Admittedly, this is my first Crysis game. I know, I know, not so good. Before stepping into the title, my only real knowledge of the series was that it looked pretty and involved something called a Nanosuit. Beyond that? Nada.
This game is not all that forgiving to newcomers in terms of storyline. I fired it up and found myself lost in what appeared to be a three way battle. I didn’t know why each side was fighting one another, and the game made no real attempt to share that information with me. Rather than slog through a campaign that I didn’t understand, I wound up turning to the internet to piece together the happenings in the previous installments.
Once I had the background information, Crysis 3’s plot got a lot better. It’s not exactly the best game writing I’ve encountered, but it’s more straightforward and enjoyable than other first-person shooters in its class. With that in mind, though, if you’re new to this series and getting into this thing for the story alone, consider passing or reading up on your Crysis lore, what little of it there is.
Crysis 3 is a slick, pretty shooter built around the principles of run-and-gun or stealth. Really, that’s the biggest compliment I can pay this game and Crytek, the folks that made it. It’s a tight, linear, sequential experience, but it manages to present those fine mechanics while offering up level designs that take advantage of the game’s mechanics.
Want to stalk from way above your enemies and pick them off with a bow? Yeah, you can do that. Want to select upgrades that will make you a super fast, aggressive, out-in-the-open war machine? Yep, that works too. Crytek understood that players would want to come at this playground from different angles, and built the levels so that any tactic was feasible.
I actually wound up switching up my tactics with each level. I’d start an area and say, “you know, let’s go stealth here,” and the game totally flexed to that. Then I’d hit a room with tons of explosives lying on the ground and figured I’d give mayhem a try, and that also felt really rewarding. So many games claim that they offer players mechanics that meet whatever style of play they want, but Crysis 3 nails that factor.
The only issue I experienced with this type of open design was that levels, despite how linear they actual were, could sometimes be a little more confusing than they should have been. You’ll stumble around while looking for an objective only to realize that it’s three stories above or below you. The dense, leafy environment doesn’t really help matters, and space can be a bit too confusing for my liking.
Push through those brief moments, though, and Crysis 3 can be really fun.
Scattered about these open-ish levels are hackable objects. Sometimes it’s a turret that you can turn on your enemies, sometimes it’s a lock to a door and sometimes it’s a crate that holds suit upgrades. Hacking presents a simple little mini-game that’s rather worthless. A line bounces and you need to press X at a certain point in its path. Once you figure the system out, hacking itself is something that gets in the way of gameplay. It’s almost as simple as just holding X, but it takes more time.
The aforementioned upgrades aren’t really that special, either. You’ll be able to buy stuff like longer lasting camo, sneakier and faster melee attacks, better armor strength and faster armor speed. While that all sounds great, the upgrades don’t exactly feel like something you absolutely need to beat the game. Perhaps if I had spent time playing this title on difficulties above normal, the upgrades would have become downright essential. On the soldier challenge level, though, they felt like perks I could have done entirely without.
Crysis 3 does suffer from omnipotent AI at times. This is one of my major shooter pet peeves. If you’re at all exposed, enemies will see you. That goes for wading through tall grass, standing perfectly still against a metaling building or walking behind enemies who have their backs to you. If your cloak isn’t activated, you’re getting shot at and you can kiss that stealth moment goodbye.
On the multiplayer end, Crysis 3 feels very much like a generic shooter. You’ve got team deathmatch, capture the flag, capture and hold and assault style objectives. In fact, the only mode that feels even semi-unique is Hunter. There, players either play as stealth Nanosuit bow wielders or cell agents. It’s exactly like Halo’s zombie mode; one stealth dude assaults the weaker soldiers. As soldiers die, they become stealth and go after their old teammates. The game is won when the soldiers are killed or they last the length of the round’s timer.
Sound familiar? That’s because this game type’s been done before. The one issue I take with multiplayer that might stand as a real hindrance comes from the fact that it’s simply not as popular as other games. Every time I fired Crysis 3’s multiplayer component up, I only found a few thousand players in combat. That includes the first weekend since the game’s launch; that number will drop over time, and you’ll find a mostly empty multiplayer section.
Unless you get all wrapped up in this title’s multiplayer, the campaign is a little short. It’s standard AAA shooter length, I suppose, but I always have a hard time shelling out $60 for 4-8 hours of campaign. That’s my personal preference. If and when this one dips below that $60 mark into the $30-40 territory, it’ll be darn near irresistible.
Crysis 3 is a tight shooter with great, relatively open-ended gameplay mechanics. It delivers a decent storyline with characters that work well enough to speed things along. Give it a few slaps for its brevity and boring hacking activities, and be on your way. It’s not perfect, but it’s fun. If you’ve got a solid gaming rig, it’s also exceptionally pretty on PC.
CraveOnline received one review copy of Crysis 3 from EA Games for Xbox 360. Before starting this review, we completed the game's campaign and logged a few hours of multiplayer play.