Review – Crysis Remastered Trilogy
Crysis, the franchise that used to make high end computers scream in terror, the one used as a graphics card benchmark for almost a decade. It is also a trilogy of games that I’ve held in really high regard over the years. The Crysis Remastered Trilogy collection brings together all three mainline titles in one glorious bundle, all complete with a good chunk of visual and quality of life improvements to bring them to more modern standards. Is it still worth checking out or is this trilogy just a product of its time? Time to find out.
First of all, I want to briefly touch on the original Crysis, which was remastered not too long ago. I reviewed it back then and I was not overly fond of it. It was missing content, it had disappointing visuals for a remaster, and its downgraded gameplay made for an underwhelming version of what be many people’s first run through a classic. Whilst the gameplay didn’t get any tweaks at all, we did get the Ascension chapter back, which had been cut from the original console ports, and the overall art direction had been improved. Ascension was never a great chapter of the game to begin with, but served an important function, and its absence was noticeable back in the day. It’s still not perfect however and would argue it as the worst way to play Crysis, but even more improvements were added to this particular remaster of the game.
Each game has its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as a very specific flavour of gameplay. The original Crysis pulled together a fun semi-open world sandbox, where you could approach the game however you wanted, with very few limitations. Crysis 2 then put you in the midst of an alien invasion, trading the open ended island with a more structured level design. Finally, there was Crysis 3, attempting to blend the two styles together to appeal to fans of both previous games.
This may end up being an unpopular opinion, especially to long-time fans and purists, but Crysis 3 overall just feels the best to me. It offers it all: an epic cinematic storyline, stunning visuals, and level design that meshes the two styles of its predecessors. It gives you a mixture of more open ended sandboxes that let you experiment at will, with a more linear structure with plenty of setpieces. Sure, it’s arguably the most uneven title in the entire series, with some incredible low points, but it’s its high points that make it really stand out. The freedom of choice remains throughout the entire game and Prophet’s signature Compound Bow was a fantastic addition.
The one thing that all three games have in common is the Nanosuit, a powerful suit based on prototype technology that enhances the wearers speed and strength, whilst being able to harden to prevent bursts of damage or cloak for a stealthier approach. The Crysis games do a great job of making you feel like a total badass without being completely overpowered. It can be really easy to be overwhelmed if you aren’t careful. As such, I’d recommend playing on the Veteran difficulty or even higher, as they bring up the full potential of the sandbox level design and tactical choices the game gives you.
Unfortunately, whilst I love playing each of the Crysis games for their own reasons, there are issues that stretch across the entire trilogy. Typically each of these games tends to fall apart in the second half. May that be with dull vehicle sections that drag on for too long, too much of a focus on the alien forces or just bad level design. The latter bit of a Crysis game just tends to lose focus on why the first half is so great. Also, I feel like the core gameplay hasn’t aged the best, with movement coming a long way since the 360 generation of games. It can, however, be solved just with a little bit of getting your brain re-used to how things worked a decade ago.
CryEngine has always been a powerhouse of an engine, delivering some fantastic visuals, from the original Crysis way back in 2007 to Crysis 3 in 2013, and even the excellent 2017 reboot of Prey. Despite showing its age in some areas, the first Crysis still looks pretty impressive today, with even some extra updates improving on the overall visuals to the remaster’s original release (the one from last year). This collection, however, is all about its sequels, and I was impressed with the results. Both games are packing plenty of environmental detail and impressive vistas that just made my jaw drop. These games, at times, looked like they had been originally released a year or two ago. What that being I did notice some areas suffering from a bit of lack of detail, causing a bit of pop-in that brought me out of the experience.
As for performance we are looking at a fairly solid 60fps with a dynamic resolution scaling for last-generation “pro” consoles, as well as the Xbox Series S/X and Playstation 5. I was playing on an Xbox Series X and was overall happy with what I was seeing. However it should be noted that the base Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch will be targeting 30 frames per second across the entire trilogy instead. Whilst not the best way to play the original game, it is easily a fantastic way to play the sequels.
Briefly touching on the sound design, Crysis should not be ignored here. Crysis 2‘s main theme composed by Hans Zimmer is one of the greatest themes in the history of gaming, and that is no exaggeration. Meanwhile, Borislav Slavov’s work managed to keep up with this incredibly high bar. It’s not just the soundtrack, though, as the overall sound design improved as the trilogy went along, culminating in Crysis 3, with some fantastic voice work that brought real weight to the story and the themes it was trying to convey.
The Crysis Remastered Trilogy is finally here on pretty much all modern systems. These flawed but wonderful tactical shooters have never hit their fully potential in terms of popularity and polish, but have always been enjoyable on so many levels. It’s even better now, all thanks to some pretty good remastering work coming from Crytek. The trilogy is well worth playing today despite its flaws, and I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Nanosuit.
Even on their own, the Crysis games would have still looked good for today’s standards, but Crytek’s and Saber Interactive’s remastering treatment elevated these games’ visuals to a whole new level.
The trilogy’s gameplay may be starting to show its age in some regards, but it’s still a worthwhile experience.
Stunning soundtrack by Borislav Slavov and even Hans Zimmer. Crysis 3 in particular also shines due to some really good voice acting.
Fun Factor: 8.0
The Crysis remastered trilogy might have some flaws here and there, but it’s still well worth playing today, especially with the brand new quality of life improvements.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Crysis Remastered Trilogy is available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch.
Reviewed on Xbox One X.
A copy of Crysis Remastered Trilogy was provided by the publisher.