Originally released in 2007 for the PC, Crysis was one of the year's most graphically beautiful releases (even by today's standards) and was infamous for pushing your hardware to its limits. For many, whether your rig could run the monster at optimum performance settings, it was a true test of raw processing power.
Despite receiving a slight graphical downgrade for its long time coming console port, the game still looks stunning and runs on the same engine as Crysis 2. Though clearly not as jaw dropping as the original PC title, there's no shortage of beauty to gawk at here. From shadows of individual leaves from the tree canopy, to realistic character models to the architecture of alien structures - everything shows off a high level of detail and believability.
Gameplay has seen a few tweaks for the console port as well. Instead of the wheel system from the original title that allowed you to allocate power to specific functions of your nanosuit, the suit's interface has been streamlined so most functions have been mapped to controller buttons or specific actions - as it was in Crysis 2. This may upset some hardcore fans of the original - as did the sequel - but it makes sense for the console port and keeps the controller feeling intuitive and clutter free.
For console owners who were introduced to the series via Crysis 2, this port of the original will seem a brilliant divergence. The nearly open-world environment, heavy emphasis on vehicular combat and navigation and inclusion of certain advanced enemy types will make Crysis feel like an expansion and improvement on its sequel, rather than the other way around.
You may wind up asking yourself why these elements were either downplayed or outright removed from Crysis 2 (so did everyone else).
The trade-off is that Crysis also has less of a focus on story telling than its sequel. Crysis 2, if anything, had too much going on. There was the alien invasion of NYC, an eccentric civilian scientist, the US military, a rogue PMC, a double agent, a billionaire on his own personal quest to save the human race at any cost and you stuck in the middle.
Crysis has its share of characters, each with their own personalities and interests, but you won't find any huge twists or turns. In fact you'll be too busy enjoying the beautiful scenery and customizable gameplay to even notice that there is a story.
On consoles, Crysis may lack the multiplayer of its PC counterpart, but its single player campaign more than holds up today. Still one of the best FPS games around, this downloadable title is well worth the $20 price of admission.
Crysis is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. It is available now on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.