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Crysis Warhead

Crytek have finally pandered to the requests of Crysis fans everywhere and released the standalone expansion to their FPS hit Crysis in the form of Crysis Warhead. Warhead is set in the same timeline as the original game and follows the branching storyline of Psycho, one of the sqaud members from the original Delta squad of Crysis. To sum up the experience, if there ever was an energy drink equivalent in gaming, this is it.

Similar to the branching storyline of Ada in Resident Evil 4 (the PS2 and Wii versions), in Warhead, the player takes the role of Nomad, who split from the group early on in the original game to follow separate mission directives. You are tasked with retrieving the body of a fallen alien warrior, which surprisingly didn’t self destruct as the others did when killed. Standing in your way are the North Korean KPA led by General Lee who are after the same thing.

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Gameplay
The game plays itself out in an identical manner to Crysis but does away with the filler sections of the original game and focuses on delivering one action filled set piece after another. Therefore its a pretty short experience with around 5-6 hours of gameplay. The nanosuit powers, weaponry, etc. are all the same so there is absolutely no learning curve involved for veterans of the original. The locations also mirror the sequence laid out in the original so expect firefights in lush forests, snowy wastelands, small underground mine sections and topping it up with a large air base. The action is intense, ammunition is aplenty and enemies galore, so there never really is a dull moment in this game. Its action FPS at its purest.

Graphics
Warhead is based on a beefed up version of the Crysis engine – CRYENIVGNE 2, so you have unparalleled visuals. Warhead has the best explosions ever seen in a game. PERIOD. One thing I did notice though was that contrary to some other reviews, the game wasn’t consistently smoother across all levels over the original game. In some cases, the frame rates were higher, while in other levels, the frame rates were actually lower than the original game at the detail settings. And the snow levels continue to be rig-killers. So its kinda sad that two years on and Crytek haven’t yet managed to optimise the engine to run consistently on mainstream rigs.

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Sound

Even better than the original thanks to the constant flow of action. This is a game that really justifies a good surround sound setup with amazing positional audio, excellent sound effects and a thumping soundtrack. The voice acting is fun thanks to the British accented protagonist.

Another thought that popped into my head while playing this game is that playing as Psycho made for a much more fun-filled experience than the wimpy Nomad from the original game. I now wish that Crytek had made Psycho the main character in Crysis as I can recall several situations in that game where the arrogant demeanour and brilliant dialogue of Psycho would have been much more appropriate than Nomad’s whiny voice. So here’s a thought Crytek – make better main character decisions in your future titles.

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Multiplayer

The game includes a new multiplayer experience in the form of Crysis Wars which expands on the MP offering of the original game. This is included on a separate DVD in the same packaging. I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, so expect an addendum to this review in some time.

Final thoughts
Warhead is a game that concentrates the action FPS genre into a single, intense serving that will get your adrenaline flowing and make you wonder why more game aren’t this much fun. At Rs 999, you get a short but brilliant single player experience and an expanded version of the awesome Crysis MP experience. While possession of the original game is not required to play Warhead, it is highly recommended that you play through the original or a lot of the story will not make any sense.

Verdict: 9/10 (A resounding BUY)

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