Since its release in 2007 the internet has firmly grasped onto one of gaming’s first meme’s – “But can it run Crysis?” The steep system requirements for its time ensured that this FPS adventure long stayed in the memory of gamers across the world, even if for the wrong reasons. Fast forward 14 years and not only do we have games that make the first Crysis look incredibly aged, but we also have an entire trilogy that tells the tale of an epic war to enjoy. What’s better is that now we have all 3 main entries presented in remastered glory, but are they worth revisiting?
For those unaware of the series, each story is focused on an alien uprising from creatures known as the Ceph. In the first game, players take on the role of Raptor team soldier Nomad, who heads out with the rest of his team to the Lingshan Islands off the Philippines, aided by the alien powered exoskeletons within their nano suits which enable superhuman abilities, from speed to strength, and invisibility to super armour.
It’s the job of these soldiers to halt the alien uprising, but with apocalypse level events pushing US forces to retreat to the use of nuclear weapons, and a mercenary force to patrol and police New York, which acts as the location for the Crysis 2 and 3, you’d expect things aren’t going all too well in the pursuit of halting an alien invasion.
Both the second and third games take players on the role of different characters but I won’t ruin the story any further here, especially given the story is the biggest positive I found from my time with the Crysis Trilogy Remastered.
Of course, the main reason for jumping into a remastered version of a game is either because you enjoyed it the first time around and want to play it again in its best possible state, or because you missed it the first time around and want to see what all the fuss is about. Take content away from the original experience gamers know and love however and you might have a bit of a debate on your hands as to if you’ve made the right choice. Crytek has done just that here, with the Crysis Trilogy Remastered removing all multiplayer aspects and focussing efforts purely on the single-player stories of the first three games. That said, the big shooters of the year are almost upon us, so it’s probably for the best, and as someone who played the originals, the experience doesn’t feel like it suffers because of it. Instead turning this series into a purely single-player experience may be a good call going forward.
The biggest change to these games is of course the visuals. As is the point of a remaster, visuals have been improved over the originals with higher resolutions between 1080p and 4K at 60 FPS being achieved through dynamic resolution, and during my time with the games, I never noticed any changing to resolutions or the visuals suffering from any changes, and whilst they were working, they look spruced up. Sure, the first game still feels incredibly aged, but Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 certainly look and felt like modern FPS adventures. That’s not to say things are visually perfect, and more times than I’d like to admit I found myself seeing visual glitches or bugs that ruined the flow of the games, with one particular section during Crysis 2 forcing a wall into my path through a linear scripted scene which my character would clip through, however, I was unable to see the scene unfold.
To me, this is a glaring issue, as besides the visual improvements, there is nothing else the Crysis Trilogy Remastered offers over the originals. Factor in that all of these are available through backwards compatibility on Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles and issues with the key improvement being offered becomes a major problem. Surely the question needs to be asked as to why more time wasn’t given to polish the experience to ensure it is at its best.
There are other visual improvements beyond resolutions and framerates with high-definition textures and noticeably improved lighting to go along with the performance gains from newer hardware but make no mistakes about it, these games offer the same single-player experience as before, just with some cleaner visuals, and some bigger bugs too – and that’s not including the Ceph.
With the visuals not always providing consistent improvements the focus of the experience comes down to what we are all here to enjoy, the gameplay, and despite the visual setbacks and frequent bugs, there is enjoyment to be had with the gameplay. Whilst the first game hasn’t aged well in terms of gameplay, Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 certainly feel like triple-A FPS campaigns, and I was often looking for the next snippet of the story as each mission concluded.
Sadly, the gameplay does also contain a few bugs, with A.I. becoming unresponsive on two separate occasions during my playthrough of the first game, although a quick checkpoint restart was able to fix this quickly, whilst a collectable also fails to show during the second game, but besides these minor niggles, the gameplay experience is certainly worth experiencing if you’re new to the series. As for those that may be returning for a second run-through, it may be worth holding out until some fixes are in place.
When it works well though, Crysis Trilogy Remastered is a fun experience. Whilst the second game is certainly the highlight, there are positives within each game. A true positive that never falters throughout is the incredible sound design in place with firefights truly feeling believable when wearing a stereo headset, with bullet direction easily identifiable and the sci-fi groans of alien aircraft echoing an eerie reminiscence to the legendary movie War of the Worlds.
Environmental design is worth praise too, with apocalyptic Manhattan really shining as you crawl through decimated streets and devastated buildings. I even found myself caught out on occasions by cloaking up to get the unsuspecting drop on the enemies, before having my eye caught by infected civilians or destruction off into the distance.
Another feature that is severely underrated is the ability to customise your weapon on the fly, having recently played the beta of an upcoming shooter that does just that, it’s amazing to see that the ingenious idea was already implemented years ago and it’s not hard to see why many are beginning to adopt the idea when you’re able to capitalise on an evolving battle without the need to hop into menus or find different weapons.
If you’re a fan of the Crysis series, then Crysis Trilogy Remastered is definitely going to be a collection to experience once more. Whilst the initial representation may be too buggy at present, the true value of this franchise could really shine with the right patches and some additional polish. Those yet to experience this game shouldn’t be put off by the negatives in this review; sure, there is some illusion breaking bugs, and some irritation can be caused for anyone who knows the games from the originals, but in general, this trilogy still offers up the same fantastic sci-fi stories that they always have and if you’re an FPS fan who enjoys a good story, then you really shouldn’t pass this up, especially when all 3 games are available for the price of one typical release.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox Series S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.