There are two main types of first-person shooters. There are the regular, “realistic” shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield. They rely mostly on gameplay mechanics and enjoyable basic combat. They have normal soldiers fighting in normal ways (no supernatural phenomenon basically). Then, there are the shooters that have some gameplay feature to exploit. In the game Inversion, you can control gravity, and in TimeShift, you can control the flow of time. Games like Inversion and TimeShift rarely do well, because basing an entire game on one premise is a risky tactic. So, when you hear the premise of Crysis 3 revolves around a super-powered Nanosuit, it wouldn’t be hard to assume the game is very gimmicky. Well, you’d be wrong. The Nanosuit is just a bonus in an all-around well-made game.
The third game continues the story from the previous two games. For those that haven’t played the first two, don’t worry; there’s a recap video to get you up to speed. All you really need to know is that there is a corrupt, militaristic company called C.E.L.L. exploiting alien energy. Not only do you have to stop C.E.L.L., but you also have the alien species Ceph to worry about. You play as someone called Prophet, whose body has assimilated with the powerful Nanosuit, and who has been tasked with saving the world from utter destruction. The story is fairly well done, and each character is nicely created. It deals with some heavier elements you don’t expect in a game that involves shooting hundreds of people; what it means to be human and the cost of having the power to save the world comes up a lot, and it adds some great depth to the characters. The solid script and skilled voice-acting really make the game touching, which was a pleasant surprise.
The actual setting of the game is the year 2047 in New York City. In the future, the city has been covered by a huge bio-dome, and a jungle has taken root among all the buildings. The vegetation meshes well with the man-made architecture, and it feels like you’ve discovered a long lost world. You’ll be running through an office building with trees breaking through the floor, giving a wonderful mixture of industry clashing against nature. It’s very creatively done, and the scenery is beautiful to look at. Some of the landscapes are so huge that it will take you a good couple seconds to appreciate even a small sliver. You’ll be perched high on a skyscraper, and when you look down, you see a disheveled city that’s being flooded with water and overrun by wild growth. Crysis has always set a precedent as being a good-looking game series, and I’m happy to say that hasn’t changed.
A game’s beauty doesn’t matter if it isn’t fun to play, but no need to worry: Crysis 3 is certainly fun to play. The famed Nanosuit is a blast to use. It has two main abilities to activate: invisibility and armor. Along with those, there are other abilities, like infrared vision, high jump, and brute strength. Each ability pretty much speaks for itself. Using any abilities takes energy, and when the energy bar depletes, you become the equivalent of a normal person, which is a lot worse than you’d think. It doesn’t take long to charge, thankfully, but it means you always have to keep an eye on that bar so you don’t get stuck powerless in a tight situation.
What weapon does a super-powered human wearing a Nanosuit use, you ask? Why, a bow and arrow, of course. Yes, it sounds dumb and strange when the game takes place in the future, but it works surprisingly well. The bow is actually your best weapon, since it is a one-hit kill and doesn’t turn off your invisibility when you fire it like other weapons do. You can pick up your arrows, so ammo isn’t the biggest concern, and it is completely quiet. Not to mention that it’s just downright fun! You can change arrow types as well, so if the situation calls for an explosion, your bow can satisfy that nicely. The bow seems random to be in a game like this, but it is actually one of the greater features of the game.
Crysis 3 plays exactly as you would expect a first-person shooter to play. So what makes it different and worth playing? It isn’t just the Nanosuit or the bow. There are other factors incorporated into this game that really makes it a fun experience. When you hear FPS, your mind instantly pictures one skinny hallway to walk down and shoot enemies popping out of cover. Well, not with Crysis 3; it’s better to think of this game as semi-sandbox. What this game does exceptionally well is that it gives you the freedom to play how you want. A majority of the game has you enter into a big area and presents you with an objective marker to reach. Imagine a big box with your destination on the other side, and it’s entirely up to you on how you get to it. You can sneak by every enemy and not kill a single person, you can sit in a corner and snipe until none remain, or you can take out each person by hand. It is entirely up to you, and it’s wonderful to feel like you’re in charge of the game’s direction.
Games like Dishonored are praised for the amount of decisions you can make, but really, Crysis has just as many possibilities, gameplay-wise. You can take a high route, a lower route, or go right down the center; it all depends on you. No two people will play through the same level the same way. You might try sneaking past everyone, but it takes too long or you keep dying. So, fed up, you get yourself a big gun, turn on your armor, and absolutely massacre everything in your path. Crysis 3 gives the gamer a great amount of freedom, so don’t waste it – use your imagination to its fullest.
Probably one of the reasons Crysis 3 is so much fun is how the game feels when you play it. Your super-powered Nanosuit makes you feel like a predator hunting a weak prey. As stated earlier, the big maps allow you to play as you want, and this directly leads into how terrorizing you can be. When you’re invisible, you stalk your prey, slowly getting closer as they remain blissfully unaware. You turn on your armor and take them out, but someone saw you do it. An alert goes out to all enemies of your location. You quickly switch back to invisibility mode and disappear. The enemy swarms your last position to find you, but you already circled around to flank them. You take out another one, and the enemy panics. They start throwing EMP grenades to try and lure you out, but you doubled back and jumped up to a higher cliff out of their reach. All the enemies are standing in the open and searching for you – perfect for a well-placed grenade. With everyone dead, you can easily move on to your next objective. This is the kind of freedom the game allows you, and it is incredibly fun experimenting with all the possibilities permitted.
Some of you are now worried the game won’t be any fun because you are so powerful. That’s not always true. Only against the C.E.L.L. soldiers you are super powerful, but when it comes to the Ceph, suddenly your suit isn’t so great. When you fight the Ceph, everything is kicked up a notch. They have powerful weapons and are stronger than the average person. The playing field is evened, and you are no longer a predator. Even worse, there are a couple of instances in the game where you have to fight special Ceph called Strikers. The best way to describe these guys is to compare them to the raptors in Jurassic Park. There is even one situation in the game where you are standing in tall grass, obscuring your vision. You hear a terrifying shriek and see a quick flash through the grass. There is a terrible realization when you understand that now you’re the one being hunted.
Crysis 3 just does everything right when it comes to the gameplay. It keeps all the basic elements that are needed, but improves upon all of them. You can customize your weapons, like most games. The difference is you do it in real-time – it doesn’t even pause the game. The less interfaces in a game, the better, and Crysis 3 has taken that to heart. You pull up a menu in real-time, press a button, and your gun has now been re-equipped. Never before has switching a long-scoped gun to a close-range weapon been so easy. This adds to the tactical gameplay and keeps the combat smooth as you switch a weapon’s features for whatever the situation calls for.
You can also mark enemies and objects with your visor so you know where everything is. This helps with planning your strategy, since the first thing you do upon entering an area is tag everything. Mentally, you begin planning the path that you’re going to take to reach your objective based off what you’ve tagged. Tagging things isn’t passive, either, since it gives you the ability to hack certain devices. There may be a large group of soldiers guarding a door, but there is also a turret in front of them. Well, hack that turret and watch as it unloads on its own side, giving you a blissfully warm, albeit somewhat sadistic, feeling. Crysis 3’s sandbox style allows for great tactical possibilities, and it’s wise to explore all your options.
As has come to be expected with shooters today, there is a multiplayer to partake in after you’ve completed the campaign. It has all the modes you’d expect, like Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. While it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, each multiplayer has the Crysis flare which sets it aside. You can imagine how Team Deathmatch might be a little more nerve-racking when everyone is invisible. The online mode that seems to be the most popular is the Hunter mode, which is just another name for Infected. It is two-minute rounds with ten people; two people are invisible hunters with Nanosuits and bows against eight common soldiers. Every soldier a hunter kills turns into a hunter as well. It’s not technically anything new, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. When a hunter is near you, your proximity scanner begins beeping a very loud and obnoxious noise repeatedly. Your heart starts pounding as you realize there is someone vastly more powerful hunting you, and they may be right behind you. It’s intense and will definitely keep you occupied for a while, but the multiplayer overall seems to be a bit too buggy currently.
Crysis 3 is not perfect; there are some issues which will downplay the overall experience. The biggest issue with shooters is always the A.I., and that remains true for Crysis 3, as well. They may converge on your last known location and try to flank you, but that’s it. It isn’t hard to outsmart them, and sometimes, they are a little too unaware to what’s going on around them. The game also doesn’t increase in difficulty too much. The Ceph are definitely tougher than C.E.L.L., but the end of the game is about as hard as the beginning. So if you’re looking for some real tough challenges, it isn’t here. Also, the campaign is pretty short, clocking in at less than five hours. Not that a FPS campaign is usually that long, but with a rich story like Crysis, you hope it would last a little longer.
Crysis 3 is a game worth experiencing. The story and characters are inventive and will definitely make some connections with you. The game is absolutely beautiful with a very imaginative setting to experience. Once you master your suit, the game becomes incredibly fun. There is a great feeling to being a powerful hunter picking off weaker prey (you can turn invisible with infrared vision, which literally makes you the Predator). The tactical decision-making this game includes allows you great freedom, and it is a welcome relief from many of the shooters out there. The multiplayer isn’t anything new, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Crysis 3 shows that an FPS can stray from the mainstream linearity while incorporating some fanciful ideas and still be successful. It may not reinvent the genre, but it is a welcome pause from what we normally see.
This review is based off a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of Crysis 3 developed by Crytek and distributed by Electronic Arts.
- Characters are Inventive
- Absolutely Beautiful
- Solid Story
- The AI is Sub-Par
- Very Short Campaign