Cryostasis- Cool, but not cool enough
Im calling my shot and saying Cryostasis is going to be the winner of this years "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." award. An award for a game that has everything going for it to be great. An original interesting story, innovative graphics, good characters, strong enemies, and a realistic atmosphere. However, in the end execution and technical problems will be all that is remembered for this game.
Cryostasis is simply a FPS, horror, adventure game. The game is set in 1981 where you are trying to find out what happened to the Captain and crew of the nuclear Russian ice breaking ship, the North Wind.
The story. I know 1C and NVIDIA are toting this as a graphics innovator using their physx technology, but its the story that is the headliner IMO. The best moments are not gun battles or scares, but when you are just a witness or participant in the story flashbacks. The flashbacks are echoes where you will either change the fate of a fallen crew member, or you will just be an observer of event that happened on the North wind. The scenes are well executed and give each charter life which is rare in games.
Graphics, atmosphere, levels and sound. If you have a PC system that can handle all the goodies, you are in for quite a treat. Everything from character models to the ship itself are well detailed. The atmosphere is so good you swear you will get cold playing. The game is 99% inside the ship and while that doesnt equate to a lot change the levels are great and put together with a lot of thought and detail. The sound is outstanding. From the reloading of bolt action weapons, cold, howling freezing wind constantly blowing , the creakiness of a slowing shifting quiet steel ship, to the voice acting of all the charters the sound excels and brings the game to life.
Game length: I guess for its faults this should be labeled under "Bad" but i was totally surprised that this game was 17 chapters and hey i kept going. Great stories will keep you going til the end.
Firstly, if you have played either S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (1 & 2 ) or Crysis, and you and your pc made it thru(barely) then you will feel right at home with Cryostasis. This game is a complete system hog. I tried multiple settings(Sm, no AA, scaled res) and it barely could keep an acceptable playable average.
Secondly, crashes. Mostly near the end of the game. Dont know the reason, but it seemed to happen when entering the last few bodies.
Third, Horrible, horrendous AI. The AI is a total failure IMO. While the enemies look totally awesome, frightening and very original its just too bad they are complete idiots. Their ability to shoot you without aiming is kind of a bummer. Also i would add the weapons in this category. Besides the necessity of some(a sniper rifle on a ship? A useless flare gun) ammo while abundant at the beginning is scarce for some of the more important weapons later in the game. Kind of difficult to go against a double machine gun toting Jailer with bolt action weapons that take a minimum of 3 seconds to load.
For all its great moments, and ideas in the end Cryostasis will be labeled and only remembered as What could have been.