After spending some time with the remastered version of Crysis on Xbox One X, I’ve come to the decision that it hasn’t aged very well.
Like many people, I imagine, I was wowed by Crysis when it launched on PC back in 2007. It simply looked spectacular, way ahead of anything else available at the time. And it had a great sense of freedom, too: it was up to you how you approached each objective set within its beautiful environments. But it was very demanding on your hardware. So demanding, in fact, that it coined the term “but can it run Crysis?”
Of course, since then Crysis has also been ported to consoles – though in a pared back form, obviously. And now Crytek and Saber Interactive have remastered the title, bringing it to current-gen consoles and PC in an enhanced form. But you can only polish something up so much. I’ve only played Crysis Remastered on Xbox One X at this point, so can’t comment on how good it looks on PC, but even in its quality and ray tracing graphics modes, I’ve been left unimpressed with it.
My start with Crysis Remastered on Xbox One X was actually disastrous. After installing it and booting it up, I enabled the ray tracing graphics mode before starting a new game. It was quickly apparent that something was wrong. The screen was garbled in areas, then it seemingly shrunk and moved inwards, until eventually it was like there was a screen, within a screen, within a screen. Fortunately, fully rebooting my Xbox One X solved the issue.
Trying again, things worked better. But honestly, in ray tracing mode, Crysis Remastered‘s image quality isn’t great. It’s a bit edgy, and there’s not much in the way of ray tracing beautification to make the payoff seem worthwhile. You notice the odd advanced reflection here and there, but it doesn’t wow you. The truth is that none of Crysis Remastered’s graphics modes are particularly fulfilling.
Quality mode certainly looks sharper and more pleasant, but there are nicer looking open world first-person shooters out there, such as Far Cry 5. And its performance is all over the place; during hectic scenes, it can feel a like a slideshow. Chances are, then, you’ll want to play Crysis Remastered in performance mode, which does indeed boost the framerate, but the noticeable hit in picture quality is quite hard to stomach. In performance mode, I’d actually go as far as to say that Crysis Remastered is a bit ugly at times.
It’s not just the now outdated visuals that drag Crysis Remastered down though – it simply feels old in general. Games have moved on a hell of a lot in 13 years, and so nothing about the game feels as exciting or revolutionary as it once did. The gunplay isn’t great, its story is passable, and its mission design makes you just feel like you’re forever running towards dots on a map. Throw in some iffy animations and you have an experience that constantly reminds you it’s from a bygone era.
Playing Crysis Remastered, I was reminded why I never saw the original release through to its end. Once the novelty of the groundbreaking visuals wore off, all that was left was a fairly repetitive game with tiresome firefights and a super suit system that never fulfilled its potential. And so in 2020, Crysis Remastered fails to truly impress on any level. It’s a decent game, sure, but it doesn’t excel in anything. The recent Far Cry titles look, play, and perform better while offering similar but expanded gameplay. The ray tracing graphics mode is also little more than a gimmick.
If you have fond memories of Crysis and wish to play it again but with better visuals on the format of your choice, you’ll probably get some enjoyment out of Crysis Remastered. Well, unless your favourite thing about it was the multiplayer – that’s been ripped out. It isn’t a bad game by any means, and its budget price is appreciated, but it’s no longer the graphical powerhouse that it was. Even worse, it appears the aspect that really needed remastering was its gameplay, and it doesn’t seem to have been touched at all.