Crysis returns with Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead looks hot, and this time your PC can actually run it!

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This time, you don't need a $3000 rig to play.

I loved Crysis, but let's be honest. It was a serious system hog. Even our top-of-the-line Dell rig couldn't run the thing as smoothly as we wanted. But developer Crytek apparently heard our cries, because this new expansion had been built to run on US$600 PC. So those still skeptical that Crysis is out of their reach can rest easier with Crysis Warhead.

EA recently stopped by to show off two levels from the single-player campaign. This time, instead of playing as Nomad, you're the British Sergeant Sykes. It's a parallel story to the original Crysis, but this time there are more linear-style objectives&but you're not forced to play it one way. If you're set on a vehicle sequence path, you can simply hop out and play on-foot, if you'd like, which has always been the beauty of Crytek's games.

The story in Warhead has you following a mysterious "bad guy," who is said to have possession of a warhead. Plus, he sports aviator sunglasses. The cocky bastard! But in this game, you're not confined to specific "phases" of the story like in the original game. So you'll be fighting North Koreans and Aliens sporadically throughout the game, and sometimes both. And of course, there's plenty of stuff to blow up along the way.

"Never underestimate the power of blowing up sh*t," says Crytek's Bernd Diemer, running the game on the new Ultra Optimized PC, made exclusively for Crysis Warhead and for sale for $699. Right from the start of the demo, Bernd loaded up on careless destruction. Starting from the game's second level, a vehicle sequence armed him with a machine gun atop a jeep-like vehicle to escort an ally pilot who went down in the area. Along the road ahead, he was bombarded by North Korean enemies from the side of the road, but that didn't stop him from blowing up nearly every hut, truck and tree in his path. Everything seemed to be running incredibly smooth on the new rig, with relatively no slowdown or other hitches. Explosions spread like wildfires.

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More guns, more vehicles and more careless destruction!

The ride ended at a landing site for Sykes to defend, where our main character unveiled dual SMGs, new to Crysis. These bad boys spit out massive amounts of damage, but seemed best suited for close to mid-range combat. It reminded me of the dual SMGs from Halo 2 and 3, but even more intense. And soon enough, he whipped out a new grenade launcher, which pumped out grenades in single blasts, and a secondary function allowed for multiple launches with remote detonation. There's nothing quite like setting off a series of grenades that have been sprawled all over the environment.

From there, we were taken to a segment of a frozen area like that of the original Crysis, with one addition -- a hovercraft. This ice-friendly vehicle glides perfectly over the frozen ground, though flying aliens don't exactly make driving easy on Sykes. Alien heat rays from overhead burn the back of the hovercraft, creating a cool orange streak on the craft. Though aliens aren t the only problem here, as this is one of those stages where you'll battle alien baddies and North Koreans simultaneously.

Here, another new weapon is revealed. Called the Nano Disrupter, it fires a pulse that disrupts Nanosuit abilities temporality. The Nanosuit is still a huge advantage in Crysis Warhead, but more enemies will utilize it, so using the Disrupter seems to be essential. Of course, it can also be used on you, as well.

Crysis Warhead hits just in time for the holiday season on September 16, about a year after the original Crysis released.

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The new hovercraft is the perfect vehicle for evading pesky aliens.

System Specs

Minimum

Microsoft Windows Windows XP or Windows Vista;2.8 GHz or faster for XP, 3.2 GHz or faster for Vista; 1 GB RAM for XP, 1.5 GB RAM for Vista; 6 GB of free space; 256 MB video memory, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT/ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (Radeon X800 Pro for Vista) or greater; Sound hardware: DirectX 9.0c compliant card

Recommended

Microsoft Windows Windows XP or Windows Vista; Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.2 GHz, or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+; 2 GB RAM; 6 GB of free space; NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB or ATI 2900XT 512MB; Sound Hardware DirectX 9.0c compliant card

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