HardwareHeaven.com

HardwareHeaven.com

Looking for the skin chooser?
 
 
  • Home

  • Hardware reviews

  • Articles

  • News

  • Tools

  • Gaming at HardwareHeaven

  • Forums

 

Crysis Warhead (PC)


by John Erikson - 14th Sep 2008
Discuss Here

Anyone who has played Crysis has strong opinions about the game. You either loved the ground breaking graphics and open landscapes, or you loathed the fact you needed the pc equivalent of a small nuclear power plant to run it. The followup Warhead is more action oriented which manages to keep all the strong points of the first game and adds new gameplay elements while lowering the computer requirements. A sure success? ... let's find out.

Warhead is a companion expansion with a story which runs concurrently to the original. An alien artefact has been discovered on a tropical island and after North Korea and the United States charge to capture it, an alien invasion starts which freezes the island (in a similar fashion to the first one).

You now take control of Sergeant Michael Sykes (you may remember him as Psycho) and the romp is held on the other side of the island. The storyline runs in parallel to the first so you will already know the outline if you played the first.

As a structural piece, the opening cinematic reaffirms Psycho as all in one gun tottin’ action man as he leaps off cliffs into moving trucks while kicking the ass of many North Koreans. Thankfully this time around the presentation is higher with some great third person cinematics setting the mood nicely. To further enhance the dynamics of the game there are some great musical pieces which help to build dramatic tension.

Again there is considerable focus on the nanosuit, the multi faceted body armour from the first title which gives you a lot of superhuman abilities, such as superstrength and superspeed. Using the nanosuit was always fun, but this time around the game is running much better thanks to engine optimisations and enhancements. The open nature of Warhead lets you dictate the terms of combat and I always really enjoyed this aspect of the game, you aren’t merely running from point A to point B via an invisible ingame tunnel. The wealth of tactics at your disposal with all the suits abilities can lead into some wonderfully versatile combat situations. You can sneak up behind a group of soldiers, drop a grenade, sprint to the side, watch as it takes half of them out, then rush back in, and grab one then hurl him across the landscape into a tree. This is where the game scores very highly, in the freedom of combat and movement.

The game developers are aware of the main characters abilities and power, so most of the combat situations involve you again a plethora of enemies. This time around however the game seems to be more relentless in a Call Of Duty 4 style and you rarely get time to breathe which makes for an adrenaline fuelled experience.

Those people who like to run away from a fight to make quick map time will be frustrated to hear that sometimes the foes follow you, so you may have ran past situation 1 into situation 2, only to find the original bad guys are on your ass while you are dealing with the new group. I think this is a great aspect as it makes you aware that you can’t just skip sections of the game to make quick progression. The AI is rather good as well, so you frequently see the aliens darting around a lot quicker than the humans behind cover and there are various Alien types now including a shield carrier who protects the grunts from bullets. This means normally if you see them you need to concentrate on killing them first otherwise they make your life a living hell.

There are some new weapons, such as the new submachine gun and six shot grenade launcher (awesome!). Also you are given some new items, such as antitank mines which prove useful later in the game. Lower difficultly levels in this game allow you to collect ammo by merely walking over it which is sure to appeal to the pure arcade gun and runners out there.

Warhead isn’t as long as the original game, however as it is basically an expansion pack I think this was expected. That said, there is still enough gameplay to last quite a few intense hours, I beat it in 6 hours or so. Considering it only costs $29.99 I feel it’s pretty good value. The replay value is quite high as you can change your combat tactics if you fancy another blast through the single player mode on a higher difficulty level.

The environment deserves special mention as Crytek have vastly improved the landscape, now certain sections of the ice covered environment shatter when bullets hit them. As I briefly mentioned earlier, the performance issues with the original have been fine tuned and resolved.

Equally so, some people might be expecting the graphics to look worse, amazingly even though the game runs better, the graphics are even better. The lighting is improved, there are enhanced particle effects and the textures are higher resolution. This is the game to test your new high end graphics card to the hilt, I lost track of how many times I just paused the game to look around the environment as the light broke through the trees to cast shadows on the ground in front of me. It really is spectacular.

My system for the review was a Q6600 with a 260 GTX and I was able to set the graphics to 1920x1200 with details at Enthusiast level (basically the same as very high from before). The game not only looked amazing but it ran around the 35-50fps mark. Anyone with a 8800GTS or higher will be able to enjoy Crysis at high resolution with the eye candy on full. For those with slightly less impressive hardware, you can comfortably use Gamer setting, which increases frame rates by a good 20%. You do lose a little of the image quality obviously but it’s still very impressive.

The original Crysis had a multiplayer mode which was called Power Struggle which received a fair amount of abuse from the public for being laboured and complex. Crysis Wars improves this situation by introducing a new array of maps geared for deatchmatch style games, with the added twist that everyone is in a nanosuit. This means all the tactics you learned in single player with the suit can still be used in multiplayer, you can hide in foliage in invisible mode while waiting on another player to blindly run past. You can change into strength mode to land a killer blow on the back of his head .... yes the options are almost endless.

The maps are wonderfully designed and the lighting effects can bring the levels to life, the foggy style graveyard battles are my personal favourites. There is also a vehicle map which is great fun to play, Battlefield style with tanks, helicopters and APC’s a-plenty. Infantry still should not be overlooked however as they can still take them out with anti vehicle weapons.

Crytek have promised to deliver more dynamic content as the months pass, so potentially this section of the game could prove to be very successful, if they keep to their word.

At the price of $30, Crysis Warhead is really hard to fault and will probably be in the top 3 first person shooter games when this year ends. The single player campaign plays great and looks fabulous especially with the more reasonable system demands now being asked. The open ended nature as well as the variety of combat situations just make this a title any self respecting PC gamer should not miss. Crytek have clearly listened to the criticism levelled at Crysis and have produced a stunning expansion which surpasses the quality of the original in every way possible. Fabulous.



Gameplay

94/100

Much more adrenaline charged than the first and it works better. Addictive.

Graphics
99/100

As good as you will see from any game released to date with the added benefit that it will run well on all mid-high end hardware.

Sound
92/100

Voice acting and musical score are both class leading.

Value
90/100
Single player can be beaten in 5-6 hours, but the replay factor is high. Multiplayer is also great fun.
Overall
(not an average)
93/100

One not to miss, even if you don’t have mega hardware, it’s still playable.

Discuss Here
Compare Expert Reviews at TestFreaks.com