Something I often read about Crysis is that this game is merely graphic eye-candy, which impressed in 2007 but lacks gameplay depth. However, this does a disservice to the game because Crysis is much more than a simple first-person shooter. And Crysis knows (most of the time) exactly what it is.
Unlike in Call of Duty, you don't follow linear paths here. Unlike in "modern" Far Cry games, Crysis doesn't use its open world to guide you from quest marker to quest marker. Instead, Crysis offers players open areas where the goal is fixed, but how you achieve it is entirely up to you. You can sneak through the jungle, swim or dive in the sea, or you can engage in open combat. The game allows you to decide how you want to play, and there's no "one right way". With this approach, Crysis created a gameplay structure that wouldn't be revisited with the same level of quality until a decade later in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
This gameplay style isn't just enabled by the game world. The Nanosuit is brilliantly implemented and gives players the choice to rely on stealth functions or switch to armor mode to engage in open combat. In terms of gameplay, you can see some parallels to Crytek's earlier work, Far Cry. Crysis builds upon the gameplay strengths of its predecessor and expands them in the way already mentioned. Both games were groundbreaking in terms of technology and share some visual similarities.
However, Crysis has something that Far Cry lacked: Art direction. It shows that Crysis knows exactly what it is. In 2007, it wasn't just graphically impressive; it also consolidated all the visual elements into a highly focused visual style that organically blends all the then-new graphical effects.
For these reasons, Crysis is more than just graphic eye-candy. The game set benchmarks in technology, art direction, and player freedom in 2007 that remain largely unmatched today.
However, this game is not perfect. Thus, I have to address the part of the game that is most frequently criticized: the final third of the game. I mentioned earlier that Crysis MOSTLY knows what it is. Unfortunately, the missions in the last third of the game do not build upon the established gameplay strengths. The very linear sections in the final third strip away the freedoms that made the game great in the first place. While Crysis's gunplay isn't bad by any means, it's not the game's standout feature that sets it apart from other games in the genre. As a result, the last third of the game is, visually stunning as it is, gameplay-wise, nothing special.
Butt all of this criticism doesn't change the fact that Crysis was a genre-defining game, providing players with a remarkable degree of freedom within its missions even by today's standards. Only the final third of the game keeps this masterful game from being an absolute masterpiece.

Reviewed on Oct 26, 2023