The “But can it run Crysis?” meme may be the game’s longest lasting legacy, but when considering whether Crysis Remastered is worth your time, the better question is, “How well can it run Crysis?’
Even on medium or high settings in good old-fashioned 1080p, the visuals have obviously been improved in this remaster. With sun rays poking through the treetops, the foliage of the fictional Lingshan Islands looks almost real enough to touch. As explosions tear apart enemy huts, shrapnel flies in all directions, as flames shoot up into bright blue tropical skies over crystal clear oceans. It’s all very impressive, especially for a game that’s pushing 13 years old at this point, though regardless of your setup, character models are still a couple steps behind new AAA releases.
With a whole host of technical improvements, like HDR support, temporal anti-aliasing, and ray-tracing, Crysis Remastered looks quite stunning if you have the hardware to support it all. Crytek claims that even the mighty RTX 3080 can’t run Crysis Remastered at 30 FPS in 4K at maximum settings. And even though virtually no one has the hardware for it yet, Crysis Remastered on PC supports 8K resolution. Much like the original release, the graphics in Crysis Remastered have been future-proofed to the extreme.
The thing is, the original version of Crysis has been playable in 4K on PC for years thanks to mods. While this remaster looks even better, the improvements here are somewhat marginal over the modded version. Admittedly, it can be a chore to get the original release up and running with mods nowadays, so at least Cryis Remastered solves that problem. I had also forgotten just how great the sound design is in Crysis. Playing with headphones on is still a real treat, as you can hear exactly which direction bullets and explosions are coming from.
But Crysis Remastered, which launched exclusively on the Epic Game Store for PC, isn’t actually the PC version of the game that came out in 2007. Instead, Crytek opted to port the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of the game released in 2011. That means some slight differences in terms of the controls as well as the removal of the divisive Ascension mission near the end of the game.
Just don’t expect any real improvements outside of the graphics. Even the menus are exactly the same. There are also a few disappointing omissions. There’s no multiplayer, level editor, or remastered version of the Crysis Warhead follow-up.
So how does Crysis hold up in 2020? Honestly, it’s a very mixed bag.
Release Date: Sept. 18, 2020
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, XBO, Switch
The story, which starts off as a fairly typical military shooter before revealing a much larger alien threat, remains strong. There are some very cool set pieces throughout the campaign that are easily on par with any modern shooter, though the game kind of loses its way in the later levels, which focus on the extraterrestrial Ceph.
But the actual gameplay is pretty weak. For one thing, no matter which gun you use (and there aren’t that many to begin with), aiming feels extremely floaty, and shots never feel like they have much weight behind them. Between that and oddly bullet spongy enemies, it can take an entire clip from an assault rifle to take out a single enemy. I do like that weapons can be modded on the fly with silencers and enhanced scopes, but that doesn’t mean much when stealth never works very well.
The AI is atrocious. Somehow, troops can spot you without from 200 yards away while you’re standing still and swarm you within seconds, but they’re also dumb enough to walk backwards right into the barrel of a gun when you’re a few feet away.
The nanosuit, which can either grant you invisibility or extra armor for a short time, remains a cool idea, but these abilities drain way too quickly. When you sneak into an outpost unseen, take out exactly one enemy, and then get spotted and have to shoot your way past a dozen very angry soldiers because your energy ran out, the experience quickly devolves into frustration. But at least it all looks gorgeous.
The original Crysis was always a better tech demo than an actual game, but in 2020, it’s a museum piece, an interesting retrospective of past innovations, but it’s not really worth spending much time on now. Nearly all of its best ideas have been done better by other shooters at this point. Far Cry, which was originally developed by Crytek, has spent years improving on the open-world FPS ideas seen here. Battlefield has mastered destructible environments. Even Call of Duty offers a better mix of stealth and action.
Ultimately, Crysis Remastered is a glorified texture pack tweaked to run on modern hardware without any hassle. And if you’ve already spent a lot of money on a top of the line PC, you might as well drop another $30 to see what it’s really capable of, but for everyone else, Crysis is best left to memories and memes.