Review: The Switch gets to answer the age-old question about Crysis

Crysis was a bona fide spectacle back in 2007. After an incredibly successful run with Far Cry and its revolutionary open-world chaos design that absolutely put German developer Crytek on the map three years earlier, their next game became legendary, and not for the reasons you might be expecting. It was a notorious system hog at the time, putting even the most top-of-the-line PCs to shame thanks to its demanding requirements due to just how complex the Cry Engine was and still is, even now still providing somewhat of a challenge for modern configurations to run.

After its original release, Crysis eventually made its way to consoles with mixed results. I reviewed the Xbox 360 version at the time, and while it looked as good as an Xbox game could look, it was severely limited in various departments, not to mention somewhat of a technical mess that was poorly optimized and not a whole lot of fun to play when compared to its much superior PC version. The meme remained for years and every time someone would mention building a new PC or touting having an awesome machine at home, out of the woods the question would pop up “well, does it run Crysis at max settings?”

Jokes aside, this game’s been a benchmark for FPSs ever since, even if plenty of others have come around to surpass it in terms of gameplay including its technologically more flexible and better gameplay structured sequels, it’s never lost its mindspace in the thirteen years that have followed its original release. Unsurprisingly, even the Switch is having a go at a port after a number of other spec demanding PC games that have either nailed, floated, or sorta floundered on Nintendo’s portable wonder.

Ah, if it weren’t for all the bullets flying over my head, this would be paradise…

As a whole, Crysis is pretty much an open-world sandbox with very flexible mission objectives that give you plenty of room for experimentation and avenues for playing around and finding your own fun and destructive ways of completing them. As part of a squad of a (then in 2007) futuristic group of soldiers armed with superhuman power full body suits, you infiltrate an island on the coast of the Philippines after receiving a distress call from an archaeologist group is attacked and taken hostage by North Korean forces after discovering an artifact that could potentially contain an unknown alien power.

You play as Nomad, who’s one of those super-powered dudes, and by using the abilities of your special suit can lay waste to just about anything in your way, Master Chief-style… and then some. You’re able to go invisible, raise shields, and even customize guns on the go as you set your course to liberating hostages and finding out just what the hell they found on that island that would get the KPA (the Korean People’s Army) so interested in it.

Arnold is nowhere to save you!

A lot of your arsenal is found around the island, but your starting guns are also extremely flexible and precise, allowing you to be a silent predator if needed, or in true 1980s Schwarzenegger-style just mow down everything in your way. Crysis is very lenient in the way of letting you do your own thing as long as you meet its objectives, and very rarely gets in your way other than pinpointing the next marker you should head to. If there happens to be an enemy checkpoint in the way (which is usually the case) it leaves you to decide how to best approach it with the tools that you have at your disposal.

While its two sequels eventually tightened their gameplay structure in a way that made them much more linear games on their own, Crysis felt like a natural follow-up to the original Far Cry in every way and then some by replacing a normal human person with an absolute monster as a playable character. It offered an extension of the island that you could explore and cause mayhem in Far Cry, using that as a basis for upping the stakes ten-fold as well as emptying out the pockets of anyone willing to try and play it back when it was new.

Curiously named Crysis Remastered, the Switch port of Crysis isn’t a graphical rework and doesn’t come close to looking better than the original PC release, nor will it blow you away with its gameplay, but it’s still a really impressive game all things considered, chief among them the ability to play freaking Crysis on a console that could fit into your pocket if you had a really big pair of pants.

Just what is going on in this joint?!

As a Switch game, it plays extremely well. Aside from some pretty atrocious initial loading into levels, Crysis Remastered is on par with other FPS games that were previously released for Switch and is still a whole lot of fun. It’s in no way the prettiest one due to some muddy textures especially up close, but it’s got a fair amount of draw distance, not to mention that it runs fairly smoothly most of the time only taking a few hits to its frame rate when there’s a lot going on on screen.

Like most first-person shooters on the Switch, Crysis comes with gyro controls pre-enabled once you begin the campaign, and for the most part it works okay even though it’s not really my cup of tea for the style of game that Crysis is, which demands a certain amount of precision when aiming down sights. Still, for those who get a kick waggling their Switches, the gyro controls will be a welcome option. Thankfully, they can be turned off if you’re not into them, like me.

Crysis was and still is an incredibly influential game and holds up in terms of sheer quality and fun. Having a decent option to play it outside of its original release platform is certainly great, and it’s kind of funny that it took thirteen years for such a thing to happen. Crysis Remastered on the Switch really is the best alternative to playing Crysis when compared to any of the other ports that have come before.           

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