The late 1980s and 1990s of FPS games were dominated by names such as DOOM, Quake, and Unreal Tournament, offering up plenty of ways for players to experience true carnage and endless bunny hopping. When it came to the 2000s though, no FPS stood quite as tall as Crysis. This was plenty warranted though, as at the time it was groundbreaking not just on visual prowess, but on truly testing the hardware of the time. Its followups, while not quite as notorious, were great in their own right. While they’ve all aged like a fine wine though, a tune-up wouldn’t hurt. That’s where Crysis Remastered Trilogy comes into play, bringing together all three games with some serious graphical improvements. From ray-tracing to enhanced environmental detail, there’s plenty to be excited about. With all three games done and dusted, do they do the legacy of such a series justice though? Find out in my review of Crysis Remastered Trilogy!
Crysis Remastered Trilogy is available on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch consoles. The PC edition was played for this review.
Back Where it All Began
Naturally, it’s only fair we start where the series began, and where it’s most notorious. Crysis Remastered puts you in the shoes of Raptor Team soldier Nomad, working to extract a scientist from the North Korean-controlled Lingshan Islands. As they proceed through the island though, the team quickly finds out that there’s something much more sinister at play here, threatening not just their lives but the entirety of humanity.
To be completely honest, I prefer Crysis 3 over either of its predecessors. Put away your pitchforks please, I still prefer the first Crysis over its sequel. I just felt that the third installment combined the first’s open-endedness and the second’s solid story into one, and it melded beautifully. That aside though, Crysis Remastered was going to have a tall mountain to climb if it was to be seen as a great remaster. Not just in visual quality, but many of the game systems just aged poorly. It was ahead of its time in various aspects, but some simple things could be fixed for modern-day audiences.
I’m happy to say that at the very least, textures and visuals have been given a serious overhaul. The title still looks great in the current era, but these tune-ups do it plenty of favors. Everything from the minute textures on the team’s nano suits to the luscious vegetation has been greatly improved. Lighting has also seen a massive upgrade, thanks in part to the addition of ray-tracing. With dense jungles during some portions of the game, it only made sense that ray-tracing would be a star here.
And for all you “Can it run Crysis though?” players (despite how insufferable you may be), there’s been a fair bit of optimization as well that extends into the other episodes of the trilogy. Nvidia DLSS is a massive improvement for one, seriously upping performance no matter the game’s quality. For the unaware, DLSS increases performance by using AI to improve the quality of an image without running the game at that resolution. For example, you could use AI to run a game at 480p and still get near 1080p picture quality depending on settings. As expected, this can be major in making higher resolutions still possible to run at consistent 60 FPS or whatever you prefer.
But while I loved so much about Crysis Remastered, that’s just visuals and performance. When it comes to the gameplay itself, virtually nothing that didn’t age well was changed. Ammo still isn’t automatically picked up for equipped weapons, maximum speed is essentially just a short-lived sprint, maximum jump feels like trying to get a bouncy ball up a cliff, and enemy AI is frankly atrocious. With the opportunity to execute a remaster, it feels as though Crytek missed a massive opportunity here. It didn’t need to feel like a remake, but something akin to the first game in Mass Effect Legendary Edition would’ve gone a long way.
From my review of the first game in the Crysis Remastered Trilogy, I’d say it’s mostly serviceable. It fixes many of the visual issues that didn’t age quite as well in the modern-day and added a fair bit of optimization to boot. While this is a good remaster though, Crytek has prevented it from being great. Again, this didn’t need to be a complete gameplay overhaul, but any gameplay change would’ve gone a long way.
The Odd Middle Child
Like I said previously, Crysis 2 has always landed as my least favorite Crysis entry. Not only does it continue that horrible trend of having some utterly atrocious AI, but it lacks both the story and open-ended nature of the titles before or after it. Given the time it was made, one can’t help but feel it was designed to cater to the Call of Duty crowd and make big bucks there rather than please fans of the first installment. As such, this step of my review of the Crysis Remastered Trilogy had some very low expectations.
But to my surprise, I walked away with a much stronger impression than past playthroughs. Whether it was a fresh perspective or the remaster itself, I’m not entirely sure, but I can say with confidence that the remaster does this title many favors. Again, the addition of ray-tracing is game-changing. The new lighting in particularly glossy areas looks fantastic, breathing new life into an otherwise aging game. Levels such as the Hargreave–Rasch building are stunning thanks to these reflections, alongside the heightened texture quality. The same goes for just standard textures, which no longer look straight out of 2011.
Many of the animations and cutscenes share the same fate, thanks to the heightened framerates. Reload animations feel incredibly clean, assassinations are more visceral, and deaths of hostiles are that much more satisfying. These are all small in the grand scheme of things, but together they have a serious impact on moment-to-moment gunplay.
While I loved the visuals though, again the gameplay didn’t make much of a change. Comparatively, Crysis 2 didn’t need to make as much of a change though. Many of the frustrating systems I mentioned of the original installments gameplay were scrapped completely and it was better for it when it was released. The same goes for the remaster…except for the AI (and sprinting, though it doesn’t feel as bad here). Somehow it feels as though the AI is worse here. Rather than simply being cannon fodder, now they’ll seem to ignore their ally being gunned down by an unsuppressed AR five feet away from them. Sure, it’s funny the first few times, but it trivializes the gameplay when enemies don’t notice you regardless of if you’re suppressed or not.
Again though, with everything the game already improved on, this doesn’t feel quite as nasty as it does in the original. I walked away from Crysis 2 Remastered with notably better thoughts on the game than my last playthrough, and that’s worth something. Thankfully, these enhanced impressions lead me perfectly into the final part of the remaster.
The Conclusion of An Era
That brings us to our final episode in this Crysis Remastered Trilogy review, Crysis 3. This has always been my favorite of the series, even if many of you would disagree. While I enjoyed the first entry quite a bit more than Crysis 2, I feel that Crysis 3 strikes that perfect balance between having an emotional and thought-provoking story and offering some strong, open-ended gameplay. It’s also the most refined of the three, bringing about many things the previous two entries lacked (sprinting not taking up energy, for example).
As expected, my thoughts on the title are only heightened by the remaster. Again, the visuals department went all out and somehow made a game that already looked great look even better. Once again, locations with both inclement weather and lush vegetation stand out the strongest, as Crytek has always proven fantastic in both these areas. Standing out above the rest is both the first level, where you work with Psycho to enter the Liberty Dome, and the third, where you try to regroup with the resistance and enact a plan to stop CELL.
While again, the gameplay was left virtually untouched, this time around it didn’t need touching up. Sure, there are a few things that could’ve used tidying up such as certain bugs that were present, but you barely notice it this time around. While this may have just been a coincidence that worked in Crytek’s favor, it’s a positive nonetheless.
Crysis Remastered Trilogy offers the prime way to experience Crysis, arguably one of the strongest FPS series on the market. With the enhanced visuals and host of improvements such as the incredible DLSS and ray-tracing, the games have never looked or felt as good as they do now. While the visuals are great, the gameplay has been left virtually untouched. This isn’t as detrimental later on in the experience, but places like the first Crysis leave thoughts of what could’ve been. Regardless, whether you’re itching to replay the series or wish to experience it for the first time, Crysis Remastered Trilogy brings New York and Lingshan plenty of visual and performative glory.
- Lingshan and New York have never looked so good.
- Ray-tracing changes the look of the game entirely, for the better.
- Nvidia DLSS is a massive help
- Framerate increases in certain areas help a ton
- Gameplay has been left virtually untouched
- Bugs from original iterations are still present