BADGP Reviews: Crysis 3
Crysis 3 (Crytek, EA)
Review: An Unfortunate Crysis of Identity
Since its inception, the Crysis series has always been about pushing amazing, mind-blowing graphics. Developer CryTek released Crysis 1 to the world and instantly saw their game become the benchmark to which all PC game system requirements were held, causing, “Yeah, your computer is good, but can it run Crysis?” to become a common phrase among computer game players. Crysis 2 continued to push cutting-edge graphics (all while being ported to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) while refining gameplay (more on that later). Crysis 3, technically the fourth game in the series (a standalone expansion to the original Crysis was the series’ second title) seeks to redefine the series as the pinnacle of PC graphics technology while continuing to hone its gameplay experience. Does it succeed?
How Does It Look?
There are reviews of the PC version of Crysis 3 that call it the best looking PC game ever made. I don’t doubt this claim. I played the Xbox 360 version, however, and I can tell you that it still looks fantastic. Unfortunately, the game has a habit of forcing action to happen in incredibly dark environments, meaning that however amazing those textures may look, you can’t really see them all that well. The game still looks great, but it seems to only take away from the awe that CryTek hopes so fervently to inspire.
From a presentation standpoint, Crysis 3 doesn’t fail to impress. CryTek does a great job of utilizing the first-person perspective during storytelling moments, making Prophet, the main character, move his body and head realistically when reacting to characters or the environment around him. While this may not seem like much, it served to keep me more involved in what was going on during the game, and actively impressed me on several occasions.
I should also say that I was very impressed with the way water drips down the main character’s visor; not since Metroid Prime have I been specifically impressed by that particular feature. Bottom line: It’s Crysis. It looks great. Did you expect anything else?
How Does It Sound?
It has long been my opinion that the sound design in the Crysis series, while certainly acceptable, could definitely be improved upon. Crysis 3’s score, while not quite as outstanding at the score in Crysis 2, is very good, and is well used within the game. Unfortunately, some areas of the game seem to suffer from glitches that cause the sound to largely cut out. I assure you, though, that when it can be heard, it’s very good! Not so good, however, are the sounds issued from the weapons in the game. I often found that the guns sounded much less powerful than they should, with the exception of a few of the heaviest weapons. This is a minor issue, personally, but it still takes away from the weight of the game’s combat, and I hope it’s addressed if any further Crysis games are produced.
How Does It Play?
This area is where Crysis 3 had the opportunity to really shine. Crysis 2 was one of the best shooters of 2011 due to the vertical environments and open combat areas, which allowed players to tackle groups of enemies in their own ways, making the game feel very tailored to the player’s own methods of engagement. If Crysis 3 had taken those ideas and refined them further, it could have been something special. Unfortunately, Crysis 3 stumbles in several important ways and very much comes out the lesser in terms of pure gameplay.
Crysis 3 still presents several open-ended combat situations, but most of the verticality has been removed from the environments. While this may not sound like much, it dramatically limits player mobility and potential for stealth kills, as it becomes more of a game of “kill that guy, then run to the same corner over and over until the next guy walks by you.” There is, of course, the Nanosuit’s Armor Mode, which allows for more direct confrontation with enemies, and this seems to be the direction CryTek intended for this game. This is unfortunate, because it turns a series that was once more open to player choice into one that really intends its player to approach a situation in one specific way. Crysis 2 worked so well because it made the player feel like a nearly all-powerful hunter, much in the same way that Batman: Arkham Asylum treats its combat rooms. In Crysis 3, I often felt backed into a corner, especially against the alien enemies more common to the latter half of the game. This, simply, isn’t Crysis.
Also, there were several technical problems I experienced when playing through the game. I fell through holes in the ground’s geometry twice, the game’s audio cut out at times, and the game’s AI was, in true Crysis fashion, not always stellar. Other than falling through the ground, there were minor annoyances, but still deserve mentioning.
How Does It Compare?
I’ve already spent a lot of time in the above paragraphs comparing Crysis 2 and 3, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that I don’t feel this latest game stacks up favorably to its predecessor. From level design to sound design, from the game’s length to its core mechanics, Crysis 3 just doesn’t meet the high bar set for it just one game earlier. Let me give you a specific example that really stood out to me:
In Crysis 2, the game’s currency for the Nanosuit’s upgrade system was gathered by moving through clouds of nanoparticles released by deceased Ceph (the series’ alien antagonists); in other words, kill bad guys and you can make your suit better. In Crysis 3, upgrade points are found as collectibles in the environment. So, use your scan visor and make your suit better. So why fight these enemies when you can sneak past them again and again? I know I didn’t.
Crysis 3 is a good game in myriad ways: the score’s good, the combat is good, the game looks good (fine, it looks great), the story is even better than it probably needed to be. All that does, though, is highlight how truly fantastic a job CryTek did with Crysis 2, a game released years earlier, and superior in nearly every way. Crysis 3 is certainly worth playing if you’re at all invested in the series, but if you’ve never played a Crysis game before, save yourself some money and pick up Crysis 2 first.
BADGP: 7.8 out of 10