As the next-generation of gaming rapidly approaches, First-Person shooters are still at the top of the food chain; and are often expected to have incredible graphics. Only days after the 13 year anniversary of Crysis; it has re-launched with a fresh coat of paint on current hardware. With the same technical prowess that gave PC gamers literal nightmares back in 2007, how well does the game hold up today with updated graphics? Nanosuit up as we take a maximum dive into the depths of Crysis Remastered!
Crysis Remastered is an story-based First-Person Shooter developed by Crytek and published by Electronic Arts (EA). It released on September 18th, 2020 on PC via Epic Games Store, Xbox One and PlayStation 4; it was also previously released on the Nintendo Switch on July 23rd, 2020. While the remaster primarily updates the visuals of the game, this review will dive into all aspects of the package as a standard game review. Note that there will be some minor story spoilers, and some fair comparisons between the original game and the remaster.
Despite Crysis’ story being largely considered a backdrop to show off the incredible graphics and tech, it’s written quite well and is a truly overlooked aspect. You play as Nomad, a member of the US Delta Force unit known as Raptor Team, composed of Major Lawrence Barnes “Prophet”, Psycho, Aztec and Jester. Dawning new state-of-the-art Nanosuits, the team is sent on a search and rescue mission for a team of scientists to the Korean People’s Army (KPA) occupied fictitious Langshan Islands.
What is intended to be an easy in and out rescue mission quickly turns into a deadly encounter as an unknown entity begins hunting Raptor Team down, effectively killing a few members early on. To make matters worse, the rescue mission quickly escalates to a full blown warzone as the KPA forces give heavy resistance, as they attempt to tamper with a mysterious structure at the centre of the island. Nomad enters the structure, discovers the truth about the artefact and these unknown entities called The Ceph; and a frozen hell unleashes upon the island and changes the future of mankind forever.
This all leads to an incredibly intense final few missions where these creatures become the primary enemies, and the story focuses in on more sci-fi elements. There’s a lot more going on with the Nanosuits than meets the eye, and these new enemies truly put them to the test. This results in an explosive finale that wraps up in satisfying way while also intentionally leaving some unanswered questions; which are thankfully explored in the game’s spinoff and its two sequels.
At times the dialogue can be a little cheesy, and a lot of the first half of the game involves Nomad gathering intel; but it mixes enough mystery and epic moments to keep the player engaged. At times it feels like a Michael Bay film with all the explosions and nonsense, but it never over does it or feels corny; it finds a happy medium. Where the last third of the game focuses on more sci-fi elements in a dramatic twist, it never feels out of place since the plot was setting up since the first moment you gain control as Nomad; it all fits together like a relatively simple puzzle.
At the risk of sounding unprofessional, the best way I can describe Crysis Remastered’s gameplay is; it’s maximum awesome dude! A primary aspect that has made the Crysis series stand out is it’s unique, tactically focused combat that gives players multiple ways to play through the game. Ultimately this comes down to the Nanosuit’s many primary abilities including; Armour, cloak, strength and speed.
Armour mode can be activated to absorb incoming damage from enemy projectiles, explosions, drop heights and more; while cloak allows you to sneak around enemies undetected, or reposition yourself in a tense firefight. Speed is linked with your sprint button, making you sprint hilariously fast; no kidding, it’s probably the fastest sprint I’ve seen in a game. Strength is always active when not using any other abilities, and doesn’t take up energy unless you power jump, throw or punch an enemy; which is typically an instant kill as their corpse ragdolls across the map.
While the ability’s functions are pretty straight forward; the trick is learning how to implement these abilities in the midst of combat. Crysis doesn’t hold your hand, and you will die very quickly & often if you don’t use your abilities often and/or correctly; especially on higher difficulties. One of the main things to focus on is the energy bar, as it can deplete quickly when taking damage with armour, or shooting with cloak engaged.
Crysis approaches the armour abilities in a smart way, as it physically shows and tells the player what ability is engaged and when power is getting low. When armour or cloak is activated, a deep mechanical voice will say “MAXIUMUM ARMOR” or “CLOAK ENGAGED”; armour mode will have clear hexagons occupy the edges of the screen while cloak mode will, well, turn your visible body and weapons invisible. While in strength mode your Nanosuit will glow red; while sprint will make the Nanosuit glow yellow make a high pitched noise; not unlike a race car.
For nearly 2/3rds of the game, Crysis features a large open island covered in lush jungles with KPA bases and structures scattered throughout. While it’s not technically an open world game, the levels are vast, large and gives players an impressive amount of gameplay choices with its impressive sandbox. For the entirety of this section, players will be combating human KPA enemies and large armoured vehicles; which is why we’ll dig into both here.
Aside from the game’s incredible graphics, Crysis is also known for its’ large open sandbox and semi destructible environments; throw a grenade into a shack and it will explode and come apart; or shoot right through trees as they fall in a thunderous crash. While it was quite advanced back in 2007, it is admittedly a bit anti-climatic now; but can still be a valuable tactic for removing cover from enemies. Nearly any mid sized object can be picked up and thrown while in strength mode, which really comes in handy when there’s a plethora of enemies; you can simply pick up a red barrel, throw it in the crowd and shoot it. It’s awesome!
The benefit of large play spaces is the expansive options that it provides for the player; there’s always 2 or 3 ways to complete an objective. Whither you want to storm in with a jeep, shoot your way through, cloak and sneak past enemies or even find secret passage ways; there’s something for every kind of player! There’s also a good variety of objectives to complete; destroying anti-air guns, blowing stuff up with tanks, gathering intel and rescuing hostages.
The only main flaw with this section of the game is that the AI can be very stupid at times, making the experience feel either too easy or unfair depending. Sometimes they’ll be able to see you from 100 feet away and alert the entire army to you, other times you can uncloak next to them and they won’t notice. It also feels like they have aim-bot turned on because of how precise they are, so if you get caught in a pinch you’re as good as dead; even with armour mode active. These issues don’t occur too often, but can be annoying when they do.
Despite only being present for the last 1/3rd of the game, The Ceph are far more aggressive enemies that bring something new to the table. They offer a spike in difficulty and require a different approach to effectively destroy, while bringing a change to the environment that changes how the game is played. These Ceph Troopers are equipped with freeze rays and plasma weapons, while Ceph Scouts will fly high above raining down hellfire. While many criticize this section for its drastic change, this is actually my favourite section in the entire game; as it brings Crysis’ Sci-Fi elements to the forefront with unique enemies to combat.
While the Ceph are seen from time to time throughout the game, you directly encounter them for the first time in Mission 7, titled “Core”. This mission takes a more linear approach, and suspends the player into the air as they investigate a mysterious alien ship in zero-gravity; while combating creepy looking Ceph aliens as they swarm you. This is my favourite mission in the game, as it’s truly unique from anything else in the game and most other FPS games as well; and shooting things in zero-gravity is a mind-bending blast!
The Ceph quick-freeze the island, and what was once a lush jungle is now a frozen wasteland full of frozen courses and weather so cold it’ll freeze you solid if you don’t keep moving. The rest of the game is far more linear but simultaneously more intense as you battle much harder, armoured Ceph as you try and escape the island. To keep things interesting, you are given access to much better weapons to play around with including; a Ceph’s own MOAC plasma gun, a gauss rifle, and later on even a TAC-Canon; which is a great shakeup than just standard shotguns an assault rifles.
It has to be noted that Mission 10 “Ascension” has been removed from the Remaster entirely. While it was never included on the original console versions, it is now absent on PC as well. The mission had the player piloting a VTOL air vehicle off the island and shooting down flying Ceph Scouts; however the controls have always been incredibly messy and never worked as intended; which is why it was likely removed. While I don’t like that content was removed, the mission was poorly executed from a gameplay standpoint; so it’s not a huge loss but worth mentioning.
If nothing else, Crysis’ rise to fame was its insane technical prowess, making it the best looking game of all time back in 2007. Since then, the industry has seen massive jumps in graphical and technical upgrades that have since eclipsed the achievements of Crysis. In a modern world where almost every shooter around has incredible visuals that are at times even photorealistic; do the graphical improvements of Crysis Remastered impress enough to validate its existence?
The truth is, the answer isn’t that clean; and far from a black and white answer at that. The graphics are incredibly improved across the board; with updated textures, brighter colours, updated effects and improved facial animations. The game still retains its classic artstyle of the original game, so the game does still look very familiar despite the vastly upgraded graphics. This brings Crysis to a state where it looks great by todays standards, even if it can’t quite hold up to other games such as Battlefield V or DOOM Eternal.
Ultimately, Crysis Remastered doesn’t need to be the best looking game on the block to validate its existence; especially since it’s such an improvement over the classic. What Crytek has done to bring Crysis to a new audience while also reviving the franchise from the dead is a valiant effort. It’s not perfect, there are still some texture issues, pop-ins, and frame rate drops here and there; but Crytek has committed themselves to improving the game going forward.
Now that we got the basics out of the way, lets dive deeper into the specifics of Crysis Remastered. I played through the entirety of the remaster on both PC and Xbox One X; and while both look great it is expected for them to run a bit differently. I’ll go into each platform separately so that you can easily identify the pros and cons of the two versions of the game.
Note: This Review copy was played on a PC that runs a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super with a AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core Processor and 16GB of RAM, performance may vary depending on specs. A major update has patched into the game as of September 25th 2020 that has added missing features and bug fixes, and such this review will only refer to the post update version of the game. Take into consideration that Crytek has stated that they will continue to improve Crysis Remastered on PC with continuous updates.
Crysis is and always will be a PC game with a legendary status, and luckily this remaster still represents the powerhouse that the game is known for. Crysis Remastered looks simply brilliant on PC, running at at least 60+ FPS on High with updated textures & effects that’ll send chills up your spine. One of the best improvements is the lighting; whether or not you have Raytracing enabled, the god rays and colours are more vibrant are as impressive and gorgeous as ever.
Overall the game runs pretty smooth and looks great all the way through. There were instances where I experienced some frame drops, typically during an intense segment with lots of explosions and vehicles. Sometimes in the midst of loading areas, there were pop in textures and objects that took a few moments to load in, but weren’t a huge issue. Overall, the game performed quite well after the update, even if there were some small issues here and there.
For hardcore PC nuts, there is a graphics mode called “Can It Run Crysis?” that features unlimited view distances, great level of detail you can see everywhere without pop ins, and everything being loaded instantly into each level. I played through a mission with my graphics settings maxed out on this mode to see how hard Crysis Remastered would push my PC; and it pushed it to its limits for sure. I did have issues running the mode and the framerate took a dip to 30FPS and lower at times. However that is to be expected as it’s what Crysis is designed to do; Crytek did say most computers couldn’t reach 60FPS on 4K on this mode so it’s great for PC nuts who love to constantly upgrade their PC and push it to its limits.
Note: The Xbox One X version has gotten a bug fix update as of September 22, 2020 that has drastically improved the performance; this review will only cover the post update version of the game. Take into consideration that Crytek has stated that they will continue to improve Crysis Remastered for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 with continuous updates. With a little research, I discovered the PlayStation 4 version of Crysis Remastered runs quite similar to the Xbox One X, just at a slightly lower resolution.
Playing the original Crysis through Xbox 360 backwards compatibility prior to playing through Crysis Remastered has proven to give great perspective on the console version of the game. Where the original port ran roughly between 25FPS and 30FPS, had bad texture pop ins and more; thankfully Crysis Remastered addresses most of these issues and provides console players a proper Crysis experience. For the most part all the textures, lighting, models and colours look beautiful and not far off the PC version from personal experience; at least depending on the graphics mode you set it too.
Crysis Remastered on consoles has 3 different graphics modes to choose from, which is quite rare for console games. Quality mode, which displays at true 4K but sacrifices the framerate to 30FPS; Performance mode plays at a silky smooth 60FPS at 1080p resolution; and the ultimate RayTracing mode that runs a dynamic resolution of 1080p and 30 FPS on Xbox One X, dynamic resolution less than 1080p and 30 FPS on the PlayStation 4 Pro. The Raytracing is able to work with no proprietary NVIDIA tech necessary, proving Crysis continues to be nothing short of a technical marvel.
While I personally preferred to play on Performance Mode due to the smooth 60FPS; I found myself playing the majority of the game in Raytracing mode. It surprisingly had very few frame rate drops and only had noticeable texture pop-ins when loading each level for the first time. The quality mode looks utterly fantastic, as Crysis Remastered shines in true 4K; however experiencing the first and only Raytracing mode on current-gen consoles is too attractive to play in Quality mode.
There have been no changes to the audio or music, and to be honest there didn’t need any. The music and audio in Crysis Remastered is simply phenomenal, it’s always been one of the highlights of the game since it’s initial release in 2007. It would seem most sleep on it since it has been drastically overshadowed by Crysis 2′s better music and improved audio; so now is the perfect time to gush over Crysis’ music and audio!
The gun sounds are, for the most part, heavy and loud; especially the Shotgun and Sniper Rifle. Footsteps walking through the grass or water are serene, while the sounds of explosions and war are loud and chaotic. The Nanosuit’s ability activation sounds are appropriately epic, and the suit’s voice is mechanical and deep; which is simply iconic at this point. Even the voice acting is mostly on point, especially with the members of Raptor Team and other military soldiers.
Unfortunately, sometimes the music and audio has some issues when implemented into the game itself. Sometimes the music will abruptly stop instead of fading out; or two tracks will begin playing at the same time for a few seconds. It’s uncommon to have explosions and gunfire blot out dialogue during gameplay, but it still occurs from time to time which can be frustrating. These issues are relatively small in the grand scheme of things, but are worth noting as they can hopefully be fixed in future updates.
Inon Zur’s original score for Crysis is among his best work, including his famous Fallout themes. His work with natural instrumentals creates a militaristic feel while invoking a sense of beauty of the Langshan Islands. When the action kicks up, the music goes full blast with drums, trumpets and a choir that will give you goosebumps. This is a score worth looking up and listening to by itself, as I am doing while writing this review.
Crysis Remastered isn’t a perfect remaster, nor was Crysis ever a perfect game to begin with. There still a few remaining bugs, some rare performance issues; and a mission that has been removed. The human AI is still pretty dumb, and there are a few sound and music issues that crop up every once and a while. While these issues aren’t game breaking, they can be distracting when they do occur.
Despite these issues, Crysis Remastered retains its charm as a great looking and powerful PC game worth playing through again; or experiencing for the first time. Furthermore, Crysis Remastered is the definitive way to play Crysis on consoles; and a vast improvement over its classic Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 counterparts. Additionally, the option to experience limited Raytracing on current gen consoles; or maxing out PCs with its “Can It Run Crysis?” mode proves that Crytek is willing to be bold and ambitious with their work.
Crysis Remastered offers an incredibly entertaining story with unique gameplay that you won’t experience anywhere else. Its diverse combat in wide open battlefields and linear combat encounters is a breath of fresh air in today’s world of gaming; especially in First-Person Shooters. While there are certainly better looking & performing games; this remaster still looks excellent and offers it’s fair technical advances and unique gameplay.
While there is room for improvement, Crytek has proved that they are committed to further fixing the game’s issues; as they even released a second PC update in the midst of finishing this review. With that in mind, I strongly recommend Crysis Remastered to anybody looking for a nostalgic throw back or a new experience that has yet to be replicated, even with the game’s sequels. Considering I would rate the original 2007 Crysis on PC a 90%, and the console ports a 70%; I am giving Crysis Remastered at a solid 80% for both PC and Console.
Crysis Remastered was purchased on both PC and Xbox One X platforms for this review, no free codes were given for authenticity purposes. The copy on PC was played with mouse & keyboard exclusively, while the Xbox One X copy was played with an Elite Series 2 controller. Thankfully, no graphics cards were harmed in the making of this maximum review.
Crysis Remastered is available on PC via Epic Games, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch for only $30; and is only available digitally. It is currently unknown if the game will be optimized for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 next-gen consoles; or if it will come to Steam on PC. Be sure to keep your Nanosuit tuned to Informed Pixel for more Crysis news, as well as additional reviews coming soon!
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