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Game Info:

Crysis Remastered
Developed By: Crytek/Saber Interactive
Published By: Crytek
Release Date: September 18, 2020
Available On: Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Genre: Action/First-Person Shooter
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: M for Blood, Strong Language, Violence
MSRP: $29.99

Thank you Crytek for sending us this game to review!

Way back in 2007, Crysis was one of the most groundbreaking first-person shooter games ever released at the time - and it's still aged incredibly well. Despite being stuck on a now-ancient DirectX 10 codebase, it pushed the cutting edge of graphical fidelity for several years after its release - you couldn't reasonably expect to play the game on maximum settings at 1080p for several years, and at 4k? You couldn't really do that until the last few GPU generations. Now that computers can indeed run Crysis, it was time for Crytek to challenge the cutting edge once again, with Crysis Remastered.

Interestingly, rather than go straight for the high-end like they did last time, they first released Crysis Remastered on the weakest piece of commonly-supported hardware this time around, the Nintendo Switch. While it was by all accounts an excellent port, of course it doesn't hold a candle to either PC version on proper hardware. After considering community feedback, they chose to delay the game in order to make it look as good as they possibly could. And it does look really, really good - but they also made some compromises that have many gamers scratching their heads.

It first has to be said that all versions of Crysis Remastered used the 2011 Xbox 360/PS3 version of Crysis as a base, rather than the original 2007 PC version. From what I have read, there were pros and cons to this decision. The game engine itself was a bit better optimized, and filled with less spaghetti code overall, so in some ways it makes sense. On the flip side, at least some of those compromises crept their way into this 2020 release, even on PC.

For example, it's well known that the console releases removed a level, the divisive 'Ascension'. While I never got that far on Crysis for PC, my wife did (she wrote our original review all the way back in 2008 here. Be warned that this rather old review does not conform to our modern review format.) From what I understand (and vaguely remember from watching her), it was a level where you pilot an airborne craft, and it felt quite a bit different than the rest of the game. Nevertheless, it's no longer present, even on PC.

Crysis Remastered
Highlights:

Strong Points: Entertaining gunplay, with enough variability and challenges to keep things interesting; excellent graphics
Weak Points: Based on a more recent console port rather than the PC original, so along with the graphical upgrades were certain downgrades; no multiplayer like the original had; no save anywhere (which is a huge downside for me)
Moral Warnings: Lots of realistic blood and violence, though blood can be turned off; most common curse words, including 'f*ck', 'sh*t', 'b*st*rd', and uses God's name in vain, like 'God d*mn' and 'Jesus'

 

As for the story and gameplay itself, feel free to refer to the aforementioned older Crysis review for more details, but to summarize, you play as Nomad on a team of elite combat troops for the US government who are setting foot on North Korean islands in order to rescue people who you lost contact with, and eventually investigate some rather strange occurrences there - without the Koreans' permission. So you end up fighting perhaps hundreds of Korean forces, not to mention aliens, while inside your powerful Nanosuit which grants you superhuman speed, strength, defense, and even cloaking. Together with the arsenal you arrive with and eventually collect while on the island, you are a force to be reckoned with. Being able to run, jump, swim, and take hits better than pretty much anyone else around makes for a fun time, despite being vastly outnumbered. And it's still fun to play.

The default controls mirror the console releases rather than the PC original, so one of the patched-in options was to enable classic Nanosuit mode, which allows you to use middle-click to choose the suit mode, somewhat like the original had. Gun attachments still require their own button, unlike the original that had them also accessible via middle click. Leaning was also recently patched back in also, though the default keystrokes aren’t really usable, and should be adjusted to match the old bindings (Q,E) if you use classic nanosuit mode. But it’s slowly getting there. Of course controller support is quite good now as well.

Other reported issues (or differences, depending on how you look at it) include alterations to some physics behaviors, and a lower frame rate for some of the destructible environments. I admit that I have not seen a good side-by-side comparison of these things, but I accept their word on this. What I have seen, though, is that there are now checkpoint saves only - and I emphasize only. Before, those existed - but you could always save whenever you wanted to. The lack of save anywhere is a huge quality-of-life loss that makes this game no longer feel like a proper PC game. And for a series (and developer!) that not only started on PC, but became famous because of how much they took advantage of the platform, this is a tragedy. Also, the multiplayer modes are all gone - this is now a single-player only affair. While I didn’t play it too much, Crysis did have a fun LAN play mode (not to mention a long dead GameSpy online).

Crysis Remastered
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 68%
Violence - 1/10
Language - 5/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 9/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

With those rather unfortunate caveats out of the way, I've really enjoyed my time with Crysis Remastered. The spark that makes the game so great - the combination of stealth and bravado, the excellent weapons handling, the open and interesting maps, human and alien opponents - are all here and just as interesting as they always were. The music, voice acting, and combat sound effects are just as excellent as they always were. Some of the odd technical quirks of the original, like sometimes starting in a 24Hz video mode (just to name one), are no longer present here. The real-time ray tracing, that doesn't require RTX hardware to use (though it does take advantage of it – and I do have it available) is also great, and helps with the immersion. They also raised the bar for maximum settings to a new ‘Can it run Crysis?’ mode that’s above Very High that will punish even the most powerful computers available today, just like Crysis did back in its day.

Having played both versions back to back, I definitely prefer how Remastered looks and plays despite the flaws, with one caveat - I really want my real-time saves back. I sincerely hope they give us this badly-missed feature back. They have been actively patching the game since release, with several major issues already patched, so there is hope. I was also surprised that the game does not utilize cloud saves in any way; I have several other Epic Game Store titles that do, so it’s not a platform issue. As an aside, this game does work on Intel Ice Lake integrated graphics on my GPD Win Max at 1280x800 (though with minor graphical glitches) on low; that broke with various driver versions, though it works again on the latest Intel beta driver. The sky doesn't look right, though. It otherwise looks fine as long as you don’t look towards the sun. Either way, the game engine scales up and down fairly well to both higher end and lower end hardware.

Violence is of course incredibly prevalent in this title, as you shoot and kill quite a number of human and alien creatures. Blood is disabled by default, which is nice, though I suspect finding bodies to loot might be easier to find with it on (I played with blood disabled). Nevertheless, even with it off, there are some disturbing scenes with impaled humans where blood is shown, even with it off in the options. Being a game where you are at war, curse words are also uttered, with words like 'f*ck', 'sh*t', 'b*st*rd', represented, and God's name is spoken in vain, with phrases like 'God d*mn' and 'Jesus'.

Crysis Remastered is a very pretty remake of an already great-looking game that has stood the test of time as a modern shooter classic. This remaster, while imperfect, does little to take that away. Crysis was, and is, a lot of fun to play, whether in this form or the original. While it’s hard to say that Crysis Remastered is better than the original in every way, because it isn’t, it’s still a great way to experience Nomad’s first foray in a Nanosuit – much to the sadness of North Koreans and aliens everywhere.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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