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.

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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.