Everyone remembers Crysis, of course. But what’s easy to forget is Crytek’s PC shattering behemoth of a technical marvel released 13 years ago. The industry has changed rather a lot in that time. For example, 13 years ago, Crysis was a pretty good game. Now? Well, it’s complicated.
Memes aside, the PS4 can mostly handle Crysis. There are visual modes that prioritize ray tracing and image quality, but we recommend steering clear of both. All these did was add a nauseating texture flicker to almost every surface imaginable, and we had to turn it off after a few minutes. Both are definitely not functioning as intended. The performance mode was a lot more stable, with no flickering and a reasonably stable framerate. The game looked more or less the same, minus some admittedly pretty lighting effects. Honestly, the bigger problem is that none of the textures look good. Everything is murky and muddled, with character models being particularly suspect. Face textures look awful and the lip-sync is brutal. And things look even worse during the cutscenes.
The bigger question is: is this always how the game looked? It’s hard to argue that Crysis was anything other than ahead of its time. The visual presentation set the standard for years, and that’s worth something. This remaster isn’t a good indicator of that legacy. Most of what may have once impressed is either expected or done better elsewhere, with the notable exception of water illumination. That looks puzzlingly incredible. It is worth mentioning that by modern standards, after a few small upgrades, the title looks like a decent mid-budget title. Which given how old the title really is, is still somewhat impressive.
Adding and customizing weapon attachments on the fly is cool, and the game’s approach to level design is still pretty solid. With the exception of an abysmal level late in the game, the breadth and realisation of the environments is quite impressive. The versatility the game offers in how you approach objectives remains superb, as does the environment destructibility. But as mentioned, you can find other titles that do this better.
The shooting still feels decent, particularly when playing with a higher framerate, but the time to kill on even basic soldiers feels ludicrously high. And the “stealth” mechanics are miserable to fight with. You can be unmoving and invisible 50 metres from an enemy, and every now and again the game just decides they see you anyways. It’s impossible to actually rely on stealth for anything other than emergencies. Juggling all the powers of your suit as well as energy consumption remains a bright point, though. Do you want to get somewhere faster or in better health? These split-second decisions were great then, and they are still.
But with all these setbacks, perhaps the age old question of ‘Can you run Crysis?’ should be refrained. Maybe we should instead be asking, why would you want to?