Review: Crysis 3 – adapt or die
Who doesn’t enjoy being the hunter? It’s that indescribable feeling of stalking your prey, planning an attack and striking with precision. Crysis 3 sets you loose in the ruins of New York City and puts you at the top of the food chain. The hunt is on. Suit up, it’s time to go Downtown.
Crysis as a series always strives to create the best First-Person Shooter (FPS) experience imaginable. It’s almost developer Crytek’s philosophy. The first Crysis revolutionised the way we look at shooters by setting up a complex and elaborate style of FPS gameplay. Players could alternate between armour for strength or a cloak for stealth both powered and managed by a replenishing energy meter. Then Crytek tossed in a ridiculous amount of firepower within an open sandbox which offered an unlimited number of ways to approach a situation.
The sequel upped the ante raising the stakes, adding more action, a tighter more linear experience with a larger drive towards story, much to the aggravation of some fans. Whether you like the game or not there is no arguing that at the time it sported some of the prettiest games around and still offered a decent albeit more path-driven experience. Crysis 3 is attempting to give gamers a more rounded offering from both worlds, packed into a jaw droppingly gorgeous package boasting one of the most intuitive control systems around. The question remains, is developer Crytek biting off more than it can chew?
The game begins with the rescue of series’ hero Prophet, draped in his form fitting nano-suit which enhances all his abilities. He is being held in a C.E.L.L. (the series’ evil paramilitary antagonists) facility inside a giant dome that now covers the ruins of New York. C.E.L.L has convinced the general public that the area is dangerous and hidden its more top secret work inside this vast and secure location under the guise of a power station. Psycho (one of Prophet’s former nano-suit buddies) stages your break out, explaining that he now works with a resistance movement trying to free the world from C.E.L.L. and so begins your mission to save the world, again.
Prophet’s abilities handle better than ever in Crysis 3. In Crysis 2 you had all these amazing abilities and only what felt like a AA battery to play with them. At no stage did I feel like a super soldier as I spent a lot of time waiting for my energy to recharge hiding behind cover instead of showing off my style.
Crysis 3 however unleashes Prophet’s full potential giving you the tools to pick off your enemies as you switch between sneaking and aggression, which has put it miles above it’s predecessor. Crysis 3 has simplified most of its suit mechanics down to Stealth and Aggression. Stealth has been enhanced by the introduction of the predator bow, capable of firing while cloaked and offers a selection of interesting alternate ammo types, such as fire or electricity. This is immensely useful for picking off stragglers or patrols before dealing with densely populated enemy zones. You can also creep up on unsuspecting foes for silent takedowns and use the camouflage to hack turrets and mines without risking being seen.
This is only one half of your suit’s abilities. Strength instantly increases your accuracy and hardens your armor allowing you to soak up a great deal more damage and dish it out too. Heavy crates fly around like cardboard boxes with a single punch, allowing some wicked group kills as well as distractions if used in conjunction with your cloak. This is where the game shines. Once you are familiar with the skills you have at your disposal the controls become very organic, allowing you to switch your tactics on the fly and adapt to almost any situation. Within no time you’ll find yourself able to take down whole squads of C.E.L.L. forces barely even taking a scratch.
One of the few downsides of Crysis 3 is it’s use of compartmentalised areas. You never feel it has the sense of scope and openness of the original. I began to feel a sense of deja vu as all of the levels started to feel like variations of the same box, and after several missions of collecting Intel, planning an attack and executing it, it all began to feel like routine. This is far from a gamebreaker, but it does make the single player experience feel more like a string of multiplayer maps stitched together. It feels less so after the halfway mark and does open up and then it’s back to cloaking and killing and all that saving the world kind of stuff which the franchise does so well.
Crysis 3 is another win from the team at Crytek but doesn’t really take the series to the next level. The dynamic nature of the gameplay takes even the simplest of battles and adds a layer of tactical thinking rarely seen in the FPS genre. Excusing some repetitive levels and a very linear progression, Crysis 3 offers a middle-ground between its two previous titles. The series continues to grow and evolve, but in smaller leaps. More focus is needed on the sandbox elements before Crytek produce the shooter follow up we’ve all been hoping for since the original Crysis knocked our socks off.