Much like our own world, the Crysis universe changed irreversibly in 2020. We had the coronavirus pandemic, Crytek’s trilogy had an invasion of squid-like aliens called the Ceph. As depressing as it is to think the first Crysis represented 2020 as a far-flung future, it’s a wonder the series hasn’t been treated to a remaster until now. Remastered games mean improved graphics, so where better to start than three CryEngine-powered titles lauded for their technical prowess?
Crytek treated the first instalment to its own remaster last year, which we had mixed feelings about. A year later, the German developer has re-released all three titles — without their multiplayer modes — as the Crysis Remastered Trilogy, with 4K and 60 frames-per-second support when playing on PlayStation 5.
Even on PS4, the first Crysis looks pretty from afar. Light filters spectacularly through palm leaves on the fictional Lingshan Islands, while the clear blue water looks jaw-dropping for a 14-year-old game. Things get uglier up close, though — textures can be low-quality, and characters look too uncanny to take seriously.
There’s a reason Crysis is remembered chiefly for its graphical achievements. Pretty much everything else is either forgettable or absolute dreck — especially its writing. Gameplay falls mostly into the former category. The nanosuit may have been a somewhat novel idea in 2007 — enabling player-character Nomad to boost his armour or go invisible in exchange for rechargeable energy points — but now it just feels clunky and dated. The near-future Call of Dutys of the PS4 era feel far more fluid in comparison, and that’s a hard thing to forget.
The first game’s strengths lie in its comedic physics aspects. Bonking an enemy on the head with a box never gets old, while destructible buildings make for chaotic fights when explosives get involved. Unfortunately, Crytek seems intent on shepherding you into playing stealthily, which is both boring and nigh-on impossible, as enemies can spot you through even the thickest forest. There isn’t even an option for melee stealth kills.
We did experience a number of glitches, including far-away objects popping in and out — though this was before the game’s launch patch released. AI is also questionable, going from eagle-eyed to sometimes not even noticing if you’ve shot someone behind them with a shotgun.
Crysis doesn’t really come into its own until about four missions in, when the stifling forest gives way to wide-open bases to tackle in signature sandbox style. At the halfway mark, things take an interesting and weird turn, with a genuinely fascinating zero-gravity mission set inside a trippy Ceph ship before the game funnels you into a final mission of corridor shooting and disorienting boss fights by way of a helicopter pilot section.
The first game’s biggest curse is it spends its first few hours reminding you of a far better game. Everything from the tropical setting to cinematic black bars separating missions seems designed to jog memories of the first Halo. Strip it to its bare parts and Crysis seems like a tech demo without any developed ideas.
Which is why Crysis 2 seems like an almost different prospect entirely: it feels as if more thought was put into every area. Though the 2011 sequel is more linear, swapping tropical islands for a New York City crumbling under Ceph invasion and martial law, it feels more expansive by opening up the player’s tactical toolkit. Stealth is improved by allowing new protagonist Alcatraz to tag enemies with his binoculars and execute stealth kills. Crucially, though, you become temporarily uncloaked when stabbing, so you need to time attacks correctly to avoid detection.
Gunplay also feels more smooth, while the addition of infrared “nanovision” helps set up some tense set pieces. Generally it’s more fun to take on enemies guns blazing, but the more streamlined level design means it’s also a lot easier to just cloak and simply saunter to your objective. Stealthing around the Ceph is genuinely terrifying at first, but soon enough you’ll figure out you can avoid fighting them at all by just walking past them in cloak mode.
Crytek seems to have done a much better job of remastering Crysis 2; New York City looks pretty stunning, especially at night, though again, textures can be a little grainy when viewed up close. Unfortunately, we did encounter a number of glitches, including falling through floors and being stuck in a T-pose, unable to attack enemies, but these were experienced before the patch was released.
Crysis 2 ultimately benefits from increased ambition and a willingness to get a little weird, even if the ability isn’t quite there. The story takes an interesting turn at the end, even if gameplay-wise the final level is an anti-climax, and the writing is still pretty awful (“I’m just a geeky conspiracy theorist”). Hans Zimmer even helped compose the main theme.
The third game is when Crytek’s execution matches its ideas. Intelligently balancing the first two games by setting the title in an overgrown, post-apocalyptic New York two decades after Crysis 2, it feels a lot more lonely.
This time the protagonist is Prophet, the series mainstay with a great foundation to explore some interesting themes. He’s the world’s last nanosuit soldier, arousing suspicions among allies and jealousy from Psycho, his former comrade from the first game who was brutally “skinned” of his own nanosuit. Both characters feel fleshed out: Prophet struggles with his lack of humanity, while Psycho seems genuinely disturbed at his own vulnerability. Considering the atrocious story of the first game, it’s a miracle.
Crysis 3’s missions are much longer than previous games, giving the gameplay some breathing room and the story time to develop. Prophet’s new compound bow feels a little overpowered — it’s a one-hit kill and doesn’t drain any energy when fired in stealth mode — but it makes stealth the most attractive way to play. Battlefields are more open-ended and enemies can now summon reinforcements, so it’s not without consequence either.
It’s a lot less challenging than previous Crysis games, but the stunning setting — leafy New York is beautiful and the game runs smoothly — and interesting story more than make up for it. It’s easily aged the best of any game in the series, even if it’s a little easy.
The paradox with the Crysis Remastered Trilogy is that the series gets better as it goes on, but jumping in at Crysis 3 is the least rewarding way to play it. Seeing how Prophet’s character evolves over the series and Crytek fine-tunes the gameplay is an interesting example of the trials and tribulations of creating a blockbuster IP from scratch. Whether that’s worth £45 is up to you.
Three ten-hour games in one package might seem good value, but the truth is the Crysis series only hits its stride in fits and spurts until the third game. On PS4 the remastered graphics get better as the series goes on, so there’s no real reason to play the first game unless you’re already a fan or you’re interested to see how Crysis started. Crytek’s series is certainly interesting to dissect as you go through. Consistently fun to play, though? That’s a different story.
I’m not surprised. One of the many reasons I don’t play remasters
Couldn't get excited for the original games, and still can't for the remasters.
I think besides being ahead of its time graphically (back then) , the gameplay itself was nothing special
Disorienting? Surely you mean disorientating?
I'm pretty sick of the constant Americanisms of this supposedly UK site.
Genuine whinge aside, this seems like a very fair review.
The thing I can't stand about these games is the totally dumb AI. FEAR did it so much better all those years ago.
If anyone has any questions, fire away!
I can't help but agree. You will NEVER read an American's prose with any non-American English spellings, and yet the reverse is true all too often. Or oftentimes as they say 😬😅😅😅
As for the game, I wish they'd just put their eggs all in one basket and gave us a full remake of Crysis 3
@Ultrasmiles pretty much agree.
I was blown away by the graphics (and gameplay at times) playing on the PC way back in 2007. But the tint in the Crysis nostalgia glasses is not good enough to bring me back.
@Dan_ozzzy189 how about just accepting that English is used across the globe and that stylizations (see what I did there) differ and will get mixed to create new ones? Thank god that we don't have 1000-year-olds complaining in these forums about how Old English is not conformed to in articles.
@NeThZOR it only gets mixed this side of the pond though which is what's irritating. None of us learnt American English at school in the UK. Its less of a mixing and more of one absorbing the other. But I get your point, you're ultimately right, though it saddens me to say. Its cutural. The powerhouse that is American culture dominating all forms of media we consume is inevitably going to have this affect i suppose.
I remember people being disappoint by Crysis 2 & 3 not being as "sandboxy" as the 1st one. I always thought they were the better games.
It's interesting that the series apparently got better as it went along, considering that in terms of impact, it arguably went in a reverse direction (the first game was a technical powerhouse when it first came out, the second did reasonably well, while the third was quickly forgotten about iirc.). Personally, I've only really played the 2nd one (as well as bits of the 1st and 3rd), but hearing that Crysis 3 is better might incentivise me to give it a proper go.
@FullMetalWesker yeah. I'd like to try Crysis 3 but not for the price the trilogy is being sold at. If they'd remade it and added some replayability (its not a long game afterall) instead of remastering all 3 I'd be more inclined to pay that kind of money.
Actually, is there an MP mode in Crysis 3 @Anchorsam_9?
@Integrity Nope, none of the remastered games have multiplayer modes included I'm afraid
@Anchorsam_9 oh well that's another let-down. This is definetly one to think about buying only when the price drops substantially then.
How do these fare in comparison to the PS3 versions? I'd be interested to know if the difference in performance is enough to make them worth purchasing again.
Feels like this is one to buy in a Steam sale a few years down the line, maybe, or just pass on.
I feel like I'm going crazy, I can't seem to find the Crysis Remastered trilogy on the PS Store (UK), am I crazy ?
I remember going to buy the Gears 3 Xbox 360 bundle at midnight and Gamestation slipped a downloadable code for Crysis 2 in everyones bag - was a nice suprise! But then it barely got played of course.
Scroll down after using link
I only ever played the first one and it was rubbish
Another Squid Game reference, huh? Anyway, are these at all comparable to say Metro or Killzone? I've only really heard that they are FPS games that had insane graphics that no one could play.
I remember people freaking out over how amazing they thought Crisis looked because their PC couldn't run it. I thought it was just poorly optimised and then the sequels came. Much better games, with better graphics that actually ran well but people think that means the games aren't as good, or as memorable.
Some people treat the Metro series the same way, too.
Specifically in regard to Crysis 2 they have higher more stable frame rates, better resolutions, rework lighting and better textures. But I assume they’re all the same.
my sources for Digital foundry analysis https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xq4s06EVgRY
Yeah I'm just not gonna bother with this remaster and I haven't even played Crysis yet. Something about it has been holding me off from playing it.
@Integrity oh cheers mate ! Never had such trouble to find a game on the store
@Integrity you can buy them separately, don't have to buy the full Trilogy. 2 & 3 are very good
@Ryall thanks!!! I'll check out the DF analysis. Appreciate the heads-up.
Crysis is slog?
I mean, reviews are subjective, but Crysis is regarded by majority of Crysis fans as a best game in series. And is holding up great even by today's standards in terms of game design.
Maybe one mission in first Crysis is slog. That in heli which was cut from X360/PS3 port and was added into remaster later.
@Integrity "it only gets mixed this side of the pond though which is what's irritating."
I think you'll find they took our whole language and slightly adapted it.
Where as we are only taking tiny bits of theirs.
Languages evolve, both from local input and from further afield.
Lest we nev'r changeth.
@KingPev yeah. That link has them all separate too.
A franchise with an identity crisis
@Jayofmaya besides shooting guns I wouldn't wanna say the games are at all like the metro games. The atmosphere, gameplay and story are just way too different. Crysis for instance pretty much always gives you the option to either take everyone out stealthily, or go guns blazing. But in my experience you can't actually take everyone out in stealth mode. I feel it's a bit halfassed.
I think both series have a hated 2nd game in the trilogy, I could care less though.
Haven't played any killzone so can't comment on that.
Not making a VR version is a missed opportunity. That would make for a new experience where these games could really shine, instead of these remasters with a few more pixels.
shocker 14 year old game feels clunky and dated
@Dan_ozzzy189 A fellow FEAR fan here.
The reason FEAR's AI was lauded during 2005~6 was purely because how the environment was designed around it. FEARs AI only works in tight corridors. Open World? Not so much.
Crysis' AI was deliberately dumbed down so that player can enjoy the nuances the game offers, freely. There are more to it than this, in both cases(games) here but I am keeping it brief.
A lot of work has gone into Crysis 2 and 3. I watch the DF video and the difference between these and the PS3/360 versions is pretty crazy and it’s also a super smooth 60fps on the new consoles. They still look good today. I’ve never been into Crysis, this collection seems like good value if you’re into it though.
Could never bet in to the 1st game on ps3 but completed the 2nd and loved using the stealthy bow in the 3rd.may just get the 3rd one again and be done with it.
Cryteks' games have always been bland in everything but the visuals. The Crysis series was never really good in my opinion. The whole idea of the nanosuit was to make you feel like a killing machine, yet I never felt any more powerful than your average run of the mill FPS protagonist. The nanosuit just felt...weak.
I do have a soft spot for Ryse from Crytek though. It's still a bland game, but it had more appeal to me than anything else Crytek made. Sure, it was just a bare bones and visually stunning launch game, but I had hoped they would have improved upon the gameplay with a sequel. Instead, Crytek went with a F2P game, and I've heard nothing of the studio since. 🤷♂️
All 3 crysis games could be completed very easily on the hardest difficulty just by crouching whilst stealthed and moving very slowley..boring i know but oh so easy..i never thought that psycho was jealous of prophet at all and i thought he was more miffed at how he had been skinned of his suit and just cast aside...hard done by certainly,jealous no..for me crysis warhead was the better game as it was more action orientated and barely let up..it was just too damn short..i wont be purchasing these as i have them all for the pc and i dont think they are an essential purchase for me but for those out there who have never played crysis its a better time than ever to jump in just dont expect great story lines...
They are ok... Not a fan of 1.
I gave up on 1, and only finished it after I played 2. Playing 2+3 back to back would be a fun shootout. You get to play NYC before and after.
The originals are sitting in my Steam account - those are good enough.
@Cherip-the-Ripper Killzone 2 was the best for a lot of people. 🤪
For me its Killzone 3 i loved that one the modes, gameplay (heavy gunplay) and even the trophies where fun to get so i even Platinumed it. So much much fun with the melee takedowns. 😁
I was so dissapointed the PS4 version of Killzone they CODed the game such a pity. Removing the key gameplay why even make a COD copy you are not going to take away any customers from them. 😢
I will never understand why after two remasters its still such a mess....
EA is king in putting the least amount of effort in these things. Even a racing game had a massive day one patch.
@Dan_ozzzy189 "more smooth" made me cringe inside!
@Cherip-the-Ripper Ahh, ok. Thanks for the info! They were the first 2 that came to mind, followed by Resistance and Fear. I've played all of those series so might as well give this one a go anyway
@Godot25 Nah Crysis is the weakest in my opinion and was dated even when it originally released, if not for its visuals and its meme i don't think anyone would have cared back then. Got to remember most of the Crysis fanbase are PC gamers so naturally they prefer the first one as it gave them street cred if their PC could run it back then. Crysis 2 and especially 3 are far better games and hold up much better.
@WallyWest Not even metacritic agrees with you.
Yeah. Part of Crysis charm are visuals. But all games are great in terms of game design, level design. And first is still best. Second was so constrained by need to develop it for 360 PS3 that it almost lost that sandbox charm
@Godot25 If all 3 games got separate reviews today then i bet Crysis 1 would get the lowest score, reviews dating back to then doesn't mean much when they're so old and games age harder the older they are.
Crysis 1 is a average shooter with a so so world what got by on having stunning visuals what pushed even the best PC's at the time to their limits. Nowadays the formula that game had has been greatly improved and it really only gets by on its visuals what are now ageing.
Overall i reckon any new players will prefer the sequels nowadays.
Crysis was always just a “b-movie” franchise. The problem with it was that it never had a (appealing) charm to it .
@WallyWest crysis was dated even when it originally released? What a stupid comment to make..it was way ahead of its time in terms of graphics and sound..the story was pretty meh to be fair but dated? Wow if trying to draw attention to yourself was your intention with this ***** comment then consider it a success..well done..
@Flaming_Kaiser man that sucks to hear, don't really wanna go to the trouble of obtaining a ps3 and the ps2/3 versions of the older games just to play through em once. I always thought that I could just play Shadowfall even though I've often heard it's merely okay.
@Jayofmaya alright I hope you enjoy them, I intend on picking up Crysis 2 as well someday.
@Northern_munkey Actually read my comment, its gameplay was and is dated i never said its visuals were. Crysis done nothing new GAMEPLAY wise, it was all visuals and that was all it had going for it and overall was a pretty shallow game.
Crysis 1 is rubbish? hahaha that's a good one you nearly had me there.
@WallyWest yeah i did read your comment..the visuals in 2007 were not dated..they were hailed universally as being ground breaking..the story was pretty much "predator" on a tropical island and to be fair it was an interactive tech demo..it was still a silly comment to say that when crysis was released in 2007 it was already dated..you give me an example of a pc game that released in 2007 that looked anywhere near as good as crysis and i'm not talking performance wise as everybody knows that crysis was a difficult game to run..read my comment bruv..
@WallyWest re-read your original post and i dont know if you edited or i missed a key word but i get your point now and i apologise..we both are making the same point but i was looking from the wrong angle..enjoy the weekend and lets stay away from crysis..🤘
Not surprising sadly...if I ever buy the Trilogy will be during a big sale.
@NeThZOR it's lazy and why standards are slipping
@Cherip-the-Ripper You think they will do them separately? If so, you too
@Jayofmaya oh no I have no clue about that, I intend on playing the 2nd when it hits ea play.
@Jayofmaya apparently they are available seperately, just spotted 2&3 in the store, they're 30 a piece but discounted to €21 (on xbox).
@Cherip-the-Ripper Ahh fair. I think I'll get the trilogy, anyway as I'venever played any of them. Thanks for letting me know, though!
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