All of the claims you may have heard that Crysis could only run on
nuclear-powered supermachines were greatly exaggerated. But if for some
reason you worry that this stand-alone companion to the ultragorgeous
first-person shooter will bring your PC to its knees, you should know
that it's highly scalable and ran smoothly on a number of machines
during our testing. It also looks better, with clear attention given to
the game's artistic sensibilities and the lusher, denser environments.
But rest assured, developer Crytek has enhanced more than just the
graphics engine. Vehicles are more fun to drive, firefights are more
intense and focused, and aliens do more than just float around you.
More emphasis on the open-ended environments would have been welcome,
but a more exciting (though shorter) campaign, a new multiplayer mode,
and a whole bunch of new maps make Crysis Warhead an excellent
expansion to one of last year's best shooters.
Both online and off, Warhead is a beauty. As mentioned before, the game
looks better than Crysis, and it runs better too. A test machine that
struggled a bit to run the original at high settings ran Warhead
smoothly with the same settings. Yet as much as you may have heard
about Crysis' technical prowess, you'll still be impressed when you
feast your eyes on the swaying vegetation, surging water, and
expressive animations. Don't overlook the improved art design, though,
which surpasses the original's oft-sterile look thanks to several
striking vistas, such as one featuring an icy naval vessel stranded in
the frozen tundra. The audio is almost as terrific. Various creaks and
groans make heading down a narrow glacial pathway all the more
harrowing, and weapons sound appropriately powerful. The voice acting
is strong, and the understated soundtrack sets the right tone without
ever getting in the way.
Warhead's single-player campaign should take you no more than six hours
or so to complete, but not only does it invite multiple play-throughs,
it costs only $30--and doesn't require you to own the original. In
other words, there is no reason why anyone with a capable PC shouldn't
play Crysis Warhead. It's more focused, it's more intense, and though
it doesn't provide as much of the sandbox feel as Crysis veterans would
wish for, it still delivers on every other front. Play this game.