Release Date: 4/24/2009
Available Exclusively On
I love first-person shooters with a great atmosphere and Cryostasis pulls this off well. While the story is pretty confusing and never really makes any sense at all (even at the end) you at least know why you’re here. You are moving through a Russian nuclear icebreaker that was destroyed after hitting an iceberg (sound familiar). You walk around finding dead bodies and upon touching them you can relive the moments leading to their death and try and prevent it so you can continue getting through the area that is blocked. This also provides more backstory on how the ship actually did hit the iceberg and why.
The game is a first-person shooter so you get some guns, but the game is slow-paced and not a high-octane shooter like most people like. You move very slowly and you have to take your time aiming since these guns don’t exactly fire at a high rate. You get several different types such as bolt action rifles, a Tommy gun, a water cannon (that uses icicles!), and even a flare gun. The aiming is slow like I mentioned and you just feel like you’re shooting in slow motion. This isn’t entirely bad since you can take your time and aim because ammo is a tad scarce. You do, however, never feel like your guns are very powerful even on the weaker enemies. But you don’t get guns right away since for a good 25% through the game you get to use melee weapons.
The enemies in the game are pretty unique and not just average cannon fodder. These enemies are pretty creepy and look great and behave decently towards your actions. Some swing axes and some shoot back, but they are all pretty hard to take down especially the bigger guys later on.
The game doesn’t really consist of puzzles but the game is a linear maze sometimes. You do flip switches and activate heat sources (more on that later), but there are no actual puzzles in the game. This game makes things a bit dull and feels monotonous since the tone of the game never really changes and even the atmosphere wears thin before the end. You’re opening a lot of doors, flipping a lot of switches, and shooting some bad guys and that’s about it. This game is really only for people who are into atmosphere and story.
You can use any heat source such as lamps, lights, heaters, fires, you name it to recharge your health. There are two meters and the outer one shows how warm the room is or the heat source. You can only heal up to where that meter stops, and then you have your endurance gauge for sprinting.
The game looks pretty good and you need a monster rig to run this with DirectX10 and get the best-looking settings. The textures are highly detailed, and you can even watch the ice melt and watch the water run down walls in real-time. Of course, this was one of the very first DX10 games so there are plenty of glitches. The PS4.0 has a problem making animations jerky so you have to fiddle around with minimizing to the desktop and changing it from 3 to 4 to get it to stop. The game will crash at random sometimes, and there are some weird out-of-nowhere glitches throughout. This makes the game very frustrating to play even if you have a hefty rig.
The game can feel like a chore towards the end because the pace never changes and is just deliberately slow and the story just never makes sense. However, it has something about it that makes you keep playing regardless of all this, but people who like fast action should stay away. Cryostasis could have been a lot better with a more stable engine, better shooting, and a more steady pace instead of just slow throughout. If you have the rig to run this game and the patience then Cryostasis is your thing.
Update (06/14/18): The game has actually been pulled off of Steam as of late and does not run on Windows 10 or modern GPUs. This is such a shame as it can easily be run on any GPU from the last 5-6 years with no problems. If you want to pick up a copy you need to find someone who has it in their Steam library.