Not quite a full fledged sequel but never feeling like a tacked on expansion pack, Crysis Warhead finds the perfect balance for fans of the first installment all the while adding just enough new material to keep new recruits interested.
BOTTOM LINE: If you're a fan of the original or if you simply missed Crysis the first time around, Crysis Warhead is a prime example of an excellent, if relatively short, FPS experience.
Making things go "Boom"
Crysis Warhead takes place simultaneously with the original Crysis, recapping the events of what happened on the other side of the game's infamous island. You fill the cybernetic boots of everyone's favorite sociopathic Brit, Sergeant Sykes - AKA Psycho - and must battle your way through both a barrage of highly armed KPA radicals as well as a swarm of exosuit wielding aliens. And you thought your day job was tough.
Now, before we go any further, let's tackle the big question: can your computer run it? I had the good fortune of testing Crysis Warhead on three separate PCs - a high end PC with a graphics card to match and dual core processors, the $699 Crysis Warhead PC, and a lower end $499 computer with a run-of-the-mill graphics card and rather basic processor. I'm more than happy to report that on all three machines, the game ran incredibly smooth without an instance of slowdown. The game's graphic customization features are vast, truly allowing you to choose the best gaming experience for you - whether it's a lower polygon count and quicker load times, or the ability to count every blade of grass in the North Korean jungle.
Warhead is a bit more linear than it's open-world predecessor with very to-the-point mission objectives integrated into a structured level system, yet still gives the player a wide array of choices regarding how they want to enter battle - or, if they feel the need, throw on their cloaking device and avoid it altogether. Vehicles have also received a massive upgrade, no longer exploding after taking two or three blasts from a shotgun, and prove much more sturdy devices for wreaking havoc on KPA encampments. Warhead introduces a few new weapons into the world of Crysis as well, including a brand new submachine gun, a massive and deadly grenade launcher, and one of my personal favorites - the ability to dual-wield micro-SMGs. All of these weapons are available along with an innovative assortment of maps in the game's separate multiplayer mode, Crysis Wars.
The biggest downside to I can find to Warhead is that you can probably knock it out in one sitting with a play time of about five hours. With a going price of $29.99, however, there's plenty of bang for your buck, and attempting missions over again in harder difficulty modes can really prove themselves as addicting challenges. Throw in the extraordinary Crysis Wars multiplayer, and you've got yourself an absolute steal.
PROS: Amazing graphics, fast-paced addictive gameplay
CONS: On the short side, story is lacking