deliberate slow-paced survivalist extravaganza ... with some performance issues

User Rating: 8 | Cryostasis PC
Before this game gets slammed by *official* reviews that don't see much value or quality in games that are not accompanied by truckloads of ad campaigns cash, let me just quickly say ... the game has some problems and ... the game is very likely the best atmospheric survivalist action since STALKER SoC.

Lets first address negatives:
- PERFORMANCE issues reported in Russian and EU versions are still present in the download version of the US/Worldwide version. They creep up somewhere around the middle of the game where you can suddenly experience drastic frame rates drops. Some of those drops occur in very critical times where your survival depends on the ability to respond timely and accurately. Hopefully, this will be addressed by a patch promissed to be released on April 20. In fact, this is the only, although very important, factual negative about this game ... and the rest is more or less subjective.
- VERY high end system required to experience the game as the developer (Action Forms) intended it to be experienced (some of this may be addressed with the patch tho)
- MOVEMENT controls and game mechanics are somewhat outdated and feel stiff. No take cover system, no leaning has been implemented. However, this may have been done on purpose. The movement speed (walk) is just a notch slower than it should be even when the given extreme environmental conditions are considered.
- WEAPONS zoom (ironsights zooming) in the aim mode is a way too strong. This is the only negatively surprising developer's decision that somewhat distracts from the extreme realism of firearms in this game.

On the positive side:
- THE game is made for PC (not a porting job)
- DELIBERATE slow-paced atmospheric survivalist action that immerses you into your own sense of isolation, fear and desperation amidst deadly environmental conditions and hostile mutated creatures
- EXCELLENT weapons realism (design, firing, loading, reaction time, recoil) that only further contributes to the sense of overwhelming odds stacked against you and creeping thoughts that you'll never make it through. While some peeps will hate this, I personally like that there is no reticule in the hip mode of shooting.
- STRONG story-driven gameplay, that only gradually reveals itself and culminating at the very end. During the game you'll sometimes wonder whether there is a point to all this ... but if you survive you'll be rewarded at the end. One of the best, thought-provoking endings.
- SOME very well executed original ideas contributing to the sense of methodical planning on the developer's part and not adding pieces as an afterthought. While at times things may appear repetitive, carefully looking around will make you realize that each level and each space while similar to other confined spaces on the ship is different and offers a different challenge.

Overall, this a wonderful game that is hard to classify in any particular category. It is played in the first person, but it's not a typical shooter. Horror is present, but it's not a typical horror game either. Keep your mind open without the need to categorize this game and you'll have a good time. Yet, it must be said that this game is not for everybody -- if you are looking for a fast-paced action shooter ... then stay away from this game. This game is just the opposite -- deliberately slow pace ... giving you time to realize how desperate, almost hopeless, your situation is. The survival fights are realistic given that the character you are playing is a person without highly specialized combat skills (as is usually the case in other FPS games) moving in a deeply frozen environment trying to figure out what happened and what's going on while barely staying alive. Audio is top notch. Graphics are on par with the best with some specialized outputs for ice and water. For no apparent reason AtmosFear 2.0 game engine reminded me on Black Element's Enforce2 engine where the interiors are rendered superbly while the outdoors have significant room for improvement. If the upcoming fixes/patch resolve the performance issues this will be one game that could easily range anywhere between 8.5 and 10/10 depending on the user's preferences. Overall score: 8.2/10.