As with any good near-future story, Crysis 3 is chock full of surprises, and while far from ‘future perfect’, is still one of the most enjoyable games that I’ve had the pleasure of playing in a long while. Well, at least since Crysis 2, of course. The game looks better than ever, although there aren’t too many major changes to the HUD layout or the other screens and item upgrading, aside from a few minor little tweaks to keep things feeling fresh. The nanosuit still transforms Alcatraz/Prophet into a badass killing machine a la Terminator, and has a whole new list of possible upgrades to boast as well. Right from the start, veterans of the Crysis series should be able to get the hang of the slightly new mechanics before diving back into the fight and cutting their enemies down a size. Crysis 3 is by the far the best looking game I’ve seen yet, even better looking than Halo 4, and- while it seems more like a 7-hour DLC upgrade to Crysis 2, it has it’s own list of memorable encounters as well.
For a change, the crappy plot of Crysis 2 is thrown unceremoniously aside (it was by far the worst part of that excellent game), and only alluded to in retrospect a few times as the plot of Crysis 3 progresses. (And is by far on par with that of Crysis 1, if not above it.) Seeing as *spoiler Prophet’s conscious slowly overtook Alacatraz’s in Crysis 2, and that he was basically a walking zombie anyway, *spoiler this game directly features Prophet, a small amount of familiar faces, and a startling host of new adversaries and allies alike. That dude from Crysis Warhead (Yes, Psycho) saves your butt a couple of times, wants you to join their “resistance” against CELL control, and generally expects you to dog along and follow his every order. Obviously, being the badass that he is, (and the fact that Psycho somehow managed to get rid of his nanosuit like the idiot he is) Prophet instead helps the resistance when he can, stalks around New York ‘under the dome’, and hunts for the “Alpha-Ceph” that could mean the end of the world if unleashed. Yeah, he’s tough as nails, I know. Basically, although it continues the trend of Crysis 2’s throwing of the narrative to the ground, and focuses more on tense action and brief firefights, Crysis 3 also leans towards Crysis 1 in terms of pacing and NPC encounters among other things. It’s the game that balances the best of both worlds in order to keep the players who were fans of the first game but alienated by the second, as well as those who only ever experienced and enjoyed the second. A wise move on Crytek’s part…
The similarities in purposeful balancing do not stop there however, and continue on to incorporate the entire sandbox world in and of itself. Whereas Crysis 1 was wide open for players to terrorize, and Crysis 2 was a little more contained and paced a bit slower- Crysis 3 mixes these methods and the end result is quite satisfying. Instead of always limiting your movements and containing the action, the battles are now broader at times, and open up the playing field considerably. You are free in many cases to tackle multiple objectives at once, or go various ways about your explosive business as well. You can also of course choose multiple approaches to situations, including the classic run and gun or stealth options, as well as some concerning vehicles and subterfuge as well. It’s a mixed breed. Regardless of what you choose however, be aware that the difficulty present in Crysis 2 seems to have been toned down a bit (or we’re all just getting better at playing), so you’ll want to amp up the settings a little for a real challenge. I’d personally suggest fans of the first two games play through once or twice on veteran before going in for the ever-impossible Super Soldier run.
Also present in helping to tone down the difficulty is the apex predator of this world: Prophet. With even more augmentations possible to the nanosuit, a whole plethora of new weapons to enjoy and master, and alien technology to fool with- he truly is the best chance for humanity’s survival. To counter your being completely overpowered however, a host of new enemies have been added to the game, and the AI has not only been beefed up in terms of brawn, but now possesses more intellect than in previous titles as well. Cloaking may still get them at times, but be as silent as possible, unless you want a storm of bullets, rockets, and grenades headed your way. As it is, playing through on easy or normal is still no challenge whatsoever, unless you’re doing it simply to get the hang of the hardcore boss encounters that go down, because those are pretty bad indeed…especially on Super Soldier…
Accompanying the rich single player experience once more this time around is the equally impressive, yet for whatever reason, never quite popular multiplayer mode. Not much has changed in terms of ranking and progression since Crysis 2, however there are a few new modes of gameplay as well to add into the mix. While it is true that they aren’t as great as the rush of classic deathmatch games, they do mix things up and are quite intriguing to witness. Hunter pits two cloaked nanosuits against roughly twelve CELL operatives and supports teamwork and a predator-prey outlook, whereas other modes are simply revised versions of standard ones. While not special enough to make it a multiplayer destination in competition with Call of Duty or Halo, and bogged down by a few inconveniences such as poor hit detection and vertical traversal across the environment during firefights- these multiplayer modes are still brutally fast and equally fun.
On a graphical sidenote, as usual, and to nobody’s great surprise I am sure, Crysis 3 boasts some of the most astonishing visual highlights that I’ve ever seen before. Cry Engine 3 is probably the best looking graphics engine I’ve seen yet, even beating out Metal Gear Rising’s Fox engine and Halo 4’s graphics as well. From rippling water and gorgeous illumination to extremely realistic environmental details and enemy looks, Crysis 3 nails it all with a solid landing in terms of visuals. Even in the fast-paced multiplayer, the graphical awareness is still there and just as potent- although sometimes affected by slight drops in framerate and mixed up textures at times as well. Otherwise, your jaw will hit the floor and you’ll soon find yourself covered in drool whilst enjoying the single player if you aren’t careful… Pair this with the excellent soundtrack of tense concertos and ambient noises, as well as the realistic and destructive sounds of war, and you’ve got yourself an enshrouding experience.
While the core gameplay remains the same, and it hasn’t been long enough for the novelty of Crysis 2 to wear off for me personally (from 2011), Crysis 3 is just a step up from some upgrade to the previous title. The PC and console versions are very similar as with the second game, but ever since the first title released exclusively to PC before being ported to consoles- it’s clear that PC is the way to go, and that it was made for those graphical big rigs that can handle the burn. Either way you go, it’s still amazing and a strong reminder to those who are eager to push on to the next generation of consoles, that all of the revolutionary resolution and animation related changes in this game were done on current gen consoles- thus pushing them even farther past the recognized thresholds of endurance, and still succeeding. Crysis 3 is a visual marvel above all else, although good gameplay and an okay story is thrown in as an added bonus.
Concept: Continue in the jaw-dropping and beautiful tradition of producing Crysis games that allow players both freedom and restraint.
Graphics: The visuals look gorgeous across all consoles and PCs, however the PC does have the upper hand as with the previous two games.
Sound: The guns and explosions are a sight to witness graphically, but they sound just as amazing as they look, which makes for a nice bonus, as well as a great way to wake up sleeping children.
Playability: Everything from Crysis 2’s brilliant nanosuit upgrade and control systems returns, and one thing mixes the action up even more this time around: sprinting no longer adversely effects your stamina, so you can run, gun, and cloak at the same time. Excellent if I do say so myself.
Entertainment: With the freedom to approach situations as you see fit, players will note that all environments are open to experimentation and tactical assessment.
Replay Value: High
Overall Score: 9.25