high” graphics settings (normally reserved for DX10) could be activated under DX9. The "very high" DX9 graphics mode looks almost identical to the DX10 mode, with certain graphical features not being able to be reproduced correctly under DX9, such as Object Motion Blur.

Sandbox editor

Crysis contains a level editor called Sandbox, much like Far Cry's, in which new levels can be created and edited. Such levels will have full support in all multiplayer modes. This will allow the player to easily build their own levels, seeing everything in real time within the editor. The player can also jump into the map they are working on at any time to test it. The editor is the same one that was used by Crytek to create the game.

As stated in the readme file accompanying Sandbox, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition or Windows Vista x64 are the only officially supported OS's for running the editor. According to Crytek, using a 32-bit OS can lead to instabilities with production size levels due to the low amount of virtual memory available and is therefore not supported.

Soundtrack

Special Edition

The three-disc Special Edition of Crysis contains the following:

  • Steelbook casing (Not available in American Version)
  • Crysis game DVD
  • Crysis Bonus Content DVD including:
    • "Making of Crysis" & "Meet the Developers" featurette
    • Initial Crysis concept video
    • Additional "key trailers"
    • Showreel of original concept and production artwork
    • High-resolution screenshots
    • Storyboards
  • A 28-page game manual
  • A 16-page concept art booklet
  • An exclusive in-game multiplayer "Amphibious APC" vehicle
  • Official soundtrack CD by composer Inon Zur

Note that the Amphibious APC is currently unavailable to most pre-orders and Special Edition owners. Electronic Arts is still working out a solution. Also note that the Australian release includes a small ad for Logitech products.

Reception

Reviews

Crysis was awarded a 98% in the PC Gamer U.S. Holiday 2007 issue, making it one of the highest rated games ever in PC Gamer, tying with Half-Life 2 and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. The UK edition of the magazine awarded the game 92%, describing the game as "A spectacular and beautiful sci-fi epic." GameSpot awarded Crysis a score of 9.5 out of 10, describing it as "easily one of the greatest shooters ever made." GameSpy gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stating that the suit powers were fun but also criticizing the multiplayer portion of the game for not having a team deathmatch.. X-Play gave it a 3 out of 5 on its "Holiday Buyer's Guide" special episode, praising the graphics and physics, but criticized the steep hardware requirements as well as stating that the game is overhyped with average gameplay. GamePro honored Crysis with a score of 4.75 out of 5, saying it was "a great step forward for PC gaming," but criticized the steep hardware requirements. IGN awarded it a 9.4 out of 10, hailing it as "one of the more entertaining ballistic showdowns in quite some time."

Awards

GameSpot awarded Crysis Best Shooter in its Best of 2007 awards, saying that "It was this open-ended, emergent gameplay--the ability to let us tackle our challenges in whatever way we wished." They also awarded it with Best Graphics: Technical and Best PC Game stating that "The firefights in the game are beautiful to look at, but extremely intense affairs that force you to think quickly--and reward you for doing so. It's a dynamic game, one that you can play several times to discover new things and to experiment with different approaches.

PC Gamer awarded Crysis Game Of The Year and Action Game Of The Year in its March 2008, Games of the Year Awards issue. PC Gamer also remarked that "Crysis has pushed PC gaming to a new plateau, marrying the most advanced graphics engine ever created with phenomenal gameplay. From the cinematic opening to credits to its cliffhanger ending, Crysis is mesmerizing."

Gamereactor — who gave Crysis a perfect ten — awarded Crysis Best Action Game of 2007, saying that "the action genre is forever changed."

IGN awarded Crysis its Editor's Choice Award, saying that "the Halo 2 type ending...wasn’t enough to deter me from heartily recommending action fans pick this one up."

Sales

As of June 27, 2008, Crysis has beaten EA's expectations and sold 1.5 million copies worldwide, according to a gamesradar article.

Sequels

Crysis was announced to be the first game in a trilogy by Crytek. On June 4, 2008, a teaser image of Crysis Warhead was on the main Crysis website. On June 5, EA and Crytek released more information about the game through a press release. Crysis Warhead was released for Microsoft Windows on September 16, 2008 in North America and September 19, 2008 in Europe. The multiplayer element of Crysis Warhead is now called Crysis Wars.

References

External links

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