“The grass is so tall, taller than me!” I exclaimed while talking with a friend as I played. Each blade of grass is seemingly individually placed and the pores on character’s faces show you how fantastic CryEngine 3 is. Crytek’s penchant for pushing your hardware to nearly liquefy itself during play is another reminder at how beautiful and lifelike the series has become, providing unparalleled visual fidelity.
It isn’t all a glorified tech demo disguised as a way to melt all your innards of your PC, Crysis 3 is an actual game, and is the conclusion to a three-game arc involving those part of Raptor Squad, the guinea pigs to using the most advanced technological weapon, the Nanosuit. Picking up some 20 years after Crysis 2, Prophet, still has unfinished business with the Ceph as he knows there is still a threat and continues to be opposed by C.E.L.L., the military company bred from the same place in which your suit originates.
New York has been quarantined from the rest of the world, encased and sheltered. Once inside the biome, you’ll see the New York jungle is a would-be playground. Nature has reclaimed most of the land and grass stands tall, vines wrap around buildings in dilapidated beauty. Each location is like an episode of ‘Life After People’, with exquisite detail as Ceph roam the brush and move with grace from place to place, and with the C.E.L.L. occupying the ruins trying to hunt you down.
Prophet’s suit is further streamlined than it was even in Crysis 2. Here, sprinting is a core function and no longer consumes your energy. Only Stealth and Armor modes are available that you must strategize with. This also represents the combat for the game, giving you two options and the ability to mix and match them to work for you. Upgrading your suit no longer relies on collecting particles of fallen Ceph. Now, upgrade kits are littered about a level for you to collect. Gather enough and you can unlock passive abilities to enter/exit cloaking faster, staying cloaked while knifing, or even boost armor abilities and jumping/climbing on surfaces.
The C.E.L.L. are great to fight and exploit through stealth and using the bow, which does not bring you out of stealth. It also comes with various head types for explosive, electric, and thermite. You can also adjust the bow tensity for quick draw or more powerful hits. Prophet will wield more alien weaponry this time around, that can adorn massive destruction beyond the regular weapons.
It’s unfortunate that in a sci-fi game where the aliens are a threat to humans, they are hardly a challenge and the least interesting to fight. Brute force is usually the best avenue when dealing with them. The aliens simply have too many tools to expose you when in stealth, and move far too quickly. The levels are much bigger than its predecessor, but hardly as vast or giving you the combat latitude, or freedom as in the original game.
This game is short, coming in at around the 6 hour mark, on “medium” difficulty. However, the game is so densely packed that it feels like the perfect length without artificial extensions or backtracking making you feel like you’re not progressing forward. Crysis 3 avoids such frustrations and tropes. Each level has primary objectives with secondary objectives to complete that make it easier on you, but have no real bearing on the game’s ending or determining the fates of characters you interact with. Sadly though, the last third of the game begins to introduce driveable vehicles and on-rails sequences topped with quick-time events as if checking off some sort of list. These parts are short, but unnecessary and arbitrarily stuffed into the game. When it comes to the final boss, quick-time events are all the interaction you have. While gratifying, is a passive victory in this trilogy.
Crysis 3′s multiplayer offerings are fun and unique twists on game modes we all know. Take ‘Hunter’ mode, easily my favorite mode, is essentially other games’ “Infected” or “Zombie” mode where a couple of people are the Hunters with bows and infinite stealth out to kill C.E.L.L. refugees awaiting evac. One by one they fall and get converted into Hunters. In this mode, the rounds are short and devolves into where the remaining one or two players end up hiding in a corner, ruining the fun. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize the imperfections of the nanosuit and begin to not always be taken by surprise.
Other analogous modes you’ll find is ‘Spears’, which is a “Conquest” or “Domination”. Then there’s ‘Capture the Relay’ and ‘Extraction’ that are “Capture the Flag”, and ’Crash Site’ is similar to “Crazy King” which is a moving King of the Hill. Nothing here is brand new, but can be found in other militaristic games not set in the future. All of them are worth playing when throwing in the nanosuit abilities, and your favorite will emerge through game rotations being frequent.
Out of the box you’ll battle on twelve different maps and eight modes. It’s a full multiplayer suite full of offerings of ranking up, unlocking weapons, and modifying your character and equipping dog tags to let your victim know it was you. It’s very standard and straight forward, but with solid matchmaking and the aforementioned exciting modes to keep you going, you’ll likely not put it down anytime soon after finishing Prophet’s story.
My PC Specs:
– Intel Core i7 3770k @ 3.5GHz
– 8GB DDR3 RAM
– NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti
Crysis 3 is sure to impress, and will be a graphical blueprint for other developers to follow. The technical achievements are amazing, but it just can’t carry the weight of the game’s shortcomings. The emotional backdrop for Prophet in this existential conflict of “what is human” comes out of left field and goes nowhere. The campaign is very short, but it is highly exciting in this compact form. The hunter bow further cements the feeling of being a predator, as you prey on your enemies in your billion dollar nanosuit.
An Origin code was provided by Electronic Arts PR for review purposes