Crysis Warhead Review (PC)

Maximum Sequel. Weíre in a crisis about Warhead. Crysis lands with the force of a nuclear bang! Wit aside; the facts. Crytekís high-end FPS finally reached PCís last year. Toted as the best looking game to date, the tropical island-based spiritual successor to FarCry managed to succeed in its aims: stunning visuals, sandbox gameplay and a tendency to bring graphic cards to their knees. Crysis ended on a cliff-hanger and the developers made it clear that this was a trilogy. Ten months on and Crysis: Warhead awaits our perusal.

Warhead only costs £19.99 due to the fact itís a Ďstandalone-expansion-pack.í For the uninitiated that means itíll follow on from Crysis through the questionably lazy method of an alternative story. Warhead is set on the same island, with the same graphics engine (aside from a few improvements and supposed optimisation), stars the same characters and therefore is fundamentally the same game. Thereís no need to own the original Crysis and no benefit from doing so (minus the obvious familiarity with story and location). At such a knockdown price, a simple question arises; why so cheap?

Crysis: Warhead can be clocked within 5 hours. Thatís on delta difficulty and watching the cut scenes. Itís a short game, but the Ďexpansion-packí in its description should have already rung its warning bells. Luckily Crytek have pumped Warhead so full of action and gunplay, it manages to maintain its tempo from start to finish. The saving grace is Crysis Wars, Warheadís multiplayer component. Itís a vast improvement over the original Crysis and it manages to hold players attention for more than a couple rounds. Itís definitely worth recommending and Wars manages to take the frantic pace of Warhead online. Even so, the majority of players will purchase Warhead in an attempt to shed some light on Crysis.

Gamers were left in the dark at the end of Crysis. Your team was either M.I.A or K.I.A; aliens had frozen the once beautiful island; mountains were collapsing; you were safe, but had just turned around. It didnít take a degree in rocket science to guess what was coming next. Rummaging around will reveal that Warhead isnít the second game in the trilogy, simply a slot-in to fill some gaps and create some bigger ones, but thatís no reason to be put off. You take control of the foul-mouthed, charismatic British Ďmuppetí Psycho, (real name Michael Sykes). Just like before, youíre in the jungle fighting through the Korean army. Understandably (considering Warhead runs parallel to Crysis), it all goes a bit pear shape and the local inhabitants get a tad frosty. Cue swathes of flying beasties that keep you on your toes. Divuldging any more of the plot will warrant the game obsolete, but itís definitely a worthy successor to the original.

Just like before, you are one man against an army. Usually this would spell death, but fate seems to smile on you. Youíve got your trusty nanosuit to keep you warm and snug and enough guns to fuel a civil war. Warhead takes the same structure as Crysis; run / drive through the jungle and destroy the encampment you come across. Repeat until end. Credit is where itís due. Itís a formula that works, allowing for combat experimentation and a different outcome every time (minus the end result of everyone being dead). There are several set pieces which offer variation and to avoid spoiling them weíre keeping our lips tight. Thereís a slight falter when youíre asked to navigate a mine and the gameplay reverts back to corridor shooting from the 1980s.

Despite all this, Warhead manages to keep the sandbox structure alive and produce some on-rails shooting. Itís not all sunshine, with the AI still being a mixed bag. The Korean / Human AI is still as pathetic as it was in the original game and hiding behind a crate prompts soldiers to enter their Ďsearch mode.í Making up for some idiotic situations is the improvement in the alien AI. Encountering them in the jungle will no longer grind your nerves, with them offering a dynamic combat situation. The final big plus is the removal of the anti-gravity sections, although not playing the original title will obsolete that argument.

Another continuation is the weapons / customization. Thereís no new parts for your weapons and aside from a dual-wieldable Uzi (which replaces the pistol), a grenade launcher (or have we just forgotten that from the original) and a death ray only useable in the closing moments of the game, youíll be carrying the same armour as before. There are a couple new vehicles to burn some rubber, yet still no helicopter. Itís a little disappointing, but with the term Ďexpansion-packí continually rearing its head itís unsurprising.

Crunch time. Crysis (pre-optimisation) was notorious for destroying the upper echelons of PC configurations. Running it on Very High (or enthusiast) at a decent resolution with AA was downright impossible. We tested the game on a 8800GTS, 3.0 GHz Core 2 Duo and 4 GB's of Ram in Windows Vista (so therefore DirectX 10) and it struggled to maintain a playable rate on Enthusiast. When the game gets the freezer treatment we had to revert to the lowest settings. Tweaking each individual section would probably produce a complete playable rate, but thatís time and effort. We canít comment on the 280ís / 260s, let alone the ATi bunch, but Crysis: Warhead still commands the top spot when it comes to laying down pixels. You will not find a game that beats Warhead in the graphics department.

Worth the money? Thereís just enough to twist your arm into purchasing the game. Itís more of the same and if youíre a fan of the original, Warhead is a dead cert. We await Crysis 2. Itís going to be stonking great.

Best Moment: Dishing death with crabs.

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By Praetorian (SI Core) on Sep 29, 2008
Just got this game , im very impressed i like it better than the first one nice graphics to, im enjoying it.
By DarkStalker (SI Veteran Newbie) on Sep 29, 2008
Very fu..... good game, everything top notch, and optimisation is noticeable but the game is very short, i finished it in one day(COD4 length) :)
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Sep 29, 2008
I think I've had enough of the tropical island setting. Africa or bust!
By BlitzKrieg (SI Veteran Member) on Sep 30, 2008
nice game, rad graphics, excellent performance.., the only bad thing, big req.
By FoolWolf (SI Elite) on Sep 30, 2008
Isn't this a game with activations etc?
I still won't install such things so I have to take your word for the gameplay.
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Oct 03, 2008
What A game, Such power you have at your finger tips, man I hope that they put
EX packs out Fast.
By Praetorian (SI Core) on Oct 03, 2008
Dark stalker is right , it is to short...To bad
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 08, 2008
The graphic performance of Crysis:Warhead is owning. Very impressive piece of work from EA and Crytek. Although it's a short one, but i never bored enough playing this games!
By Nicolas19 (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 08, 2008
Remember, a small group of Hungary did it!:) Wish I could run this game... it remains a dream until my next computer.