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Cryostasis: From Russia, With An Appetite For Fast Hardware

Evaluating Game Play: Good Intentions And Acceptable Outcomes

Because we’d like to be fair to the designers, we want to distinguish hardware considerations from the title’s content and game play experiences. Here, we’ll comment on how much we enjoyed playing the title and the virtual world in which this game is played. In the next section, we’ll dig into some hardware tests, after which we’ll evaluate the technical gaming environment and its playability.

The designers did a great job of creating a sharply delineated game universe. Much as with BioShock or FEAR 2: Project Origin, the boundaries for forward motion or progress within the game are narrowly limited. The current scenario is invariably cramped and crowded, so that players must fight with the spaces they inhabit as much as with their antagonists. Those looking for lots of blood splattering or other special effects are likely to be disappointed. The game’s ESRB rating is “Teen,” which seems appropriate.

We’ll also mention here that the English-language version (which is also cheaper than the Russian one) installs in other languages as well, such as German. Anybody who enjoys gaming–unless you have weak nerves or prefer to avoid virtual carnage—will find lots of pleasure with this title, as long as you have the right hardware with which to play it.

Cryostasis’ soundtrack helps to create a throbbing, menacing, and ice-cold backdrop for the North Wind’s brooding interior. It doesn’t matter if your rig uses onboard sound circuitry or a Sound Blaster X-Fi (although the latter will intensify an already well-rendered sonic atmosphere). But with lower-end systems, it might be worth contemplating the use of a separate sound card, if only to offload the CPU for other gaming tasks. The sound works equally well on systems running Windows XP or Vista (Ed.: Note that Cryostasis natively leverages OpenAL, so a card from Creative will work properly under Vista). Those who do own a Sound Blaster X-Fi should install the latest drivers for the best sound output. Older versions can cause problems, so you’ll want to update just to be sure to avoid them.

For a seasoned gamer, it will take between 10 and 12 hours to work through the game. This puts it in the same league as FEAR 2: Project Origin. Casual gamers and newbies will probably need 25 hours to make it all the way through Cryostasis. The degree of difficulty is not user-selectable, but varies between easy to medium-hard. When we played, we were able to work our way through all the game situations we encountered. Whether or not the game is worth its $25-$30 price tag is up to you to decide. In any case, Cryostasis is worth a look, and for some, will be well worth playing.

Quality of Game Play ( On a Scale of One to 10)
Game Concept8 Points
Story6 points
Difficulty9 Points
Transitions9 Points
Atmosphere9 Points
Sound9 Points
Voice Quality6 Points
Weapons6 Points
Interface7 Points
Healing/Recovery8 Points
Game Sequence6 points
Game Duration5 Points
Repeat Play Index4 points

We give Cryostasis a 91 out of a possible 130, which is a solid but not stellar score. In addition to all these pros and cons, the system on which you play this game will also determine its playability and how much you enjoy the experience. In the following tests, we look at the impact of widely-used hardware components and a variety of PC configurations with a wide range in price and performance. Our tests will show which hardware is best-suited for this game, and what kinds of upgrades are most likely to improve your game-play experience.

  • truehighroller
    I heard this game was messy. I recently purchased Prototype though and it is a good game...
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • You managed to benchmark with Nvidia cards exclusively, you keep reminding me why I almost never visit this site any more.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.