Crysis 3 is a pretty game. I’m just gonna come out and open with that, since it is (tragically) the most important element of Crytek’s latest addition to the series that is renowned for being, well, very pretty (for those that can afford the hardware, at least). Yet once again, the series pushes PCs and consoles to the infamous point of turning down the settings to compensate for lag without changing the gameplay formula too much, while still managing to miss some mark that only the original Crysis really hit for me. It’s fun, yes, but it just feels like there’s an opportunity upon which Crytek just haven’t capitalized.
The gameplay of Crysis 3 feels just the same as it appears in any of the 7 Wonders trailers, with your regular FPS firefights spiced up with a dash of superhuman speed and strength, plus the ability to activate invisibility or armour modes. This has remained constant throughout the series, though was simplified for Crysis 2 to be more streamlined which is how it is now in the third. The iconic nanosuit works as a truly epic weapon, but levels are not designed in such a way to allow players to create seriously satisfying havoc. Though there are often about a dozen enemies in a given area to use the nanosuit’s abilities to muck around with, these areas tend not to be the wide open areas seen in the first entry to the series; the player is often bound by environments consisting of catwalks and narrow buildings, making levels feel more linear than they need to be and ruling out any opportunity to use one’s imagination on the battlefield. Considering there is hardly a more perfect tool to use experimentally, the reluctance to allow players to do so makes me awfully sad.
Some effort has been put into the character storylines of Crysis 3, but it doesn’t really pay off in any satisfying way. Throughout the campaign, certain plot developments are made as dramatic as possible but the personalities of characters are never really enjoyable to listen to, so I honestly never gave a damn. The writing for each character is painfully superficial and typical, and every conversation runs the same course. Sidekick Psycho’s dialogue consists almost entirely of barely relevant phrases and painfully cheeky remarks that have only ever been said in British gangster films (don’t get me wrong, I love Guy Ritchie), and his more emotional exclamations are brimming with unnecessary curse words. In any cutscene you’ll hear discussion of whether protagonist Prophet is more human than machine/alien, which rarely develops beyond that. Here’s a prime example of the last two sentences; “You might as well be a fucking machine because you sure as hell ain’t no human bein’ anymore.” Deep.
The overall story of the title seems to have taken even less effort to write, and could easily be summarized in a single paragraph (though I’ve been told I’m not allowed to say certain things so that won’t be happening here). Too often I realised after fighting to reach a particular objective that I had no idea why I was doing so. I made an effort to watch all cutscenes and listen to all dialogue, but I couldn’t understand why anything was happening until after said thing happened, at which point I’d say “Ohhh so we had to break the dam to stop the bad guys from… having… power? Makes sense, I guess”. This is pretty irritating, but it’s fairly common in FPS titles nowadays so it gets a reluctant pass.
The multiplayer side of Crysis 3 is… average. That word is actually very suitable. The whole system works well enough, with customisation identical to more popular multiplayer franchises, and a variety of maps and game modes which you would expect. These game modes provide only slight differences to gameplay, with shooting dudes always being the priority, and most of Crysis 3’s multiplayer is ultimately forgettable; you won’t be missing much if you never swing by. “Hunter”, the game mode that Crytek appeared to be so proud of post-launch is the one interesting aspect of multiplayer, with chosen players given unlimited stealth, the famed Predator Bow and the objective to convert the rest of the players to their side by shooting them with said bow. It adds a bit of a twist to the Infected-style mode that is popular in every multiplayer shooter ever, but doesn’t warrant giving multiplayer a real shot. So back to the single player campaign.
The campaign, typical of current triple-A titles, lasts barely a few hours, and I’d estimate up to about 8 hours on higher difficulties (sidenote: the number of difficulties in this game is too damn high). Although the review thus far has been fairly negative, I should make it clear that Crysis 3 can be a load of fun. It is tainted by thoughts of how it could be better, but there are some certain fights that I can recall as being downright fun, and how anyone could not laugh at the animation of maximum-strength-punching aliens in the face I will never understand. The Predator Bow (or is it Compound Bow, I’ve seen both names..) is actually a real blast (especially with the explosive tips. Ha-ha, see what I did there?), delivering some genuinely fun yet accurate kills. Crysis 3‘s bow is probably the most useful and intuitive I’ve used in any recent title, so I guess it gets bonus points for that.
Crysis 3, another case of maximum graphics, abysmal storyline, and somewhere-in-between gameplay, is mostly enjoyable in that it reminds me of the original Crysis which was a damned awesome and relatively innovative title. If updated graphics and some disappointingly run-of-the-mill gameplay will impress you, then the latest from EA will also be up with their greatest. For anyone looking for a little more, maybe wait for something else. Or anything else.
Select Start Media was provided with a review copy of Crysis 3 by EA Games.