Reviews

Crysis 3 Review

by William Schwartz on February 19, 2013

    At this point it’s expected for Crysis 3 to be a beautiful game, and it is. For those that have played the original Crysis or Crysis 2, you know the joys of the Nanosuit. You know just how much fun it is to play as the silent killer or bullet sponge, and how both are completely interchangeable and viable options in your fight against CELL. The good news for Crysis fans is that Crysis 3 arrives as billed, your criticisms from Crysis 2 have been answered and it’s a more complete package than the last installment.

    This criticism of Crysis 2 came mostly from the PC crowd when Crytek made considerations for the franchise as it made its way to consoles.  It’s understandable, Crysis has made a name for itself as a face melting shooter that’s been as fun to look at as it’s been to play.  Though Crytek wasn’t just criticized for dumbing down the graphics, they also snuffed a lot of the sandbox elements that gave the original game some serious replay value. Now about this good news: Crysis 3 single player definitely features bigger areas than Crysis 2, and the sandbox element has indeed returned to the franchise. While nothing will ever completely capture that magic from the original, Crysis 3 takes a solid stab at it. At the same time, you can see that Crytek is continuing to push the franchise forward with an even bigger focus being on multiplayer this time around.

    The campaign is concise and paced well, the multiplayer is bigger and more encompassing, and the characters are more developed than in any game before it in the franchise. Here’s what we loved and hated about Crysis 3.

    What we loved about Crysis 3

    crysis 3 review loved

    The man behind the mask - The Crysis franchise hasn’t ever really been about its gripping narrative. Instead, gameplay was the centerpiece of this shooter. Prophet has been a silent protagonist for the most part, but Crysis 3 introduces him and his squad mates more fully in its single player portion. This goes a long way for this shooter. Instead of mindlessly scurrying between checkpoints and bashing CEPH and CELL baddies, Prophet and his human side are better explored. The Nanosuit is the ultimate weapon in the fight against the CEPH, and the remaining human forces that are fighting to save the world are better explained in Crysis 3. This is the story of how Prophet became the only Nanosuit still left in the world, and it’s a good one, quite possibly the best writing in the franchise. There’s never really a time in this short campaign that you’ll have a “Why am I here, what am I doing” moment. That said, Crysis 3 is paced well. It’s a fitting end for this trilogy, and a relief to get some of the answers that have been up in the air about the backstory of these heroes. This better story delivery also goes well with the high end visuals that Crysis 3 delivers, and while it is shorter than previous games, it manages to feel more complete in the process.

    Crysis 3 Sandbox

    On the Hunt - The Nanosuit has always been a very empowering gameplay tool. It allows you to utilize brute strength and stealth when the situation calls for it. Your management of the suit and its power supply has always been at the root of Crysis, and Cryis 3 is no different. While the Nanosuit hasn’t changed much, Crytek has introduced a number of different things to raise the tension on the battlefield. The first is in the setting. Crysis 3 is set in the same location as Crysis 2, but you probably won’t recognize much other than the occasional glimpse you’ll catch of dilapidated New York City landmarks. The city is overgrown, enveloped by a bubble that has turned the urban jungle into a literal jungle with the lush landscapes similar to those found in the original game. High grass and the remains of the city provide for some very hectic firefights, especially when the fast moving CEPH forces come into the equation. Though the major addition to Prophet’s arsenal is the Predator Bow which is given to him right from the get go. Combined with the Nanosuit’s tracking abilities, the bow can make quick work of a number of different enemies, while keeping the hero in the safe harbors of stealth.

    Crysis 3 Faces

    If looks could kill -Crysis 3 is probably the best looking video game of all time. There, I said it. Having had the opportunity to play the Xbox 360 version and PC version of the game, those who are getting ready to embark on this journey for the graphics alone, are in for a real treat with Crysis 3. For ultra high-end PC gamers, Crytek has not forgotten you this time around. Crysis 3 will definitely throw down the gauntlet for most rigs if you want to run the game with all of the bells and whistles. There are some things that Crysis is doing on the high-end that even next-gen consoles are unlikely to see.

    It looks equally great on consoles as well, which is even more surprising considering their age and some of the visual trickery that Crytek manages to pull off. There are times in Crysis 3 on consoles where it definitely feels like they are reaching the absolute threshold of what these aging machines can handle, so you might see the occasional hiccup or dropped frame on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, even with them running at a significantly lower frame rate to begin with.

    Multiplayer Matured – It looks like Crytek has learned a lot from Crysis 2 multiplayer. They’ve examined themselves and their competition to put together a pretty impressive package when it comes to the online component of Crysis 3. While the gameplay is nearly identical to Crysis 2, there are a lot more modes to play, kits to unlock, dog tags to collect, and challenges to complete. The progression system apes Call of Duty, but what multiplayer game doesn’t these days.

    Crysis 3 sets itself apart from the crowd with most of its game modes by pitting players against each others to see who can use their Nanosuit in the most efficient ways. Managing your suit abilities is the primary objective in Crysis 3 multiplayer, and probably even more important than your proficiency with a weapon. Proper use of these modules will give you an advantage in a one on one battle, and it’s the biggest learning curve associated with Crysis 3 multiplayer. Running in guns blazing is not the best method to play Crysis 3 online. I mean, you can do it, but you won’t have very much fun dying time and time again. Instead, managing the balancing act of moving stealthily and tracking your opponents until you’ve got the power and munitions to get the jump on them is paramount. While gameplay hasn’t changed all that much, playlists are larger and new game modes add some spice.

    Crysis 3 Multiplayer Hunter Mode

    The most notable inclusion in Crysis 3 multiplayer is a new mode called “Hunter”. Here players square off in a CELL vs. Nanosuits match. Not fair right? Well there’s strength in numbers in this mode, and the majority of players start off as CELL Operatives, looking to kill two Nanosuit outfitted “Hunters”. It’s a familiar twist on a mode that has been seen before in other games, but they have neither the coolness of the Nanosuit or the bows that the hunters do. There are a bunch of other modes in Crysis 3 multiplayer. The familiar Crash Site and Deathmatch modes return, as well as a brand new playlist that Crytek presides over with custom settings, and a hardcore mode as well. There have been tweaks made to the perks system, running no longer takes suit energy, and other tweaks to change the gameplay subtly, but its largely the same fun experience.

    What we hated about Crysis 3

    crysis 3 review hated

    The gift and the curse - When Psycho hands you the Predator Bow moments after breaking you out of your cryogenic sleep state, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s the strongest weapon in the game. Combined with your Nanosuit tools like tracking and hacking, you are nearly invincible in Crysis 3. On one hand, you should feel this way. You’re Prophet, the combination of CEPH and Nano technology guiding the most powerful weapon in the world. Why should anything get in your way? On the other other hand, unless you are ramping up difficulty to the absolute maximum, Crysis 3 is a pretty easy game. Couple that with the shorter single player experience and you could breeze through Crysis 3 without batting an eye. It takes a lot of the strategy out of the sandbox elements, and while visuals will spur on a sense of tension, you’re never in any real danger of dying. Worse yet, the game only gets easier as you go. The final levels where you should be overmatched, you are basically given invincibility. It’s definitely an odd progression.

    Definitely shorter - While quantity does not equal quality, judged against previous games in the franchise, Crysis 3 is notably shorter. The single player is more efficiently delivered, but there definitely could have been a couple more sandbox areas to explore in Crysis 3 without any complaints from me. In the place of the traditional combat, there are some pretty big segments of the campaign that don’t make good use of Crysis 3′s strengths. More explicitly, driving sequences and a flying sequence that feel somewhat out of place when compared to the things that Crytek does really well in Crysis 3. It’s unfortunate because these sequences seem to arrive within quick succession of one another, giving the impression that Crytek ran out of ideas heading into the back stretch of the game. These driving sequences could have been traded in for more exploration and combat in my opinion. Its obvious what this game’s strengths are and it’s not operating vehicles.

    Right down the middle - Crysis 3 tells a decent story, but really fails to break up the gameplay in any meaningful ways. The game keeps you on a pretty even keel on an emotional level. This is probably largely in part to the ease of the game, but I think it may also be because there’s no really threatening boss battles like we’ve seen in other games in the franchise. Is Crysis 3 a bad game because it doesn’t have multiple boss battles? No, not at all, but seeing how well done they have been in the past, it would have made a lot of sense to revist something similar.

    The Verdict

    Crysis 3 is a great looking and great playing game. Big surprise right. Don’t expect too many changes in the established formula. Instead, it’s the little things that make the big differences in Crysis 3. The new enivronment lends itself well for a more tension filled brand of combat, and the tweaked arsenal of weapons have been hand picked to accentuate this. Giving ever so slightly more color to the single player campaign, makes for a more enjoyable experience. And multiplayer has enough variety to not only separate itself from the pack, but appeal to a broad base of shooter fans. Crysis 3 feels like the most complete package from top to bottom in the franchise’s history, while toeing the line smack dab in the middle of the first two games when it comes to their design philosophy.

    The Verdict
    It'll always be hard for Crytek to capture the magic from the original game, but Crysis 3 is close on many fronts. More freedom in single player, more options in multiplayer, Crysis 3 feels like the most complete game in the franchise.
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