It is finally here, the third and final installment to the Crysis Franchise, and it’s a marvel. Like its predecessors before it, Crysis 3 will push your hardware to its limits, take your breath away with its massive, gorgeous visuals and leave you with goosebumps when it is all over.
Before we get stuck into the nuts and bolts of Crysis 3, lets take a quick look back at the story so far:
Intense stuff! Not sure if you caught it from the recap video, but Crytec have left a possible Prequel to this game wide open! Moving on.
After I watched this recap video (Which plays just before the Crysis 3 campaign begins) I was left with 3 glaring unanswered questions:
- What happened to Nomad? If I recall, he survived the Island that was Crysis 1. Now he is dead. But how did he die? Did he fall off the aircraft carrier after defeating the mother alien, and drown? Did he get hit by a F22 raptor at takeoff while doing a victory dance on the aircraft carrier? I guess nobody will ever know.
- Anyone who played Crysis 2 will vividly remember this scene:
No kids, it is not a toy. And no, there is no chance that he could of survived that bullet to the head. Moreover…how was he able to so easily slip out of the suit, without dying?
- Alcatraz who? Yes, the protagonist from number 2, where is that dude? What happened to him. Has he miraculously transformed into Prophet? – Yes. so it would seem.
Gameplay: Welcome to the New York 2.0
Story inconsistencies aside, five minutes into Crysis 3 you won’t care about anything else. Unless your FPS is under 20, it would be difficult not to care about that. The game starts like a Hollywood blockbuster and the quick pace from Crysis 2 is immediately resumed from the onset in number 3. The style of play is almost identical to Crysis 2, all the bells and whistles that were introduced in number 2 are back and have been improved upon in number 3.
The environments are rich and beautifully contrasted. The developers have done a fantastic job of showing off here, not one level is like another in Crysis 3. Each offering a unique gameplay experience, one could even go so far as to say that players would do well by adopting different styles of gameplay to different levels. Ranging from massively open sandbox environments, like we were accustomed to in Crysis 1, to extremely tight and claustrophobic levels that we got from Crysis 2. Crysis 3 really is a hybrid of both.
Better yet, Crytec have outdone themselves by introducing the predator bow. What a weapon! I must confess, I have not had this much fun in a game with a single weapon ever. I will definitely be replaying Crysis 3 from end to end with this little beauty in my hand and nothing else. Overpowered it is, so long as stealth is on your side. Don’t dare try run and gun with this bad boy. You need to take your time, aim down the sights and when you are confident you have your target pinned, release. THWAP! Oh my, there is not a more satisfying sequence of events…the invigorating sound of the arrow being released is outmatched only by the fulfilling sound of the arrow hitting your target, which is then outmatched by the feeling that comes when your enemy falls to the ground, lifeless. A single arrow that can later be retrieved from your downed target has never, in the history of the compound bow, been this sustaining. But why stop there, interchange your arrowhead for an electric arrow, and fire one off into the body of water your enemies are trudging through, or better yet, interrupt a group conversation by taking multiple enemies out with a single, explosive tip arrow, YES!
Should you wish to try out the other weapons in Crysis 3, for whatever reason, you will be pleased to note that Crytec have introduced some new modifications all round. From larger ammo clips for running and gunning, marksman barrels for accuracy and my personal favorite, a bayonet for those inevitable close encounters while you are in the middle of a reload. All of which come in really handy in the Multiplayer by the way
The suit upgrade module that was introduced in number 2 has been completely redesigned. Rather than being upgraded by picking up alien tissue, it is upgraded by cell suit modifications that can be found throughout each of the levels. Don’t be fooled though, they are not easy to find. In addition, unlike the modifications from the sequel, that were somewhat overpowered, the modifications in Crysis 3 offer much more subtle enhancements to the suit. Meaning you are probably still going to be looking for a good place to hide and recharge your energy. Don’t get caught with your pants down though, because the AI is as feisty and resilient as ever.
Speaking of the AI, Crysis 3 is not without its pitfalls. There are a number of bugs to endure throughout the game. For instance, I was not able to remap my use/interact key (default is set to F) because when I did, I was not able to successfully hack a terminal, or rather, nothing happened when I did. Furthermore, I noticed that some of my secondary objectives were not checked off as completed, even after I had completed them. Albeit small, and easily fixable, diehard Crysis fans expect more attention to detail so far down the line. Crysis 1 was no Mona Lisa in terms of bugs, but Crysis 2 was near flawless.
Presentation: It’s from Crytec alright!
It has been evident since day one that bug fixing has not been one of Crytec’s dev teams fortes, but where their attention to detail lacks here, they truly make up for in their level design and visual’s department, over and over again. This game will suck every ounce of juice your hardware has to offer and transform it into eye-blistering value for money that will leave you stunned.
Your eyes will be exposed to visuals and draw distances that your brain will not be able to comprehend in Crysis 3. There is an inordinate amount of attention to detail here – case in point, every single blade of grass has been individually rendered in the scene below:
The DirectX 11 engine has been pushed to its MAX, and it shows. Even Xbox 360 players are in for a treat, as Crysis is able to perform miracles on this dated piece of hardware. The same is true for PC players. See for yourself:
Story: It’s not ‘cos we want to, it’s ‘cos we have to.
The Crysis 3 story kicks off 22-odd years after its predecessor, and although there may seem to be some inconsistencies in the storyline up front, the story –by-and-large- is a continuation of the sequel. The remains of New York City have been blanketed by a giant dome that serves as a prison for the remaining Seph infestation. The city itself has been overrun by plant life and vegetation flourishing within the greenhouse effect caused from the enclosing dome. Cell are on the brink of global domination and the task laid out before our protagonists is to infiltrate alien and cell infantry infested dome, the heart of Cell’s operation, and sink their plans.
In short, your actions within the game kick-off yet another catastrophic sequence of events that ultimately lead to the apocalypse, unless you can single-handedly save the world, again. Only this time you have some help.
Prophet is joined by his old partner throughout the game, Psycho, who you will remember from the original and Crysis Warhead. The story hinges on both characters internal battles throughout; Prophet has a nanosuit, but has had to sacrifice just about everything for it, whereas Psycho on the other hand has been robbed of his nanosuit and with it, his superhuman abilities. Both covet the others position and this is evident in the back and forth tug of war between both parties that continues throughout the game. As a player, you cannot help but feel like there is a deeper message being conveyed throughout the game plot, one that could even be analysed and re-interpreted as part of an English language syllabus one day…it is that deep.
Like Crysis 2, the story unfolds piece by piece throughout Crysis 3, keeping players guessing along the way. However, Psycho being alongside you for the better part of the game adds a new dimension to the gameplay in Crysis 3. It almost feels like his character could have been turned into a co-op character if the storytellers took a slightly different route. Pity. Then, after 5-7 hours of gameplay the story will come to its conclusion…a conclusion that, in my mind, will be interpreted differently. Very much like the ending of the movie inception. You will not quite know the truth, or what’s just happened. Very Hollywood then, just like the intro.
In short, Crysis 3 is a massive amount of fun, gorgeous to look at, and over too damn quickly. There are no two people who will play it the same, and levels can be approached using stealth, run-and-gun or a combination of both. It comes highly recommended for all who love to save the world, blow up aliens and have the ability to air-stomp their way into a situation.
Crysis 3 was developed by Crytek and published by Electronic Arts. Our review is based on the PC version.