The original CRYSIS title is infamous in gaming, the PC game that required an above elite level PC at the time to even run the game at close to maximum settings is something that now in 2020 is still used as a meme. I have to admit, learning that this original entry in the series was to be remastered and released just before the next generation of consoles is set to release did take me by surprise. But I was a fan of the original game as well as the two sequels and the first CRYSIS was a head of its time in 2007 in many ways. The question was, does it hold up in 2020
There are different levels when it comes to viewing a remastered game for me, with the main one being have they taken the original and managed to do more than just making it look all nice and shiny. This is quite a big factor for me which comes down to whether or not this is a title that should have received the full remake process or is just making it prettier enough. The most recent example being the excellent Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 & 2 which not only bought the games visually up to date but sought to actually improve by fixing issues with the originals and enhancing them for their new release.
CRYSIS Remastered for me definitely falls into the “should have been remade” rather than just remastered. In fact, it was instantly noticeable when loading the game up for the first time that instead of the original PC version that this remaster was based on the console version for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, so much so that even the menus themselves are exactly the same. But you can see where effort has been taken to almost future proof the game. Playing on Xbox One X there is an option in the visual settings to turn on HDR just as there are three visual modes: Performance, Quality and Ray Tracing which is obviously aimed for the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 consoles when they release in November.
CRYSIS puts the player in the role of NOMAD, a member of a special forces team who are all wearing the futuristic technological wizardry that is the NANOsuit, a suit capable of giving the wearer enhanced speed, strength with regenerative healing. The suit also comes with two amazing abilities in ‘MAXIMUM Armour’ which adds an extra level of damage protection as well as a ‘CLOAK’ making the wearer fully invisible to anyone in the area. All functions of the suit use the suits power which is limited and drained especially when either MAXIMUM Armour or Cloak is used. This means that the player, though pretty much a fully powered super soldier still needs to be managed by the player to make sure the suits power is not all used up leaving NOMAD all vulnerable.
The team is sent to a North Korean island and it all really standard military special ops story where objectives are given as the player is taught how to use the NANOSuit as location markers are given and whether you go in all guns blazing or super stealth is completely down to you as the player because the NANOSuit allows for both, which is something I loved about the original game and series and something that this release has reminded me off. You can go full stealth if you choose and if you mess up, the suit allows you to shoot your way out of a situation just as easily as it enables you to try and sneak around it. Once the story truly kicks in it then becomes a satisfying sci-fi shooter as a mystery on the island soon makes itself known and a race to find out what is hidden in the main mountain of the island.
The story itself is very satisfying and the ending is just as fantastic or as annoying as the HALO 2 ending style depending on how you feel about a sudden ‘to be continued’ cliff hanger to a game experience but its something I loved and made me hope and eager to play the sequel when it was finally announced as CRYSIS 2. Completing this again also left me wondering why only the first game was given the remaster treatment and not the whole series which would have made a rather lovely collection to have. But then I also have to remember that this remaster is very far from being perfect.
Disappointingly, this remaster has plenty of issues, some have simply been inherited from the original game which is why I say this is a game that should have been remade rather than made all 2020 shiny. First, we have the visuals and whilst some aspects such as an incredible lighting system, I mean just look at the sun rays through the top of any palm tree, have been made to look incredible on constant consoles, there are two many noticeable problems as well. Screen tearing is a massive issue which is immediate in how you notice it just by looking to the horizon to see it tearing especially if viewing down a scope. Some textures fail to render correctly both close up and far away and this is just in the opening ten minutes of having control of NOMAD.
For me, when a game is remastered, I always try to see if original problems have been addressed and with CRYSIS it comes from terrible hit detection to weapons having different effects on the same type of enemy. I found that often aiming down sights without a scope would often mean missing a target like using a silenced pistol to get a headshot only for it to fail to register as a kill shot on one enemy, leading to having to empty the whole clip into them to finish them off only for the next enemy of the same type to go down with a single bullet. Using a sniper rifle, I could line up the perfect kill shot only to watching it completely not register as a hit at all and without moving position or target, have the second shot hit the mark and kill the enemy. It just ends up feeling so clumsy at times and distracting which leaves you the player wondering why the hell they never fixed it for this remaster.
Audio issues also exist such as having the same character such as Strickland, radio you two different objective orders but both at the same time or having the dramatic music kick in for when you are about to enter combat but have two musical tracks overlapping. That finished off by the enemy all saying the same lines of dialogue in the same voice becoming very repetitive after just the first hour of playing. I pushed the difficulty up to hard and the AI remained dumb, whilst the fact that enemies will just blind fire at a location they believe you were before you activated your cloak, it is still far too easy just to wait for the enemy AI to just gather at one location for you to empty a clip to take them all out. Ammo is plentiful so you never have to worry about it and the majority of times you end up dying is more to the game just being stupid than you actually making a mistake.
So as a remaster, this is a rather lazy dare I say half arsed job which would have benefitted from being fully remade with issues fixed rather than just carried over. But as annoying as all the failing are, I still found it incredibly fun to play through with a story that is still enjoyable and having some excellent set pieces that really shine even now about other more recent FPS titles. But for the asking price I would have to recommend grabbing a more recent FPS title like Far Cry 5 or DOOM Eternal.
CRYSIS Remastered is fun to play but its very much dated now and the issues this has only makes it stand out far more which is why it would have been better to have remastered all the series for the same asking price rather than just the first game and showing that this 2007 game, even with 2020 shine applied to it, still feels and plays like a 2007 game.