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Crysis is misunderstood. Thought by many to be little more than a "tech demo," Crysis was legendary at the time for its system requirements and beauty in equal measure. "Can it run Crysis?" was the meme of the day for PC gamers, and anyone who could answer yes had surely invested unspeakable sums of money and blood magic into their rig.
But that's not important in 2023. What is important is that Crysis is secretly the greatest Predator video game of all time. Armed with a high-tech nanosuit that can switch between armored, super-speed, super-strength, and invisibility superpowers with the press of a button and the flick of your mouse, Crysis - when played in a way taking advantage of its unique gameplay features - elevates itself above the dread-inducing moniker of "7th gen first person shooter with regenerating health" and becomes a thrilling jungle hunting simulator, allowing you to sprint through the trees, super jump onto corrugated tin roofs, toss grenades into shanty houses and collapse them on top of hapless commandos before leaping back into the foliage and cloaking yourself to reposition and do it all again.
The story is irrelevant. It's a goofy, jingoistic plot about Secret Alien Ruins in the Philippines and how you must secure them for the United States because the CIA, renowned for its caution and foresight, knows better than the wily and power-hungry North Koreans that some powers are not meant to be controlled by man. And then the aliens wake up and you shoot them like Halo. That part sucks, and unfortunately the fact that the latter third of the game is mostly that detracts pretty heavily from the experience.
But the first two acts of the game are secretly brilliant. Most missions are comprised of an open map with a waypoint on it where you need to go blow something up or go kill some soldiers. How you make your approach - your path, your methods, your weapons and techniques - it's all up to you, and the game offers a shocking amount of freedom and experimentation in this regard. You COULD play this like a boring 7th gen cover shooter and just engage in firefights with the KPA while using armor mode... OR you could have fun and never use armor mode at all. You could use rocket launchers to collapse a guard tower instead of counter-sniping the guy at its top. You could rocket that tank or you could cloak yourself, drop C4 on it, and sprint away whlie you hit the detonator. You could shoot the gunner in that jeep or you could sprint around it, shoot the jerry can on its back and watch it explode. You could go grab a car and turn yourself invisible in the driver's seat, then drive it at top speed into that machine gun nest and jump out at the last second, creating a fireball of death that leaves the AI scrambling for cover.
Speaking of AI, it's the reactions of the KPA soldiers that really helps complete the fantasy. They're attentive and dangerous, but if you use your powers right, they're also completely hapless, and it's the act of sneaking up on a fireteam from behind, grabbing one of them, and throwing him into the rest of his team like a bowling ball that really completes the power fantasy. Without their desperate attempts to stop you, the reactivity of the AI, their shouting and firing wildly into your last known location when you activate your cloak - without them all of this would fall apart.
Crysis is not perfect, but it is great. It's greater than history gives it credit for. It is a forgotten giant of 2000s stealth video games, and for anyone who enjoys a little Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell sneaking-and-hunting action and is looking for more - Crysis has your fix.
Remaking the greatest video game of all time would be a daunting, foolhardy task for even the most legendary of video game developers. RE4 didn't need a remake. It still doesn't. Yet I'm happy this game exists regardless.
To try and re-do RE4 beat for beat would be a fool's endeavor. The best thing Capcom could have done with this installment would be to make it its own beast - rather than try to retread the steps of a giant, they would have to create something that feels entirely new, with its own combat loop, its own identity, merely inspired by the original. This is precisely what they did, and it's marvelous. The recognizable pieces are there - the plot beats, the campy villains, the melee prompts, the plagas exploding from heads - but the changes are sweeping enough to make an encounter in RE4make play out very differently from its namesake. The star of the show is Leon's knife - now incredibly powerful and versatile, faster than ever, capable of finishers and counters and even parries, but now also a resource to manage - its durability is finite, and you'll feel the pressure if it breaks.
I have gripes here and there. No game is gripe-free. The freer movement allows you to duck and weave like never before, but enemies can be frustratingly aggro on Ashley on higher difficulties to compensate, and she can't always keep up with you the way she could in the original. What does and doesn't have i-frames can seem inconsistent, and the learning curve on hardcore and professional can be frustrating as a result. The writing is top notch, and I either don't mind or enjoy many of the changes, but the voice work for most characters ranges from "good enough" to a clear downgrade from the original. Enemy resistance to staggers and melees on higher difficulties can really suck when RNG decides that ganado is going to choke you even though you shot him in the head 4 times. Yet despite these complaints, the game shines. I may cuss it out at times, but when you step back and look at the whole picture, the game's shortcomings pale in comparison to its strengths.
What really elevates RE4make though are the little moments of magic. It would be good enough if it was a fun romp. It would be good enough if it had a satisfying combat loop and fun puzzles. It would be good enough if it flawlessly established tension with thrilling, dangerous encounters that demand you carefully ration your resources. But the magical little moments - moments like getting bonus time in the shooting gallery and hearing the "la la las" of the original car drive salsa theme soar over a wailing trumpet solo - that's the stuff that really makes this game special.
RE4make will never supplant its namesake, but in a feat defying the laws of the universe itself, lives up to it. That's really the highest possible praise I can lump on this game. It deserves to be called Resident Evil 4.
This is the greatest video game ever made. If they would port this game to PC I would buy it again at full price. I would buy it at double price. I would marry this game and kiss it on the mouth. I would suck its dick. I'm not even gay. I love Bloodborne.