Back in September 2020 the original Crysis game was remastered and released and whilst it was fun to revisit the game that launched the Crysis series, it was a remaster that left me disappointed as it was your standard lazy remaster, adding a new visual shine to it but not taking the time to fix original issues and as such I ended my review saying that they would have been more successful in releasing the entire trilogy as a remastered collection than just the opening game. Well, someone paid attention because that is exactly what has happened, the entire Crysis Trilogy has been remastered and released for current consoles and PC.
Whilst I was less than impressed with the performance and quality of the first game’s remastered offering, the game itself still works as the introduction to the world of Crysis. The team that made it also made the original Far Cry games which is very evident when you start the game in a forest environment before the sci-fi element kicks in. The weapons are standard FPS favorites and the world felt linear rather than a playground. Technical issues aside, the best thing about the game was the introduction of the Nano Suit, something which would become the core element in the sequels as the suit is used better and levels designed to give the player a greater choice in how to use the abilities the suit gives the wearer. On it’s own, as someone who played the original, the first Crysis Remastered game is a base, it feels even more dated only looking “nicer” but as the opening to a Trilogy experience, it is very much worth the experience.
The very fact the whole trilogy is included for the single asking price is a big reason why I would recommend this collection to FPS fans, both if you played the original games and especially if you never did because having them all together, despite the faults the games still have, and still an annoyance that original issues were not fixed yet again, Crysis 2 and 3 are a far more complete experience than the original game. The story expands and changes from the island in the original to New York and improvements are impactful right away both in the story telling and the gameplay, which is why for me, Crysis stood out against the big-name FPS franchises of the time like HALO and CoD.
Crysis 2 introduced a new hero in Alcatraz, member of a military fire team on route to a mission when their submarine is attacked, and the team is forced to abandon the sub. A cutscene plays showing a wounded Alcatraz being found and rescued by Prophet, the surviving Nano Suit wearing soldier from the original game, now taking the fight to the Ceph alien race in New York, as the cut scene plays out however, Prophet is forced to give his suit to Alcatraz as he himself has reached his end and in a bid to continue his mission, puts the suit on you the player with the hope you will finish his mission and fight.
Crysis 2 right away is a big step up from the first game is a variety of ways from the visuals and sound systems to the scale of the world despite it being focused on New York City. The Nano Suit is really the launch pad for all the improvements in gameplay for the sequels as I said above, this begins in two improvements, the Visor and Nano-Vision. With the Visor, players can now scan the wide area in front of them and tag enemies to plan their next move and Nano-Vision is no longer just Night Vision, instead moving to thermal vision to identify moving targets. The other Nano suit abilities are still present in “MAXIMUM Armour” and “CLOAK” and activating them has that satisfying suit announcement sound to confirm they have been activated. All the abilities still use up the suit’s power, so players are still required to monitor battery levels to manage when these abilities are in play.
Something that Crysis 2 brought to the series was player choice to either go stealth, using the visor to tag enemies and then taking a route that would avoid them or go full tactical and take out all the enemy forces. Either way is great fun, personally I prefer to go stealth with the challenge of managing the battery when using the CLOAK but having two styles to play and a world designed to allow it is such a difference compared to the first game. The story is far more enjoyable as well as any sequel should have, and this was the next step fans wanted. Sadly Crysis 2 like Crysis also has many bugs that were never addressed. Playing on both Xbox Series X and S, there are instances of terrible screen tears quite often and moments where whole sections of a level failed to render at all enabling you to see under and through the world which is never good. Hit detection can also be problematic with straight shots either not registering at all or hitting off to the side of the intended target. Game sound would also cut out, requiring me bringing up the Xbox guide then switching back to the game to get it to return after cutscenes. As frustrating as these issues are, the gameplay and the story kept me moving forward but as with the first game remaster, it was just super annoying to still hit bugs that should have been corrected.
Crysis 3 is by far the best in the series with improvements across the board, visually it is the best looking, building on the two previous games and the story itself is nearing its climatic conclusion and let’s be honest, if you have made it through the first two games you are already heavily invested in the story. Crysis 3 Remastered is also the most stable of the three games in terms of issues though the sound issue was still present on occasion but overall, a far more robust remaster. Where Crysis 2 built on focusing the action on the Nano Suit, Crysis 3 is a celebration of the Nano Suit and the ability to go stealth thanks to the sudden inclusion of the NANO Bow, adding archery for extra stealth and trick arrows that offer even more tactical decisions along with the same human weaponry of the series. I say human because now in Crysis 3, the player is now able to pick up and use Ceph alien tech, think HALO when you pick up and use a Covenant weapon.
Working through the levels using the NANO Bow and NANO suit abilities was everything I had hoped for as my play style through each of the games reached this point of just feeling like a true super soldier badass, something which at the time when I said this to my friends that this is how I wished playing as the Master Chief would feel like earned me harsh looks. The gameplay is just incredibly satisfying at this point, the story after so many twists and surprises feels like it is nearing the end in that way good story telling should do. My journey through the series is all coming together nicely, I am one with my Nano Suit, I know its strengths and weaknesses, but the game still offers some new tricks in the skill upgrade system which now allows the player to create and save a “build” of enhancements that can be switched too at any time, allowing for a focus on stealth or combat when the situation demands it. This is the game that made me forget the tech issues and limitations of the first two games and you can feel how improved each game was from before getting to this stage of the collection.
Looking at this as a collection of an FPS series that dared to do something different against the big hitters in the FPS genre has been a big nostalgia trip for me, but this is a collection that for this asking price, I would easily suggest to someone who likes a good single player FPS run. Though all the Multiplayer has been stripped out from the series to leave it as a campaign only experience, there is still a lot of gaming for the price. I standby my original view that the Crysis series would have benefitted from having a full remake rather than a remaster because the original flaws are still there without the “aww this is still broken then” acceptance but more of a “why wasn’t this fixed?” reaction. Currently there is no optimization for Xbox Series consoles or PS5, which again, is a shame now nearly a year since their launch.
If you are looking to perhaps discover why Crysis is a name still talked about now, this collection is for you and even if you played the original games back in the day, this is a great way to revisit them. The tech issues of the first two games are a distraction however and glaringly so but the gameplay and using the NANO Suit is still as gratifying now as back on the original games. I opened by talking about how I ended my review of Crysis Remastered in saying how the entire series should have been remastered and released for the asking price of it and well, I got my wish.
As the gaming world prepares for the latest CoD game in Vanguard before Battlefield 2042 is released to show the world the series has evolved and just under two months before the huge return of HALO with Infinite, Crysis is a series firmly set in the gaming generation it first released it, dated but still very playable, this is a collection worthy of an FPS fan with a solid asking price for three games.