Review by William Wuttke
For those of you who don’t know, Crysis is an FPS series taking place in the near future about killing aliens with an awesome suit. The original Crysis was a PC exclusive, and it was a really open game with an awesome story that looked absolutely fantastic, but the actual gunplay was eh, and even on the easiest difficulty, you died so quickly that there weren’t a lot of times where you could really feel like a badass. It was more of a stealth/exploration game than a shooter. With Crysis 2, they decided to reach a broader audience by releasing it on consoles and putting a higher focus on the gameplay. The result was the best looking game on consoles (and one that wasn’t too shabby on PC either) with really good gameplay, at the sacrifice of the story and the open world. It wasn’t a BAD story, necessarily, and the game was a huge step from your average corridor shooter; it was just that the story was kind of nonsensical sometimes, and in a lot of the missions, you had no choice but to just go in a straight line. Crysis 2 also had a multiplayer that really came out of nowhere. It was really, really good, and stayed fairly popular for a while. Unfortunately, the game was blighted by a lot of lag and weird animation glitches, as well as questionable AI. So, the here’s the big challenge: Can Crysis 3, with a 2 year production period, safely meld the gameplay of Crysis 2 with the open-ness and the story of the classic Crysis? The answer is…. Sort of.
Let’s start off with the single player. The game starts with a good summary of the first two, for those who missed them. Then, it pops you right into the fray, with a really linear clear-every-room sort of mission. There were a fair deal of collectibles and the like, and some vents that let you approach the level in different ways, but it’s still basically a straight line. What this mission is really good at is showing you how things work together, and showing off the amazing visuals. You’ll step onto the surface of the boat, and just look at the gorgeous water and the helicopters and the lighting engines. I was playing on Xbox, and it looked better than any game I’d ever seen, even on PC. Yes, that includes Skyrim and Planetside 2. I firmly believe that Crysis 3 is the best looking game on the market right now. The other thing this mission is good at is showing off how awesome the bow is and making you use all three of your suit modes. For those that don’t know, in Crysis, you have a nanosuit, which is a high-tech sort of modern armor. When you have it, you can switch between three suit modes: armor, which deflects bullets and missiles and the like, cloak, which makes you nearly invisible and lets you stab people, and power, which lets you sprint, power jump, slide, and climb things. The first mission forces you to use all of these. The enemies are set up in a way that makes it near impossible to sneak or shoot your way through the entire mission. It leaves you little choice but to sneak up on some, but in the long run, you are almost definitely going to have to go into armor and just blow crap up. Both of these strategies are really fun. The enemy AI actually reacts fairly realistically to what you do on the higher difficulties. You can shoot an arrow at a wall, make them go check it out, and then go behind them and stab them all. Or, alternatively, you can just pop on armor and then charge in while enjoying the game’s really good gunplay. So even though the mission structure here seems like something out of CoD, it highlights some of the best parts of the game.
After you get passed that mission, the story starts to open up. I was sincerely worried about this game, because it seemed like you were just gonna go back to New York and blow stuff up for no reason. Instead, the story of the Cell taking over and the rebellion and everything is really interesting and it makes sense. And even though Prophet suffers from some Commander Shepard disorder (Alpha Ceph, Reapers, they’re really the same thing) as far as telling everyone a crazy story even though the first six people didn’t believe him, the story is still really good. At one point, Psycho specifically tells him not to tell a specific person about these crazy visions he’s been having, and then the first thing he does when he meets that character is to tell them exactly that. The characters are basically Prophet, Psycho, and the supporting cast. Psycho is out of his suit now, and just the way he acts, and how he seems separated from himself is really cool. He’s also the only character that has changed at all over the course of the three games. Prophet has actually become a little bit less awesome since the first two games. Something about the way he acts in this title just feels weird. He’s still a beast, he just isn’t quite as cool as he used to be. In general, though, everything about the story and characters is a step up from the second one. The story makes more sense and it’s more fleshed out, while the characters are more realistic and a little less annoying.
The other thing that I was really hoping for from Crysis 3 was the open world structure of Crysis 1, and even though it isn’t nearly to that scale, Crytek definitely stepped it up here. The missions really switch between indoor corridor areas, and outdoor exploration levels. This gives a nice variety, so you never get bored with one or the other. The exploration levels are far better than Crysis 2’s. You usually have many pathways, and verticality comes into play, as well. You can often go over the destroyed building, or down through the ravine below it. And both pathways are filled with enemies and collectibles. Sometimes, the levels are so wide, you can’t even pick out individual pathways. However, in the long run, you are still going from point a to point b. You just have a lot of choice in how you get there. The corridor levels are mild improvements of every other FPS. There’s still some choice on where to go, though. You’ll have vents and alternate routes and such, if you’re looking for them. But if you want to, it’s very easy to just go straight through the middle on most of these missions.
So what’s the catch in the story mode? Length. Length, length, length. There are 7 missions in the game, and each one takes a little bit less than an hour to complete, if you’re doing most of the side content. The campaign in total took me 6 and a half hours to complete on my first run. That’s ridiculous, especially considering I started on Veteran difficulty (which you should do, if you played the second one). Even though there’s a fair deal of replayability here with the collectibles and multiple pathways, you’re still unlikely to play through the game more than twice. Considering the second game was about 15 hours long, I don’t understand how they can change so little and yet have such a small campaign.
So, let’s hit up the multiplayer. I was a huge fan of the second games multiplayer. I hit max level on it. It has the gunplay of CoD with invisibility and armor. I absolutely loved it. And Crysis 3’s is just as fun. You have a lot of variety in making your custom classes. You have weapons with attachments, as well as “modules” (perks) that tweak the way you play. Even though you have to level up a lot to unlock some of the better weapons, the weapons are balanced really well. The scarab you get in the beginning is just as good as the Scar you get later on, even though they’re both assault rifles and ones unlocked at a higher level. The weapons feel different, with slightly changed rates of fire and accuracy and such, but in the long run, neither is better than the other. The exceptions to this rule would be the Gauss Rifle. the L-Tag grenade launcher, and the M12 Nova Pistol. The Gauss sniper rifle does way more damage than the PSG that you get earlier on, with only a slightly worse rate of fire. And it also drains nanosuit energy from whoever you hit, making it VERY frustrating to go against. The L-Tag is simply the most obnoxious troll weapon in the game. It doesn’t unlock until the late 40s, and since the level cap is 50, that means most people will never get it. However, for those that do, they can just stand at a high point and spam. They’ll get kills left and right. It’s really annoying, because there’s little you can do about it. The gun is plainly broken, and should be nerfed. The M12 pistol is the opposite of both of those weapons. You start with it, and it is by far the worst weapon in the game. There is absolutely no reason to use it. Even if you’re out of ammo on your primary, you’re better off punching stuff then attempting to get kills with this peashooter. I firmly believe, however, that this multiplayer is better than Call of Duty’s in every way. The gameplay is just as good, and even if you don’t like the suit stuff, there’s a mode where you can’t use invisibility or armor. It is just as fun as CoD’s multiplayer. So why does CoD have millions of players online, while Crysis 3 has 100,000? I don’t know. Finally, I had a really weird glitch where my multiplayer level just went down by about 7 for no reason. I had just unlocked some awesome stuff, and then suddenly, I logged on and I lost it all. I have the achievement for being level 20, but I’m only level 18 because it popped me back. This is really frustrating, and I hope it is a really rare glitch.
In conclusion, Crysis 3 is a fantastic game. The gameplay, story, and level design are all great. The gunplay is improved, the bow is a great addition, the pacing is good, and the AI has been fixed. The only real problem with the game is the campaign length. I would say that Crysis 3 is the best FPS I’ve ever played. If the game were three times as long, I would give it a 10/10. Unfortunately, because of a lack of content, Crysis 3 gets a 9/10.