In developer Crytek’s Crysis 3 players once again don the cloak of the super soldier Prophet. The goal is to defeat the evil organization CELL, who has capitalized on the events of the 2nd game, taken full control of the world, and practically enslaved its surviving citizens. Through the course of this mission your efforts are refocused to prevent a full on invasion by the alien Ceph and its leader the Alpha-Ceph.
Setting: The concrete and the Jungle
Crysis 3, like its predecessor, takes place in Manhattan. This time though it’s 24 years later and the city has become overrun by plants and trees literally making it the title of that horrible Predator game Predator: Concrete Jungle. The environment of the game is sort of like the first two combined. You get the organic vegetation and wildlife of the Jungle from the 1st, but also the tall crumbling concrete buildings of the 2nd. It’s quite an amazing sight and really makes for an awesome setting for the 3rd installment of the series.
Story: Plot holes and lack of revelations
The story of the game plays out like your average sci-fi action flick. You’ve got a protagonist with an identity Crysis and a supporting cast who needs him to save humanity. His less than human appearance makes it hard for them to trust him. Your only real friend in the entire game is your partner and former squad mate Psycho (aka Michael Sykes). He’s also probably the only person in the entire game who’s more messed up than you. There are some confusing aspects of the story especially when you consider the events of the 2nd game, where the protagonist of this game Prophet, shoots himself after rescuing Alcatraz and giving him his nanosuit. The developers expect you to connect the Dippin’ Dots on your own, but it’s difficult to tell if the conclusions I’ve drawn are the ones the developer intended because they keep melting. Despite the minor plot holes, the writing is actually not bad. I found the story to be enjoyable enough for a game of this type. However it definitely tried to be a lot more dramatic and emotional than it actually was. I also enjoyed the voice acting, and thought it was almost as good as the voice acting in both the Gears of War and Halo series.
Graphics: Details, the devil.
I did play this game on a fairly high end PC. I was able to achieve smooth and playable frame rates at max settings with moderate anti-aliasing. Keep that in mind as you read the next paragraph.
This game is absolutely bar-none the best looking game I’ve ever played. Everything from the incredibly high resolution textures to the photo realistic detail is unmatched by any game to date. It leaves even recent titles like Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Hitman: Absolution in the dust. Everything about this game bitch slaps your face with the words “NEXT-GEN”.
With all that said, if you’re playing this game from a console it is a decidedly less crystalline experience. The game does still look good but it’s clear this title was meant to be played on a PC. With all of the DirectX11 features such as Ambient Occlusion, Tessellation, and advanced anti-aliasing techniques like MSSA, SMAA and nVidia’s own TXAA. This game has all the extra features a PC gaming enthusiast will be expecting in a next-gen title. It’s worth noting that unlike most titles released today, this game lacks support for previous versions of DirectX such as DX10 and DX9. So, if your computer’s graphics card is not up to date with the latest standards, you will not be able to play this game period.
If you’re interested in the hardware I used here it is:
- CPU: Core i7 3820 @ 3.8 GHz
- GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 680
- RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600Mhz
GAMEPLAY: The Hunter or the Juggernaut
The gameplay in Crysis 3 is fairly consistent with its predecessors. Enemies have no real chance against your Nanosuit’s abilities when used properly. The main differences between your suit’s powers this time around are your ability to switch through classes of unlockable perks that change your suits physical attributes.
For instance one set of perks may increase your accuracy or your ability to stay cloaked for long periods of time, but will also have a negative effect such as making you slower, decreasing your reloading speed, etc. You unlock these perks by finding upgrade packs throughout the game. To find them all you’ll definitely have to do some exploring and venture off the mission’s course for a while.
The newest and probably most important addition to your arsenal is the new Bow. It’s a powerful weapon that can, as the character Psycho puts it: “Generate enough kinetic energy to stop a Rhino”. It also has a four different types of arrows which include Timed Explosives, Electrical Shock, Frag, and the standard projectile type. Each of them can be used in a variety of different situations in order to stealthily take out your targets.
Which brings me to my 1st point, the game encourages you to use the arrow and cloak combination in all situations, especially throughout the 1st portion of the campaign. You can choose to use your armor abilities and a more conventional weapon to push through your enemies using sheer brute force. You’ll find though that this ends up being more difficult than simply staying cloaked and using your arrows.
Doing the latter is incredibly easy, since the AI of the enemies both human and Ceph are ridiculously stupid. After you shoot one with an arrow others will come to the scene to investigate. They practically come to you begging to get shot in a similar way to hungry puppies wanting bacon. That not to say the gameplay isn’t fun, quite the opposite, actually. I found the over the top action, and stealthily stalking my pray with an assortment of deadly arrows to be a blast. However, even while playing on higher difficulty settings I found the game could definitely be more challenging.
Where the game lacks in difficulty it makes up for in other areas. The non-linear feel of the missions, the ability to go off course of the main objective in order to complete secondary objectives, or being able to hunt for upgrades is definitely welcomed. Boss battles however feel a lot more scripted. “I am boss! We do battle!” instead of “I’m gonna kill you ****er!” It’s usually not about how much damage you do to them but whether or not you hit them in the right spot or at the right time. I felt like they could have allowed you to be more creative in how you deal with each boss. Unfortunately they didn’t read my review while working on the game because none of the devs happen to be named John Conner.
Multiplayer: An unexpected necessity
With games like this I never expect much from the multiplayer. Usually it’s a bolted on after thought that none of the game’s developers actually wanted to include. They get forced to by their publishers. This isn’t the case with Crysis 3 however and it’s a rayman of mario sunshine. The multiplayer is actually enjoyable and has a variety of fun, engaging modes. The most notable of which is the Hunter mode.
If you’ve ever played Infection or The Flood from Halo then this game mode will definitely feel familiar. What it does different than the Halo version though is actually make it feel competitive. Either side can win. You start as either a regular human CELL agent or a fully cloaked hunter with nothing but a bow. CELL agents have a lot more firepower, and you can select different classes depending on your play style. I found playing as a CELL agent being stalked by these less than human hunters to be very nerve-smacking and exciting. It forces you to work as a team and try to be as tactical as possible in order to survive.
The multiplayer’s gameplay in general is very solid. It felt like Battlefield 3 with smaller maps and superhuman abilities. You may differ in opinion, but the physics of things such as recoil and the details in things like player animation, are definitely very Battlefield inspired. That’s a good thing. What is definitely not so Battlefield is the aforementioned maps.
I found the map design to be lackluster. I can definitely see this as an area of the multiplayer that can be improved upon with DLC. Overall I think that anyone picking this game up will be pleased with the multiplayer. It definitely adds replay value.
In my time with this game I can say with certainty that despite shortcoming like, confusing plot details, mediocre boss battles, less than challenging AI and lack of legacy hardware support. This game does have a lot to offer the player. Its jaw-dropping visuals (on PC at least), over the top action, and fun non-linear gameplay mixed with the re-playability of a really well-built multiplayer system make it a definite must have for any FPS fan.