Crysis Remastered

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Developer: Crytek
Release Date: Sept. 18, 2020


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PC Review - 'Crysis Remastered'

by Cody Medellin on March 10, 2021 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Crysis Remastered offers first-person shooter fans the best-looking, evolved, and innovative gameplay, enabling players to adapt in real time to survive.

"Can it run Crysis?"

The 2007 release of Crytek's game birthed the question, since you needed a high-end PC to run the game, and even then, the game didn't run well without tweaking the settings. The meme is still relevant today, since the game hasn't exactly lent itself to the strengths of modern hardware. Crysis Remastered was meant to make the game more compatible with modern hardware and touch it up in the graphics department. Unfortunately, the end result does more to tarnish the game's reputation than bolster it.

In the island of Linshan, a group of archaeologists has announced that they've made a huge discovery. This would've been good news if it weren't for the fact that North Korean forces have invaded and taken over the island. Not wanting to start an international incident, the U.S. sends over Delta Force's Team Raptor to initiate a rescue and ensure that the North Koreans don't discover any of the data first. The Delta Force team is armed with the latest nanosuit technology, and the mission should go smoothly, but a discovery of extraterrestrial proportions makes everything go awry.

Of all of the things that the series has been known for, an engaging story isn't one of them, and this game demonstrates why. The plot and the associated story beats feel like a retread of military action films, complete with military superiors insisting on having their way and bungling things up in the process. The villains aren't that compelling, and neither are the characters who never get time to become more fleshed out. While it is nice that your character isn't a silent protagonist, he barely displays any personality, and his spoken lines don't make a difference. The narrative is a serviceable means to move the game forward, but don't expect to remember much of it once the credits roll.

Much like the original Far Cry, Crysis is an open-world, first-person shooter that gives you free rein to approach a situation however you want. You can always carry two guns at a time — not including throwables and your pistol — and all of the guns can be modified on the fly with things like flashlights and silencers. To help you in the game's free-form approach, you have a nanosuit that regenerates your health if you stay out of enemy fire for a bit. You can leap higher than normal, and you can also perform ground slams if you're coming down from great heights. You can turn on super speed to reach firefights or run away from them. The suit's biggest benefits are what determine your approach. If you choose to go in with guns blazing, you can activate armor that'll absorb some damage before your health meter is affected. If you wanted to practice stealth, the suit lets you do some active cloaking, which is only broken up when you get shot at or when you open fire. No matter which approach you choose, you'll need to use each power sparingly, as they all take from the same energy pool. The energy drains fast enough and the regeneration is slow enough to prevent you from constantly switching between both major states.

Like the original Crysis, the shooting is solid and the nanosuit powers make you feel like a supersoldier. Being able to outrun vehicles or knock away soldiers makes up for the fact that your melee attacks are weak. What mars the experience is the enemy AI, which can be wildly inconsistent. If you go loud, the experience is mostly fine, and the enemy doesn't do anything if you're close to them unless you start shooting. Going with stealth is a much more difficult approach, since most of the enemies seem to have eagle eyes. Enemies several yards out who are only visible via binoculars can somehow spot you and open fire, and the same thing happens if you're hiding in the bushes and tall grass. Cloaking helps, but the moment you come out of a cloak, enemies instantly open fire no matter how far away you are. This also happened in the original title, but the effect seems amplified in this iteration.

Ultimately, the purpose of this remaster is to make the game look good when compared to its contemporaries, and initially, it slightly succeeds in doing so. The environments display a lushness as long as you don't scrutinize the textures. The lighting and shadows remain gorgeous, while the developers have added a way to get ray-traced reflections and lighting and shadow without special AMD or Nvidia cards. This gives those with relatively high GeForce 1000 series cards and Radeon RX 5000 series cards the chance to see what all the hype is about. Character animations remain a sore spot, as do character models that look rather dated despite the remastering job.

All of this breaks when you reach the location of the jamming device, with that beautiful shot of the beach and ramshackle buildings just as daylight hits. As the camera starts panning, the frame rate takes a nosedive to sub-30fps levels and stays there for a few moments before returning to almost 60fps. That's the story for the rest of the game as the frame rate is unstable until the end. What makes this more disappointing is the fact that this was done with a Ryzen 5 2600 and a GeForce RTX 3080 running the game at 1080p on Very High settings. Changing it all to High helped a bit, but it wasn't enough to stop the fluctuation from occurring frequently. It's a shame to see what was supposed to be an optimized remastering of the game still demonstrate instability; actually running this title in a stable form still seems unattainable unless you're running top-of-the-line equipment. That also makes the inclusion of a setting titled, "Can It Run Crysis?" more of a cruel joke for players.

Even if you're fine with a fluctuating frame rate or don't mind that you have to set everything to medium or below to make things stable, what will disappoint players the most is that this remastering job doesn't actually use the PC version as the base to work from. Instead, it is the PS3/Xbox 360 version that's being used, and while that may be fine for those on the PS4 and Xbox One, and it's certainly nothing that Nintendo Switch owners would complain about. PC players are getting the short end of the stick here. The multiplayer for the game is missing, along with the multiplayer level editor and the game's 10th mission, Ascension. The game is also using assets that were upscaled from the console version and not the PC version, so while it looks fine at a glance, you can't help but think that it could've looked much better if the remaster used the higher-resolution textures from the PC instead.

You have to be willing to forgive quite a bit to enjoy Crysis Remastered. Questionable enemy AI is bad enough, but a reduction in content is baffling, and the effort feels incomplete because of it. The extra lighting is nice, but the spotty performance is the real sore spot, as it ensures that a polished and well-performing version of the game is simply unattainable. Unless you have issues trying to run the original on your system or absolutely need controller support, you're probably better off skipping this until a better, proper remaster comes along.

Score: 6.0/10

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