CRYSIS VS DEAD SPACE.
Now you may be asking yourself “Why did he choose to do a Crysis vs Dead Space article?” Why? Because they both have a third installment out. (Very simple. I know.) Not to mention the fact that they have both been recently released, and are both on the “must have” list of many gamers. The question is: Which one do you buy?
Since 2007, the Crysis games have gone from a relatively large front-line soldier of the games industry, to an incredibly large and constantly evolving storm trooper of the games industry. With it’s impressive graphics, game play, story, combat system, and ability to grow, Crysis has become a byword for most gamers. But what is it about Crysis that grabs so many people?
PLOT: At first glance the plot for Crysis seemed a little cliche. A team of special forces people have to go in and secure “something” from opposing human forces. However within the first 20 minutes you suddenly realize you are way in over your head. With the human forces bringing some impressive toys to the fight. And just as you adapt to them, the aliens arrive, bringing even more trouble to the table.
And things didn’t get any easier with Crysis Two.
CHARACTERS: Now I’m known for my love of acting, characters, and believability. And gladly the Crysis series has delivered all 3, particularly in Crysis 2, were I often found myself developing a love/hate relationship with many of the characters who appeared within the game.
ENVIRONMENTS: Running around a jungle, or city is one thing. But running around a jungle/city where leaves float gently to the floor, where steam rises out of grates, where animals can be heard off in the distance, where water helps and hinders you – not too mention clings to you. And where the very nature of the environment with either aid in your victory, or betray you to your foes.
All these elements bought a much needed taste of reality to one of the most complex video-games in history. Without these subtle additions, Crysis would have felt too artificial.
PLAYABILITY: With the added abilities provided by your Nano-Suit, the numerous upgrades you can add to your weapons, the weapons you can use (including found ones, like: rocks, motors, logs…) and the numerous vehicles available – not too mention the nature of the environment – you would often find yourself replaying the same chapter: not because you failed; but because you wanted to explore every possible way of finishing it.
And as an added bonus: the fun you can have using the same environments, skills, weapons, and abilities in a 32-person multiplayer game just makes the taste of victory that much sweeter.
TECHNOLOGY: Unlike many other video-games, Crysis refrained from using a simpler – easily handled – graphics system. Choosing instead to use the latest in Direct 3D for graphics rendering; thus making her among the first engines to use DirectX 10 for framework. The engine’s complexity is such that Crysis had over a million lines of code, and 1 GB of texture data. Which is roughly 85,000 shaders. Taking nearly three thousand pages of code. And they just keep getting more complex. The Crysis series uses such advanced graphics, that some have gone so far as to use it as a benchmark for computer tests.
All-in-all, the Crysis Series has bought so much to the gaming world that it would be very hard to say anything bad about this constantly mutating, beast of technological excellence.
In 2008, Dead Space was released and it must be said: it made a modest – but noticed – splash with roughly 2,000,000 units sold. However by the time its sequel arrived in 2011, the world was holding its breathe in anticipation of one of the most intense, action-horror games in history. And she did not fail to deliver.
PLOT: Now unlike Crysis (2007) Dead Space was set in the distant future, on a distant planet/spacecraft, in a familiar and yet terrifyingly new environment – where anything can attack you, from any direction, where every move you make could lead to death.
Throughout the series the lead protagonist: Engineer Isaac Clarke has found himself in the front-line of a war with Religious Nuts, Alien-Human Hybrid Zombies (Necromorphs), his own psychosis and a love triangle that threatens to leave a bullet in his head… or someone else’s. Not only must he save himself, but he has to save the universe as well.
CHARACTERS: During your first time in the Dead Space universe, you feel very little in the way of emotion towards the mute leading man. Granted he is surrounded by a number of friends and foes, all of whom have a lot to say about the world they find themselves in. But no matter how much they speak, you never really feel anything for Isaac.
However by Dead Space 2, Isaac had gotten a voice of his own, with American Actor, Gunner Wright (Life On Top; G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra) now driving the character forward with emotional, and very compelling dialogue. By the time you finish playing Dead Space 2, you have become so emotionally attached to the character that you may find yourself rooting him on – instead of actually playing out a scene for him. (You know you have. How many of you got shot by Tidmann a dozen times before you realized that it wasn’t a movie sequence?)
ENVIRONMENTS: As the games have progressed over the past few years, the nature of the environments have changed little, but it has gotten more interesting. Where as in Dead Space, you would often find yourself wandering down a series of never ending corridors, constantly being hounded by deceptive twists and turns; by number 2 and 3, the game had opened up a lot, with large areas available for exploration (not that you did that much. It was safer to stand against a wall and scream like a girl.), new and colourful sections were created to add a new combat dynamic (the school). Each of these little elements have added a lot to the overall gameplay, creating a constantly shifting emotional monster.
PLAYABILITY: The first and second games were fantastic, the graphics were clean, and the environments were generally creepy and well constructed, with the nature of the games keeping you constantly looking over your shoulder. Not too mention the fact that you have to dismember your foes, instead of shooting them in the head. (most gamers aren’t used to that.) However by Dead Space 3, things have changed, some in a minor way, others in a ground shattering way. (See my article on Dead Space: Ultimate Weapons for more information.) With an overhauled weapon system, more intense cut-scenes, extra emotional content, and a whole army of new and improved villains coming out to play, Dead Space 3 is pushing the series forward, one combat boot after the other.
Dead Space was a fantastic game, but there was something lacking. By Dead Space 2, they added a little something more – namely a multiplayer option, and I must say it was a lot of fun, but still not enough to keep you glued to your seat. Now, in Dead Space 3, they are returning to an old games industry classic, Co-Op multiplayer. That’s right, you can now play the Dead Space 3 campaign with a friend. And a number of new scenarios have been added specifically for that purpose. (I’m looking forward to that one.)
TECHNOLOGY: Unlike the Crysis series, Dead Space was not at the forefront of using new cutting edge technology; instead Dead Space simply used an updated version of the Havok engine and later the Visceral Engine – though the latter has taken on a whole world of its own .
However, what Dead Spaced may have lacked in graphic awe, it made up for with one of the most complex audio systems ever, hundreds of hours worth of sounds ranging from simple voices, to bizarre esoteric symphonies (created by Jason Graves; F.E.A.R, Star Trek) helped push the game into a new dimension. Once again, by the sequels the team at Visceral Games had taken the audio to a whole new level of fear inspiring, heart pounding awe.
Which should you buy?
Well that is ultimately up to you. However BOTH of these game series are worth your time, and your money. So if you can only afford one game this year, THEN get a copy of one of these titles. You won’t be disappointed.