Crysis Multiplayer Review/Rant

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Anyone who's been a part of my "buggiest games ever" thread probably can tell I've been playing Crysis again lately. You might also notice Crysis came out in 2007 and it is now 2 years removed from then.

Back when I first got the game, I reviewed it's campaign and shared my thoughts on that, but I'd never really gotten into the "Power Struggle" multiplayer mode.

As the title includes "rant", I think you can guess I have quite the love/hate relationship with it, though more to the "hate" side of things.

First let me tell you the concept of this multiplayer. The mode opens up on spectacular thematic maps about twice the size of the biggest "Battlefield" map, and gives both teams a base and assorted control points to capture. It's EXTREMELY inspired by the BF2 in this sense, but differs in several ways.

The goal is to entirely destroy the enemy headquarters with nuclear weapons. I know, that's just about as badass to watch as it sounds. But in order to do this, you have to capture alien crash sites where you can divert energy to a prototype factory. You must have at least one crash site and the only Proto-facility captured in order to do so, and your team's energy counter slowly gains to the maximum of 100.

Now, unlike Battlefield, there's an individual earning system here. Each player starts out as a Private with 100 "prestige" points and a pistol. These points can be accumulated with kills and captures and count towards buying weapons at specified locations a la Counter Strike, and also counts towards your next rank, which will start you out with a higher spawning prestige count. But even more unlike BF2, the only vehicles immediately at your disposal are jeeps and trucks with no armaments of any kind. Yes, you guessed it. At certain facilities, your prestige also goes towards buying vehicles like tanks, jeeps with GUNS, helicopters, and at the prototype facility, alien weaponry and nuclear weaponry.

Ah, starting to see how this fits together, yes? And so, it's a race to hold the proto facility and keep hold of enough crash sites. Once nuclear weapons can be bought, three direct hits on the enemy base with a nuclear weapon is game-over.

Sounds fun, doesn't it? In theory it sounds totally ****ing SWEET. But theory can be a treacherous thing, and in the real game, it shows.

I'll start first and foremost with Crysis' mechanics entirely destroying any chance one has of having fun here. In this mode, you're not just soldiers, you're ALL wearing Nanosuits that function just as well as in the single player campaign. And this is ultimately where it starts falling apart. Games life the Battlefield series and Team Fortress 2 understand that there's a limit to how hard you need it to be to aim the sights on a moving target.

In this mode, it's totally ****ing impossible to land a hit, because you move fast enough on your own, but then there's speed mode as well. Now, speed mode I actually don't mind because it weakens the Hell out of you in combat, and therefore should only be used for traveling the massive distances on foot, but the base-running speed makes combat a dance in futility and failure. Both of you run around each other spraying bullets, the asinine and overreacting recoil mechanics not helping at all. It's a race to see who accidentally stays still on the X-axis for too long. I myself have never won a rifle-versus-rifle firefight, and have only been successful using dual pistols which have a handy double-shot firing mode and are fairly accurate.

Then there's strength mode. As useless as it was in campaign, here it's the noob-combo. As in single player, a strength punch is an INSTANT KILL, which people are quick to use.

The finally, cloak mode. By God, is this horrible in this mode. Unlike in the campaign, you're not fooling anyone that you're not there. Sometimes it even gives you away, because the cloak has this unmistakable shimmering sound, plus has this blue glow which is PERFECT camouflage against all the browns and greens and yellows you're surrounded by![/sarcasm]

Oh, and did I mention? You still cast a shadow, so any aircraft with two functioning neurons can see you pretending not to be there from 200 yards in the air.

But I haven't even gotten to the ranking system. Sure, earning your way to the top sounds great, but as a private, you're in for a Hell of a baptism by fire. Unless you're strategic with the few anti-armor mines you can afford with 100P, anytime you cross paths with an enemy vehicle is a time to run and hide, because your bullets will do nothing against ANY armor, and the handy vehicle weakspots in campaign are nixed for balance. Likely you're under-equipped to take on anyone else, so you'll try to cross-country to capture a bunker or crash site to earn prestige only to be killed by a sniper in the bushes or run smack into a tank who happened to come along. Until you get obscenely lucky, senior players on the map are going to continually disembowel you and hand you your own kidneys until you want to ragequit.

Oh, speaking of constant dying, this game demands that you TELL it to put you on the spawn queue. Otherwise you'll only see a countdown continue resetting itself at 15 seconds.

Snipers are a massive problem, since there's thick bushes every ten feet over every surface, and outside a captureable site, there is about half a mile of off-road space someone could be hiding in, so good luck once someone gets the one-shot-kill Gauss Gun. The only counter to this is a little radar device that you can fiddle with a few seconds and reveal every enemy within the bounds of your minimap, which also reveals them to the rest of your team. This is one way a Private can get points, because every tagged enemy on-screen is worth 5P. I go nowhere without it out of sheer, well warranted paranoia.

Folks, if this game is like realistic war, then I'm glad to be a civilian, because it most certainly is Hell.
 

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