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I would say I’m a fan of the Crysis series. I’m a fan of the gameplay. The storylines in the first two games are pretty weak in my opinion. Crysis 3 seems to have come and gone. I remember hearing mixed things about it after it launched so I decided to wait for it to come down in price. Developed by Crytek and published by EA, Crysis 3 was released for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in February, 2013. For this review, I played the PC version and after playing Crysis 2, I was kind of excited to jump into it.
Apparently after Crysis 2, the CELL attempted global domination and captured all the Nanosuit soldiers, skinning them of their suits. The story opens with Prophet being freed by a resistance team which includes Psycho. This happens right in the beginning of the game and after that, I lost interest in the story pretty quick. Prophet goes on and on about an Alpha Ceph which is the ultimate Ceph leader. There’s a lot of other shit that happens, including moments which are supposed to be emotional, and despite the developers doing a slightly better job at character development this time around, I failed to care about any of them. I will say the voice acting may be the best the series has to offer, certainly better than what was heard in Crysis 2 but I found the story to be the worst in the series. The funny thing is, Crysis 3 feels like a more story-driven experience than its predecessors.
The gameplay is basically on par with that of Crysis 2. You play as Prophet and can run, jump, crouch, slide, drive vehicles, detach emplaced weapons, grab and throw objects and enemies, and perform a melee attacks and stealth kills. Unlike Crysis 2, sprinting does not drain Nanosuit energy which is a good thing. The Nanosuit is the gimmick, of course, and grants Prophet special abilities. You can once again activate armor and stealth modes manually and use power abilities like power jump and power kick at any time as long as you have the energy. Energy does drain when using abilities but it does regenerate over time. You can utilize your suit’s visor to analyze the environments and tag enemies and supplies. You can also use Nano Vision which is like thermal vision and I found it completely unnecessary in this campaign. I never felt the need to use it in any situation. You can hack things now like enemy sentry guns, supply caches, and minefields, among other things. Hacking things is always beneficial but, honestly, if you like to be stealthy, it gets old because it seems like there’s always multiple things to hack in every battle and the minigame isn’t that great. Throughout the environments are Nanosuit upgrade kits which can be used to unlock Nanosuit modules or in other words, Nanosuit upgrades. You can have multiple modules active at any time and swap them out with others whenever you wish. The modules can be upgraded by meeting specific conditions and the upgrade system here is certainly an improvement over the system in the previous game. If you come across Ceph energy cells, you can utilize them to supercharge your Nanosuit which means your invulnerable for a limited time.
When you activate the suit’s armor mode, you’re better protected and stealth mode is the cloak which means you’re basically invisible. You can switch between these modes on-the-fly and I feel like the game places a much bigger emphasis on stealth. The battlefields are always pretty big and I found it easier to engage enemies quietly rather than all-guns-blazing. You’ll always be outnumbered, snipers can pick you off from a distance, and with the exception of a few sequences, you’re basically a one-man-army. Your visor is actually pretty useful here because if you take the stealthy approach, you’ll want to tag everything you can before you jump into action so there’s no surprises. With that said, you may feel like you’re spending most of your time looking through your visor. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of times where you lose control and are forced to watch a cut scene or listen to dialogue and there’s a few sequences where it seems like you’re just trekking with nothing to do.
Most of the weapons from the previous games are present here so there is a decent variety of firepower. Some of the new standout weapons include the Typhoon which is like a powerful submachine gun/shotgun combo and the Bow. The Bow is probably the best weapon to use if you want to be stealthy. You can decide on the draw weight and choose from four different tips – carbon impact, electric-charge and electricity does spread across water, super-thermite which is great against armor, and airburst frag. The Ceph have their own weapons which you can pick up and use. The Bolt Sniper fires powerful bolts of electricity. The Pinch Rifle can fire plasma bolts in a fully automatic fire mode or a spread shot. The Reaper Cannon is like an alien minigun. And then there’s the X-PAC Mortar which can lob plasma and you can also charge up a powerful shot that inflicts a lot of damage. As expected, most weapons can be customized on-the-fly with different attachments including different types of scopes and sights, barrel attachments like a silencer and muzzle break, and there’s different under-barrels and ammo types. You can unlock new attachments by finding weapons with them already attached.
Once again the enemies are the CELL soldiers and the aliens known as the Ceph. The enemy AI is alright at best. I’ve seen enemies not flinch when their buddies next to them are blown away and many times they come running straight for you when under fire. They do the basics like run around, shoot at you, throw grenades, and they do seem to take cover a lot. The CELL are easier to kill than the Ceph. The Ceph consist of several of the same enemy types seen the previous game. Ceph Reavers are like Grunts so they do wield Pinch Rifles but tend to use the spread fire mode more often. Stalkers like to roam around in tall grass and are quick on their feet. Ceph Shadows are the snipers. Ceph Scorchers are four-legged units that can shoot fire. Pingers return and are a bit easier to kill this time around. There are a couple of boss battles which are actually quite easy. In fact, if you just pay attention to your surroundings, the game is rather easy in general. I had heard this game leaned towards the easy side and I did play on Veteran and even though I did die from time to time, I can’t say the game is particularly challenging. Maybe it is on higher difficulties but on Veteran or lower, you can breeze through most encounters. The Bow can take out most enemy types with one shot.
The setting is yet again New York City. This time it’s basically in ruins. Crysis 3 funnels you in specific directions. Most of the time, I felt like I was just going from one big battlefield to another with scripted sequences and dialogue in between. You can drive some vehicles here and there and there’s a neat set piece where you hop in a VTOL and can shoot down enemy ships but most of the time you’re-on-foot. The battlefields are very large, larger than the battlefields in Crysis 2, anyway. They are clearly designed for you to roam around freely. But I can’t say the environments are as open as the ones in the original game and Warhead. There are plenty of ways to approach your foes and it is satisfying to silently take out a group of baddies without being detected. I found going in all-guns-blazing to be more dangerous but the gunplay is enjoyable. There are objectives to complete and you can always reference a waypoint so you know where to go and sometimes you’ll be given the opportunity to complete secondary objectives. The secondary objectives are usually located in areas where there’s supplies or Nanosuit upgrade kits so there is somewhat of an incentive to complete them. In one chapter, completing secondary objectives rewards you with NPC’s who will help you out in some way. There are collectibles to find scattered throughout the environments and as you progress through the campaign, you’ll unlock videos and music.
Crysis 3 looks phenomenal. Period. Everything looks good. The lighting, the textures, the particle effects, the weapon models, character models, everything. There’s a lot of neat details like full body awareness, particles in the air, foliage swaying in the breeze, and you’ll traverse through a lot of war-torn-looking areas. When Ceph die, they tend to release a cloud of smoke along with their jelly-like substance. You’ll see Gunships flying overhead, destroyed vehicles and objects littered all over the environments and alien structures populate the decimated urban landscape. The music, while not as good as the music in Crysis 2 in my opinion, isn’t bad. There are some memorable and catchy tunes here that fit the action well. The sound effects are good although I do think the weapons fire sounded better in the previous game. On the technical side, the game ran smooth and I did not experience any crashes or major bugs.
I’ll be honest, I got bored with Crysis 3 and I think it’s a disappointing sequel. It refines some things established in the previous games but it doesn’t do anything new that’s super exciting. In fact, it’s less exciting. It’s almost as if the developers ran out of ideas. Crysis 3 is more story-driven than it’s predecessors but the story isn’t that great. The difficulty is a bit on the easy side, the pacing could be better, and the mechanics feel more recycled than improved. You really will feel like a super soldier since you can basically take out most enemies with little effort. But it does look good. I don’t know what else to say other than I was ready for it to be over about half-way through. Nothing about Crysis 3 really held my interest which is a shame.
In my opinion, the previous games are better but I would recommend Crysis 3 to fans of the series. I think it’s just an average shooter that, visually, looks incredible. The sad thing is, the core gameplay isn’t actually bad. It’s more like “been there done that”. This is the kind of game that I would suggest you pick up when it goes on sale. It’s a very by-the-numbers shooter and if you’re hoping for a kickass sci-fi action experience, you may be disappointed. I certainly was.