Cryostasis: From Russia, With An Appetite For Fast Hardware

Hardware Test: Minimum System Requirements

Just to meet the minimum system requirements, you'll need a Pentium 4 at 2.4 GHz or a comparable Athlon XP single-core CPU. In addition, such a system needs a graphics card that supports Shader Model 3.0 and includes at least 256 MB of graphics RAM. The performance should at least match that of a GeForce 7800 or a Radeon HD X1800. This says nothing, however, about what resolution and various graphics settings are needed to attain even barely-acceptable gaming enjoyment. But because such machines are so common in bedrooms and offices everywhere, we decided to try them out, to see what kind of game experience they could deliver.

Graphics settings:

  • 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024 resolutions
  • Shader Model 3.0 / DirectX 9
  • No Hardware-Acclerated Physics
  • All other settings at Low or Off

Cryostasis on Older Systems

As soon as we tried these settings on our first test system, we had to call the game vendor out for misleading minimum specs. Whether you use a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 or an Athlon XP 2600+, normal game play is simply impossible. Along with incredibly long load times between different game levels, we also experienced extremely low frame rates from weaker graphics cards as well. Fluid game play likewise proved impossible. For machines with older and slower CPUs, we can’t recommend anything slower than a 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 or an Athlon X64 3200+. Otherwise, it’s not worth the trouble.

With a Pentium 4 at 3 GHz, we could actually get somewhere in the game, and actually complete our first test run. The values we recorded were somewhat lower than those from an Athlon X64 3200+ but were more or less in the same league. We ultimately decided to go for the AMD system because it delivered results comparable to those for dual-core systems running at the same clock rates. These results helped us define the configuration for the Low-End PC 1 described earlier.

Test: Minimal Configuration (or “Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain”)

Anybody who expects these low-end systems to play smoothly and painlessly, even at low resolutions and with all bells and whistles disabled (e.g. active shading, animated textures, physics effects, and so forth) is bound to be disappointed. We don’t understand why the game developers set the bar this low. Frame rates are virtually unplayable and the level of detail is abysmal. The following table spells this out in no uncertain terms.

We were hopeful that a switch to native resolution on a 19” monitor would improve results. Alas, that was not to be the case:

Maybe things will improve at lower resolutions. At 1024x768, things still didn’t run smoothly or look very good.

Obviously we were deluding ourselves. Even at 800x600 results can only be described as weak at best, unplayable at worst.


The developers simply miscalculated the minimum hardware recommendations. Even if we use the best values for frame rates, they barely qualify as playable. On average across all scenes, and particularly in the fight scenes, this configuration isn’t going to win any prizes. There’s no game enjoyment here, only delay and disappointment.

Unless your system has a dual-core CPU and a graphics card at the GeForce 9600 GT or Radeon HD 4670 level or better, you’re better off skipping this game or investing in a major hardware upgrade. The difference between hype and reality is simply too big to overcome in this case.


Surfaces and textures during game play are insufficiently detailed and the frost effects fail to convince. Overall, the low resolution and low/off settings for anti-aliasing (AA), anisotropic filtering (AF), and so forth create a negative visual impression.

  • 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.