In many ways, the Crysis series has always been seen as a set of technical demos.
Crytek pushed the boundaries of what video games looked like with the original Crysis. Real time lighting, dynamic shadows, subsurface scattering and large open environments were put into place as PCs across the world would beg for mercy. Crysis 2 carried on that tradition, but focused on smaller locales. It was far more linear but still offered many possibilities to experiment with different strategies due to its brilliantly designed levels. With Crysis 3, Crytek tries to marry the first two games to create the definitive Crysis experience while continuing to push graphical boundaries of video games.
The game takes place 24 years after the events of Crysis 2. New York is in shambles, and the CELL Corporation has taken over. You play as Laurence “Prophet” Barnes, who was the squad leader of Raptor Team in the first Crysis. This comes across as a bit strange since Prophet sacrificed himself in the beginning events of Crysis 2. He was killed off in the first few minutes of the game so the protagonist of Crysis 2, Alcatraz, could embody his Nanosuit. Now, Crytek has got your back on this one. Somehow, the Nanosuit was able to preserve Prophet’s mind, and injected that into Alcatraz’s body by the end of Crysis 2. Was going through all that trouble to bring Prophet back necessary?
“THE SET-UP FOR CRYSIS 3 IS POORLY EXPLAINED“
Crysis 3 focuses on the aftermath of the events in Crysis 2. Expect to be kept in the dark about many of the things which have taken place since those events. The set-up for Crysis 3 is poorly explained, and the game rarely tells you what is exactly going on. Most of my information behind Crysis 3 came from much of the promotional material surrounding the game; press interviews, press releases, and etc. The game also does a poor job of telling you why you should be doing things. Sure, it points to your objectives but it never provides proper reasoning towards how it’s going to affect your end goal.
Crytek put forth an interesting character dynamic in the game but its execution was flawed. At the core of the Crysis 3 plot is the relationship between Prophet, and Michael “Physco” Sykes. Both of them were part of Raptor Team in the first Crysis game and both have experience using the Nanosuit. In between the events of Crysis 2 and 3, Psycho’s Nanosuit was taken from him. Now stripped of his Nanosuit, Psycho has a personal motivation to find out who did this to him. In his personal journey with Prophet, he often confronts Prophet with the ideals of being human and finds out he is now anything but a friend. However, Physco comes across as more of a nagging annoyance and served as a drag to the overall mission. In the game, he would often bicker about how he is just a human and was thus, incapable of achieving the tasks required of him. This nuisance would then require further convincing by Prophet and held back the audience from truly enjoying gameplay. At times, I just wanted Physco to be quiet and not say a word. Think of it as taking a friend on a road trip and regretting his presence throughout the entire trip.
“THE CORE OF THE CRYSIS 3 PLOT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROPHET, AND MICHAEL “PHYSCO” SYKES”
Crysis 3 also makes a few steps back in the gameplay department. With Crysis 3, Crytek told fans they wanted to bring back some increasingly open environments from the first Crysis game. They held true to their promise but the results aren’t as favourable as you’d expect. The play spaces are much larger than what we played through in Crysis 2 but it comes at a cost. The sandbox in Crysis 2, although smaller, was better designed and relied on verticality. The city of New York was still very much intact during the events of Crysis 2 but not here. Most levels in Crysis 3 take place on flat plains or other flat areas.
“A FEW STEPS BACK IN THE GAMEPLAY DEPARTMENT”
The larger environments don’t work as well as they did in the first Crysis mainly due to the mission design. The objectives the player is given are too direct and don’t offer much in the way of freedom. Often times, a clear path is laid out in front of you with interesting spectacles taking place in view. Why go off the beaten path and explore when you know there is still only one way to progress?
The stealth opportunities found in Crysis 3 are expanded upon. The bow is a prime factor towards that due to its ability to fire arrows while remaining cloaked. Other small enhancements include the new Visor mode, which automatically tags enemies and hacks turrets to open up more stealth possibilities. While these are great additions, they do end up making sneaking around too easy for my liking. If you are more on the offensive, little has changed from how you encounter enemies, however, you do get to wield some truly powerful alien Ceph weapons.
“SMALL ENHANCEMENTS…OPEN UP MORE STEALTH POSSIBILITIES”
YEAR OF THE BOW!
Equipped with the Predator Bow, Prophet can dispatch his enemies in a variety of different ways. Armed with 4 different types of arrows, the possibilities to play around and experiment with different situations is there. The electric shock tip arrows are great when CELL soldiers are bunched together in a body of water, and the Airburst Fragmentation arrow is also useful for dispatching huddled enemies. To bring down tougher and larger Ceph aliens, the thermite tipped arrow is the way to go.
While all these possibilities seem like they would be a joy in action, they are anything but. Simply put, the game is a bore. It suffers from poor mission design which often forces you to a singular path, and it starts to become very repetitive. Things start to become much more involving near the final moments of the game when you are giving control of vehicles and are introduced to boss battles. I would be nice to see them better spaced out during the campaign to offer more variety to the player. To add, many of the truly exciting moments in the game are cut scenes in which the player has no control over.
“CRYSIS 3 LASTED ME 4 HOURS AND 40 MINUTES IN MY PLAY THROUGH ON THE VETERAN DIFFICULTY SETTING”
The game is also noticeably shorter than both its predecessor. In my experience, Crysis 3 lasted 4 hours and 40 minutes in my play through on the Veteran difficulty setting. The previous games took more than 9 hours to beat on my first play through. It’s insultingly short, but it if it were any longer I would have probably lost interest in it. It very well could have been a blessing in disguise.
Flaws aside, Crysis is a gorgeous game backed by strong artistic direction and breathtaking technology. I haven’t been this amazed by video game graphics since the original Crysis. Detailed environments and objects on the micro and macro level and facial detail that is simply uncanny – this game has it all. But what truly made my jaw drop was something that could have been easily missed, the real time water caustics effect. I have never seen anything like it in a videogame before, and I never thought it was possible. The fantastic Nanosuit UI is also to be commended since it adds a level of immersion of being a tech super soldier.
“CRYSIS 3 IS A GORGEOUS GAME BACKED BY STRONG ARTISTIC DIRECTION AND BREATHTAKING TECHNOLOGY”
The thunderous sounds of whizzing bullets and explosions are backed by the bombastic soundtrack. It suits the themes of the game well and also draws its inspiration from some of Hans Zimmer’s recent work. “Mechanically, Crysis is a compelling game built on very competent game play dynamics.”
The ability to go gun blazing, to being quiet as a mouse and back and forth is something not every shooter can do or tries doing. Unfortunately, due to the crippling level design, lack of interesting mission objectives, and an incoherent plot, the games flaws do become very apparent. Crysis 3 ultimately becomes an uninteresting audio-visual tour that fails to live up to its predecessors.