Crysis Remastered PC Review
Crysis, the original game released in 2007 has become the game benchmark for PC gamers. This legacy is borne out of two main factors – the game engine and the game’s CPU Single-Threaded Core restriction. The second factor is the bigger one. In 2007, CPUs with either single or dual cores were the only option. In today’s CPU landscape, multicore & multi-threaded processing are the norm. While the decision in 2007 to restrict Crysis to single-threaded processing was an understandable one, it also limited the scalability of the game going forward. So the only way to get Crysis to run faster was to throw more powerful GPUs and CPUs at the game. Unlike other games though, because of the single-threaded processing restriction, the offloading of graphics to more powerful video cards don’t bring the same results typically seen with other games. Regardless of the GPU increase, everything is dependent on how well new CPUs handle single-threaded processing. Performance improvements have been hobbled despite the ever-increasing GPU and CPU power.
In 2011, Crysis was ported over to 360 and PS3 consoles. In doing so, the assets of the PC version had to be downgraded. Sadly, this console version is what was used for this remaster which means those downgraded assets were used instead of the higher quality original PC versions.So it is with some trepidation that we approach this Crysis ‘Remaster’
When playing Crysis, the vibe from the game is strong 80s action movie. Think Predator crossed with Aliens crossed with Starship Troopers. This 80s approach is especially notable in the dialogue with its cheesy, male testosterone fueled bon mots – I ain’t got time to bleed! The game places the player as part of a four man task force suited with a cutting edge combat suit that gives you various powers based on the configuration chosen. You can choose an armored mode or an invisibility mode or use the power of the suit for speed bursts. The catch is that each mode consumes power which limits how long you can use each option.
Since the remaster is strictly cosmetic the gameplay remains unchanged so the age of Crysis shows here. The frame rate rises and falls depending on how much physics is being calculated at any given moment. Moving through the jungle gives frame rates in the 90s but there is a big drop off when you enter compounds and engage in combat. There I was looking at plunges down into the 40s. This variability in frame rate has an obviously major impact on how smooth your game experience is. By the way, turning on ray tracing cut the frame rate down by another 20fps.
A couple of other disappointments come in terms of the content. Like the console ports, the tenth level – Ascension is not included. This is a unique level where the player is piloting a VTOL craft. Crytek has gone on record as not liking this level but it is disappointing that it’s not included here to leave it up to the player whether or not they want to play it. There is further disappointment. With most remasters the original game plus any DLC content is usually included. Not so with this release. Even the modes of play have been scaled back here. There is the Campaign mode but multiplayer has been dropped.
So with confirmation that the remaster is strictly in the looks department, what do we find has been done? The biggest difference between this remaster and the original game, or even the port to console is the lighting. It has been completely revamped. This gives the game a better overall look and it makes Crysis appear more real than the previous ‘gamey’ look of the original. Along with the better lighting, better anti-aliasing and tessellation have been employed giving the game a cleaner and less jagged aesthetic as well.
Raytracing has been made available for PC players but it’s a pipe dream to turn it on and expect the game to run smoothly even if your rig is equipped with the latest CPU/GPU horsepower. Graphic settings must be set at least on high quality to allow ray tracing. The same settings are also required in order to turn on Motion Blur. I’m running a GTX 1070 TI but have an aged Intel i2500K CPU so while I could turn on raytracing to at least sample it the game became unplayable. Taking it a bit further, no matter what settings I put the game on hitting a locked 60 fps was impossible. The single-threaded nature of the game is too much for my CPU. Other gamers with better rigs have also reported that hitting a locked 60 fps is impossible.
This is a rather cursory attempt at a remaster. The use of downgraded assets, missing content, no DLC, no multiplayer, and no ability to quick save are all big letdowns. One thing the remaster does carry on though is the legacy of the original game in being able to run in a smooth and consistent manner. Further patches may improve the game but in its current state, the only reaction possible with this release is disappointment.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Better implementation of lighting and anti-aliasing
- Options to run the game in various modes
- Upgraded cinematics
- Single Threaded CPU core constraint still exists
- Aged gameplay
- Random video glitches