Review - Crysis 3
Doing what it's always done, Crysis returns for a third time to show off the most realistic foliage you've ever seen in a game via CryEngine 3. Yes, Crytek's glorified tech demo will make you ooh and aahhh when it goes out of its way to flex its muscle. That's all well and good, but I wish the gameplay would get on the same level.
Crysis 3 will make you feel empowered in Prophet's nanosuit, and you'll gleefully crush anything that gets in your way, but the combat was never so engaging that I felt compelled to really engage in it. In fact, Crysis 3 had me going the complete opposite direction! I already had a penchant for being sneaky in games and Prophet's stealth ability wasn't helping things. But, being handed a bow and the option to hack Cell equipment pushed me into the shadows and I never looked back. The risk of being spotted provided a much larger rush than activating Armor Mode and going into one more firefight with a bunch of nameless goons -- human or Ceph. Acquiring nanosuit upgrades only fueled my desire to be the night in a decimated New York City. The levels are designed to be flexible enough to support playing strong or silent, but slipping by undetected was more the more satisfying option between the two. Towards the end of the game, I was genuinely disappointed to find myself in boss fights, having to pump magazine after magazine into oversized opponents.
Like the levels, Crysis 3's weapons and nanosuit have great flexibility, with Prophet seemingly carrying every bullet-type or weapon add-on somewhere in his RoboCop-esque body. You can change up your suit abilities on the fly when the need arises for you to quit sneaking and start stomping. Now silencers are a stealth player's friend, but the bow is the breath of fresh air in the arsenal and easily the way to dispatch discretely. The different tips can explode, electrocute, or simply eviscerate the enemy. In some slightly realistic sense, the number of arrows you're able to carry pales in comparison to the large quantity of bullets. It's crucial to be patient and line up the shot before letting loose. While you can pull your arrows out of downed foes, the last thing you'll want to do is waste your time hunting down the shot that missed. If you're missing with arrows, it's probably a matter of time before you find something that's fully automatic to rack up the body count.
As those bodies pile on top of each other, it can't be said that they don't look good doing it. Even on consoles that don’t have dual SLI GeForce super graphics cards blazing away, Crysis 3 looks really, really, really good. After escaping from Cell's ship and going back into New York City, Crytek made no bones about showing just what CryEngine 3 is capable of. You will have to take a moment to appreciate what you're looking at, because it's impressive. Could be a well-lit level, could be a dark one; maybe you're inside somewhere, or perhaps you're wading through the vegetation that's overrun 42nd street. Whenever someone is speaking, paying attention to the detail in the animation of character's faces shows what CryTek's latest engine is truly capable of. It's part of why Crysis 3's story is so much stronger. The voice acting is solid work, but having those words come out of people that look like they truly care about not being exterminated takes it to another level.
With this, Michael 'Psycho' Sykes, your main companion in liberating New York, helps provide an interesting dynamic and plays a large role in one of the game's main themes. Sykes wore a nanosuit alongside Prophet in the original Crysis, but somewhere between then and the beginning of Crysis 3, the Cell Corporation has relieved him of his ultimate weapon. He has been humbled back into humanity while, in some sense, Prophet lost his a long time ago. This will create tension with the resistance leader, Claire, who isn't receptive to what Prophet has become. This all plays into some serious plot twists and silver linings in the story -- and to its credit, Crysis 3 has a much stronger story than Crysis 2 did. I wouldn't expect to see this game winning any writing awards, but it will stand out in the crowd of first person shooters.
Unless you want to ogle the graphics of Crysis 3 some more, it’s hard to say if this game holds much replay value. The story is worth returning to, even if the gameplay isn't. One thing that extends the life of a first person shooter, the multiplayer, does a decent job of incorporating what makes Crysis 3 unique and meshing it with the now standard custom loadout system. Then it combines it with multiplayer modes you've seen before and can probably get a few hours of entertainment out of. The one mode that I would think could stand out would be Hunters, which pits a team of Cell soldiers against a group wearing nanosuits in permanent stealth mode. If a Cell soldier dies, then he becomes a hunter, and the round continues until time runs out or there are no more Cell soldiers. So really, this is Halo's Infection, but with cloaking thrown into the mix. The cloaking isn't hard to spot, either. If you knew where the guy with Active Camouflage was in Halo, spotting the hunters will be a breeze.
Crysis 3 has plenty of things that it does well, but it comes up short in one of the biggest departments. Putting the player in the suit meant to kick ass should make the player want to kick ass. I know the game was designed to give players that either/or option, but toppling the enemy regime would be much more satisfying if crushing their souls and watching their morale disappear was the first inclination and not an afterthought. The man or machine theme is used well, and CryEngine 3 looks so good, I just wish the other parts of the game held up their end of the bargain. Crysis 3 would make a solid rental, but it just doesn't have enough energy to make buying it a necessity.