Welcome trip down memory lane - system overload-free
Made by German developer Crytek, Crysis Remastered Trilogy welcomes you back to the alien-infested calamitous version of Earth with enhanced graphics and smoother performance to boast. Crysis as a series often gets lost in the conversation when it comes to first-person shooters. It never achieved the same recognition as other more popular FPS titles like Halo and Battlefield, perhaps in part due to its semi-interesting plot and single-player-only campaign. However, while Crysis might not present the most groundbreaking story or innovative gameplay, it’s an all-around solid FPS with plenty of formidable challenges and opportunities for destruction to enjoy.
Though each game varies slightly in its narrative, regardless of which Crysis title you’re playing, it boils down to soldiers encountering and working to defeat an alien menace while simultaneously trying to take down human enemy factions.
In Crysis 1, the game opens with your descent upon the Lingshan islands in the Philippines, where a mysterious threat is wiping out occupying North Korean police forces. You’re greeted with explosions, enemy fire, and bloody scenes littered with bodies that appear to have been savaged by an unknown entity. Amidst the chaos, you come to learn that the hazard is a technologically advanced alien species that has apparently inhabited Earth for millions of years. In-game, it’s speculated that they have remained dormant until now to prevent the degradation of Earth at human hands.
Crysis 2 and 3 build off this premise but further develop the characters and introduce additional complications for a more in-depth storyline. You emerge into an apocalyptic New York City following the incursion of the Manhattan virus, a strange plague linked to the alien race now known as the Ceph. By this time, the private military contractor C.E.L.L has assumed control of New York, prompting you to fight through hordes of both hostile aliens and C.E.L.L operatives.
Though not the most original concept, it does make for a narrative that holds your attention and connects you to the characters, especially in Crysis 2 and 3.
Each title employs the same fundamental mechanics and stealth tactics. Using your superhuman nanosuit, you sneak, shoot, and maneuver your way through missions, completing one checkpoint at a time. The games also bear a strong resemblance to Predator, especially the first installment, which has you snaking through the jungle going in and out of stealth mode to take out militants and aliens alike. As a sandbox, it’s satisfying to traverse the island with the option to annihilate entire villages at your discretion. The second and third installments offer a much more linear approach, to a lesser extent Crysis 3, which seemed to find the best balance in its level composition.
As far as weaponry goes, the games offer a range of guns from assault rifles and pistols to snipers and submachine guns. You can also bolster your arsenal with an assortment of sidearms including grenades, mines, and missile launchers. There’s a fair bit of crossover in the weapons between games but there are also those exclusive to each title, Crysis 3 being the most unique with its signature compound bow. Players are also able to unlock compatible weapon attachments such as silencers, holo dots, and extended clips. Customization in the case of Crysis 3’s Predator Bow allows you to adjust how much power it takes to draw back your arrows, which determines your aim time and fall off.
The series’ primary gimmick, the nanosuit, is not as overpowered as you might expect. Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself applying the suit as a defense mechanism rather than an offensive device. Its armor ability and camouflage play a major role as you try to evade enemies and seek out attack points. The suit also allows you to scope out scenes, tag enemies, and identify a course of action to complete objectives.
Depending on the difficulty setting, enemy AI can be quite unforgiving and challenges the player’s skills and tactical approach. If an enemy spots you, there’s no momentary confusion - they start firing almost instantly and surrounding enemies are quick to join the fray. Alien adversaries are particularly difficult for their agility and will close in on you rapidly upon detecting your location. It’s instances like these where you have to effectively utilize your suit, whether it’s sprinting out of harm's way, powering up your armor to afford heavy damage, or switching on invisibility mode to flank your perplexed foes. Because the nanosuit relies on power draw, you have to be strategic in analyzing the situation and determining which solution is your best bet.
One thing that makes the Crysis trilogy stand out in the FPS genre is that it’s strictly single-player campaign. The remastered release stuck to its guns in excluding co-op functions, which depending on how you view it, is either disappointing or lends a sense of nostalgia. Either way, you complete 100% of each game flying solo.
Anyone familiar with the Crysis series is probably all too aware of the infamous meme, “but can it run Crysis?”, alluding to the intensive spec requirements that put immense strain on previous-gen consoles and PCs. Thankfully, the relaunch addressed many of the bugs that plagued the series’ earlier releases. Now, there are fewer framerate stutters and ascension has been re-added, making for a drastically better performance across every system.
Graphically, the trilogy remaster did a commendable job revitalizing the colors and visuals. The patch introduced a new level of quality while toning down some of the lighting and bloom effects that were an eyesore in the original games. The color grading is a massive improvement as well, which abandoned the orange and blue hues in favor of a less heavy filter to create a more realistic sense of light source.
Locked at 60fps, Crysis 1 Remastered is still a bit rough around the edges when it comes to the environments and character models but 2 and 3 flaunt crisp and clean visuals. Of the three, the second installment made arguably the most notable improvements with various rendering tricks and modern hardware. Everything from the shadows to the reflection engine looks more smooth and realistic. Crysis 2 Remastered also fixed the weapon handling animations to run at the native frame rate as opposed to a locked 30fps.
Across all three titles, the music is cohesive and pairs well with each location. Hans Zimmer composed some of the score from Crysis 2 alongside Tillman Selescu and Borislav Slavov. Epic rhythms blended with escalating brass measures and occasional orchestral melodies create some heart-pounding but also majestic moments. The score in its entirety delivered a fitting mix of intensity, intrigue, and a dash of horror to make opening sequences and exploration of main areas that much more immersive.
At the end of the day, Crysis as a series has plenty to offer that makes it worth revisiting. Crysis Remastered Trilogy instilled new life in these games both visually and performance-wise, providing a refreshing experience for existing fans and newcomers alike. If you enjoyed the original releases, Crysis Remastered Trilogy is a welcome trip down memory lane - system overload-free.
So, why should you play it?
Good blend of open and linear levels across titles
But, why shouldn’t you play it?
No co-op mode
A PC review code was provided for the purpose of this review.
Johnna is a copywriter and aspiring concept artist based in Sydney, Australia. When she's not writing or designing characters, Johnna enjoys spending her free time in the comfort of an open world game. Some of her favourite titles include Twilight Princess, Okami, and God of War 2018.