Can Your PC Run Crysis (Remastered)?


Crysis Remastered drops next month, with a PC release date of September 18. It’s also an Epic Games Store exclusive for an unknown length of time. The game is debuting several weeks after it was initially expected. A poor online reaction to a leaked trailer in late June drove Crytek to delay the game, citing a need to improve the final quality. Instead of July 23, it’s been bumped to September 18.

Here’s the first release/leaked trailer that got them dragged by some unhappy folks:

Here’s the updated video they’ve since released:

The original video looks less like a remaster and more like a mildly rebrushed version of the original game. Game developers have undoubtedly had a difficult time collaborating on projects during the pandemic, and that has to be taken into account, but I don’t blame the company for delaying. There may have been gameplay aspects of the game that were improved for the update, like tighter controls or more destructible terrain. But as far as the visuals, “Crysis Remastered” in trailer #1 looks like a 2007 game with the lightest of updates to bring it into 2020.

The second trailer, in contrast, looks much nicer. The ray-traced lighting effects are much better, for example. The thing is, though…I’m not sure how new it actually is. If you compare the beach scene from the first trailer with the brief 8K texture demonstration in the second, it looks as though we’re seeing the updated version in both videos. The lighting is similar, you can see light reflections on both sets of waves, and the rocks look similar. The second video does look better — but is that because the assets have changed, because the video is better shot/produced, or because we’re seeing the same content from a more advantageous angle? I’m not sure.

One thing that seems clear is that Crysis Remastered isn’t going to try to push the envelope in absolute terms the way the original Crysis did. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — Starcraft: Remastered is a 1997 game updated for 4K graphics and absolutely nothing else, meaning even the animations still play more slowly than anything built in the modern era. But there was, I think, some ambiguity over just how far Crytek was going to push the envelope here. This is a remaster, not a remake, which is to say, even the updated version looks more like a modest improvement than a total overhaul. That’s better than what we saw in June, however, where updates to the lighting model had been offset by reduced detail, like removed specular surfaces, in some scenes. I’m also curious to see how the inclusion of ray tracing will change the equation, and whether Crytek has restored any of the detail that was missing from the late June release.

One final note that I feel obligated to write: For all the talk about “Can it run Crysis,” the original Crysis actually scaled really well. The game acquired a reputation for being a performance hog because its top-end DirectX 10 settings could bring even the highest-end GPUs to their knees. What people didn’t always realize is that if you dropped back to DX9, the game ran much faster, in exchange for a small reduction in image quality that could be cut to virtually nothing with a few well-placed image quality adjustments. Some games reduce detail gracefully from “Very High” to “High” or even “Very High” to “Medium,” but then fall off a cliff below that point. OG Crysis actually did a great job balancing image quality and required GPU performance, though the CPU sections of the game can still struggle, even on modern hardware. DigitalFoundry wrote a great discussion of what set Crysis apart in 2007, and how well some of the original game’s adaptations hold up today. I recommend it if you’re looking to learn more about the title.

One final note: Despite the fact that Crytek developed a platform-agnostic “Neon Noir” ray tracing benchmark, Crysis Remastered will use Nvidia’s VKray Vulkan ray tracing extensions, not DXR — but apparently the feature will not be supported on AMD GPUs. The game is expected to retail for $29.99.

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