Crysis Remastered is one of those games that has been on my radar for quite a while. Released for the Nintendo Switch during the summer of 2020, and then across all platforms a few months later, I was among those who never played Crysis in its hayday. That was all the way back in 2007 when it first launched for PC and was esteemed by many at the time as something of a technical marvel.
Now, here we are, with an enhanced port of not only the original Crysis, capable of being experienced in the palm of our hands, on The Greatest Console of All Time™, but both of its heralded sequels too.
The recent release of the Crysis Remastered Trilogy, bringing Crysis 2 and 3 to Nintendo’s hardware for the first time, available as individual purchases as well, has revitalized my interest in the series. With a fresh opportunity to finally jump into Crytek’s acclaimed first-person shooter and see the entirety of the trilogy’s story arc to completion, I’ve decided that, rather than a broad overview of the Trilogy collection, which I fear would require glossing over important details that set the three titles apart, each Crysis merits its own separate review.
If you’re someone who has contemplated buying the Trilogy or simply the first Crysis game, perhaps like me in that you’ve had little to no prior knowledge of Crysis before Saber Interactive worked their magic once again, delivering the FPS franchise to the Switch, then take note: this review was written specifically for you.
Let’s get into it.
Set in the year 2020, Crysis puts you in the shoes of a U.S. Special Forces member whose code name is ‘Nomad.’ Nomad and his colleagues, together comprising ‘Raptor Team’, are deployed to the fictional Lingshan Islands located in the Philippines Sea. A week earlier, a group of archeologists had sent out a distress call, revealing the discovery of a potentially earth-shattering artifact. Their research has been seized upon by the North Korean military and now it’s up to you, working on behalf of the United States, to extract the helpless scientists and recover the information they have unearthed for your overseers back at the Pentagon.
As you soon learn, the island’s biggest threat to the safety of you and your Raptor Team comrades is not the North Koreans but instead an adversary far more inscrutable, technologically advanced, and—quite literally—out of this world.
All in all, Crysis’s narrative plays out like a fairly generic Hollywood action flick. Dialogue lays the cheese on thick but manages to stay entertaining from start to finish, keeping you on the edge of your seat and always leaving you with more than a few unanswered questions.
It doesn’t go out of its way to develop any of the characters involved, and the plot is hardly innovative or thoughtful, but it also doesn’t need to be. Crysis Remastered is strictly for those with an urge to shoot military-grade weapons and steer high-powered artillery, such as tanks and Humvees with mounted turrets. What makes Crysis unique as a shooter is that it lets you play through a sizeable chunk of the game without ever requiring that you fire a single bullet.
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
Among Crysis Remastered’s ten Missions (an eleventh, called ‘Ascension,’ was omitted from the Switch version due to hardware limitations), the first several were the most memorable for me. These occur in large, open-ended, sandbox environments that vividly recreate an authentic sense of being a lone soldier who’s fighting his way through an exotic jungle landscape. What immediately impresses me about Crysis is its lush, detailed surroundings, full of dense foliage, wildlife, and, of course, hostile combatants.
Nomad and his band of brothers are outfitted with cutting-edge Nano suits, highly advanced gear that permits them to alternate between ‘Amor Mode,’ ‘Cloak Mode, and ‘Speed Mode.’ When Cloak Mode is activated, for example, Nomad becomes invisible, enabling him to stealthily move about and infiltrate enemy spaces undetected. Amor Mode, naturally, diminishes the impact of damage he receives when fired upon, while Speed Mode turns his normal, snail-paced gait into a rapid dash.
The Nanosuit’s energy is in short supply, however, and gradually depletes when in use. Once its energy fully runs out, you’ll have to wait a few moments for it to recharge.
Aside from the Nanosuit, weapons sometimes have different attachments that can be selected on and off, including options like a silencer, a flashlight, and various scopes. Finally, Nomad is equipped with binoculars for scouting distant targets, as well as night-vision goggles to help navigate through the jungle after nightfall or the occasional unlit room.
One of the more pleasing aspects of Crysis Remastered is the many diverging paths that can be taken to accomplish the same objective. You can shoot your way through hordes of KPA (Korean People’s Army), although, unless you’re playing on ‘Easy’ mode, it’s not recommended.
I played on the game’s ‘Normal’ difficulty setting and let’s just say, I died a lot.
Instead, you can sneak alongside the beaten path and then ambush your foes one at a time, retreating into the nearby brush and turning on the Nanosuit’s Cloak Mode until the enemy is off your trail. If you’re lucky to happenstance upon a DSG1 Precision Rifle, you can sit back in your sniper’s nest and clear the way forward from afar.
If none of these choices tickles your fancy, there’s always the option of hopping into a Humvee or pickup truck and plowing your way to the end goal, granted that your vehicle doesn’t take too much damage or the road isn’t blocked by some other means.
Not Without Its Issues
While I appreciate the variety of methods at your disposal in tackling many of Crysis Remastered’s missions, I do have a few bones to pick.
First, when your Nanosuit’s ‘Speed Mode’ is not in action, movement in Crysis feels painfully slow. This is arguably necessary to counterbalance the very purpose of the Nanosuit’s momentum boost, yet I still found Nomad’s normal stride a tad obnoxious at times. Especially as I came into Crysis Remastered after just having finished the ultra-fast-paced Doom.
Secondly, while the game isn’t too punishing in terms of auto-saving checkpoints, a quick save feature would have been most welcome. More than once I found myself carefully and slowly taking down belligerent units, one at a time, only to miss an enemy lurking behind some tree or bush. After their bullets consigned me to my previous checkpoint, I felt no incentive to painstakingly claw my way back to the spot of my passing, opting instead to reclaim the lost progress by any means necessary.
One could argue that the inclusion of a quick save option would eliminate all threats of penalty for death, thereby potentially hurting the sense of immersion invoked by this war-like atmosphere in which even the smallest mistake carries life-and-death consequences. My reply: Okay, fair enough. However, the game did apparently include quick saves at one point, and so why it was omitted from the Remastered version—and if the gameplay really benefits from this decision—at least for me remains a question mark.
“Hey, slow down! My Nanosuit is out of energy and I can’t walk any faster than this!’
Thirdly, and most importantly, the A.I. is kind of awful. Setting aside the voice-acting of the Koreans, a subject to which I will return shortly, enemy soldiers in Crysis Remastered are downright dumb, making them far too easy to exploit.
A primary example of this is when I had climbed a sniper’s lookout. I quickly gleaned two important facts about the KPA agents seeking my head: they don’t grasp how ladders work and they possess the memory span of a goldfish.
This enabled me to set up camp and methodically pick off my prey, ducking out of sight for a moment until I heard them inquiring with one another ‘Where did he go?’ Apparently, the heap of corpses sprawled about the base of the watchtower, or the obvious figure shooting down at them mere seconds ago, wasn’t enough to clue them in.
It’s not that I’m expecting video game NPCs to approach a level of awareness that mimics actual human intelligence. But I don’t expect them to continually pour into a room in which they’ve just watched six of their buddies get mowed down at the entrance either. Whatever the case may be, for everything else that one can say Crysis Remastered does well, its enemy A.I. is not one of them.
Presentation and Performance
Although I would describe the gameplay of Crysis Remastered as overall a fun experience that suffers from repetitive gunfights and poor A.I., its presentation and performance on Switch are undoubtedly the game’s defining achievements. Crysis Remastered looks great whether docked or in handled mode. From its rich, colorful vegetation, and dazzling lighting effects, to the intensity and destruction wrought by each weapon. The latter can even obliterate entire buildings and structures, which is simply cool in and of itself. Crysis Remastered really captures the essence of a high-octane blockbuster thriller, with a musical score that matches the epic feel of its narrative.
When it comes to the more technical side of things, it seems like Saber Interactive did a solid job of squeezing every ounce of raw power out of the Switch hardware. Not only is Crysis Remastered gorgeous, everything runs pretty smoothly too, and I didn’t notice any outstanding issues with frame rates.
On the other hand, I did meet a handful of bugs. One such instance occurred when I was attempting to reach an elevated platform where a sniper had been hanging out. The floor disappeared beneath my feet, causing me to fall to the ground. There were also one or two points in which progress was prevented due to some event trigger not activating. I was forced to return to my last checkpoint.
That said, for the most part, my only real gripes with presentation and performance were restricted to the audio department.
“I’ll just climb up this tower and steal that sniper’s… Huh? Where did he go?”
Let’s start with voice-acting. I’m not claiming any special knowledge or expertise here. I’ve only visited the Korean Peninsula once in real life and my time there was brief. Still, given the few interactions I did have with English-speaking South Koreans, I’m pretty confident in saying that the English-speaking KPA soldiers in Crysis Remastered sound absolutely ridiculous.
What’s worse, and even truly bizarre, is that the game includes Korean voiceovers but requires that you play the game on its hardest difficulty setting if you want to hear them. I get the reasoning for this. Unless you understand Korean, you won’t be aware of your opponents’ communications, for example, if they remark that you’ve been spotted. Still, why on earth am I unable to play through the game with the Americans speakin’ freakin’ English and the Koreans speakin’ freakin’ Korean, if I so desire, without opting for the toughest game mode?
My quibbles with Crysis Remastered’s audio don’t end there.
The game does a poor job of conveying sounds in a way that accurately corresponds to the amount of distance separating the player from their source. When an enemy is standing on the other side of a large field, he shouldn’t sound as if he is but a few feet away.
There were also occurrences in which audio just seemed to drop out completely. One of the times was clearly a bug, as even my gunfire wasn’t producing any noise. In other cases, I was less certain, as the music would halt and revert to complete silence for a minute or so until starting up again. Whether or not this was intentional, as in the track coming to an awkward end before looping, or initiating new background music altogether; or whether something else entirely was the cause, I’m unsure. Fortunately, it was infrequent, and although a little jarring, didn’t really affect gameplay in the slightest.
Once I had whisked past Crysis Remastered’s first several missions and the expansive, beautiful, tropical island scenery contained therein, the latter half of the game somewhat fell off for me.
The objectives became much more linear and forgettable, and the ‘Oh’s!’ and ‘Ah’s!’ elicited by the Nanosuit, which is an innately slick feature, eventually wore off as the novelty of any new shiny toy always does. I was faced with an unyielding conviction about Crysis Remastered’s core gameplay: As a first-person shooter, it’s only slightly above mediocre. It doesn’t do anything particularly badly, but its 7-10 hour campaign also isn’t the sort of affair that makes you wish it had laster longer either.
For those with fond memories of Crysis on the PC and thinking about making a return to the fray with the Remastered version, know that as impressive as the game looks and runs on Switch, it’s a substantial visual downgrade, even in comparison to its PS4/PS5 and Xbox One/Series X counterparts. Multiplayer options have also been cut, the original including PvP online multiplayer. Personally, I think the game could’ve benefited greatly from cooperative play. However, you do have gyroscope functionality on the Switch! …If you’re into that.
For seasoned fans who perhaps just want Crysis as their latest portable companion, that is as genuinely neat as the proposition sounds. First-timers, I would argue, have better options available when it comes to first-person shooters on the Nintendo Switch, but if, for whatever reason, games like Metro 2033 and Bioshock Remastered don’t quite fit the bill, then Crysis Remastered is certainly a worthy offering.
Lastly, with Crysis 2 and 3 on my horizon, I can at least say this much. Crytek introduced many interesting concepts in Crysis and I’m sincerely excited to learn how they built upon and refined them in the sequels. Crysis Remastered may not hold up as incredibly to newcomers today as it once did 14 years ago, but in its DNA I can yet sense the traces of something great.
Thanks for reading! Check out some of the other recent articles that our staff has been busy working on, and stay tuned as Nestor takes on Crysis 2 Remastered next! Or, if you feel so inclined, leave a comment and let us know what you thought about Crysis Remastered! You can also say hello to the crew on our Discord, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter!
A Nintendo fanboy/Switch enthusiast from Detroit, Michigan currently living in Sapporo, Hokkaido. His favorite games are Witcher III, Breath of the Wild, Dragon Quest XI, and Final Fantasy IX, and he is the creator of ‘Kingdom of Neandria’ on Switch, available via the RPG Maker MV Player app. Follow Nestor on Twitter @KNeandria!