There’s no achievement for this, but as a nod to the two and a half thousand people who came for the gnome post and stayed, I gave it a go. It’s much, much harder.
This is Surprised Korean Guy in his natural habitat, roaming the beaches for things to find surprising.
An invisible dude came out of nowhere and picked him up by the windpipe. He found this pretty surprising.
I was surprised at how high I could dial up the pixel shaders, specular mapping and high dynamic range lighting without the framerate dropping unplayably low on my fairly old PC. If Surprised Korean Guy was surprised by this, it didn’t show over his normal level of surprisedness.
Oh God, they’re firing at me! They’ve gone crazy! They’re going to hit their surprised comrade!
Hang on Surprised Korean Guy, I’m going to have to hold you behind this tree for a sec while I save you from these psychos.
I’ve been told, too late, that Half-Life 2’s garden gnome can be jammed between the back of the seats and the roof. After extensive, noisy experimentation, I have concluded that Suprised Korean Guy cannot safely be jammed in any part of this car.
Oh God, he’s blacking out. Maybe I can set him down on this bed for a second, and he’ll be surprised all over again when I pick him up?
Oh right, Strength mode.
Er, this one must be from a different album, I don’t know how that got in there.
I think I actually got through about five Surprised Korean Guys in the end, mostly because their friends love to shoot them, and you can’t duck or go invisible while you’re carrying one. But in a strange way his ceaselessly alarmed face is a more comforting presence than the gnome’s smug grin. Anyway, five things about Crysis!
1. Some of the graphics settings eat your framerate. Post-processing isn’t a particularly good thing anyway, so lots of free frames per second turning that off. Shaders is the big one, both in terms of performance cost and visual fidelity. No use having it high if you can’t afford high-res textures, but having both on high is worth turning everything else down for – it’s truly beautiful. Shadows are the other big hit, and look virtually the same on Medium as on High. Objects is the one you want to crank up to minimise the pop-up of rocks and the like as you approach them.
2. Pretty much all the DirectX 10 stuff works in DirectX 9 under XP. Crysis was the only thing that seemed like it might justify Vista and DX10, but its exclusivity turns out to be just another big ball of sellotape and lies. Just renaming the Very High configuration to High means it’s no longer locked off in the Options when playing under DirectX 9, and lo, it works fine and looks amazing and, by most accounts, runs better than it does under DirectX 10. The tweak is easy to do, but it’s even easier to just download the modded config files and dump them in your Crysis/Game/Config folder.
This was the one game that truly was designed for DX10 and Vista from the ground up, famously so, and even it can’t offer a single compelling benefit of either. It’d be funny, if millions of people hadn’t paid four hundred dollars for it.
On a more positive note:
3. Holy shit this is incredibly good. Despite the above screenshots, I’ve spent very little time shooting trees and throwing tyres at chickens. I was expecting Crysis to be a messy playground, but it’s far too good a stealth shooter to spend your time just screwing around. With only one silenced weapon and a couple of night levels, Far Cry was still one of the best stealth shooters ever. This time they’ve had the sense to take that aspect and run with it, and the result is like the game of Predator.
I also expected it to be a little drab – we’ve seen some very washed out dense jungle scenes that just look a bit too realistic. But this level, at least, is gorgeously exotic and exciting. It has such a profound sense of place, I just want to hang out in these coastal shacks and swim to sandy little islands, climb mountains and admire the view. Just like Far Cry at the time, Crysis is a free holiday.
4. Play on Delta difficulty. Regardless of your skill level. It’s a fun game on Normal, but on Delta it’s truly extraordinary. It’s not about nerfing all the damage you do, they’ve actually done difficulty modes right. There’s no crosshair so you have to use iron sights aiming, enemies speak entirely in Korean so you can’t comprehend their tactics talk, there’s no grenade warning or enemy glow, the AI is more perceptive and dramatically more accurate, and health regen in Armour is slowed from a sprint to a crawl. Oh, and bullets kill you. They really, really kill you.
So the game becomes entirely about engineering the situation, stalking your prey in Cloak mode, waiting for one man to stray far enough from the pack that you can abduct him and toss him quietly off a cliff. It actually requires less twitch skill than playing normally, because you simply can’t win uneven firefights. You’re forced to strategise around them, and the interestingness of your options goes up dramatically as a result.
Going back to Normal afterwards is just embarrassing – the enemies are like comedy B-movie goons, the red glow on enemies who’ve shot you is like putting stabilisiers on a bicycle, and Armour mode might as well be called Invulnerability. Worst of all, it encourages just hanging back and taking pot-shots at long range, which completely misses the point of the game and all the really fun stuff.
Plus, Craig tells me that in the game’s config files this is referred to as ‘Bauer’ mode. Are you really going to play on something other than Bauer Mode?
5. It’s nothing like Far Cry.
More shots up here.