Cryostasis – GONE!

Cryostasis – GONE! after the break…

Cryostasis – GONE!…

After what feels like a very long time (mere weeks, if I read my calendar correctly), I have decided to delete the game “Cryostasis” from my hard drive. While I can never say that I won’t ever re-install the game back onto my hard drive, I’m very hard pressed to think of a single reason as to why I should.

I’d like to start by offering my congratulations to everyone involved for making this game possible, including “Action Moves,” “1C Company” and “Aspyr.” Creating even the simplest game is formidable and attempting to create an AAA-class game that one finds in a store (or, increasingly, in online stores) is Herculean in effort.

Unfortunately, in the final analysis, I was not the audience for this particular game. To be brief, here are some bullet points…

WHAT I LIKED:

  • “Heat is Good, Cold is Bad” mechanic – In my mind, this was the crown jewel of this game. If someone can distill this mechanic into a puzzle-based “Portal”-like game, then they’ve got a worthy game on their hands. Unfortunately, “Cryostasis” didn’t emphasize this mechanic to it’s fullest potential and, as a result, the game suffered.
  • The General Premise – The setting was fairly novel and, in a survival horror genre, was appropriate. While the rooms looked remarkably similar to each other after a while (how many ways can you differentiate one frost pattern from another), an older abandoned Soviet vessel in the arctic does invoke a certain sense of dread and isolation.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • Combat system – This really dampened my enthusiasm for this game. I understand that combat is to games what “MSG” is for food… Simply add it to your game and the game is “tastier” to various demographics as a result. However, the combat system simply didn’t work that well and was overshadowed by a much more effective mechanism (see above). I could train for the rest of my life but how much better could I be with the axe in this game or, for that matter, any of the melee weapons?
  • Dependence on NVIDIA – While it wasn’t a huge factor, relying on having a particular type of graphics card to fully appreciate your game isn’t the smartest of strategies. Water wasn’t a huge factor in this game to begin with. Had water been integral to the mechanic then dependence would’ve at least been rational. However, relegated to a simple special effect, why was so much emphasis placed on something that ultimately wasn’t all that relevant for the game?
  • Story – The explanation of why the Soviet vessel was there in the first place and it’s connection to an old Russian story didn’t work for me. I’m going to be generous and simply dismiss my lack of enthusiasm for the story as a cultural difference: Both the game’s story and the corresponding legend sound too much like a pro-Soviet, pro-Stalin, pro-Any leader storyline for my liking. I have no problem with accepting the notion that there are great visionary leaders but I become hesitant when stories attempt to convince me that I should place blind faith into anyone. The story also didn’t adequately explain why I was fighting mutated stereotypes of crew members as enemies – You don’t grow wings from a nuclear reactor breach. I was expecting some sort of fanciful explanation but never received it.

And so ends “Cryostasis.” I’m glad that I played through the game but now I must choose another game or, more accurately, YOU (the readers), get to choose one for me from a list in my next post… I thank everyone for reading my thoughts on Cryostasis.

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