After the wide open environments of the first Crysis that promoted free-flowing gunplay and sandbox style mission structure, the linear mission structure of Crysis 2 was a bit of a shock to several people- and not in a good way.
When Crytek and EA announced Crysis 3, the development team promised that Crysis 3 would go back to what made the 2007 classic so memorable while retaining some promising aspects of the second installment in the sci-fi shooter series- in short, Crytek promised that it would strike the perfect balance between linearity and open ended gameplay with the third- and for the time being, final- installment in the Crysis series.
It’s great to see that they have accomplished that with flying colours. Crysis 3 may not be as open as the original Crysis or Far Cry, but it certainly has wide open environments that let you play the way you want, while retaining the pacey, thrilling shooting that made Crysis 2 so great. Being a Crysis game, though, it’s a bit of a surprise that the shooting is not the real star of the game- it’s the story.
Crysis 3 tells a surprisingly personal tale, focusing itself on three characters, including, of course, the protagonist – who is now neither man, not machine-, the fan favourite character from the original Crysis, Psycho- who is on a personal quest of revenge more than anything else- and Claire, who is commanding the resistance against the evil organization CELL. While Crysis 3 does tell pretty strong, large scale theories, with conspiracy theories, an impending apocalypse and the battle against the Ceph all bearing down on the world within the game, it’s the stories of these three characters that give the game that humane touch that shooters so rarely have- that touch that really makes you care about what happens in the game, and drives you on to see where the story heads.
The story finishes off in proper fashion, giving players a truly satisfying conclusion, though it is a shame that the conclusion comes around earlier than some of us would have expected. For those who’ve played previous Crysis games, this might come as a bit of a shock, but the campaign of Crysis 3 is considerably more concise than that of Crysis 1 and 2, and clocks in at only about 5 or 6 hours.
That’s not to say it’s a bad campaign, though. On the contrary, it’s one of the best single player campaigns in first person shooters in the last couple of years. Unlike Crysis 2, Crysis 3’s campaign is paced perfectly and never, ever gets boring. It tells its excellent story via superb presentation, and throws awesome gunfights your way one after another, often sprinkled with some truly memorable cutscenes.
The gunfights, however, aren’t really that challenging, contrary to what veteran Crysis players might expect. The difficulty of Crysis 3 has been considerably dialed back, even on the higher difficulty levels, and you will rarely die in your entire playthrough. Even the boss fights are pretty easy to burn through, which makes them quite underwhelming and a bit disappointing.
That said, it is an absolute joy to fire the weapons in Crysis 3. All the rifles, shotguns, machine guns and pistols are brilliant to control, but it is one specific Ceph weapon that fires lightning-like bullets at your enemies and the all new, super-hyped crossbow that stand out amongst the pack. Using the crossbow, especially, is an absolute joy, and using it in tandem with your Nanosuit’s cloaking ability will make you feel like a true silent predator.
Customizing weapons is as seamless it is to use them. When you want to modify the weapon you currently have equipped, you don’t pull out of the game and scroll through some menus. No, you can add modifications to your weapons via a real time, in-action screen. This user interfaces applies to all other aspects of the gameplay, and this absence of conventional menus in favour of more slick, seamless menus works very well.
Once you’re done with the thrilling single player component, however, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re done with the game itself. Crysis 3 is high on replay value, and it’s all thanks to the addictive multiplayer system. While it’s modes are more or less typical, generic modes that you’d expect a normal first person shooter to have, playing them on the excellently designed maps with a trademark style of gunplay that Crysis is known and loved for will definitely hook you to itself. However, it will be the new Hunter mode that really gets your attention. Hunter mode is an addictive and intense mode that will definitely keep you addicted to Crysis 3 for a long time to come.
But this being a Crysis game, we’re sure the question you’re all dying to know the answer to is0- what does it look like? Well, as you might have expected, it looks absolutely stunning. Crysis 3 has to be, in fact, the best looking game to have ever been released. The animations are smooth as hell, the textures sharp and precise, and the visuals themselves look s0 jaw-droppingly beautiful, that there will be times when you just forget the fact that you’re being shot at from all directions while you stare at the overgrown, forest-like skyline of New York City as the refracted rays of the sun blind half of your vision. It’s just that beautiful.
There were a few technical issues during our playthrough, like characters walking through the furniture or the geometry during some of the scripted events, but when a game looks as good as this, you can’t help but neglect the small grievances.
Of course, Crysis 3 is not damp squib in the sound department either. The sound effects are awesome, and the weapons give of loud, resounding sounds when they’re fired. The enemies’ banter is fun to listen to, and as you walk through the urban jungle that New York City has become in this game you will hear quite a lot of interesting thing. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing, with plenty of memorable, high note tracks in there, and a few low key ones that complement the silent, introspective moments of Crysis 3 perfectly.
Crysis 3 is a wonderful game, a perfect send off to this memorable trilogy. It does have a few flaws, like the length of the campaign or how easy it is to just burn through the game at times, but with intense and exciting shooting, an engaging story with memorable characters and a rather surprisingly addictive multiplayer mode, it’s probably the best game in the trilogy.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.