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Crysis Remastered Trilogy

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Publisher: Crytek
Developer: Saber Interactive
Release Date: Oct. 15, 2021


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PC Review - 'Crysis Remastered Trilogy'

by Cody Medellin on Oct. 22, 2021 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Crysis Remastered Trilogy features the single-player remasters of Crysis, Crysis 2 and Crysis 3, optimized for today's consoles and PC hardware.

Buy Crysis Remastered Trilogy

One year ago, Crytek released a remastered version of the original Crysis. Even though it was rarely played at its best due to the very high system requirements, the original game was well received, but the remaster didn't receive the same appreciation from players and critics. Lackluster optimization and the use of the Xbox 360/PS3 version as the base meant that it was missing a level, so it felt like an incomplete version of the game rather than something definitive. This time out, Crytek is putting out remasters of both Crysis 2 and 3 and packaging it all up into the Crysis Remastered Trilogy.

Two things to note here before looking at the three games. First, the package does not include Crysis Warhead. While the title isn't usually brought up by fans, its absence means that the package feels incomplete, but you can easily purchase it digitally. Secondly, as of this writing, there's no word on whether the PC version will see the second and third games sold separately. There is the promise that those who already bought the first game will get a discount, but there's no word on how much of a discount it'll be against this game's $49.99 price tag.

We reviewed the first game in the package some time ago and found it to be rather flawed when compared to expectations and modern titles. Since that time, there have been some improvements and fixes made to the game. The Ascension mission is back, so even if it wasn't exactly the most loved of levels, at least the campaign is now complete. Nvidia's DLSS technology has also been implemented, making the frame rates go up if you own a GeForce card from the 2000 series on up. Otherwise, the experience remains imperfect due to the design decisions mentioned in the original review. Unless you want native controller support or ray tracing, sticking with the original release might not be a bad option.

Crysis 2 starts off with a story that seems eerily similar to the first game. The year is 2023, and the events of the first game, which took place three years earlier, have made their mark on New York City. Panic is widespread as a biological outbreak has decimated the population and quarantined Manhattan. As a soldier named Alcatraz, you and your team of marines are assigned to extract nanobiologist Dr. Nathan Gould, who could be the key in staving off the outbreak. Unfortunately, just as your team arrive at the insertion point, a paramilitary force decimates your sub and your team. While you are almost left for dead, Prophet, the hero from the first game, saves you and passes on the suit to you since his infected body is set to expire at any moment. With the newfound powers granted to you by the suit, your goal is to stop the outbreak from spreading and defeat the paramilitary forces and an invading alien force.

Story similarities aside, the game sports a few changes over the first entry. Setting the game in New York City makes things feel different, since urban warfare means more cover and less freedom to sneak around. There are more objects you can mess with, so you can pelt enemies with barrels and kick cars at them instead of using guns and melee attacks. One of the more controversial changes is the streamlining of the game. The areas you fight in can be open, and there is a slight variation in terms of your approach to each section, but you can't completely bypass large swaths of areas like you can in the first title. This has the impact of making every fight count, but those who craved the freedom afforded in the first game will come away disappointed.

Some of the other changes are tougher to overlook. For example, the environments are less reactive than in the original game. Some things can be blown to bits, but they feel like scripted events, so that also eliminates the emergent gameplay that comes from having cover blown to smithereens or seeing everything react to a grenade toss. That creates some laughable situations, such as infected people failing to notice you bashing them or vending machines surviving a firefight intact. Enemy AI remains an issue, as they have superhuman sensing abilities whenever you're out of stealth, and they call in reinforcements from far away. Even when you are in stealth, they have a good chance of spotting you easily, so the stealth in this game is almost useless.

Choose to approach the game as a pure shooter, and things take a turn for the better. Each firearm feels good to shoot, and their modifications make for substantial differences in your approach to each enemy. The suit powers take things back to the early days of shooters, where going in with guns blazing was a viable tactic, and you get the feeling that almost all of the battles were built with this in mind. There are more than enough moments where you'll drop in, power-kick a car in one direction, take a flying leap somewhere else, and rain bullets from above — all in one swift motion. Everything you have access to creates an endless power trip fantasy that the game takes advantage of, crafting an enduring experience.

The good news concerning the graphical presentation is that it doesn't show signs of an inferior version being used. Textures have seen some clarity improvements, with the lighting changed to look more normal compared to the blue-ish tint of the original release. Other special effects, like the depth of field blur, make this look more modern, but the original still looks quite good today. Ray tracing is done rather tastefully, but the light bloom and lens flare can be a bit much, while textures in reflections can be wrong in some areas. The more impressive feat is that the frame rate holds steady with or without DLSS, so you have a chance to be awed by what you see rather than bewildered by performance drops.

Crysis 3 starts off with a different story altogether. A few decades have passed since the events of Crysis 2. CELL has become a world conglomerate that achieved world domination through its use of alien technology as free energy, eventually enslaving everyone with enormous debt. With world domination come pockets of resistance, and one based in New York is led by Psycho, a soldier from the original game who's been stripped of his nanosuit. The latest mission has them infiltrating a cargo ship that houses Prophet, who is now in cryogenic sleep. While the plan is to have him take down CELL, Prophet's visions warn of a bigger imminent threat to the world.

The story is passable since it's a pretty familiar sci-fi trope, and none of the main characters seem to go beyond their prime objectives. Psycho laments his human condition, while Prophet harps on how he wishes he were human again. Psycho is laser-focused on CELL, and Prophet has all of his attention on the alien Ceph. It stays this way from beginning to end, and while the campaign is short enough, you're not going to find anything interesting about it throughout the journey.

Compared to what happened between Crysis and Crysis 2 as far as gameplay goes, the changes between Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 feel minimal by comparison. The most noticeable thing is how the game gives you bigger environments to work with, but it isn't the completely open-world experience of the first game. The energy being sapped whenever you use a suit power is reduced, so you can use them more often, so it might make the game feel easier. Stealth is more viable this time around thanks to a bow, which counts as a silent attack, and the AI isn't so quick to locate you when you decloak. You'll still be tempted to ditch stealth for action most of the time, which can make the game feel limiting despite the tweaks to mix things up. It's still fun to shoot things, but compared to the first two titles, the push to reach the end isn't as strong since it all seems quite familiar.

As far as presentation goes, the third remastered game is practically the same as the second remastered game. What makes this feel more impressive is the fact that this is all done on a grander scale, even if the stages aren't as large as in the original Crysis. Particle effects hold up well in these larger areas, and there are more impressive set pieces that show off things like giant rainstorms in the opening level. The ray tracing is more subdued compared to what was seen in Crysis 2, but it remains impressive when you see it while the frame rate still holds steady.

Like the first remastered game, Crysis 2 is missing multiplayer. With the main appeal of the game being the suits, it is a shame to see that the multiplayer involving said suits can't be experienced with a new coat of paint. Luckily, the game is missing nothing else. The same applies to Crysis 3, so anyone who wants to try updated versions of the multiplayer modes are out of luck. Even those who grab the older versions are affected, since only the third game has active multiplayer servers, and even that population is tiny compared to what's seen in other titles.

There is one other thing to mention about both games, and that's the presence of some strange gameplay bugs. For the second game, there was a crash when dying that booted the player to the desktop and prevented the game from running again until the system was rebooted. For the third game, there are a few areas where errant jumps can put you inside objects with no chance of getting out unless you restart from the last save. Compared to the first game, these sorts of things didn't happen too often, but it means that players should expect more patches to cover any issues that people will find after the first few weeks.

The work done on Crysis 2 and 3 makes the Crysis Remastered Trilogy a better proposition than the first game alone. The more stable frame rate and presence of DLSS right out of the box provides a much better first impression compared to the unstable frame rate of the first game; the ray tracing is equally impressive yet flawed. The gunplay feels tighter in these entries, but newcomers may be more disappointed in seeing how the game constrains itself with each subsequent entry. There's still room for improvement, but the whole thing feels like a safer purchase for those who want to experience some good games with minor updates.

Score: 7.5/10

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