Crysis Warhead (PC)

System Requirements
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (3.2 GHz for Vista), Intel Core 2.0 GHz (2.2 GHz for Vista), AMD Athlon 2800+ (3200+ for Vista) or better
RAM: 1GB (1.5GB on Windows Vista)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT, ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (Radeon X800 Pro for Vista) or better with 256MB or more of Graphics Memory
Storage: 12GB
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
Optical Disk Drive: DVD-ROM
OS: Microsoft Windows XP or Vista
DirectX: DX9.0c or DX10

Crysis Warhead is a stand alone game that adds a parallel story to Crysis. In this game, you play Psycho, a Special Forces officer equipped with a nanosuit that grants you enhanced armor, strength, speed, and the ability to cloak. On an island filled with a hostile army and infested with unknown aliens, you need to adapt, engage, and survive with the help of your nanosuit. Your main objective is to kick alien butt, but you\'re doing it from Psycho\'s perspective. There are some minor references to the Crysis storyline but it\'s not as cohesive as I thought it would be.

Just like Crysis, you will be given primary objectives to complete. There are often optional secondary objectives that are in your best interest to complete. These usually involve uncovering weapon caches to restock your ammunition. Some missions will have you download Korean People\'s Army (KPA) intelligence from their computers. There are frequency jammers and anti-aircraft devices that will have to be deactivated as well. To get the job done you can use any weapon or vehicle you can get your hands on. A good portion of this game involves acquiring and securing a captured alien.

There are many enemies to fight and you\'ll need some good firepower to blast through their defenses. For weapons, there are pistols, sniper rifles, grenades, machine guns, shot guns, chain guns, rocket launchers, and more. You can install add-ons to many of the guns. For example you can add laser pointers, sniper scopes, and silencers. Needless to say, there are a lot of explosions to be seen. Finding weapons is easy; ammunition on the other hand can get tight at times. If you run out, you have your fists.

The soldier artificial intelligence is really smart. They will attack you from multiple fronts, and they will snipe you and communicate to others when you have been discovered. You’ll be called a variety of names when discovered. There’s a lot of foul language in this game. The alien AI isn’t that smart, but their lack of brains is made up for in brawn.

When it comes to having an advantage over your opponent you won\'t get very far without your Heads Up Display (HUD). It\'s identical to Crysis, but orange in color instead of green. It\'s equipped with an enemy detection meter, which alerts you when you have been seen by your opponent. Your available ammunition, grenades, and health are on the lower right hand side. If you have a scroll mouse, scrolling changes your weapons and pushing in on the scroll wheel brings up your nanosuit menu.

The HUD also has a compass that points you in the right direction for your objectives. The island is pretty big, and you\'ll be doing a lot of traveling. You can walk, drive, or take a train to get anywhere you want. Even with all of these options, you\'ll find this game more linear than Crysis. You can drive civilian vehicles as well as army jeeps and tanks. Like you, the vehicles have hit points, so make sure you get out of it before the damage reaches 100%.

The graphics are dazzling if you have a powerful enough system to enjoy the highest settings. The landscape is gorgeous and the alien stronghold is breathtaking. The character models are very lifelike and believable. The physics in this game is great, too. You’ll actually feel like you’re there when there are earthquakes and avalanches. Rocks and debris will fall everywhere, so you have to keep on your toes.
A tweaked CryEngine 2 is used, but I didn\'t notice any performance increase. It still managed to bring my computer to its knees running this game at the highest settings. I have a quad core, with two 8800GTs running in SLI, and I felt my system struggle to deliver decent frames per second. The latest Nvidia drivers did seem to help. As painful as this was, the game was still worth playing and upgrading for.

When it comes to the sound effects, they are phenomenal. The weapons, explosions, and vehicles all sound realistic. The voice acting is great as well. The musical score is good too, as it adds mood without overdoing it. Perfect.

This game ran pretty stable for me. My only complaint is that it often started in windowed mode and I had to do an alt+enter to fix it. There are some patches available that I applied.

Crysis Wars is the separate multiplayer portion. It comes bundled in the box on its own DVD. You need this DVD to run a dedicated server; I was disappointed in the lack of a downloadable dedicated server program. It’s not too hard to find a populated server to join in the fray. There are three game modes. Instant Action is a deathmatch game that allows up to thirty two players. Power Struggle has you play as either the KPA or the US Special Forces. Whichever side you are on, you have to develop new weapons, retrieve alien technology and annihilate the headquarters of your opposition. There\'s a new game mode called Team Instant Action that combines the strategy element of Power Struggle but maintains a points system to claim victory. In multiplayer modes, you have access to weapons not available in the single player game. These include mines, TAC launcher (nuclear warhead), nano disrupter grenade, repair torch and more.

Crysis Warhead is rated M for the violence, language and gore. When you find the remains of several of your squad mates, it’s not a pleasant sight to see. There were a couple of memorable scenes worth noting. There was one cut-scene where Psycho refused to kill a KPA soldier because he was unarmed. In another scene you see Psycho grieving for a fallen comrade and takes it out on a nearby KPA soldier by drowning him. (He was armed). When being attacked, your enemies and comrades will use expletives. Every swear word in the book is used.

Crysis Warhead is much shorter than Crysis, but the price only $30 or less. Some gamers are turned off by the SecuROM Digital Rights Management software used. One advantage is that you don\'t need the disc in your drive to play. If you like first person shooter games, this is a title worth looking into. Just make sure you have a powerful enough system to handle it. This game is very fun and the story is good. Like many mature games, I don’t recommend playing this with young children nearby.

Final Score
Game Play 18/20
Graphics 9/10
Sound 9/10
Stability 4/5
Controls 5/5
Appropriateness 36/50
-4 for war violence
-2.5 for blood spray
-2.5 for gore
-5 for swearing
Overall 81%

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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