Deja Review: Crysis

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The original Crysis is an abstract concept for many. Whether through actual technical limitations or a perception thereof, it was the destroyer of worlds and PCs, seen as out of reach for all but the most tech-driven of PC gamers. It's been so easy to get caught up in the question of "Can it run Crysis?" that there's a swath of gamers who have never asked, "How is Crysis?"

But here we are, with Crysis (the first) finally making its way to six year old hardware. It runs. But is it fun?%Gallery-134861% What's new this time around? Sheesh, Crysis is finally on consoles and you want more?

The good news is, you're getting it. Crysis had iffy controller support on PC, but the 360 and PS3 versions lift their controls entirely from Crysis 2, which makes sense; the console versions of Crysis are running on the second game's engine, CryEngine 3. This also means that the Nanosuit powers of the original have been streamlined somewhat. There's no more power wheel. Instead, your abilities are tied to the left and right bumpers (or triggers), and the speed ability is contextual, activated only when you run in strength mode.

As someone who played every Crysis game on the PC and every version of Crysis 2, I'm of the opinion that Crysis actually plays better with a controller. Sure, aiming isn't as precise as it is with the keyboard and mouse, but the way powers are mapped to the controller makes switching between suit modes smoother, faster, and more intuitive than they ever were on PC. The Nanosuit ninjitsu of Youtube legend is now within the grasp of every player, and it makes tactical play in Crysis more accessible.

The console versions of Crysis also benefit in other ways from CryEngine 3 -- namely in the lighting department. Some of the more impressive lighting effects from Crysis 2, like god rays and SSAO, appear in full effect in the new version of Crysis. And it seems to run better than Crysis 2 on the respective systems as well.

How's it hold up? Crysis is... well, it's Crysis, and that means you take the good with the bad. While the tactical options at your disposal are considerable, and you're often given huge areas to put those tactics to use, the sprawling levels often feel big for the sake of being big, rather than fulfilling an meaningful design directives. Getting from place to place can take forever, and unless you treat Crysis as a stealth game (which you absolutely can do), the more satisfying combat encounters will be few and far between. Also, the Korean soldiers' dialogue is offensively stereotypical. Your mileage will vary, but it made me pretty uncomfortable.

And the alien stuff everyone complained about originally is still here, obviously. However, one level has been omitted from Crysis on consoles -- the VTOL mission, Ascension. While opinions on Ascension seem to be decidedly negative, it's still a shame that it's not here. It prevents this version of Crysis from being the complete campaign experience you'd expect.

And of course, there's no multiplayer. Crysis's multiplayer was never especially lauded, but it's somewhat confusing seeing it gone here. It's another reason that this version can't stand as a definitive release of Crysis.

Still, at 20 bucks, Crysis is a good value. Its combat feels current and well tuned, even four years later, doing things that other shooters fear to approach. Offensive Korean accents aside, it takes the prize as most impressive downloadable shooter on either console. And now that you can finally run Crysis, it's an FPS that belongs in your vocabulary.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.