Review – Crysis Remastered (Xbox One)
Over the years Crysis has gained a reputation for being drop dead beautiful to look at and equally as difficult to run, thanks to it’s CPU optimisation that can knock even high-end PCs to its knees. But it’s more than that. Crysis was a phenomenal open-ended first person shooter with excellent level design and the nanosuit which brings a superpowered dynamic to the game. Consoles have had their shot at the game with a horribly performing 360 version and a surprisingly decent Switch port. Now we have it once more in the form of Crysis Remastered, which boasts drastically improved graphics from the original. Let’s see if it lives up to its claims.
The North Koreans have taken control over the Lingshan Islands shortly after an archeology team has uncovered a potentially world changing discovery. Raptor Team is sent to the island to rescue the archeology team and gather any Intel they can find on the North Korean presence on the island. The story was never a talking point for Crysis and as you can imagine it remains in-tact. You will forget character names instantly and not much really happens in the first two acts. But when the Ceph are properly introduced things get a little more interesting.
Crysis‘ missions are semi-linear set in large open spaces that let you tackle them however you want. Stealthy picking off guards, or going in all guns blazing, or even a combination of the two. The games freedom of choice is one of its greatest assets. The levels are large enough to give you plenty of options and there’s a good variety of weapons and customisation to suit your playstyle.
Then we’ve got the games killer feature; the nanosuit, a super power prototype exosuit that enhances the users with extra abilities. These include armour, invisibility, super speed, and super strength that you will be using a lot throughout. It’s an incredibly fun addition to the game that gives it that something unique. All of this makes you feel powerful without making you unstoppable. Your suits ability usage is limited to how much energy you have available and a few bullets can still take you down. It adds a tactical layer to the game.
There’s also a solid amount of variety in the game here. From standard stealth and action sequence to vehicle segments, zero-gravity battles and large scale battles. Each chapter of the games roughly ten hour campaign has a slightly different look and feel and for the most part it’s all excellently designed. The open ended gameplay and brutally difficult Delta difficulty lends to some solid replay value as well.
It’s important to note that this is based on the old console version of the game. What this means is a slightly simplified gameplay system and a lack of manual saving. You can no longer lean around corners to pull of a headshot and the ability wheel has been replaced. Abilities such as invisibility and armour mode are mapped to shoulder buttons which works brilliantly but the rest of them are contextual. Giving you lesser control over the nanosuit than the original PC release ever did.
In my opinion, despite this it still feels like Crysis and is not the worst change ever. Then you’ve got an entire chapter towards the end of the game removed. Granted, this was never a good chapter and was by far the weakest part of the game, but it served an important purpose and I’m disappointed it wasn’t reintroduced here. All of this adds up to make for a weaker experience compared to the original PC version thirteen years ago.
Putting that aside, this is still Crysis and it did put a smile on my face. I love zipping around the jungle and hunting down my enemies whilst they have no idea where I am. From a gameplay and content point of view it’s not perfect, but if you have no other way to play the original release there’s still a lot to dig into here.
Booting up the game on my Xbox One X, we are treated to three options; Performance, Quality, and for the first time ever on consoles Ray Tracing. However the differences between the modes and what I would recommend sticking to are really surprising. Quality mode is the one I would absolutely avoid with an unplayable framerate. Ray tracing is somehow the best one here, managing to keep the games frame rate somewhat steady whilst giving console players a tease of what ray tracing can do. It’s nowhere near the greatest ray tracing effect that we’ve ever seen, but it certainly does its job well enough. Especially in the later stages of the game where you will be put into more constrained spaces.
Graphically, we are looking at the new art direction for Crysis and whilst this is mostly up to personal preference I’m not a huge fan of it. The grounded more realistic look of the original Crysis worked with the sci-fi elements of the nanosuit and squid-like creatures of the Ceph. Here though, the world has a lot more contrast; the trees are much greener and the sky is a cartoonish blue. After finishing up Crysis Remastered on Xbox One X, I decided to boot up the original game on PC and much preferred it.
It’s not all bad and there’s been some genuine improvements. A lot of the texture work has seen a small yet impactful upgrade especially with some of the ground work and character models (in gameplay). Explosions and effects all look great as well with some of the physics being all around better, but for me personally, the negatives outweigh the positives in this remaster and that’s a real shame.
As a fan of the original Crysis it’s very hard to recommend this remaster. The changes to the art direction on top of the missing content and technical issues make this arguably the worst version of the game to play. Though if you have no other way to experience it, then there is some enjoyment to be had with it.
For a game famed for it’s hardware melting visuals, Crysis Remastered feels like a step-down in many aspects.
Despite the missing chapter and control changes, the same great feel is there.
Thankfully the original’s great sound design remains intact.
This is easily the worst version of Crysis.
Final Verdict: 6.5
Crysis Remastered is available now on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
A copy of Crysis Remastered was provided by the publisher.