Cryostasis: The Game That Came In From The Cold
If, when you think about Russia, you associate it with vodka, mink-clad beauties, caviar, and Matryoshka dolls, then you probably haven't been playing the games that've been coming out of the country. Though there aren't a ton of super well-known developers hailing from Russia, it has recently been the source for a number of high-quality, innovative titles. More impressively, the country is now home to several successful publishers that have amassed considerable wealth, even in the face of punitive foreign exchange rates and taxes on international fund transfers.
These companies include Novyi Disk and Buka, as well as the formidable 1C, which has climbed to the top of the ranks of gaming publishers worldwide. Some may want to argue about protectionism or other unfair competitive practices to account for its position in the market. But, at the moment, 1C represents what anybody would have to recognize as a successful and forward-thinking organization. In addition to localizing leading international games for the Russian market, 1C is also a constant source for many unconventional and interesting new titles.
With the release of Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason ("Анабиоз: Сон разума" or Anabioz: Son Razuma in transliterated Russian), 1C’s Action Forms has created a title for the much-loved wartime science-fiction genre, while introducing new elements along with a breathtaking atmosphere to create a fresh new gaming experience. Indeed, it feels like a masterful mix of the best elements from Wolfenstein, Doom, and BioShock.
Cryostasis' home page offers a story synopsis, scenes, artwork, a sample video, images, and other game-related content. There, you will find the thunderous, wind-wracked soundtrack, which adds lots of drama and impact to the game. Apparently, the wind always blows like mad at the North Pole. The game's trailer on YouTube is also worth checking out. The teaser pages can be accessed here (note: all in-game text is in Cyrillic, which adds to its mystery and suspense).
To some extent, Cryostasis makes use of Nvidia’s PhysX technology and will probably deliver a gaming experience that is a little bit more compelling for users whose PCs have Nvidia cards with a G80 chip or better (this means a GeForce 8800 GTS 320 MB or a more recent card). For those patient enough to wait through the seemingly bollixed startup of the technology demo, which begins very slowly and seems to be broken, the demo does, in fact, get a lot better as it progresses.
Unfortunately, a high-performance PC is necessary for a decent game experience, and even then it will be subject to some limitations. Only with the recommended configuration (or better), can you enjoy a smooth, visually-compelling Cryostasis experience. Caching and processing with a faster CPU, even a quad-core device that’s been overclocked to 3.6 GHz–whether from Intel or AMD–doesn’t add much to the gaming experience. That said, if you don’t have a reasonably speedy graphics card, you may find this game unplayable.