Full disclosure: Prior to this remaster, I’d only played Crysis 2 and Crysis 3, both of which I consider among the best first-person shooters from last generation. Crysis Remastered, then, gave me the opportunity to experience the beginning of it all. Unfortunately, Crytek‘s latest didn’t even manage to live up to the lowest expectations.
By and large, the franchise’s initial entry is remembered as somewhat of a glorified tech demo packed with plenty of promise. Said promise was arguably met in subsequent installments. The recent rerelease, however, fails to uphold Crysis‘ 13-year-old reputation as a technical tour de force, leaving behind little more than a barebones shooter.
Crysis Remastered Review – Can It Run Crysis?
With this remaster, Crysis itself has a difficult time running smoothly–at least on a standard PlayStation 4. Trees, shrubbery, and large rocks quite often fail to fully render. Sand along river banks regularly takes the form of foggy gray goop. And the framerate drops to single digits every time a checkpoint is reached, which usually occurs every 15 to 20 minutes. In short, this remaster is no technical marvel.
What may have gone wrong with regards to the remastering process remains to be seen. One thing is abundantly clear, though–these various shortcomings greatly hinder the overall experience. After all, entering a new area and getting a lay of the land proves difficult if the land takes its time to fully load in. And listening for enemy movement outside of a building is no easy task when the audio cuts in and out.
Not every facet of Crysis Remastered’s technical performance takes a hit, however. The lighting is rather impressive, for example. Natural light that streams down when the sun beams through trees deserves a round of applause. Indoor lighting effects are also a sight to behold, especially inside the alien ship with its majestic use of a predominantly blue and green color palette. In addition, the remaster’s water effects serve as a shining example of what would be expected from a Crysis adventure.
Crysis Remastered Review – Showing Its Age
Gameplay mechanics hold up well enough. The gunplay in Crysis always feels good and this is no exception. The protagonist Nomad has access to a decently sized arsenal, which includes standard guns such as shotguns, pistols, assault rifles, and sniper rifles. (There are a select few alien weapons, too.) Basic functions for each are customizable, i.e., adding scopes and flashlights, equipping silencers, etc.
As with the franchise’s sequels, attachments are changed out via quick switching in a real-time menu. Here, that menu is accessible when holding down the touchpad and clicking on whichever face button is assigned to swapping out the scope, silencer, and so on. This quality of life feature makes what could be an otherwise tedious function feel easily manageable.
Crysis‘ more redundant qualities, as well as its bullet spongy enemies and uninspired mission structure leave much to be desired. In this regard, the shooter shows its age at nearly every turn. If Nomad isn’t walking into a remote area and clearing out a wave of enemies, he’s securing a landing zone… by clearing out waves of enemies.
The monotonous nature of the missions feel particularly evident in the last third of the campaign, wherein shooting up at big flying aliens or shooting up and on the ground-level at smaller flying aliens serves as the only means of variety. While there are stealth opportunities, the AI’s ability to spot Nomad from afar, even when he’s seemingly out of their line of sight, makes slinking around utterly pointless.
Speaking of pointless, Nanosuit powers often feel useless. The suit’s functions allow Nomad to jump higher, run faster, hit harder, absorb more damage, and become invisible. Each ability is tied to a blue meter that sits above the health bar and holds up to 100 power. While holding ‘X’ (yes, ‘X’) to jump higher automatically drains 10 points from the blue meter, the other abilities drain over time when active, though there are certain tricks to preserving power. For instance, standing still while invisible reduces the rate at which the meter runs out.
Still, managing it all can prove difficult. Since sprinting instantly activates the Nanosuit’s power, trying to use other skills in a bind after sprinting to or away from enemies typically serves no purpose. (Thankfully, Crytek fixed all of the above with upgradeable skills in subsequent entries, but none of those improvements made it into the remaster.) These shortcomings especially become a pain in the last couple of boss fights, which are egregiously irritating, even by poor final boss standards.
Crysis Remastered Review – A Serviceable Narrative
Crysis Remastered drops players into the boots of Nomad, a US Special Forces soldier who counts among a select few fortunate enough to be equipped with the Nanosuit. His small squad, known as Raptor Team, is dispatched to the Lingshan Islands to rescue a scientist, Helena Rosenthal, and her team. According to Rosenthal’s distress signal, armed North Korean forces have mounted an attack on the islands. The scientist, her crew, and their work need to be protected at all costs. Upon landing on the rock, though, Raptor Team finds themselves in over their heads, their ranks progressively thinned by a mysteriously alien force.
The Crysis series has never been known for its riveting story or characters. Thus, it’s no surprise the first entry features a straightforward and serviceable narrative. It works by simply serving Nomad’s trek from point A to B, and leaves just enough threads hanging for future installments. No extra frills or bombastic twists and turns necessary. Weirdly enough, the storytelling in Crysis‘ campaign arguably represents the most competent aspect of the remaster, despite the absence of the Ascension Mission that featured in the 2007 PC release.
Without the technical prowess that had PC players flocking to it over a decade ago, Crysis Remastered seems little more than an average FPS title–one stuck in a time capsule. Those who skipped the original game and went straight to Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 are doubtful to feel as though they missed out on much. As such, this remaster does a disservice to what is otherwise a rather seminal gaming experience. And that the Warhead expansion isn’t packaged with the remaster feels like salt in an already irritated wound.
While many a fan of the franchise hopes Crysis 2 and 3 rereleases are also on the cards, this particular outing doesn’t inspire much confidence that those two games will receive the love and care they deserve.
Crysis Remastered review provided by publisher. Reviewed on PS4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.