When Crytek set out to create the latest iteration of their flagship title, Crysis 3 they wanted to blend the best of both worlds from Crysis and Crysis 2 into the ultimate hybrid of tactical FPS games and to offer a linear gameplay experience that felt like an open world environment. So now that 3 is finally here and we’ve had a chance to put the retail title through the motions, does it stack up to Crytek’s, and more importantly, our expectations of what a Crysis game should be? Well... yes aaaaaaand no.
Yes, Crysis 3 is full of all the same things that were enjoyable about 2 and improves upon many of the gameplay facets. You take on the role of Prophet once again to battle the C.E.L.L corporation and the squidish alien Cephs with your mega-badass xeno-tech nano-suit and use a combination of standard combat skills and suit augments like cloaking, armor enhancement, and the ability to reign down like death from above with a powerslam on your enemies. Fans who have played through previous titles in the series should feel right at home with the basic gameplay mechanics. On top of the traditional nano-skills you now have the ability to hack into things like land mine fields and automated turrets to distract and take out enemies and you now carry around a fancy compound bow that you can use to take out targets from a long distance while cloaked without revealing yourself.
They're great new features and you end up getting a lot of use out of both. But in a lot of ways they ruin the balance of the game and at many points it’s all too easy to take out an entire level of enemies with the compound bow without ever feeling any of the intensity that most shooter fans are used to. There may be such a thing as too badass and Crysis 3 feels like it barely stops itself short of crossing that line at some points. And there are a lot of points that will give you much too much of a feeling of deja vu if you played Crysis 2. Still there are a lot of actual enjoyable moments of gameplay, but most of them come early on or much later in the campaign leaving the middle feeling like you’re just going through the motions at some points.
The levels themselves are quite large and maintain the quality of detail that you’ve come to expect from the CryEngine. And there is plenty of variety in the levels themselves. The domed enclosure of jungle that was once New York is created brilliantly. They perfectly blend urban decay with areas of lush, overgrown plant life and scorched earth war zone areas crawling with giant robots with laser eyes serve as a nice contrast to the tall grass and rusty train stations. It’s definitely the most eclectic visually of the series and it’s great to see what Crytek can do with their engine when they get to create their own world.
The plot is much easier to follow this time around and when you finally complete everything you won’t be left scratching your head as much as you may have been at the end of 2.Still, don’t expect anything mind-blowing from the dialog or subtle in the foreshadowing. Overall though, you should feel satisfied with your experience by the end of the game.
The one feature that seems to have taken an actual step backwards is the unlockable passive upgrades. The system used to select your augments has four columns each with their own set of of abilities, meaning that you may want to use augment A, B and C, but if they’re all selectable in the same column you’d only be able to choose from one of them. You can still get loadouts that play towards a particular style of gameplay, but the options seemed limited compared to the past.
Multiplayer is another area of the game that has that Crysis 2 vibe to it in many facets and many of the customization modules remain the same as before only now you can add whatever upgrades you want into any slot and level them up with use adding a new level of depth to your character and offering more incentive to get back online and get your butt kicked by a 12 year old in Korea. The new Hunter mode, that puts a group of players in the role of C.E.L.L operatives survive being hunted by a cloaked opponent is a welcome addition as well. Still overall this is a very standard multiplayer that really only benefits from having the unique features of the Crysis series. Without those key components, you’d be hard-pressed to find too many differences between playing this or a Halo title competitively online.
In the end Crysis 3 is a enjoyable game, but not that much more enjoyable than the last Crysis and ends up feeling more like a 2.5 than full on sequel. If you’re a fan of the series you will find plenty to like here, but if you’re jumping on the bandwagon right now, you may find yourself a little lost at first. There’s just not enough here to put this in the upper echelon of FPS royalty, but there is enough to deliver an experience that is not total crap. With all that said I’ve always found the Crysis franchise to deliver a solid game and it would be hard to argue that they don’t do that here, even with all the flaws. Still, you may want to rent this one and check it out before committing to a full buy.