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Cryostasis: From Russia, With An Appetite For Fast Hardware

Storyline: Chattering Teeth In The Polar Region

Cryostasis takes place in 1981 on a nuclear ice-breaker called the North Wind, which has become shipwrecked near the North Pole. The main character, Alexander Nesterov, is a Russian meteorologist who must investigate what happened onboard the ship.
 But he’s not alone, and the North Wind is now plagued by dead crewmen who have undergone a bizarre metamorphosis due to the effects of the incredibly cold climate. Alexander must try to unravel the mystery of the ship captain’s death and discover whether it was the cold, or possibly something far more sinister that wreaked havoc onboard.

Rewind a bit. Nesterov is the sole survivor of Ice Station 21. He is making his way as quickly as possible by dogsled to meet a polar ship at a pre-determined location. Driving his dogs as quickly as he dares, he makes his way through a weird and tortured icescape of frozen shapes and snow. But his plans and progress get derailed when the ice breaks and his sled plunges through the ice, though he is able to save himself before plummeting down into the icy depths below. A short time later, Nesterov spots an abandoned icebreaker that appears to have been locked in the ice for years.

Naturally, this is a first-person shooter (FPS), even if the boundaries are always fuzzy and diversions into other genres frequent. The game is not totally combat-oriented, and it isn’t overrun by large numbers of conflict-seeking antagonists out to knock off the human players, thanks to the influence of the title's artificial intelligence (AI) features. Even so, there are plenty of hairy situations throughout the game, even when the pace of play slows down to a leisurely exploration of the always-ominous game surroundings.

What’s unexpected, but which speaks eloquently to the quality and sophistication of the Russian development team, are the occasional quotations from or references to literary classics throughout the game. It’s all the same whether you run into a snippet of Maxim Gorky’s short story “Old Isergil” or a quote from Herman Hesse. In games today, it’s incredibly rare to see a mix of hard-core action, cold calculation, folk tales and customs, and highbrow literature meld so nicely. The old notion that FPS games never contributed to anybody’s character development doesn’t really apply to this game. Even if some younger players won’t recognize the quotes and visual references, they will likely still appreciate them.

During game play, you keep running into various types of notices or documents that explain the history of the North Wind. Likewise, the well-designed transition sequences won’t leave players in the dark for long. This makes the game an interesting experience, which includes interesting interludes every few minutes along the way.

  • truehighroller
    I heard this game was messy. I recently purchased Prototype though and it is a good game...
    Reply
  • werr20
    i played this game and it's nice ! i have x3 720be(2,8ghz),4gb ram ddr2, 4850 512mb .on my pc it runs smooth
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    Penttium D 2.8GHz, 1gb ddr2 533, ATi 4670 (underclocked to hell because of computer stability recently).

    I took the game all not too bad.
    Looks and sounds amazing.

    However, it couldn't really catch my attention long enough to develop an interest to delve even 30 minutes into the game.
    Reply
  • darkpower45
    soooo when did toms start to do game reviews? just a thought. The game looks pretty good though. The good think about the review is that it showed the performance on the low end systems. Good review even if its a game not hardware.
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    I'll be honest, I really didnt like the way the benchmark sections were done. Not because of poor information, but because of poor management of that information. At 3 in the morning, it's hard to figure out what's going on.

    On the flip side, I do like the game reviews lately. Perhaps we can see a resurection of Toms Games, and perhaps even the illustrious Second Take? :D
    Reply
  • You managed to benchmark with Nvidia cards exclusively, you keep reminding me why I almost never visit this site any more.
    Reply
  • Andraxxus
    If you have a good PC it might be an enjoyable experience but if you don't have one then stay away. I could not even run it but i've seen in on a good PC and it looks and sounds good.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I would like to see a game developer say. Screw nVidia, they keep holding back progress and use their developers network as a method to retain a user base. I am going to make a game that completely takes advantage of ATI hardware. From multi-processing units, to tesselation and ray tracing.
    Reply
  • Onus
    I think they mostly used nVidia because of PhysX, at least that was my take on it. They did use some ATI cards too.
    Although this is not my kind of game, the review was written in a manner that I thought gave good information on how it might run on my system.
    I'd like to see Second Take return as well, even though I don't recall it addressing hardware requirements the way this review did.
    Reply
  • marraco
    Is fantasy, not science fiction.

    I played the game entirely, and I don't recommend it until a much needed patch is available.

    The game really gets no benefit from PhysX (I buyed the game hoping to play a game physx capable).

    And the performance is really poor. I was forced to play it on 1024x768, without any antialiasing, on a Geforce 8800 GT oc, and still got lots of glitches, and bad framerates.

    The sound frequently ruined itself completely, and sometimes crashed.

    Sometimes you get stuck on places, and finds yourself incapable of progressing. Then reload an older saved game, and finds that you got stuck because of a bug, instead a by design game. Sometimes a tube bends too vertically, and you cannot escape a room, or fix it.

    The savegame system is broken. Sometimes you save a game, but are unable to reload it, or reload it and after a looong reload time, just finds that the small screenshot and filename does not match what was showed, and you loaded another file.

    Although the game introduces some welcomed original innovations (common First Person Shooters are getting really repetitive lately), all the bugs it have make playing it a really painful experience. I had good hardware, but my experience was poor, and was no exception. I found lots of people with the same problems on internet (although others had slower hardware than me, and got no problems).

    I strongly recommend to wait for a patch to be released, before acquiring the game.

    After it, I played FEAR 2. It was so much optimized software, and played so smoothly, even on max settings, that I really enjoyed it.
    Reply