When we first heard that Crytek was bringing Crysis to Switch in remastered form, we seriously doubted that Nintendo's dinky little console could handle the stress of running this PC-melting behemoth, even if it was now 13 long years down the line in terms of technology. As our review of that game points out, however, we were absolutely wrong to doubt the slick porting skills of Saber Interactive.
Now the full Crysis Remastered Trilogy has finally landed, but with two sequels (available separately or as a trilogy bundle) that up the ante in terms of both spectacle and graphical intensity, can the Switch still deliver? Well, yes it can. In fact, Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 run even better than their predecessor here, probably thanks to Crytek taking scalability into consideration when the sequels were originally developed. So grab your Nanosuit, get your cloak engaged and let's go hunt some Ceph.
Following on from the delightfully chaotic open world sandbox that was 2007's original Crysis, its sequels both take slightly different approaches to their super-soldier slaughtering. Kicking off with Crysis 2, we see a shift to a much more traditional FPS blockbuster style, with action set within the rigid confines of a shattered New York City. There's far less of the wide open spaces of the first game here and a greater focus on narrative and shuttling you through the campaign's eighteen acts.
We're not sure we were particularly huge fans of this sequel when it first released if we're being entirely honest, but revisiting it now it feels as though we were being a tad harsh. Yes, it drops the endlessly entertaining and hugely silly sandbox elements of the first game — the reason for our original chagrin — but what's here is still hugely entertaining and impressively flexible stuff that delivers lots of explosive set-pieces and more than enough opportunity to sit back, observe your surroundings and switch your tactics to suit your mood. Want to wade straight into battle with your armour activated? Go for it. Prefer to snipe from long-range, flank your enemies or just sneak past the lot of them and head straight to your next objective? For the most part, you're accommodated.
Crysis 2 also noticeably improves the core mechanics of the series' gameplay. There's less jank here, your suit abilities feel as though they meld with the emergent nature of the combat in a more satisfying manner, weapons feel meatier and enemy AI — although still fairly dumb when you decide to get right up into their faces — does a much better job of accounting for your attempts at strategic engagement.
There are still problems, of course. The visor tagging of individual enemies is pretty useless, tactical opportunities are far too obviously flagged up and enemies see you much too quickly when you decloak, but overall this is a big budget FPS that delivers satisfying spectacle and opportunities to get creative in fairly equal measure.
The story may still be absolute tosh, and we will always prefer fighting human foes over their slightly less interesting alien variants, but ten years down the line from its original release, this is still a pretty spectacular shooter that looks and plays fantastically well and manages to beat out plenty of more modern efforts when it comes to giving its players the choice to go mix it up how they want.
Crysis 3, on the other hand, rocks an interesting mix of both of its predecessors. Its levels are still much more confined that the original game, but there's far more scope, more space for messing around with your powers and toying with your enemies than in part deux. It also features much more satisfying and fully-fleshed out stealth play, with a sleek new bow that doesn't interrupt your camo and a much-improved visor targeting system combining to really let you get into a satisfying silent assassin groove.
Yes, in hindsight Crysis 3 may actually be the high point of the entire trilogy from a purely mechanical point of view. It hits a real sweet spot, giving you plenty of freedom to do as you please in its spaciously designed levels, while tightening up the stealth and strategic aspects so you don't find yourself falling foul of enemies who seem to be able to spot you through solid rock or alert an entire base because you stabbed someone in the back. This is a super slick shooter, no doubt, a step up from its predecessors graphically and a game that just feels better to move through from moment to moment.
It drops the rather overbearing hand-holding of Crysis 2, too. No longer is every tactical opportunity flagged up with a great big yellow marker in your visor — you're actually left to think for yourself a little more. There are also some neat side objectives introduced that see you rewarded for your extra efforts, encouraging you to slow down and investigate the entirety of levels instead of just blazing through them. You can take enemy air support offline to make the infiltration of a base easier, for example, or even help a bunch of soldiers out in return for support during your next firefight. It's worth taking your time here instead of making a beeline for that blue objective marker, and the net result is that Crysis 3's action feels like the most well-designed and properly polished offering of the lot.
However, and it's quite a big however, this is also a very short game. We blasted through the campaign here in just over five hours, and that was taking our time to do side missions. Crysis 3 is a short-lived experience and one that also loses the run of itself in its final hour, giving up the ghost and fully embracing an ill-advised finale that sees gameplay take a backseat to some rather raggedy set-pieces and a story that's now absolutely disappeared up its own nether regions. We also need to take into account that this remastered trilogy arrives sans any form of multiplayer so, if you're picking these games up individually, this third entry becomes a little more difficult to recommend in terms of value for money.
Taken as a complete package though, the Crysis Remastered Trilogy is a resounding success on Switch when all's said and done. In both docked and handheld modes these games run fantastically well, with only very minor frame rate issues in a handful of intense battles and a little bit of stutter when loading into new areas to complain about. Graphically they outperform their original console releases, and playing portably in particular we couldn't help but be hugely impressed that the full-fat Crysis experience is now available to take with you and get stuck into anywhere you like. For Switch-owning FPS fans this one's a bit of a no-brainer and easily one of the standout shooter experiences on Nintendo's console to date.
The Crysis Remastered Trilogy arrives on Switch in a fantastic set of ports that deliver the full-fat super soldier experience with very little in the way of stutters, bugs or other technical failings. If you're picking this one up as a complete set, you've got a ton of excellent shooter action to blaze your way through in a trilogy of games that's aged remarkably well over the years and looks and plays great on Nintendo's hybrid console. Individually, however, things get a little more complicated, with the first two games easy recommendations, whilst number three is a little on the short side and feels rather threadbare without its multiplayer aspects to beef things up.