Two hours in the matter was settled. Crysis is really the sort of game where what you get out of it relies a bit on what you put in. Play it like you would Call of Duty 4 or try to eliminate every last enemy and you will find it hard work. Get flexible, stay on the move and make the most of your combat suit, and it doesn’t so much take off as launch itself into the air with a resounding sonic boom. Thanks to the mighty mouse wheel button, you can select between any suit power in an instant, switching from Armour mode to Speed mode to Strength mode (handy for jumping, punching or picking up objects and throwing) to the Predator-style Cloak mode. See a bunch of misrepresented and doubtless normally humane and compassionate North Koreans lurking around a small group of huts? Kick in Cloak mode to get up close, then switch to Strength mode, grab one, throw him at his mates, then grab a handy exploding barrel and throw that at the covering machine-gun nest. Now switch to Armour mode, pull out your biggest gun and start mopping up the rest.
The beauty of all this is that you can use the combat suit to play the game your way. The harsh lesson you have to learn is that a super-suit doesn’t necessarily mean super-powers. It drains of energy with horrible rapidity, particularly when in Cloak mode, leaving you standing in the open and vulnerable to more attacks from the poor North Korean troops, who doubtless only want to finish you off so that they can return to their wives and children a little bit sooner. I’m sure they don’t mean the potty-mouthed stuff they say about you.
Much like Crackdown, then, the joy of Crysis is in using the world as your playground. A pretty wonderful and coherent physics system certainly helps, with every object in the world seeming to have a material, and that material reacting to high-explosive firepower in roughly the way you might expect. I’ve heard some reports of oddities, but in my experience the physics system is superbly deployed. When our misunderstood North Korean chums are hiding behind wooden fencing or poor-quality corrugated metal panels, it’s nice to be able to blast away their cover then give them roughly the same treatment. Or if they’re lurking in an inexpertly-assembled hut, why not use some of that super-strength – or a handy grenade – to knock out the walls and bring the roof down on them? Crysis is full of this kind of fun stuff, and at its best it gives you a feeling of freedom and power that other FPS games just miss out on. In the best sort of way, it’s a game that can’t say no. If you want to do something, and think you should be able to do it, then you probably can.