What makes a truly great action movie? It's a desperate John McClane jamming some C4 beneath a monitor and experimentally kicking it down a lift shaft on a swivel chair. It's Indy telling Sallah "I don't know, I'm making this up as I go" before instinctively tearing after a Nazi truck.
It's all about a hero living on his wits, making life or death decisions on the fly and the world hinging on his actions. Crysis encapsulates this, it thrives on putting the onus on you to create your own brand of action and adventure in its stunningly beautiful locations. You and the game can haphazardly create moments of such gaming brilliance that often you pretty much have to stand up and applaud.
What makes a decent, but unremarkable, action movie? It's heroes outrunning climactic explosions. It's an over-reliance on special effect brouhaha that rides roughshod over any of this vital spark of humanity.
Sadly, the final act of Crysis encapsulates this too. Crysis is an astounding achievement, a game worth upgrading for and something for us to treasure - but it certainly isn't perfect. Still, we've had some good times...
Suddenly caught in flagrante slap-bang in the middle of a dirt track without my stylish Predator-esque cloak, a passing jeep with a rear-mounted machine gun begins to take advantage of my predicament.
Leaping behind a nearby sturdy palm tree, I pause to gather my thoughts - but that gunner keeps gunning. Suddenly the trunk of my sanctuary splinters, and I sit there paralysed by a bizarre mixture of fear and delight as the tree in front of me slowly and inexorably begins to tilt, then fall - leaving me staring down a delighted Korean's gun barrel with nothing but my imminent death in mind. I scream with joy.
I just have so many of these excitably expressed war stories I could regale you with. Times when equal measures of my stupidity, cunning and luck coalesced into 100 per cent proof fun. Like picking up a carelessly discarded outboard motor, turning on my super-strength and bouncing it off the head of an angry Korean soldier - only to watch it bounce over a large rock and accidentally crush his best mate as a bonus.
Or jumping into a jeep, wondering what the hell to do with the guy manning the machine gun in the seat behind me - then ploughing into a shed, colliding with the struts holding it up, causing the roof collapse and leaping out just as everything went up in a fireball.
Or with my dying breath tossing a grenade into a sniper's watchtower at that perfect angle and seeing it collapse perfectly in on itself and crumple to the ground.
Or sneaking up behind two patrolling soldiers while cloaked, grabbing the rear one then pelting off into the undergrowth with the sole intention of bouncing him off a rock and into the sea.
All brilliant moments of FPS fun seemingly coming out of nothing at all.
What surprised me most when playing Crysis though, was just how similar it is to Far Cry (a similarity no doubt aided and abetted by the fact that a fair amount of what Crytek intended for Crysis appears to have hit the wayside).
As the game stands though, this is no bad thing: this is a rebuilt, more powerful Far Cry for the new generation of hardware. Many of its levels are even rethought variations on what went before - notably one map with a heavily fortified base perched on a rock outcrop in the middle of a valley that apes Far Cry's third level without a care in the world.