Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crysis on delta mode

One of the side benefits of the trend towards shorter more intense games is that it is relatively easy to play through a title more than once, trying out different difficulty settings and options. I often find that the second play through is more enjoyable than the first. I am more comfortable with the controls and game mechanics plus I tend to be a bit more creative in my second play through.

I also try to play at a harder difficulty setting the second time around in order to maintain the challenge. So it was with Crysis. Having finished the game on Normal setting I started again on the hardest setting (delta mode).

Crytek don't just adjust the difficulty level in delta mode, they make some other cool adjustments to the game as well. For instance the enemies now speak in Korean rather than English, grenades no longer advertise their presence and you can no longer magically man the machine gun of a vehicle while steering it (presumably with your toes. The enemy ai seems somewhat improved as well - they tend to be more wary. All of these changes have improved the game in my opinion. The immersion is better and it forces you to adopt a stealthier play style.

There was one other change I wasn't expecting. The game is easier.

At first I flattered myself that my shooting had actually improved but no, the game actually has gotten easier. Enemies that took 5 or six bullets to the body to drop now go down in two. What is up?

I think that the explanation for this is that between my first and second play through I patched the game up to version 1.2. A read through of the patch notes reveals
Increased damage of most player-fired weapons and decreased damage of most AI-fired weapons
It looks like this wasn't just a minor tweak but a major overhaul of game difficulty. Enemies now go down more quickly on the hardest play setting than the used to on the normal setting. I'm ok with it. Previously there were several frustrating moments in the game where it seemed like I emptied an entire clip into an enemy and they were still standing. The koreans still do plenty of damage to me so I still have to play cautiously.

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