Crysis Warhead - Review

Crysis Warhead, PC - £14.74 delivered

Review by Rook

Last time I fought these aliens it marked something of a downturn in the game. This time, there's a group of nano-suited Koreans on the ridge to the right and a plethora of aliens snaking through icy channels cut out of the surroundings. Cloak mode is on and I'm letting the North Koreans deal with the threat. It's tempting to grab the high ground lay down fire, but I'd be sandwiched between two sides. A brief moment hauled up to recharge and take stock is where it all goes a bit wrong. The first alien is taken down by a Gauss Rifle shot but two more have taken up predatory stances and are about to pounce, speed mode kicks in and leaves them behind. Underneath the Korean squad now, the new machine pistols are perfect for this. Leaping up behind, strength mode kills the recoil as I rip them apart, grinning. Nomad is gone, and in comes the Psycho.

Warhead really doesn't want to let up on this action, the rules have changed. Ammo caches lie everywhere, soldiers fall in one or two hits, and things explode in a shower of physics propelled debris. Everything from mortar fire pounding the land to the screaming jet fighters overhead dropping their payload leaves camera shaking and flecked with dirt. There's a comic hint that it's perhaps gone a bit to far in that every ambush that seemed to require at least one explosive barrel to be used as cover. It's a minor gripe, but keeps the action flowing. The stealthy isolation has now become a constant barrage of events, radio chatter keys you in on your objectives, air support provides covering fire and AI squad mates beckon you on. Here, you're a part of something bigger rather than just being that lonely soldier.

Every section comes and goes in short bursts, if you're not to keen on one part, then the mix-up with the next section will be sure to put you back in the game. It touches upon many gameplay staples; hold this area until support arrives, fight aboard this train, escort this vehicle. Yet it often comes up with it's own slight twist, the train will continue without you aboard. Take a step off, come at the ambush from a different angle, then cut the corner and hop back on. Fire fights are now often as much about who you avoid as who you take on, the aliens present more as a third faction tangling with enemy soldiers. Prioritise threats, engage or move on as you pursue your objective.

And of course it goes without saying that the game is beautiful, although will still probably make you wish you'd spent a bit more on your graphics card. The audio stands out a bit more this time around, the score mixing in with the echoes of water falling down the corridors in the quieter moments, or the guttural thumps as something else goes up in flames . It's still not as convincing as it needs to be to match up with the visuals but it's moving in the right direction. As is the story, Psycho may play out as a caricature, but a likeable one and the banter keeps the narrative moving along. The game isn't long maybe 5 hours, and even on the hardest difficulties won't offer anything too challenging, but for those wanting more Warhead includes the multiplayer experience from original with a few enhancements. The simplicity of the new team death match as well as the rebalancing helps to bring the suit back as the focus of the online play. Rather than just shoot or be shot, the multitude of choices always lets you try something different, do you close in with speed or take to high vantage points with strength? And once there do you cloak to remain hidden, or let armour soak up the enemy fire. It's these choices that make every encounter different and a well timed suit combinations always leaves a smile on your face.

It'd be hard not to recommend Warhead, for those that loved the original it's a chance to revisit the story and setting from a different angle. Those that struggled may just find that Psycho is the right embodiment for their style of game, and both should take a new look at the online offerings.

Rating - Strawberry (

Discuss it in the forums

Crysis Warhead, PC - £14.74 delivered