‘Can it run Crysis?’ is not a question, but a concept. The now thirteen-year-old game from Crytek is the textbook example of a game that pushes PCs to the limit. The meme However, now has more value than the game itself, because it is clear that if PCs can still not run Crysis in its most ultimate mode so many years after the date, there may be something wrong with the optimization. Partly because of this, it was good news that a ‘remastered version’ would be released this year. A remaster is not a remake, so that limits what you can expect, but even then a remastered game can use all kinds of modern techniques that can make it a lot more beautiful. If the optimization can also be done to improve performance, a game like Crysis is quickly worth playing again.
Console version as a basis
Crysis Remastered is content similar to the game that came out thirteen years ago. At least, almost. Strange but true: this remaster is based on the old console version of Crysis. That version missed a level that was in the PC version. In the level ‘Ascension’ you flew in a VTOL while fighting alien aircraft. However, that level turned out to be too heavy for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and was therefore left out of the console version. Ascension is also missing from Crysis Remastered, which is a bit weird of course. The mission wasn’t necessarily indispensable to the game, but it added some variety and just looked nice. We would have liked to see what Ascension would look like in 2020, but the level is missing.
The rest of the game has remained the same. That means that in Crysis Remastered you also end up on an island, playing as ‘Nomad’, a soldier who is part of a special unit of the US military. This unity is characterized by the fact that the members wear special exoskeleton suits, called Nanosuits. The game is set in 2020, and in 2007 game makers apparently had certain ideas about where the US military would stand at the moment. Now the US military is experimenting with exoskeleton suits, but they are a lot simpler than the version in which Nomad and his colleagues are walking around. Nomad’s suit has all kinds of advanced gadgets. Not only can the suit help him sprint faster and jump higher, Nomad can also activate a special armor mode that greatly reduces the effect of enemy bullets and use a cloack mode that makes him invisible. All four functions of the suit consume energy, but their supply is automatically recharged when the functions are not used for a while. However, it does mean that your extra shield or your invisibility can only be used temporarily.
You badly need the functions of the suit, because the island quickly turns out to be dangerous. Not only are there enemy soldiers of the Korean People’s Army around, there also appears to be something mysterious going on. For example, early in the game, the soldiers find a ship that is not in the water, but is parked somewhere on a mountain. There, the soldiers also encounter a strange creature that is clearly not earthly. From here, the extraterrestrial influences start to play an increasingly important role in the story of Crysis, which is still quite nice so many years later. The same goes for many elements in the gameplay. In fact, at times we were quite impressed by how well the thirteen-year-old game can still keep up in that area. The way the missions develop still makes for a nice one flow and playing with the functions of the Nanosuit remains fun.
Yet there are also enough elements that are outdated in 2020. For example, the game often feels a bit wooden. You can take that quite literally when you consider how enemy soldiers move. Graphical improvements are certainly there, but they mainly apply to the quality of things like textures, shadows and lighting effects. Animations and, for example, the level of the soldiers’ artificial intelligence seem identical to how they were thirteen years ago. The latter becomes apparent, for example, when soldiers see a corpse. No matter how many enemies you have shot down at that same location, each subsequent soldier will come up just as unsuspectingly, only to be part of the same massacre you inflicted moments later. By the way, should you go down in battle yourself, you will resume the game from the most recently passed checkpoint. Crysis Remastered does not have a manual save function and that can cause some minor irritation. Fortunately, there are quite a few checkpoints, so it is not a huge issue.
Perhaps a bigger problem is that the game only includes the original campaign, which seems rather sparse given current standards. Perhaps Crytek would have done well to add expansion Crysis: Warhead or a multiplayer mode. Both could have provided some extra hours of fun. While some elements of the game remain intact and it is nice to see how the classic looks using modern techniques, there seems little reason to play Crysis Remastered a second time. The price – thirty euros – also reflects that, but it is certainly something to be aware of: after ten to twelve hours you will be through.