Crysis Remastered Trilogy
Platform: PS5 via Backwards Compatibility (also available on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 15/10/21
A code was provided for review purposes
I really didn’t know what to expect when starting the Crysis Remastered Trilogy, as I’d never played a game in the series before. Whenever I heard any discourse about them, it was always about their infamous performance woes, not just on consoles. I didn’t know anything about the story or gameplay, other than them being first-person shooters.
When news of remasters started trickling out, I knew that I’d need to finally try them out for myself. But do they do enough to fix the issues that plagued the originals, and if you haven’t played the games before, are they worth your attention now? Keep reading to find out.
War of the Worlds
Taking place in a fictional version of our world, you play as different US soldiers who wear the powerful Nanosuits. Clad in this technologically advanced armour, you face off against various threats as you try to stop the alien race that has recently reawakened on the planet, known as the Ceph. It’s certainly an exciting premise, but unfortunately for me, I didn’t find the story to be anything more than average.
To its credit, Crysis Remastered Trilogy has twists and turns aplenty, as well as some intriguing world-building. However, the real sticking point is that most of the characters just aren’t very interesting. Both a lack of screen-time and character development makes for a forgettable cast, which in turn makes it difficult for the player to feel invested in the narrative. You’re playing through a promising story without caring about what’s happening around you, or to whom.
It’s a relief then that Crysis 3 does a much better job at building its characters than the previous games. I actually had an emotional stake in the story this time around. Returning characters like Prophet (the protagonist this time) and Psycho are given greater depth and attention. Even the new additions left an impression. This, alongside emotional scenes and some thrilling set-pieces, make the third entry a much more engaging experience. In short, the storytelling gets stronger as the series progresses.
Exploration and Variety
All three games in the Crysis Remastered Trilogy follow a similar structure. Each takes place across a series of missions within surprisingly open levels. It’s this non-linear approach to level design that helps make the gameplay more involved and exploration-based.
As a result of the more open design and layout, there are often various different ways to reach destinations and approach goals. The games fully encourage you to experiment and explore as much as possible, finding the best method for you. Making use of stealth to avoid groups of enemies, or go in guns blazing, the level design accommodates and benefits both. Some levels are more open than others, with some also featuring different vehicles to control. It strikes a good balance so that pacing doesn’t become too bloated for the sake of it.
Most missions not only have the main goal but a varying amount of secondary objectives as well. These are often off the beaten path and can lead to some nice bonuses. The level design really is a strong point of the trilogy. While it might not be as unique today with so many games adopting vast open worlds, that more focused but still open design still stands strong, and it leads to some diverse, experimental gameplay.
It’s in combat and the controls where the first Crysis shows its age. While you have access to quite a nice selection of weaponry to choose from, handling them is far from enjoyable. Aiming just feels sluggish and unresponsive. Even after changing some of the settings and upping the sensitivity, it never feels satisfying or even decent with a controller. This even extends to general movement. Your regular speed is slow, while the sprint is far too fast. The game never seems to get it right in this regard, where it, unfortunately, ends up being a chore to play. Aim assist ends up being a godsend here. Luckily, the subsequent entries fix this major issue pretty much completely, resulting in much smoother gunplay. Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 get the balance right, where I could really enjoy and appreciate the combat in comparison.
What I do like about the gameplay, both in combat and exploration, is the inclusion of the armour and stealth modes of the Nanosuit. The former, as the name suggests, gives you armour to reduce incoming damage from enemy fire, as well as fall damage. The latter makes you invisible to the enemy, but will still be spotted at very close range. These drain your suit’s energy meter, which quickly recovers when not in use.
The enemy AI can be pretty hit or miss, particularly in the first game. Stealth feels almost useless there, where unless you’re using the Nanosuit’s invisibility mode, enemies will instantly spot you from a mile away, even when crouched. Everyone becomes alerted to your location and it takes forever for the heat to die down. On the flip side, you’ll get plenty of moments where enemies act completely dumb and hardly react to you. This is in contrast to times when enemies can be very smart in how they approach you. It’s just inconsistent. Like before, this does get improved, especially in Crysis 3.
A Wealth of Customisation
What stays consistently strong throughout the Crysis Remastered Trilogy is the weapons and customisation. There is a good number of different weapons and types for you to use in each game, where you even get a cool-looking bow that can shoot different types of arrows. Who doesn’t like bows? Not only this, weapons have a variety of attachments that can be equipped and removed on the fly, so you can change up your strategy depending on the situation and in the heat of combat.
Crysis 2 and 3 even add the feature of upgrading your Nanosuit’s capabilities. These include things like reducing the drain speed of your suit’s energy, decreasing the sound of footsteps, longer sprint time, etc. Tailoring the upgrades to your play style is really beneficial and builds upon that experimental focus of the game.
The trilogy can be quite a challenge, not helped by the awkward controls in the first game, so making effective use out of the weapons, Nanosuit powers, and upgrades is key to success over your enemies. Speaking of which, the various enemies you encounter keep combat scenarios tense and frantic, especially the different types of Ceph. Sneaking past is often the best strategy over a head-on fight. Either way, difficulty options are present if you need them.
But can it run Crysis?
Yes, it’s no secret that the original releases of these games were plagued with performance issues and overall poor optimisation, even on PC. I think it’s safe to say the main draw for these remasters, especially on console, is to finally have a stable experience. For the most part, they succeed with flying colours, where once again, the only real issues that arise are with the first game.
While it’s received the typical improvements in texture quality and bump in resolution, Crysis doesn’t look anything impressive by today’s standards. This makes it more glaring when the game still suffers performance issues, even when playing on a PS5. While it doesn’t happen frequently, it highlights the poor optimisation of the release. In comparison, the other 2 games not only hold up visually, especially the beautiful lighting and textures, but they also run like a dream. I hardly noticed any performance drops throughout their campaigns. It also helps that the PS5 runs the games at a silky-smooth 60fps via backwards compatibility.
The trilogy has you explore so many different locales, from lush forests, crumbling city-scapes, and alien ruins. This combines with the mostly, quality visuals for a package that might finally be able to shed its infamous trappings.
I don’t know how to feel about my time with the Crysis Remastered Trilogy. On the one hand, I don’t feel as if I missed out on anything special, but I also enjoyed my 15-20 hours with it. While the first game often felt like a chore to play, and the storytelling as a whole wasn’t anything memorable, the latter two entries provided plenty of fun. The smooth gameplay that encourages experimentation kept me engaged. Crysis 3 was the standout entry for me, as it balanced the great gameplay with a stronger narrative.
But in truth, now that the woeful performance problems have been mostly corrected, the trilogy doesn’t have anything that really sets it apart for discussion. With the obvious memes no longer applicable, what’s left are solid first-person shooters, fighting humans and aliens to save the world. If you’re a fan of the series or this type of game, then you’ll find enjoyment here. Otherwise, you won’t be missing out on much.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can buy your copy of Crysis Remastered Trilogy on the PlayStation Store here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.