PC Review: Crysis Warhead

Crytek produces a great follow-up to Crysis, but does it have enough?

Crysis was really something else, but it was a visual beast that was hard to control. It definitely was one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen and the expansion doesn’t disappoint, since it more or less uses the same engine. Of course, you’ll need a pretty impressive PC to run Crysis to maximum settings and experience all that lovely DX10 goodness, which can work out pretty expensive…but after playing the game from less than 5 minutes, you’ll know it was worth it. Instead of being an instant continuation of the original, Warhead puts you into the Nanosuit of Psycho, the British nut with a parallel story to that of Nomad. The story can feel a bit disjointed at times, but it doesn’t dampen the experience that Warhead will offer PC gamers.

It seems that the Crytek team have learned from their small mistakes from Crysis such as having a level where you need to protect Prophet and guide him to heat points, by instead have focused more on blowing the hell out of everything. You can still drive vehicles and there’s a new hovercraft vehicle included in a chase scene between you and the Korean bad guy, it can be a little tricky to control but it’s definitely fun. Warhead doesn’t require you to have the original game installed, which is nice of them to do. It’s also quite a cheap package, but the campaign is rather short and that’s probably why. It doesn’t have the same huge boss fight at the end; instead it tends to end rather abruptly, which is a shame.

Crysis Warhead also comes with a new multiplayer mode called Crysis Wars. In addition to the Instant Action and Power Struggle modes of the original Crysis, Crysis Wars also features Team Instant Action mode, as well as 21 playable maps upon release. Crytek has made numerous changes to the multiplayer gameplay including tighter vehicle controls, weapon rebalancing, and Nanosuit alterations. Crysis Wars is included on its own disc, has a separate installer and logo, and is considered a separate game by Crytek; regardless, it comes bundled with Warhead at no extra cost.

The game looks more or less the same, but it definitely feels better and has a much better framerate, depending on what settings you put it on. It would have been nice if they included a form of Games for Windows Live support, but that looks like it’s never going to happen for this series…Which is unfortunate, I would have loved to get achievements for each game, but it doesn’t make me like the game any less.

The AI has definitely been improved and is more alert to your presence, they’ll jump out of the way of grenades but they can oddly die by throwing them in the river from a small height, even without a suit power activated. Speaking of which, there aren’t any new suit powers. You still have the standard ones including armor, camo, strength and speed. It would have been nice to see a new one, although I can’t think of what that would be.

There are some nice new weapons such as EMP grenades that disable the Nanosuits used by the Koreans, and a lovely weapon that you get before the end…But I won’t spoil what it is. The alien/machine enemies are the same as they were, but have a few nice tricks up their sleeves like shields that need disabled before you can destroy them. I found that I didn’t really struggle with any of the fights in the game, yet I had a devil of a time doing the last boss on the first game due to the freezing blast it kept doing. So it’s definitely easier, even if the AI has improved.

The Verdict

Crysis Warhead’s campaign may be short, but it’s a blast from start to finish. It’ll leave you wanting more, which is always a good thing. The multiplayer is much better here and with some mods added, I’m fairly confident that you’ll have a great time…if you have a good PC.