After six years and hundreds of over-taxed PCs, the Crysis series is coming to a head with its third installment. Running on a new version of the CryEngine, the latest entry in the franchise takes you back to New York to finally unravel the mystery of the Ceph and the nature of their connection to the main character, Prophet.
With a new weapon, better graphics and even more maximum powers, does Crysis 3 wrap everything up?
The World and the Story
The one thing Crysis 3 has going for it is its audio/visual presentation. While this might be a bit obvious, the game is gorgeous in every sense of the word. Even the scarred up face of supporting character Psycho is incredibly well-rendered and on a good PC is runs with nary a slow-down.
Taking place twenty-odd years after the events of Crysis 2, you’re busted out of a containment cell outside of the Liberty Dome, the device put in place by the CELL corporation to keep their renewable energy plant secret. In Crysis’ future, CELL owns basically everything, and those who can’t pay their bills are put to work for the company. Naturally, this leads to a group of freedom fighters trying to take down the mega-corporation, which is where Psycho, one of the nano-suited characters from the first game, comes in.
As the entity known as “Prophet”, you’re more obsessed with the Alpha Ceph, the big brain controlling the hive mind of every Ceph soldier on the planet, and wouldn’t you know it, the big beastie is hiding under New York. Prophet teams up with Psycho and his band of rebels and leads them through a fairly rediculous final chapter.
Crysis was never known for its story, but Prophet’s narrow-minded search for the Alpha Ceph is a pretty goofy way to wrap everything up. The game tries to make a lot of noise about Prophet’s post-human state as a nano-suit entity and there’s a sub-plot about how Psycho was skinned out of his suit by CELL and really misses being a bad-ass, but it’s told in such a ham-fisted way that it doesn’t make an impact.
Oddly enough, Crysis 3’s back-story, where Prophet leads a team of nano-suit soldiers on a hunt for the Alpha Ceph while avoiding CELL partols hoping to capture nano-suit users, would have made for a far more interesting tale, especially if we see Prophet’s descent into post-humanism instead of just being told about it.
Like the previous games, Crysis 3 is all about the nano-suit and how you utilize its various modes. This aspect is overshadowed, however, by the new weapon the Predator bow. This new piece of kit is linked to your nano-suit, so the arrows you fire (there are multiple varieties of those) are one-hit kills on a lot of enemies. The fact that you remain in stealth while shooting with this weapon takes a large chunk of the challenge out of the game, especially if you put your talent points into your armor’s Stealth mode.
While there are occasions in the latter part of the game where the bow isn’t as useful as it is early on, there’s really no impetus on your part to try any other weapon unless the game points one out to you (such as the new Ceph weaponry, which you can now use). You can also pick up the arrows, meaning that your magical one-hit kill machine can never run out of ammo if you’re diligent.
Crysis 3 also gives you the ability to tag and track enemies with the upgraded HUD, making your tool-set as an invisible stalker even more over-powered. Once you’ve locked on to every enemy in the vacinity, you can follow them around and pick them off with impunity, especially since the AI is dumb enough to queue up to get a look at the corpse you just made into a pincushion, allowing you to slot a few foes in pretty quick succession.
Admittedly, I had the most fun with Crysis 3 when I wasn’t using the bow. The gunplay loop is still satisfying, especially once your start equipping your weapons with a variety of attachments and configuring the optimal nano-suit mods for straight up firefights. The AI is still dumb, but at least there’s a modicum of challenge when they actually know where to shoot.
While Crysis 3 is moderately fun and a treat for the eyes and ears, it ultimately isn’t that memorable. I’m having trouble recalling a big set-piece from the game, as even events set up to be large and impressive fail to capture the imagination.
If you’ve got an excellent computer that can run Crysis 3 at the maximum (or close enough) settings, the scenery might be enough to justify a playthrough. Crysis 3 is for PC building aficionados and series veterans; anyone else probably wouldn’t get as much enjoyment out of this game.
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