The original Crysis was infamous for testing people’s PCs to their graphical limit. When the sequel was launched on consoles, it brought not only the graphical prowess but a different gameplay experience for console owners. This was no cookie cutter FPS. Crysis 3 brings all of this to the table a third time and although it doesn’t raise the bar, it keeps it steady.
For the uninitiated there is an intro that runs through a brief synopsis of the previous games and the story so far. You are Prophet, a soldier who has been merged with an experimental nanosuit made from alien technology that gives the wearer incredible strength, speed and a host of tricks. You are out to fight a company called Cell who is taking over the planet with modified alien tech and seriously questionable practices. Unbeknown to them though, there is a much larger threat: the return of the alien Ceph. The story that ensues from this is captivatingand satisfying.
Prophet’s nanosuit drives the game in two ways. From a gameplay perspective it allows the player to feel incredibly powerful and gives a host of options on how to navigate through the level. Between running faster, jumping higher, recovering from damage, cloaking and enhancing your armour to repel tank fire, you are one serious badass. As destructive as you can be with your suit, there is limitation that comes in the form of your suit’s energy stores. Any skill you use depletes your limited supply and once it runs out you are temporarily vulnerable until it replenishes. The developers have managed to get just the right balance between the amount of energy your suit has, the rate of consumption and the replenish rate. It constantly keeps you thinking tactically and rarely leads to annoyance.
The second role the nanosuit fulfills is in character and plot development. Prophet has sacrificed a lot to knock back the alien attack, including integrating a load of alien tech into his body. As the story unfolds Prophet’s humanity comes into question by the very people he is trying to help. The juxtaposed internal and external conflict escalates as the world faces annihilation creates a lot of drama. Which results in a surprisingly engrossing story where you connect with the characters’ struggles. It’s a shining example of a game that could have easily relied on great gameplay and stunning graphics alone to sell itself, but instead brings the full package.
There is a reasonable range of guns to choose from and you have plenty of access to them throughout the game. You are limited to two guns, a special weapon and your bow at any one time. A nice touch is that most weapons have some minor adjustments such as the scope you use that changes focus distance. It’s a small thing but it adds flexibility. Ammo caches are well spaced so you can restock on a regular basis through each section, but not so frequent that you can be reckless with your trigger finger.
The Predator bow is a great addition to your arsenal that you acquire permanently and early on. It’ssilent, can kill in one shot in most cases, and you can reacquire the arrows off the carcassof your enemies as you move through an area systematically cleansing it. In fact, if you’re smart you can play most of the game just using the bow.
Alien weaponry can also be salvaged from fallen enemies for a temporary boost to your offensive power, and finally you can hack into turrets and robots to turn weapons against their makers.
Enemies vary between the human Cell armed forces and the far deadlier alien Ceph. Both enemies are relatively smart and deadly in numbers if they converge at the same time. They will flank you, start searching if they find bodies, throw grenades to flush you out and shoot at your last known location if you cloak. Even with this reasonable enemy AI you don’t feel challenged by them very often. In fact it’s a pretty rare event to die at all assuming you don’t just run around guns blazing and don’t use your suit.
Even though you are overpowered there are some sectionsset up so the only real way to get through is to slowly take out one enemy at a time. This is in keeping with most of your mission briefs but sometimes the level design is more taxing than suspenseful. There is also a sense of déjà vu followed by annoyance when you clear an area and a bunch of enemies get dropped in to the same section for you to do it all over again. It gives the impression of something added to lengthen gameplay rather than add a new challenge. The other area that lacks polish is the upgrade system. You are able to acquire packs for your nanosuit that you can use to unlock abilities such as extra cloak time, more powerful kicks etc The problem is the system is very limited in the combinations of items you can unlock and use together and at best it is cumbersome. I ended up with a whole bunch of upgrades that I never used. It feels poorly thought out and doesn’t match the slick setup the rest of the gameplay offers around your suit and weapons.
The single player campaign is the highlight of Crysis 3. The nanosuit, your abilities and the nature of your enemies make you the perfect hunter. The multiplayer has not been neglected though. It comes with all the expected styles of team and versus gameplay. Games were easy to find and quick to join. The little touches like quick replays of your deaths on the fly and a highlights real of all your kills at the end of a round are welcome.
Crysis 3 is stunning. Jungle growth is lush, crumbling buildings detailed, water flows beautifully and explosions are a delight and frequent. You can get to some cliff edges and just stare out onto the horizon and take it in. You should stop to look on occasion too, as the detail in the background creates an excellent sense of things going to crap. Ships flying overhead fighting, anti-artillery weaponry firing off brilliant blue power bolts and huge Ceph destroying all in their sight. Lighting during the day is excellent, filtering through and casting shadows. Night time or underground was not always so spot on making it difficult to navigate occasionally but it wasn’t too frequent a problem.
The sound is a winner too. The music has a blockbuster score as the action builds and subtle tones when you’re stalking and infiltrating. The voice acting for Prophet and his ex teammate, Psycho, are particularly good, delivered with suitable angst and anger as the story demanded. Weapons sound crisp, especially the Ceph arsenal. The first time you fire the long range rifle and take out a tower, I guarantee you will grin ear to ear. The Predator Bow also has an incredible sound of tension, you get a real sense that the strings are high tensile and a struggle to pull back as it creaks and groans while you aim.
With a solid campaign, a host of collectibles, different weapons and abilities to mix it up with, single player experience is worth the money alone. I can easily see myself picking the game up for another run through in the future. The multiplayer also has enough modes and the differences the nanosuit offers will no doubt see a big enough player group to maintain online play for some time to come.
Crysis 3 is a worthy sequel by all accounts. The story is surprisingly gripping, touching on some mature themes as Prophet grasps with his humanity and the torture endured by his teammate Psycho. Hunting and systematically taking out enemies with the help of your nanosuit is a blast and you are given the flexibility to play your style of game through most sections. There are a good variety of earthly and alien weaponry to boot and while you blow stuff up the sound and graphics come together to deliver a blockbuster experience.
There are a few gripes like the fact you are probably too powerful to ever really feel threatened and occasionally the level design unnecessarily slow things down. These are fairly minor gripes though in what is otherwise a worthy addition to the genre.
AAG SCORE: 8.5/10
+ Epic story that explores the characters as well as the carnage
+ Flexibility and power of your suit give plenty of kill options
+ Graphics and sound top notch
– Nanosuit so powerful that enemies rarely truly challenge you
– Some level design is taxing rather than challenging