CRYTEK is well known for making games that focus heavily on beautifully realised tropical landscapes and big-balled protaganists. Crysis Warhead is no exception to this pattern. This pseudo-sequel to 2007’s Crysis promises to deliver more action than Ross Kemp versus Vinnie Jones.
Crysis received a lot of criticism for its poorly developed hero, Jake Dunn (a.k.a. ‘Nomad’), and his supporting cast, which includes a generic cockney man dubbed ‘Psycho’. It was with some surprise, then, that we learned Pyscho returns for Crysis Warhead as its main character. Luckily, Psycho is more developed in Warhead. He has some genuinely funny one-liners, and even shows emotional depth with his ‘never leave a man behind’ mentality.
The story parallels the original game, with Psycho’s tale weaving in and out of the main storyline of Crysis. It’s engaging, but this is definitely more along the lines of Die Hard 4.0 than the Bourne series. There’s never any doubt who the enemies are in this tale. For the most part, you’re also a lone wolf, despite the attempt to give you a credible sidekick in old chum Sean O’Neill, who fills a sort of Carl Weathers role from Predator or Rocky 3. Let’s face it though: you don’t go to an action movie expecting an emotional overture, and Warhead does not break that mould.
For people who bought Crysis to brag about how gorgeous the PC graphics were compared to console games’, the sad truth was that the gameplay lagged far behind the caliber of the visuals. Warhead is a much more tightly scripted affair. You’re never bored as you race hoverboats over frozen tundra, dodge frozen waves to recover an alien artefact, or fend off foes in a well developed train defense. In any case, though some major hype was raised by suggestions that Warhead was better optimised for low-end systems, if you couldn’t run it before, you still can’t now.
In Crysis, you often had to decide which weapon was right for a task. Those days are over. In Warhead, guns and ammunition are never in short supply. “Need a rocket launcher? Take three”, the game says. New weapons and vehicles spice up the levels, and include dual pistol-uzis and a beefy grenade launcher. Sadly, the Ice gun of Crysis is absent from single player mode, but is still available in multiplayer.
Multiplayer is much the same as before, albeit with more team-based options and a full quota of maps. Dubbed Crysis Wars; multiplayer really feels like a child’s sandbox. Sure, there’s a rudimentary series of objectives—inspired by the Battlefield franchise, with a touch of Call of Duty 4—but mostly, you can go anywhere and do anything. Paying for your ‘toys’ is accomplished by capturing objectives; killing enemies and helping the team increase your potential for mayhem. It’s not going to become the game of choice for tournaments, but it’s a good blast for an hour or two, and complements the single player nicely.
If you’re the sort of gamer who wants every big title to reinvent the wheel, you may be disappointed with Warhead. But if you just want an action-packed roller coaster ride, and have the system to play it, come and give it a go if you think you’re hard enough.