In 2007, Crysis rose to fame in the gaming world, quickly gaining a reputation for its innovative graphics, capable of pushing even the most advanced PC’s to the brink. Now, 13 years and some increasingly disappointing sequels later, Crytek’s legendary first-person shooter comes to Switch, ported by Saber Interactive. Is the ability to play this visual masterpiece on a handheld console an incredible feat of game development, or is this remaster merely a pale imitation of former glories?
In Crysis Remastered, players take control of Nomad, a US special forces soldier who must infiltrate an island in the East Philippines. A large contingent of North Koreans has set up shop on the tropical paradise to investigate some reported abnormal activity; it is your job to find out exactly what. The campaign is short and sweet, clocking in at around eight hours. The characters and plot are nothing spectacular, reminiscent of the tropes seen in a typical action film. This is compensated for with some genuinely exciting gameplay. Each mission contains a mini sandbox, encouraging the player to try different routes and methods to fulfil your objective. While small compared to the modern equivalent, the world still offers a surprising level of freedom. Want to attack head on with rockets and machine guns? Or maybe steal an enemy vehicle and wreak havoc that way? Perhaps you’re more of a stealthy sniper; in Crysis it really is up to you. It’s very reminiscent in setting and gameplay to Crytek’s previous game, 2004’s Far Cry. Although this was long before Ubisoft snatched up the series, the roots of the ‘choice in approach’ ethos which now defines the Far Cry franchise can certainly be seen here.
What differentiates Crysis from its spiritual predecessor is the inclusion of the nanosuit, an augmented suit of armour which grants Nomad near superhuman abilities. By switching between the four available modes (speed, strength, armour, and cloak), players can open new gameplay opportunities and tailor their approach even further. This, combined with the vast array of weapons in the Nomad’s arsenal (all of which can be equipped with modular attachments on the fly), means Crysis’ gameplay still holds up after all this time. Changing environments keeps the player on their toes and forces them to adapt their tactics, even if the once ‘super smart AI’ has aged poorly; the enemies now feel more akin to brain dead cannon fodder. Despite this, when executed well, the gameplay remains incredibly satisfying. Even the more linear, set piece portions of the story make for some pretty epic moments.
Sadly, the controls in handheld mode are adequate at best, lacking the precision of a console controller or mouse and keyboard. This is exacerbated by semi-regular drops in framerate. The original Crysis was known for its destructible environment and intricate physics, and fortunately the remaster is no different. However, whilst it’s commendable that these features were kept and impressive that they could be ported to the Switch, it’s not without its caveats. Particularly processor demanding moments, such as levelling a house or setting off multiple explosives, often result in a clear drop in frame rate. Although this is only momentary, it’s enough to break up the flow of combat and ruin the immersion.
Similar concessions have had to be made with the game’s appearance. Textures look flatter, foliage doesn’t look as realistic, and there is far less particle effects on screen at once. That being said some aspects of the graphics remain strong, particularly the lighting, which includes ray tracing. Although not as visually impressive as its original, I think the fact that the Saber has been able to replicate Crysis’ overall aesthetic and style on a handheld is an achievement in itself. This can be said about the Crysis port as a whole; almost certainly a downgrade, but a faithful one nonetheless. Back in 2007, I could have never imagined a game like Crysis being playable on a handheld device. Yet here we are. While it’s hard to justify Crysis Remastered’s £27 price tag, given the short campaign and exclusion of multiplayer, this version certainly does the original justice. For long term fans, revisiting this pocket-sized port will at the very least be a novel treat. Newcomers to the series might not feel the same way.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Crysis Remastered Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 6/10
Crysis Remastered’s Switch port is at best a technical marvel and at worst an average shooter. Despite plenty of shortcomings, this remaster is still thoroughly enjoyable.