Crysis Warhead (PC) Review

By Zott820Zott820



Sadly this will be the second time writing my review. All 1,500 words of my last version were erased in a tragic computer malfunction. Hopefully though I’ll be able to rewrite all my original thoughts and make them better. As such, this review will probably be under construction and maintenance for a while as I rough out all my thoughts into a neater vessel.

First off, I completed Crysis Warhead on the Hard difficulty, which while making the enemies harder, also adjusts the binoculars a bit and stuff. Considering I don’t use the binoculars, and in this game, you probably don’t need them, it wasn’t harder in that respect. On Hard mode, you cannot drive vehicles and fire their gun at the same time. This little tidbit is important to consider however as a few missions are changed up/more challenging with this fact.

Story: The story to Crysis Warhead is similar to the original Crysis, except now you play a different character, doing different stuff, supposedly simultaneously to the first game. You play Psycho, a member of an elite team of Nano-suited Special Ops, Raptor Team.


At the beginning of the game you are thrown into action, defending VTOLS, destroying a bases and propaganda, escorting O'Neill, finding crates, losing crates, chasing crates, and all round crate goodness.

That’s pretty much the order of things till the end of the game. I won’t go into particular plot details, since compared to the original Crysis, it wasn’t super special. It was however, action packed.

What is weird is that although Crysis Warhead doesn’t start at the beginning when the original Crysis does, you never really know where the plots connect. Aliens seem to appear sooner in Warhead, and not only that, in the original Crysis, Psycho meets up with original team members on occasion, but here in Warhead, you never see these situations. It is as though the plots, while supposedly together are individual/ alternatives. Maybe this is one reason the game is not an expansion to Crysis, but a stand on its own game. Assuming this though, there are still VOs regarding the other team members like Prophet and Nomad (The Main hero from the original Crysis) so there is some semblance of an interweaving plot, you just don’t see it firsthand.


Instead of your teammates you are joined with a soldier, O’Neill, who failed some test to join the team, and so was instead committed to frontline infantry/piloting. Sucks for him. I never really connected with this character despite the between mission communication which either tried to explain his own story, or how he connected to Psycho.

Stykes (AKA Psycho) had some good personality defined when he spared the life of an unarmed Korean solider. This was important, since the whole philosophy of Psycho up to that point appeared to be search and destroy. This little cut-scene, built humanizing atmosphere around Psycho, proving he is more than just a killing machine. I thought that the authors of this game might do more with this later, (and tried too) but by the end of the game, Psycho had just returned to his old killing ways, effectively massacring whatever they had started. (Literally)

The main villain of the game initially confused me as the villain from the original Crysis. I only realized this could not be true at the very end of the game. (You’ll find out why). It makes a bit sad that the two were so similar, and that Crytek couldn’t come up with someone more original in their devilish scheme (Even if the games share the same plotline)


Parts of special note of the game are the various driving/riding scenes. These were special because they weren’t included in the Original Crysis in the same context, IE not tanks, and getting from point A to point B has special purpose. By this I mean, ACTION driving/riding. For example, in one you are supposed to follow O'Neill in a vehicle. However, since in hard mode you cannot drive and shoot at once, I was forced to take the gun of O'Neill’s vehicle. This was actually pretty fun as we got devastatingly close to dying, with myself fighting off hordes of troopers. Another time, I had to basically drive and dodge enemies in a snow covered region, sometimes boosting for air. It was a blast. Lastly, there was a cool part with a Train (Like Timesplitters 3: Future Perfect) where you rode it, and defended the train (more like yourself) from the enemies. This scene was unique in that you could jump off the train at will, though the slow speed of the train, allowing you to catch up, made it less epic.

Graphics: We all know the real reason that people buy this game, it is to run it one their super powerful rig and show how awesome it looks. Well let me tell you, it does not disappoint. Everything is gorgeous.


The problem though, is the system requirements are still hefty. I could play the game fairly well on my Nvidia 9700Mgt built into my laptop, as long as I was alright with turning the graphics down from the Gamer setting for a few. Shaders for one are really intensive on the graphics card, but it is one of the options that make the game look as good as it does. For example, with it on, the snow in the game has a good shimmer to it. But with the shader set to low, you find that it almost has nearest neighbor filtering on it, you can see squares up close. The snow is very resource intensive which is while I mentioned this. My computer ran alright on Gamer through the forest, but come to the Snow parts, and it was much too sluggish.


What is cool is that sometimes the graphics interact with the gameplay, such as being able to pick up and throw various objects littered about. I found this to be fun, though highly unnecessary. Also breaking trees, also mostly useless, was still fun to do with heavy weapons. Breaking buildings, now there is the useful and sweet looking benefit of superior graphics. Run your vehicle full speed into one to break a hole. Unfortunately, much of the game is done away from these destructible buildings, so you only have a limited scope to bring down the thunder.


I read on various reviews online before the game came out that there were optimizations to the engine, as well as a graphic increase. I could not see this graphical increase, because I never ran the game on the highest anyways. Furthermore, the optimizations, while I’m sure exist, are canceled by the graphical “enhancement”. In this way, I actually attained lower performance on Warhead than I did on the Original Game. So much for that.

Weapons: There were a few new weapons that I actually noticed. (And possibly one new grenade type). First there was an Uzi like weapon, which could be dual wielded for absolute doom! The weapon is extremely inaccurate though, and


requires strength to make it effective, even from 2 feet away. This is where you must juggle pure offense with defense, sacrificing your defense mode to strength so you may have the chance of killing the Korean soldiers more quickly. Your Move.

The 2nd weapon is an end game weapon, the PAX, like the nuke from the First game, though slightly less impressive, but more free. In this way I mean you can fire it at whatever you want, rather than specific targets on an endboss. Basically a rechargeable rocket launcher, it was still fun.

Furthermore, I only noticed this on the last level of the game, when picking a weapon off a dead soldier. There appears to be incendiary grenades for the old weapons. I found this to be effective against aliens, at least in the limited time I had using them. It also lights them on fire which was a visual goody. I suppose you have to pick up the grenades first but I don’t recall any lying around in my play through.


I’ll add this, I’m not sure if it IS actually new, but it plays a much more prominent appearance. The Gauss rifle is basically a sniper rifle that does a lot more damage. This was my end all solution to every problem is the end. Hard hitting and effective. For the Computer though, it is also your end all. While you may take a few sniper shots, a Gauss on Hard will send you to the load screen. Thus, when ever fighting this gun toting enemy, I suggest cloak and dagger tactics at all costs.

Lastly, I noticed a grenade launcher with a weird targeting mechanism. You pick it up, hold down fire and you’ll see a reticule. I noticed it liked to focus on enemies. Regardless, I found the shots extremely difficult to aim, reticule or not. Ultimately I gave up on the gun; the Gauss was much more fun.


As a side note, many of the vehicles in this game now have the ability to boost. Even ones from the original Crysis, such as the Jeep seem to have this ability, pretty neat, and useful, since I figured there was something lacking about the speed of such transportation. If there was boosting in the Original Crysis, forgive me, but for all I know, its new to me.[

Enemies: The AI is the Crysis series is above average; if they have a clear shot, they will take it, or move to a closer position, or flush you out with grenades. Regarding the matter of grenades, the AI uses A LOT more grenades than I remember in the original Crysis. This is both good and bad. For one, it makes the game more exciting and difficult, because you just can’t camp behind a barrel and fire at enemies ala shooting gallery. Also, the grenades are timed long enough that as long as you move once they see them coming, they shouldn’t kill you. On the other side, it seems like it is hiding the deficiency of the AI to flush the player out with group tactics.

One thing that is notable of the Crysis series, both games, is that the AI will try and track you while cloaked. If you cloak, the enemy will continue to attack your former position where they last saw you, even firing blindly. This is pretty cool, and realistic. Sometimes, it feels like the AI knows where you are (besides the fact that it IS a computer running the game that is also making the AI work), in that the enemies will walk around looking for you, and parts where they are looking just happen to be right next to you, when you moved far away from your last spot.

But enough about the AI, let’s talk new. Firstly, there is a new vehicle. It is one of the most annoying things in the game. Not only is it quite strong and almost impervious to conventional fire (like a tank) you can’t kill the driver. This was extremely annoying, and I usually chose to avoid this annoyance rather than fight it. You cannot even kill the gunner since it is a remotely controlled gun. Best advice I could give is to try and flip it, or make it run off the road, since you are unlikely to kill it, especially when they make you fight it without RPGs to take it out.

While not new, the Koran Nanosuit troopers make a much more vivid appearance in this game. While in the original Crysis they appear in one or two scenes, the whole second half of this game consists mainly of Nanosuits. These guys spam grenades, both of the EMP kind and of the regular frag, and are MUCH harder to take down. Besides that they are made to kill, and do not go about their business like the Original Crysis. By this I mean, while Warhead is a more action packed game, there are little to know opportunities to smell the flowers. Thus, the enemies are these stronger Nanosuits, and tend to only have been made for killing. I haven’t seen any Nanosuits naturally wandering around, or peeing. Sort of disappointing, but not a huge loss. In terms of powers, the Nanosuits only use them are specific times. They cloak when not actively engaged. They will use strength if you go for melee, so don’t try it, you’ll probably lose (since they seem to take more hurt than you can in your suit). I think they also use speed if you move away from them, though I cannot recall for sure. Every other time they remain in defense more. My best advice for taking them down is an EMP grenade and a single gauss shot. Any other time, and it would probably take 3 direct Gauss shots (on hard) to remove them from the game.


That is it for the human side, as far as I could tell, the aliens received two new variants. There is a new ground variety that had a greenish glow. It didn’t strike me more much different than the ground aliens in the Original Crysis, just coming in a new paint job. However, upon closer inspection, I found out that when other ground aliens are in its vicinity, it will project a shield around them, protecting them from munitions fire. It took me a while to notice this effect, and so during actual gameplay, assuming you're killing everything in site anyways, you may not find the alien using its ability much. There won't be many aliens for it to use it on.


The second enemy was another floating type (I believe they are called Alien Troopers from what I’ve read around). I only saw this type of enemy on the very last segment of the game. The new variety has an orange glow and drops mines ala Half Life 2 that would explode. I was not hit by any as far as I could tell. Thus, as you can tell, they had a very limited appearance (I only saw the monster on the last level), and added very little real danger.

Sound and Music:

The music in this game certainly fits the atmosphere. A lone wolf character, you are also quite brutally portrayed. For this the musical magicians conjured up a score of electric guitar and heavy drum beats. It has pleased me. Rather than go into what it sounds like, here’s a sample from the main menu song. Another favorite are the tracks that play as you attack the runway at the end of the game.

Here are examples of music from the game. The first is the menu theme, and the second is from the airfield near the game's finale.

As far as sounds are concerned, I didn’t see any out of place. Most things sounded fine. There were some technical glitches but I shall address them next.

Glitches: Crysis Warhead is a very glitchy game. It isn’t merely crashing to desktop, which it did on occasion, but other bugs, sometimes game breaking that plaque it. For example, in one occasion I loaded the game to a segment where I was fighting the Alien Hunter (I think they are called) Mini-Boss. Everything was going good until I killed the monster. Then…. Nothing. The ground aliens attacked and respawned indefinitely, and my compatriots assisted, but the plot didn’t progress forward. I was forced to reload to an earlier save and beat him again. Only then was I allowed to continue forward.


Another time I was riding on the Train in that segment of the game. I walked along the length of the train fine, and then randomly, a whole train car goes liquid on me. I clipped through it, no matter where I stood on the previously solid car. Not game breaking, but very disorienting and confusing. Another time on that train level, O'Neill warns me of troops on an incoming train. However, when the train rode by, it was completely empty. Not sure what happened to the enemies. Maybe they heard about me and jumped off.

The sound on my computer has issues whenever the enemy or myself threw and EMP gernade. Every other time the sound was fine, but either of these two events caused the sound to fizzle out for about a minute. Quite annoying, though it may only have been on my hardware. (Realtek ALC663)

I’m not sure if this is a glitch or made to be this way, but I seemed to only be able to get in the gunner seat of any tanks I found in the game. While in the Original Crysis I could drive the tank, here I was limited to the machine gun on top. I couldn’t even take the Tank Turret for a spin. Disappointing.


Building on the interesting things I've found in this game. The new armored vehicle appears to not have its speedometers or RPM meters move, unlike the Korean jeeps spread throughout the game. Sad, considering the detail they were going for. I've seen older gen games have a moving speedometer, and it looks like they did it, but to leave it out of the new inclusion was sloppy.

Lastly, I have seen enemies that just stand still and let you walk up to them, and they don’t react at all. Other times, the animations of the characters fail. I've had enemies holding their arms in the T pose and still shooting at me. Other times they glided over the ground not playing their walking animation. Not things I want to see from the second coming of the Crytek 2 engine.


Conclusion: Following absolutely nothing of what I wrote before, here is my general consensus of the game. This will be in comparison to the original Crysis, since that is the standard model of comparison.


The game is definitely more action packed which is both good and bad. There are few to no places to take a break from the action, forces the player forward. Story is acceptable. Attempted characterization was more of a failure than a success. Villain is too general. The Few new weapons are appreciated, though not all are useful. Graphics are perhaps marginally improved, performance is not. Music seems an improvement over the original title. Too many glitches; which even now have not been patched. More Nanosuits are good, though more regular Korean troops may have been appreciated. New aliens are unnoticeable and meh. Driving Scenes were fun. Gauss rifle is your friend.

I hope you have a powerful rig to play this. The last scene in the game is especially breathtaking, and epic. Let’s hope you get that far without glitches to enjoy it. The game is on sale for less than $30, a good time to pick it up, especially if you don’t have the original Crysis.

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