Crysis 1 shattered the shackles of graphically displeasing FPS games and put even the best rigs to shame. Crysis 2 brought the dynamic gameplay to the consoles with a reduced, but still gorgeous game and a brilliant cliffhanger. So you’d expect Crysis 3 to present refined visuals, designed specifically for the consoles, a story arc to end all story arcs and gameplay that expresses the true abilities of the Nanosuit, right? Well not exactly…
Graphics: This is the single most plugged thing about any of the Crysis games. They’re the consequence of someone leaning back and thinking “How far can we push the capabilities of gaming platforms” and I often liken the works of Crytek with Volkswagens’ Bugatti Veyron car, built because they could. The first two games were brilliantly beautiful, I’m happy to say that Crysis 3 is no exception to the running theme of beauty this series possesses. Level design on Crysis 3 is nothing short of incredible; wide-open jungle spaces with gorgeous sunsets, derelict buildings and rusted C.E.L.L vehicles dotted about the place. It’s one of those games you spend time examining the environments just as much as you focus on the storyline just because it’s so engrossing. I especially enjoyed the reactive grass mechanics that were really realized in confrontations with the Stalker Cephs and during the ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ level when the grass would intelligently react to explosions from the C.E.L.L defense tower.
The graphics of Crysis 3 for PS3, however, are noticeably…rough. I’ve seen gameplay footage and screenshots of PC versions and frankly they look a whole lot better than what I was seeing on my TV screen. It would make sense that a game originally designed for the PC would be realized more so on the PC. It’s still a shame that the void between the PC and consoles is quite so large. Many of the ridiculously awesome environments you get to see are simply there for show; you never get to experience them, which is again a real shame. Little bugs such as sparks from fire clumping like tumbleweed also hindered the experience, but can be solved with some later updates. The fundamental issue is if you want to experience the full Crysis 3 environments you’re going to need a PC rig with a $500 graphics card, not a $300 console.
Gameplay: With the abilities of the Nanosuit, Crysis offered players a fresh and interesting new way to play the classic FPS. The fallacy of choice was broken and actually delivered when players could pick their method of attack thanks to available tactical assessments. Crysis 3 has done away with the assessment prompts and instead leaves players to their own devices. Visor hints for ‘Stealth’ ‘Flank’ and so on have been removed and replaced with a quicker enemy tagging method. Weapons and ammo are still represented, but I do miss having the hints or tossing a grenade through that window to start a chain reaction, I can’t help but feel many people will miss out on aspects of gameplay they would have had if the visor had hinted at them. Nano vision is the only ability that’s really changed as it has been sharpened and actually works fantastically now. Players now have the ability to now use Ceph weaponry, which is great fun and adds new dimension to both singleplayer and multiplayer along with a whole new arsenal for loyal players to become masterful with.
The predator bow also adds something special to Crysis 3. I used the bow for 95% of the campaign, simply because you don’t need to use anything else. Suitable for nearly all combat situations it’s ridiculously overpowered, but is just so much fun what with the different tips available and the ability to pin enemies to walls. Oh yeah and blowing up deer. Levels are medium length and become depressingly repetitive towards the end, especially the final level, which is atrociously mapped with no real sense of direction. Boss battles also occur a few times for no apparent reason, blemishing the feel of gameplay with the almost humorous “shoot the glowing yellow bits” we all know and hate from the Dead Space franchise. Last but not least, the buggy. The buggy is one of the worst experiences in a game I’ve ever had, bugs everywhere so I kept falling through the map, rocket ammo which always ran out, and a really small HUD so you nearly always crash. I actually opted for walking after my first experience with a buggy, which worked a whole lot better.
Storyline : The plot picks up some 24 years after Crysis 2. Prophet has been captured by the C.E.L.L who are now the most powerful company in the world thanks to the ceph machine, system X, an unlimited source of energy. System X is so powerful they have contained it in The Liberty Dome; a protective casing over New York designed to contain a Ceph threat. You’re then rescued by Psycho (protagonist from Crysis: Warhead). You then go on a revenge mission to basically stop C.E.L.L and uncover the truth about their operations. On paper that sounds great, but unfortunately it didn’t quite translate to the game as well as it could have, mainly for a few simple reasons. Psycho is an irritating, bad mouthed and ultimately pointless character who’s simply there to drive an unnecessary emotional subtext to the plot due to his ‘Skinning’ experience. Poor characterization aside, Crysis 3 only has 7 levels. When compared to Crysis 2’s 19 levels that is simply shocking, it also doesn’t leave much room for anything to happen which is probably why the story lacks in almost every sense. The whole game feels rushed with things happening for no real reason and with no clear direction leaving it the weakest aspect of Crysis 3.
Sound: The Crysis 3 soundtrack is about as much a work of art as the graphics are. Amazing amalgamations of synth and classical music reflect the technologyof the Nanosuit within its jungle surroundings. Your methods of gameplay are matched in the tone of the soundtrack, stealthy players get subdued music that makes your heart race with apprehension whereas full frontal players get solid drum beats to accentuate the heat of tactical warfare. It’s also reactive to environment as it delivers the stunning visuals via another sense other than vision.
Multiplayer: Arguably the most redeeming features of Crysis 3 is the Multiplayer games. We got to experience the heart pounding Hunter mode and the classic Crash Site in the beta release, which both showcased huge potential. With the full game release we find other modes such as classic Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch (made interesting with the Nanosuits abilities); Assault, where a team must download data while CELL players stop them (much like COD’s search and destroy); Extraction, where teams must collect as many devices as possible in a time limit; and Capture the Relay, which is Crysis’ answer to Capture the Flag. The 12 maps are great environments to play on and are excellently crafted with many representing iconic areas such as Chinatown or the Brooklyn Bridge. The leveling system for online play is rewarding as the custom loadouts make substantial differences to gameplay, making the lobby interval and leveling up all the more important. All modes have their pros and cons, but are all a lot of fun with Hunter being the most enjoyable what with its heart racing situations and full power bow.
Summary: A very pretty game that uses its dashing good looks to cover up a pretty poor storyline and ultimately rehashed mechanics. The bow is brilliant fun and proves a real skill challenge when played with on supersoldier mode, it also adds an interesting variety to multiplayer. The soundtrack is great and relates well to gameplay. Enemies showcase terrible AI and pose little or not challenge unless, again, on supersoldier. Boss battles are almost laughable, but combat sequences with enemies such as the Stalkers redeem it somewhat. The multiplayer is really fun and is a breath of fresh air from other online FPS games (COD, cough). If you really want to play Crysis 3 in all its glory I say get the PC version, make sure you’re running a badass graphics card (Kotaku ran tests here) and put the subtitles on so you don’t miss important storyline information amongst Psycho’s incessant swearing. Otherwise you’re looking at a very beautiful yet average game.
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