Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason Performance Evaluationccokeman - June 16, 2009
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Cryostasis is a game that is quite different from the normal FPS. Instead of the "walk down the hallway and kill 'em all" scenario, you are allowed brief interludes to slowly piece together what went horribly wrong on the Northwind. The game is a series of puzzles that need to be solved, with some serious action for good measure along the way. Solve the puzzles, survive the cold, and in the end you save the Northwind and its crew. The PhysX effects are great to look at, but come with a serious performance hit when using even moderate performance settings. When the PhysX effects are turned on, the ATI cards just could not deliver playable frame rates at any resolution, due to the CPU doing all the PhysX calculations. Turn them off, and the game is quite playable with the ATI cards, even with the AA and AF options ticked. As for the Green camp, I expected better gameplay results with the PhysX effects turned on, and they delivered better performance. With the settings I used, the GTX 295 and GTX 285 were playable at 1920x1200 but no higher. Adding a GTS 250 into the mix to do the PhysX workload enabled the single GPU Nvidia cards to all deliver playable frame rates up to 1920 x1200, though at times it did slow down far enough to ruin the experience when testing the GTX 260. The best way to get additional performance with the PhysX effects on using Nvidia cards is to add in a second video card to handle the PhysX workload, or to drop the settings. For the ATI camp, the only way to bolster performance seems to be disabling the PhysX effects. For now it's the only way to play the game if you have an ATI card. If you own an Nvidia card, you get the eye candy!
Cryostasis gives an interesting storyline to follow as well as a story within a story about a Russian tribe forced out of their homes. The gameplay at times is boring, but is punctuated with moments of action spaced just far enough apart to keep you in the game. The atmosphere is monotonous at times until you get to a point where the PhysX effects are in play; the game is not the same without them. 1C has captured the harsh environment - you can almost feel the cold. When our hero Alexander wanders into an area of bitter cold, you know it by the sight of his breath condensing, and the cough he develops when the temperature takes a plunge. As a single player game, Cryostasis will not bring you tons of online fun with your buddies, but is a game that is visually appealing and will make you think to finish it. All in all it plays well, as long as you have the graphics horsepower to get the most from it.