Feb 262013
 

Crysis3_cover

The reputable bodybuilder of the gaming community. The Crysis series has always made PCs flex their muscle. Visually stunning and often extremely inventive when it comes to gameplay. Prophet is back, but should you suit up in the latest and greatest of nanotechnology or let this one pass by?

Crysis 3 picks up shortly where the second game left off. The Ceth (the Alien race that was the main adversary trough and through) have been defeated and the group known as Cell takes over a contaminated NYC, engulfing it into a bio-dome. You play as Prophet, the last and greatest super soldier. The game starts with you getting rescued from a Cell pod by some of your old friends and from there on you get on your way of opposing the Cell in NYC.

It’s not complicated, but the story is serviceable to say the least. There are some good moments that drive the story, and while there is a prerequisite level of “cheese” that comes with almost every FPS these days, it is definitely one of the better narratives. The story drives itself, and aside from a few cutaways, rarely tears control away from you. Only when the exposition calls for it.

Say "hello" to your most efficient killing tool

Say “hello” to your most efficient killing tool

The soundtrack pulses through the speakers and helps the ambiance on some levels. The effectiveness will vary depend on where you are in the game, but sound design decisions have been handled very well.

Additional points go for terrific voice-acting. It seems like a given in today’s world, but even these days voice-actors often call it in on these roles. The delivery meshes well with the world of Crysis and each conversations bears the weight of story significance, no small step towards total immersion.

Visually, it’s no secret that Crysis 3 once again sets the standards for how a game should look. Nowhere is this more evident than on a PC. The spanning vistas of the urban jungle brim with life to the quiet hum of your rig exerting yourself to borderline exhaustion. The environments look as real as you could ever imagine. The greatest treat however is how the lighting interacts with all of this, bouncing shadows, glimmers and even reflections in the water. Many times through the levels did I have to pause and collect myself. Remind myself that this wasn’t a movie, but still just a game by Crytek, a very beautiful game.

... and again

… and again

The character models hold up as well. We’re still far away from totally believable, Crysis holds the torch. In many games, close-ups often reveal faults in the graphical engine, but not this time. Upon closer review, the Crytek engine is still as spectacular as you’d expect.

Obviously, the graphical performance chugs behind on the consoles, not being able to replicate the sheer power of what the PC can do. It still looked pretty damn good on my 360 in glorious HD, but the leap from a title such as Black Ops 2 to Crysis was not as noticeable as it was on the PC. Still, it is by far one of the best looking games on the console with very little competition.

In terms of gameplay, the game took the right steps into what made the first Crysis so fun to play, although it also took a few steps back as well in other department. The game is very short, you will probably beat all seven chapters in under five hours, or just  a bit mover, depending on the preferred difficulty. Even then, it is not a particularly challenging game, the A.I. shows flashes of brilliance one time but completely dumbs out the other.

What makes this all fun though is the open environment of the urban jungle that gives you flexibility on how to approach any given situation. In bigger encounters you absolutely have to make proper use of your nanosuit, whether or not you want to stealth with cloak or tank it with the armour enhancement. A very fluid level up system will allow you to customize your play style, and preset enhancements that you can alternate will let you switch tactics on the fly. The game succeeds in making you feel like a true super-soldier when a plan of attack really comes together.

Don't worry though, Prophet uses guns as well

Don’t worry though, Prophet uses guns as well

This gets even deeper with weapon customization as you can adjust on the fly your attachments, fire modes or even bullet types. It’s a minor thing, but it can give you an added advantage. All for naught though because you will rarely want to use anything else over the bow, which is really overpowered if I can be so honest. Nothing will feel quite as lethal and the temptation to cloak/predator kill everyone will soon kick in.

This is where the game is most fun though. The urban jungle is a great setting, and not only because it lets the Crytek engine do its thing. The freedom to strategically plan  each approach is liberating for the genre and adds another level to the gameplay. It is something that was severely lacking in Crysis 2. You’ll have a lot of fun clearing section after section of enemies in a way that will feel “just right” for you. Unfortunately it won’t take very long to do.

From a multiplayer perspective, there isn’t much here to set the world on fire. We’re all too used to having blueprint modes. Sure, there are a few series specific modes that put a novel twist on a familiar thing, but they won’t necessarily force you to keep coming back to the experience itself. Everything is standard, right down to the “must have by law” level up structure that will help you progress the more you play. In the end, much like any other multiplayer mode, the longevity of this one will be determined by if you can find good people to play with.

Verdict: Calling Crysis 3 a pretty game is like saying it’s light during the day. When you strip it down to the gameplay and the story, the game holds up admirably. It weaves a nice tale and delivers some great audio. Crysis 3 reminds us what was good about the first game with a open-level approach to each section, but ultimately clocks in way too short on the single-player campaign. The inconsistent A.I. holds the game back further from being a full-price kind of purchase. 

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