I really don’t know what to make of this. I’m not a first person shooter guy for the most part so I guess my opinions on this genre are tainted from the start, and it’s hard to discern exactly what drew me to this experience. The graphics? The story? The Sci-Fi Elements? The Tropics? The Physics? Ahhhhh the physics…. and how wonderful they are! How many games are there that let you shoot palm trees into bits? And by bits I mean bits and bits and more bits. You can blast the trunk down into tiny hunks of wood and they will roll about on the ground gloriously! I waited for 5 years to blast those hunks! Although if you shoot some other kind of tree these results generally aren’t repeated… what a shame. Damn you Crytek. I want all my trees to explode into bits!
I became enamored with this game back in 2007 and knew that one day I’d be playing it on max settings and not a day sooner. So five years later I did just that. And “that” is the other thing, the technology behind this game. It still takes a hulk of a PC to run this thing on MAX settings and get any kind of decent frame rate. It still chugged on my PC (which is good of course) when things got busy, even 5 years on. Boy was it pretty though…. probably the prettiest game I’ve seen. But physics and pretty scenery are about the only real endearing things here.
After my initial rush of: “wow this game is freaking incredible!” I was wrought with a typical FPS story, typical characters, typical dialog, typical over the top voice acting, typical weapons, typical alien threat that no one saw coming (except you the player of course) blah blah blah. You know, just once I’d like to hear a scientist not say something along the lines of: “We must study it, don’t destroy it !” While at the same time a bad-ass general guy saying something like: “We must nuke it now before it’s too late!” And you wonder why when every horrible effects laden action/Sci-Fi movie comes out you see the critics comparing it to a video game. Games like this give video games a bad name when it comes to dialog and story telling! How about some real narrative for once? Is that too much to ask for? But it is a shooter… Ugh….
Where this game does shine though, is in the jungle. When you are immersed in that glory and you can almost feel the leaves rubbing your arms as you traverse this insane reality these guys have created. You feel like you are actually there. You can see the detail in every leaf, every blade of grass, every rock, it’s truly wondrous. I had more fun powering up and tossing barrels 100 feet into the air just to see how they would react with the environment than actually shooting things. I can forgive a game it’s asinine tendencies when it makes up for them in other good ways, like palm trees exploding. But once the trees stopped falling, I lost interest and bland, vanilla, generic-ism soaked the rest of my experience.
Once the glory of the jungle is over, the game switches gears and just delves into boring FPS tedium complete with mostly static environments, big action set pieces with the illusion of control, aliens that look like every other alien and a big stupid gun that you only get to use once. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself in this game. But by the time I was two thirds of the way through I just felt like EA came in and told Crytek to stop playing around with the physics engine and blow something up! Oh wait….