Review – Crysis Remastered

“Sure, but can it run Crysis?” We’ve been using the same dumb phrase for the past thirteen years, ever since Crytek’s hardware-melting opus first debuted on computers. Crysis was a shocking title for its time, as it featured graphics and physics that were way too advanced for 99% of all computers out in the wild. It was a true testament of performance, a game that very few machines could run, let alone render in maximum specs. It eventually got ported for consoles, at the cost of being severely downgraded in order to run on a mere 512MB of RAM and a dated console GPU. The same could be said about its eventual sequels, which haven’t been able to live up to the acclaim of the original 2007 title.

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Downgraded, but still surreal.

Crytek has finally announced a remaster of the original Crysis. One that will take advantage of new computer GPUs in order to offer new trinkets such as 4K and ray-tracing. Not to mention new console ports that will offer an improved experience for non-PC owners, those being PS4, Xbox One… and the Nintendo Switch?? Wait, how the hell would that even work on that hardware?

Ladies and gentlemen, I have no idea how, but it works. No, this is nowhere near as close to being the same Crysis that owners of near-industrial computers have been playing and bragging about for the last decade, but I am still impressed with the result. After unimpressive ports of games like The Outer Worlds and Bioshock, my first thought was that this was going to be a disaster in the making. Those games run on a much more scalable engine than the CryEngine, and yet ended up being performance disappointments on the Switch’s hardware. Crytek did some wizard-level tinkering and managed to make the game run at a very respectable degree, all things considered.

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I remember this section having a distracting blue shader on the original Xbox 360 port. It’s noticeably better on the Switch.

First things first, you need to understand that this is a remaster of the original console version of Crysis and not a gimped port of the PC build. We’ll still have to wait at least three more generations for Nintendo to come up with a console with enough horsepower to run such a game on-the-go. With that being said, this is a very noticeable improvement over that original console port, which was infamous for its myriad of performance issues.

Remember the visuals of the Xbox 360 and PS3 ports? Remember how they used to look excessively… blue? I’m happy to announce that the Switch version of Crysis doesn’t suffer from this issue. Thanks to a brand new real-time lighting system, you can actually notice more than one color palette at a time, with surprising sunshine and shadow effects. These aren’t exactly groundbreaking for 2020 standards, but certainly much more impressive than the vast majority of non-Nintendo games available on the Switch at the moment, and especially more impressive than the original console ports. The tropical islands of Lingshan look a lot livelier as a result, being way more appealing to the eyes.

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Why would you want to become a gunner if you can drive AND shoot at the same time?

Don’t expect this to run at 1080p. In fact, Crysis Remastered for the Switch is a weird anomaly, as it runs with pretty much identical (albeit dynamic) resolutions in portable and docked modes. That means that you can get the same visual fidelity in portable mode, making the smaller resolution a lot more bearable on a smaller screen. This, coupled with the inclusion of gyro aiming in order to make up for the underwhelming Switch analog sticks, makes portable mode the go-to way to play Crysis Remastered on the system.

There are caveats, however. The framerate is locked at 30fps and even then it still drops every now and then, especially when there’s too much action happening onscreen. It’s a much more stable framerate than the nightmarish mess featured in the PS3 version, but it’s still far from perfect. The destructible objects are still present in here. The fact that you can still pulverize a palm tree in a million pieces is commendable, but you can notice a weird framerate reduction on these objects in particular whenever you interact with them. You can throw a bomb on a tree and watch it fall, but you will quickly realize that the tree will fall at half of the normal framerate. It’s not exactly a deal breaker when playing the game in portable mode, but it’s very off-putting at first.

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The answer is simple: because it looks freaking awesome.

Other smaller gripes include the reduced draw distance and constant pop-ins, which are better than the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, but still present. There’s also the compressed sound quality, slight input delay whenever you jump, long loading times, and the absence of the VTOL section that was present in the original PC build, but absent from the original console ports.

Considering this is a straight improvement over the 360 version in particular, that’s not shocking, but I would have appreciated this inclusion as a bonus. Despite the long list of issues, I need to clarify that I still had a great time playing the game. None of the aforementioned gripes in this paragraph ruined my experience in any way, shape, or form.

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The game is filled with post-processing effects that work pretty well on a small screen, such as motion blur.

Caveats aside, color me impressed, Crysis actually works on the Switch. This is a commendable effort, a port I would have never imagined I’d ever play on a Nintendo platform, let alone a portable. It’s nowhere near as close to the PC original in terms of visual fidelity and performance, but it’s still a massive improvement over the underwhelming console ports from the past generation. In fact, considering that the PS4 and Xbox One ports of the Crysis remaster still aren’t available at the time this review has been written, the Switch is currently the console with the best port of Crysis in the market. I never thought I’d ever say this. What kind of David Lynch-esque nightmare is this??

 

Graphics: 8.0

It suffers from some framerate and pop-in issues, and the resolution is dynamic, but it still runs way better than anyone could have ever expected from a port of Crysis running on the Switch’s hardware. It’s a vast improvement over the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, that’s for sure.

Gameplay: 7.5

The inclusion of gyro aiming makes up for occasional framerate issues, as well as the lack of precision offered by the Switch’s analog sticks. The overall gameplay has aged decently as a whole.

Sound: 7.5

A lot of voice acting, loud sound effects, and a decent score, but it’s noticeably compressed.

Fun Factor: 8.5

It’s still Crysis, a fantastic shooter that has aged incredibly well over the years. This is more than just a novelty, it’s a very commendable port that performs decently, considering the hardware.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Crysis Remastered is available now on Switch. PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions are coming soon.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Crysis Remastered was provided by the publisher.