The third Crysis game is a refreshing but imperfect addition to the FPS genre.
The FPS genre is not known for its prolific storytelling abilities. Certain games – like Halo, for example – do a good job at telling a relatively decent story in addition to their more enticing features. While Halo certainly generates fans through Master Chief, Cortana, and their joint badassery, the major selling point of the Halo franchise is its multiplayer. Games like Call of Duty take this to the extreme, providing lackluster story with the knowledge that a majority of gamers, including myself, only buy the game solely for its online multiplayer. After playing through Crysis 3’s 8 hour campaign it is evident that the lovely guys and gals over at Crytek aim to break this mold. They have succeeded, for the most part.
When explained Crysis 3’s story seems fairly generic. The world is under siege by the Ceph, an alien race that used to inhabit earth. Their current goal, wipe out the human race. The only thing standing in their way is the human/Ceph/nanosuit being known as Prophet. As the Optimus Prime sounding super soldier, you must figure out the secret to defeating the Ceph and the meddling corporation Cell in order to save the human race. Sounds familiar huh? However, where Crysis 3 succeeds is not in its outstanding plot or mind bending twists, but in its emphasis on character development and its ability to make the player feel for the men and women of this war-ridden world. This is a hard task to accomplish, especially with only an 8 hour campaign. I recently went on a rant about Dead Space 3 and its inability to make me “give a crap”. Crysis 3 has made me give a crap.
With that being said, its one thing to generate sympathy for a protagonist. It’s truly remarkable when a player is able to make a connection with a game’s supporting characters. Crysis 3 makes an effort to give the secondary characters eloquent and unique personalities. Crytek does this in a way that feels completely natural, as most of the character’s personalities are expressed during live gameplay. You’ll pause for a moment after a rendezvous with a past game protagonist, Psycho, and get a surprising amount of information from his brief dialogue with Prophet. Crysis 3’s ability to grab the attention and care of the player with such little dialogue is uncanny among video games. The pacing is perfect despite my personal desire for more cut scenes which is only spurned by my interest in the events surrounding the characters. Yet, I cannot attribute my connection to the events of the game solely on the characters. This game is stunning. That’s not saying too much, as most modern games are gorgeous. However, the first time you walk out into alien-occupied New York City you have to take a moment to enjoy the scenery. Being from New York, I found it particularly inspiring. The foliage and deterioration surrounding the once towering buildings of New York come to life through the radiant and lush environments. It made me care more. I could see the effect of the Ceph. It truly felt like the end of the world, and I wanted to save it.
I’ve already talked about the games breathtaking graphics (screenshots don’t do it any justice), but I have been recently noticing a less praised factor of games. The audio in Crysis 3 is great. Voice acting is on point, as are the sounds of the game. When you splash water it sounds like water, when you fire a gun it sounds like a gun, and when you fall from a long distance Prophet’s landing grunt sounds believable. The detail to sound is uncanny, as enemy soldiers will provide commentary while you stalk and kill them. Most of the time its entertaining banter and hopeless threats, which make the eventual kill more satisfying. On a similar note, the music is great. It fits the epic mood of the campaign flawlessly and makes the entire experience more grand. The graphics and sound add to the overall greatness of the story and add another level of epicness that should be felt during a “save the world” story.
A game can have a great story, compelling characters, and stunning graphics, but if the gameplay sucks that all counts for nothing. Luckily, Crysis 3’s gameplay does not suck. It’s not amazing, but it doesn’t suck. Being a super soldier has been done over and over again. And I don’t care. I still like destroying hordes of normal, non-super soldiers. What sets Crysis 3’s gameplay apart from the rest is its flexibility. Crysis 3 is not an open world game, but the levels are so vast and detailed that it can feel like an open world game. This allows for multiple routes and different tactics to be used when dispatching enemies. You can try one route and after dying a few times decide to try a different approach. It’s a nice way of making the game feel less linear. This is enhanced by the two different suit powers that Prophet has acquired. One power throws Prophet into a stealth mode, which allows him to sneak around the maps and quietly hack turrets, grab ammo, and assassinate enemies. Whereas the other power is less subtle, and creates a barrier around Prophet, giving him extra shielding to deflect bullets and survive long falls. I played the majority of the game with a stealthy mindset, (Prophet’s bow is badass!) although having the option of using both makes the game personalized for different play styles.
However, Crysis 3’s gameplay is not perfect. Despite the initially fantastic destruction of all foes, Crysis 3’s combat can get a bit tedious. Even with the different styles of play available, I found myself getting bored at certain points. This especially true towards the end of the game, when missions get longer and the amount of enemies in your way gets larger. These sections of boredom are forgivable and don’t resonate with any particular fervency. (I have to mention the very brief use of the dune buggy… I wanted to stick a fork in my eye… Never have I ever experienced such bad handling of a vehicle in the entirety of my video gaming experience… If there had been five more minutes of dune buggy gameplay I would be giving this game a 4/10. Anyway, back to the review.) Aside from that, the controls are responsive and mapped out flawlessly. The amount of weapons that you pick up along your journey are plentiful and can be upgraded, along with your suit, to make yourself more “super” throughout the game. These are all accessible from a real time menu that is brought up with the select button and it allows for seamless customization while in the heat of battle.
When you finally beat the daunting eight hour campaign (sarcasm) you can experience more nanosuit action in the online multiplayer. I had fun during the brief time I played the Crysis 3 multiplayer, however, I plan on spending many more hours shooting, stomping, bowing?, and assassinating the other inferior Crysis 3 players of the world. While not as addicting as its competitors, Crysis 3’s multiplayer is a lot of fun, moreover an upgrade system and a ton of game modes, most of them rehashed from the classics(CTF, Team Deathmatch, etc..), are sure to keep players interested. Unlocking guns and new “perks” is addicting and provides customization for every play style. The multiplayer also provides a new game mode which pits a gaggle of helpless Cell soldiers against a couple of permanently invisible nanosuit hunters. I have yet to play this game mode, but I look forward to stalking prey and pretending I’m Predator.
I really enjoyed Crysis 3 and I expect to enjoy it for many more hours to come as I tear up some “noob face” in the multiplayer. Crysis 3 does a good job at creating a uniqueness that is necessary when creating modern first person shooter’s. It’s method of storytelling combined with its oftentimes badass environments and gameplay make Crysis 3 a great, albeit imperfect game. While the story and gameplay are somewhat unique from heavy hitters like Call of Duty, it still feels somewhat familiar and the multiplayer lacks the sort of addictive nature that the top online games require. Gameplay is fun at times, but isn’t as deep as it could be, despite the options when engaging enemies, and in turn produces an oftentimes repetitive barrage of shootouts and silent kills. Don’t expect a game of the year award. Regardless, definitely check out this game if you like a nicely told story and if one of your hobbies involves sneaking around, stabbing helpless soldiers and generic aliens in back Predator style.
(Version Reviewed: PlayStation 3)