The expansion to the much acclaimed game Crysis: Warhead has a lot of changes and improvements in both game play and performance to make this game standout from its predecessor. It introduces a new story line that parallels the original and a few enhancements to the multiplayer aspect of the game that make it worth its 29.99 price tag. It's a standalone expansion which means you do not need to own regular Crysis to own and play Warhead. The average playtime has been reported to be 4-6 hours depending on your tendency to explore or run and gun. You play as Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, and with his head strong approach to the mission, he provides a good character to relate with.
The first thing you will notice about Warhead is the performance improvement. Lots of people have been stating that they optimized game so that it doesn't crush your computer as badly as original Crysis did. This will result in a better gaming experience for Warhead (my computer still struggled a lot, but it's old). You will also notice that the game itself looks much better than the original. Hard to believe, but Crytek listened to its fans and they really took the time and effort to tidy up some lose ends. Including the vehicle driving mechanics, no longer do you struggle to maneuver and shoot. It's been touched up so it's actually fun. Not many new vehicles, but a few mounted weapons for vehicles have been updated. Though I still find being able to shoot a turret while not being in the turret itself is very weird. I get it, you want to be able to drive and shoot while playing the single player campaign. Just pretend Casper the friendly murdering ghost is on your side or something.
Game play has been changed so there isn't as much down time between big fights. You can still wander around and experience the "sandbox" game play lots of people enjoyed, but there isn't much to do. Most of the fight sequences are fast paced, full of baddies and frequent. You don't have a whole lot of time to survey an area before you jump into a fight, but I never found that I was too overwhelmed at any time. I didn't feel like I was forced to do any particular job a certain way. There were plenty of options when it came to completing a task, you just didn't have a whole lot of time to decide a course of action before 10 guys were all over you. There was one particular sequence where I had to storm a roadblock, my radio friend said to flank the position, but there wasn't anywhere to go but straight ahead. It wasn't hard, but I was a bit disappointed not having a lot of options. Later in the same sequence I had to storm a base/port. This time I had a lot of things I could do when deciding to attack: Long distance, run and gun, or flank. I found that the AI was a tad better, but still had its bugs. I was shooting guys in the face from yards away, and his buddy would just stare at the trees and not react. A few times guys would become stuck to trees and become target practice. The aliens got a bit more aggressive, made them an interesting enemy to deal with. The story goes along the story in Crysis, so don't expect a whole lot of new things to jump out at you. You will encounter things much faster as this game goes along expecting you to have played Crysis first. Although like I said before, things are much more aggressive and numerous than they are in the first game.
The first addition I came across was the new automatic pistol. Which of course you can dual wield. Not very precise but man was it fun to run right at a couple of guys and mow them down. I did miss the accuracy of the standard pistol, but with the rifles and other weapons I had at my disposal I was satisfied. I didn't bother with the sub-machine gun since I found it to be weak and ammo to be scarce. I stuck with the standard Korean soldier gun (had to ditch the SCAR due to ammo). There is an attachment for the Korean weapon that turned it into a grenade launcher as well. I don't remember it from the first game, so if it wasn't there, it is now an addition that I found quite useful. I expected a few more additions than Warhead actually gave us. I understand the aspect of going through the same story but in a different characters' perspective. Although remembering Opposing Forces and being very surprised with the weapons and enemies compared to regular Half-Life. Maybe that's not a fair comparison, and maybe the point of the expansion was to show off the game's performance and visual improvements more so than the actual story and additions. Though we cannot forget to mention the new Multiplayer maps as well. They've done a few things to the MP part of the game to make it more appealing.
If you liked Crysis the first time around, but wanted some improvements, then hopefully this expansion is for you. I just hope you were looking for game mechanics and visuals rather than new material and a complete new story. I do find the quickened pace of the fights and the numbers of guys to be entertaining and fun. Nowhere near as many guys as Painkiller or anything, but enough to frustrate you to do some stupid things and die every so often. The travel distance between events is very short and often you're given a vehicle to get around. It's a bit lame but they place empty replacement cars along your route so you can change into a fresh vehicle if you've been taking fire. I didn't find any huge bugs or horrible breaks in game play that ruined this game for me. I found it to be a good solid game, surprising for an expansion, but I find it as an expansion to be lacking in new material. Again as I stated before, a lot of improvement has gone into the game mechanics and visuals so it runs much smoother and looks better on lower end systems better than Crysis did. Considering the low price and the solid performance upgrades, I can highly recommend this game to anyone.