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Crysis 3 Review

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Crysis 3 looks great on the PC, but was this sequel really necessary?

Psycho returns in Crysis 3.

I liked Crysis 2. It took a lot of the cool enemy tagging and freeform tactical combat from Crytek's previous games and presented it in a more coherent way. It was an intelligently streamlined experience that, as a person that couldn't get into the first game's wide-open antics, split the difference between the first game and the more guided, rollercoaster-style take on shooter campaign design that was, at one point anyway, all the rage. Crysis 3, on the other hand, feels like a developer attempting to push its luck a little too far. It picks up where the previous game left off and doesn't make dramatic changes. For the most part, it's well-made, and on the PC it's still quite a graphical showpiece, but that doesn't make up for the prosaic nature of the rest of Crysis 3.

Crysis 3 reunites Prophet, the nanosuit-wearing super soldier of record, with Psycho, the playable character in the old side-story, Crysis Warhead. In the years since that game, Psycho has been painfully yanked out of his nanosuit, and Prophet--whatever the heck he is at this point--has just been broken loose by Psycho and a ragtag group of rebels who are up against CELL, which is your typically evil corporation-slash-private-military-slash-toying-with-power-it-doesn't-understand. While the rebels are obsessed with CELL, Prophet's worried about the greater threat of the Ceph, the alien race he crippled in Crysis 2. With Prophet being, well, a prophet, it shouldn't surprise you that you'll spend more time in Crysis 3 fighting off the alien menace. The story hinges on your ability to care about Psycho and Prophet as characters, something that the previous games haven't exactly made a priority. As a result, the reasoning behind the action is straight-up bland, skirting dangerously close to the same "only One Man can save us from this Ancient Alien Threat" story that seems to drive so many different sci-fi trilogies these days.

The action end of Crysis 3 is totally competent, with the same suit powers you saw in the previous game. The cloak lets you move slowly and quietly to get behind enemies for stealth kills, while the armor mode lets you get out of a jam when you get caught. This time around, Prophet can wield a bow, giving you another way to kill enemies while staying fully cloaked. If you're the patient type, the bow is overpowered, letting you trivialize many of the game's encounters as long as you're willing to back off and let your cloak energy recharge. If you're the gung-ho type, it's useless. The game also has collectable upgrade points that unlock perks across four different categories. The game takes the Call of Duty comparison a step further by offering upgraded versions of those perks that unlock when you complete in-game challenges. So you may have to get 25 stealth kills to make your cloak last even longer than it would normally, or perhaps your ability to tag enemies extends even further when you tag 25 enemies with your spotting scope with the basic version of the upgrade equipped. There are a lot of different options to unlock and use, but I found that the vast majority of them didn't fit at all with my style, so I had already selected and upgraded the optimal perks well before the game was over.

Though the game opens up into large areas near its conclusion, much of the game is paced in a way that helps make combat feel more monotonous. You'll encounter an enemy here and there, but for the most part you stumble upon groups of nine or so foes who aren't aware of your presence yet. This gives you time to tag all the enemies and figure out how to take them on. Typically, the bow is a fine solution, since it kills most basic enemies in one hit and doesn't break stealth. If another enemy sees a body go down, a couple of reinforcements come in and the remaining enemies are alerted, making them skitter around a bit more frantically. This just makes them slightly harder--though certainly not impossible--to hit with the bow. Eventually you'll run out of arrows or just get bored of picking them off this way and switch to guns to just get on with it. Even the larger alien enemies you face later on don't feel particularly deadly on what the game makes out to be its equivalent of "medium" difficulty, but I also never felt like i had enough exciting options at hand to make these encounters fun in the sandboxy way that these games have been in the past. At some point I just found myself stealthing past entire waves of enemies, when possible.

Why, then, is Crysis 3 not a bad game? Well, if we're talking about the PC version on a reasonably powerful machine, we're talking about the franchise's standout feature. It's a great-looking game. The opening, where Psycho rescues Prophet in the middle of a rain storm, is a striking moment, with everything from the rain to Psycho's scarred-up face worth taking a closer look at. Eventually, the visual quality starts to fade into the background as you go from one military-looking installation to the next, but the spots where you get outside and see the game's take on a completely overgrown, almost jungle-like New York City can be absolutely stunning. I stopped dead in my tracks on a few occasions just to look around and take it all in. The Xbox 360 version is grungy, by comparison, with lower texture quality and a lower framerate. That's unsurprising, but when taken against the other games on the platform, the 360 version still looks OK. It's certainly playable, anyway, though a weird audio bug made one of the early open-area segments practically unplayable, since it's hard to know when to take cover and hide from incoming rockets if the audio isn't playing back at all. For what it's worth, the Crysis 3 Twitter account claims that a patch is in the works, but said patch isn't available as of this writing, so if you've got a home theater set up, keep an ear out for that.

Guns!

Crysis 3 also contains competitive multiplayer with the same sort of loadout-based progression and killstreak bonuses. It's a formula for a reason, but it's not getting any fresher, that's for sure. I really liked seeing an updated version of the Skyline map, which was my favorite spot to play in Crysis 2. At the same time, if the coolest part of the multiplayer is that it has my favorite map from the previous game, well, that's probably not a great thing, right? The multiplayer is absolutely functional and ships with a handful of game types, including a modifier that takes players out of the suits, eliminating the power angle completely, in case you weren't interested in using the one thing that makes Crysis stand apart from the competition. It's not bad, but you could do better with another game.

That's my feeling about all of Crysis 3, really. It's serviceable and, again, it looks great on the PC, but was this trip really necessary? It's an average experience, overall, and in a genre that continues to be packed full of competition, you'd probably be better off finding a discounted copy of Crysis 2 or, if the large combat areas of the original Crysis really float your boat, spend some time with Far Cry 3, instead.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
125 Comments
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Posted by squidraid

It was a fun ride, but I already regret spending $60 to buy this one on release day. Worth mentioning that the 360 version might be the best looking game on the system, though. I wasn't expecting to see anything top Halo 4 visually on that platform before this generation was over

And this game has the same problem that BOTH of the previous games had. The sandbox gameplay would be a lot more compelling if the difficulty was there. Even if you crank the game all the way up to supersoldier, the AI just isn't bright enough to feel threatening. Worse yet, in spite of Crytek's claims in early previews of the game about how aware they were of the issue and were working toward a resolution, god moding through the game in cloak mode with very little risk is just as viable as it ever was. If you want to really make a sandbox game click and give it all the endless fun and replay value the concept promises at face value, you've really gotta bring enough challenge to the table to force people to use their whole toolkit.

Posted by AstroCow

If you take your time. If you crouch (prone's gone, right?) and creep along slowly. If you hunt with only your bow. If you sneak and snap necks and plant explosive charges in the right spot. Then yes, yes, it's a very entertaining experience.

Edited by dvorak

Of course Crysis 3 was needed. Ubisoft needed to have a high profile FPS for March.

Edited by Encephalon

"Was this sequel really necessary?" is a hilariously damning header.

Side note: Is this game also written by the sci-fi writer that Crytek was touting for Crysis 2? Forget his name. I read one of his books, Altered Carbon, out of curiosity and was supremely unimpressed.

Edited by EvilKatarn

I see people saying this is one the greatest games of the last years. Because of the graphics.

Fuck those people.

Posted by Mystyr_E

@dvorak said:

Of course Crysis 3 was needed. Ubisoft needed to have a high profile FPS for March.

uh...Ubisoft?

Edited by Orbitz89

I recently finished Crysis 3. I thought it was quite a bit of fun.. But yeah, a 3 star score sounds about right to me.. Maybe 3.5 if we're being generous. Not a bad game by any means. Nothing astounding either.

Edited by xMrSunshine

"or, if the large combat areas of the original Crysis really float your boat, spend some time with Far Cry 3, instead."

Or find a copy of the original Crysis. That game is still a mighty fine product, better than any of it's predecessors. The trick to getting the max out of it is to "play it right". Got watch some of Nanosuitninja's videos on Youtube. He does some really neat stuff in the first Crysis and that's what pushed my appreciation for the game.

Edited by Lazyaza

Weird everything he says about C3 I felt was exactly the same in 2, just a completely bland tedious linear shooter with barely a hint of the open-ended ness that defined the original and made it special to begin with.

Oh Crytek how far you have fallen ever since you started chasing console dollars. And to think they jumped out of the PC development game right as the platform was regaining its momentum once again.

Posted by reelife

Ending in Crysis 3 was fucking stupid.

Edited by brandonleedy

I wonder if there's a sort of "Project Management Triangle" when it comes to most games. Except in games the triangle is: Story, Gameplay, and Graphics. Pick 2. I imagine from reading this that the studio favored so heavily on graphics, that they had to use repeat gameplay. Now admittedly, while being mostly a repeat + bow, Crysis 2 & 3 still seem to play as solid, mechanically tight shooters. It appears that the story is what takes the biggest beating; a loosely hung premise only existing enough to show off the tech and give you something to shoot. I think that due to the fact the story comes out so lackluster/forced, it makes the rest of the game feel forced and lacks an emotional connection to the player. Hence Jeff's questioning this game's very existence. Some previous comments question the need for this review, but it's games like this, which are flashy technical achievements but are emotionally hollow, that need an honest review the most. This is a great review, and why I read Giant Bomb.

Posted by scaramoosh

@encephalon: Richard Morgan is a good writer, I think they were just using his name for marketing because no way was he used for that story, it sucked and was barely there.

Posted by President_Barackbar

@sleepydoughnut: Was it really necessary? Yeah, it was. Despite what a lot of this site is about, they still like making money. A good way to make money is to run reviews that will generate a lot of traffic. Like it or not, this review probably generated a lot of traffic. A Ni No Kuni review would not have generated the same kind of traffic.

Edited by JacDG

Well I loved this game, I thought it was just as good as Far Cry 3, even if it was much, much shorter. I also found the multiplayer to be pretty great. This is probably one of my favorite FPS's in the past 4-5 years.

Posted by Lukos

It seems to me that this game serves more to show the power of Crytek's engine then anything else. i think they are focused on being the best graphics and the game suffers with that.

Edited by Supah_Ted

Multiplayer is pretty great.

Edited by Blimble

"Was this sequel really necessary?"

Pretty much my thoughts on Crysis 2

Edited by Gatorsurfer

I want a Crysis game without the aliens. Most people hate fighting them anyways.

Posted by Scooper

I was thinking about getting this game just for the multiplayer. I have no interest in the SP. I wish they sold these games in separate pieces.

Posted by haha_dead

What time does the Crysis 3 talk in the bombcast start?

Edited by isawachuck

I really liked Crysis 2 a fair amount, but I'm just not feeling Crysis 3. I like the bow combat and it looks great on the PC, but that's about it as far as I'm concerned.

Edited by JEC03

The original Crysis is still the best IMO I hate how slow the character is since Crysis 2 they got rid of Maximum speed the game was so much better with it also the lean mechanic now is not even a fulling leaning it's just half ass.One of the worst changes is the Fov on the gun it's way to big and takes up half the screen it's ridiculous.Sadly this series had so much potential after the first game but they dumbed it down because of consoles and EA.

Edited by a_beluga_whale

"At some point I just found myself stealthing past entire waves of enemies, when possible."

That's what I did for literally the last half of Crysis 2. It was really no different. Stealth, walk up to a dude with your shotgun, kill him, hit the generator thing, re-stealth, rinse and repeat. If you didn't have to hit switches or whatever, you could literally just stroll through entire levels without engaging any enemies at all. And that's exactly what I did because after about 2-3 hours that game was pretty fucking boring.

Edited by Rmack

Hm, I had a lot of fun with it, and I think specifically because of the bow. It lets me tune into my OCD stealth and sneak and kill everyone. Kinda breaks the game, though.

Posted by zyba27

was making a tomb raider game were lora flat out says she hates tombs necessary no but the devs did it anyway

Posted by Rahxephon91

@zyba27 said:

was making a tomb raider game were lora flat out says she hates tombs necessary no but the devs did it anyway

Well good thing they made one where Lara says it and it's kind of clever on a couple of levels.

Edited by dropabombonit

Great review Jeff. I haven't heard any buzz about this game so knew it must be average. I heard more about Aliens because it was horrible and DMC because it was awesome

Posted by Klei

Asking if a game is necessary or not is irrelevant. A shooter that plays by its own set of rules? I think it is necessary in the crowd of frat-boy shooters.

Posted by fox01313

Great review Jeff, after going through Crysis2 & having some fun with it, it was much more forgettable in a lot of spots looking back on the game. And agreed that while Crysis2 needed to be made as there was enough of a gap between 1 & 2, based off everything I've seen about 3 just feels thrown out there. I'll play it eventually but no rush to get into Crysis3.

Posted by squidraid

Great review Jeff. I haven't heard any buzz about this game so knew it must be average. I heard more about Aliens because it was horrible and DMC because it was awesome

And yet apparently DMC missed original "sales targets" by a long shot. Man I hope Ninja Theory holds onto it. Wouldn't be the first time I fell in love with the dark horse. RIP Darksiders 2.

Posted by skrutop

I found Crysis 2 to be totally monotonous and uninteresting. Guess ill pass on this one, too.

Posted by iAmJohn

@sleepydoughnut said:

@august said:

@sleepydoughnut said:

Was reviewing this game really necessary? I feel like Jeff reviews big budget games out of obligation that he should. But he doesn't need to. I mean, most people already know what their stance is on Crysis 3 going in. Now Ni No Kuni, that's a game that warrants a review because it's got a lot of hype and people are wondering whether it's worth it, yet it's too outside of their wheelhouse so they won't give it a proper review. I know they cover it in the bombcasts, but still, sometimes I question what gets review coverage and what doesn't.

A valid point, but keep in mind it takes about six times as long or more to complete your average jrpg.

Yeah, but I mean, it's their job. Dave put in the time to review the original Dragon Age, and that was 50 hours. Brad said he didn't have time but he totally had time. I hope Patrick puts up a review of Fire Emblem now that he's finished it, that would be nice.

How would you know this unless you are stalking Brad? Are you stalking Brad?

Posted by R3DT1D3

It saddens me that Jeff calls Crysis 2 a "streamlined" version of Crysis 1. They took out most of the standout features and made cloak and armor better. Taking out/tweaking the suit powers limited the player immensely compared to the first game and stripping out most of the open battlefields that allowed you and the AI to engage in interesting combat just made Crysis 2 boring.

This kind of antics and play just isn't even possible anymore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voM9RvXyY_k

I wish someday Jeff will try playing a FPS with imagination, but that will never happen.

Posted by ripelivejam

@huey2k2 said:

Are most sequels "Necessary"?

Should sequels talk?

Posted by Klager

@axlvandamme: I agree. While I don't find the chat about small games redundant, I would enjoy some serious talk about the big ones too. Maybe not discussing Prophet and his amazing journey or anything, but just more general talk about the big titles.

Edited by Missacre

This guy must really fucking suck at shooters if he gave Crysis 3 this score. No wonder he loves CoD so much. I guess open world games must be oh-so-hard for him.

Edited by iAmJohn

@klager said:

@axlvandamme: I agree. While I don't find the chat about small games redundant, I would enjoy some serious talk about the big ones too. Maybe not discussing Prophet and his amazing journey or anything, but just more general talk about the big titles.

What big games do you think they're giving short shrift in discussing? Serious question here.

Posted by EPGPX
  
Posted by hermes

@happycheeze: The official time of death is next week, after Tomb Raider gets released...

Posted by kre8havoc

I think I'd like to wait until this becomes discounted to try this game.

Posted by fisk0

I want a Crysis game without the aliens. Most people hate fighting them anyways.

Were there aliens in Crysis Warhead? I never played it, but I thought it focused more on CELL.

Posted by Hamst3r

Crysis 1 is the best Crysis.

Posted by Gruff182

I'm still waiting for a sequel to Crysis.

Hopefully the meat in the next gen consoles can make it so.

Posted by kashwashwa

I think Crysis 1 is the best Crysis as well, but I thought Crysis 3 is much better than 2 in most ways.

Posted by Raven10

@axlvandamme: There have been a lot of comments about that and I think it is interesting because these guys really started gaming in a time when those types of games were about as epic as games got. You see all these developers and critics really into the indie game scene and a lot of young people don't get it. But for someone in their 30's or 40's, an iOS type game is actually a lot closer to the industry they fell in love with as kids than the industry they work in now. Young gamers tend to forget that. I am not at all surprised that these middle aged men enjoy games that remind them of those of their youth. Who wouldn't? That's what they grew up with. So, I get it. Dunno how I feel about it, but I definitely get it.

Posted by Mr402

The game is actually pretty good. You either like Crysis's story, combat formula or you don't. I agree that playing on hard or above is your best option to really get something from the gameplay. Nothing better or worse then Crysis 2. Since I loved Crysis 2 then it's right up my ally. On pc the game has the visual punch to show you next gen before it's even arrived. Wait for a sale 40 bucks is what I paid which is fine with me.

Posted by 137

@huey2k2 said:

Are most sequels "Necessary"?

nope

Edited by Cold_Wolven

I wish Crysis 3 was like Far Cry 3 in the sense of a big open world environment. I just wasn't as in to Crysis 3 as I was with Crysis 2 and I'm really hoping Crytek just gives this series a good rest till they come up with some crazy bold moves for next generation.

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