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Crysis 3 Review

3
  • PC
  • X360

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 Zevvion

@missacre said:

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.

'This guy'?

Anyway, Crysis 3 is not an open world game. Also, if you read the review, it seems like Crysis 3 is the opposite of a difficult game. Jeff (the guy) aquired most perks fairly easily and found some parts of the game overpowered.

I think it's best to not assume he didn't think it was the greatest game of the year because he 'sucks at shooters' (which doesn't really make sense on it's own).

Edited by Krakn3Dfx

The subject makes this review feel like it's going in with the intent of shitting on the game. Then it kind of does. Crysis 3 needed to be made just as much as Modern Warfare 3 or Halo 3 or Uncharted 3. If you plan a trilogy, something to wrap things up, to "finish the fight", then yes, you need a Crysis 3.

I enjoyed the game quite a bit coming off of Crysis 2, which I found pretty boring. The environments are amazing, they give you 2-3 ways in a lot of cases to get from point to point, if I had any complaints it would be the lack of use of the vertical space in most of the areas, and that the game is just too damned short. Crysis 1 is still my favorite of the series, but 3 does a great job of completing the story arc. I will say I played on Veteran difficulty from the beginning, and it felt more like what a game should feel like on Normal.

Posted by illmatic19

Jeff doesn't use image headers grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Edited by Spoonman671

@spoonman671 said:

I'm about midway through the game (I think), and I was pretty bored with it up until tonight's play session. I finally got to some more open levels with secondary objectives that made the game a bit more colorful, with scenarios like aiding a mortar team that then takes down targets for you, or clearing mines for a convoy to earn yourself a ride-along. Between customizing my suit modules, the variety of human and alien weapons, and the way the supercharge mode interacts with those weapons, I'm starting to enjoy the game quite a bit.

I've also found myself really getting into the narrative drama of the game. I'm finding Psycho's relationships with both Claire and Prophet pretty interesting, and his emotional reaction to losing his super-human status manages to feel genuine. There's a bit of unevenness to the voice-acting though. The performers really nail some scenes, but there are other times when they are clearly just stating lines and don't sound nearly as excited as the situation warrants.

Alright, I've finished the game now, and this was really the only good part.

Posted by Vampire_Chibi

expected so much.

Edited by Godlyawesomeguy

What I've come away with after reading this review is that I really need to get Far Cry 3.

Edited by Intro

I love this game. Couldn't get into Crysis 2 and never tried Crysis 1. Single player was short, but fun. Multiplayer is more of the same, yes, but that doesn't stop CoD from getting great reviews and millions of purchases every year. It's a solid multiplayer and I'm enjoying it, Hunter mode is great. And as Jeff said, it looks amazing too (I'm playing on the PC.)

By the way, for anyone who watched the quick look, only the first mission has problems with the framerate dropping bad. Also, a patch came out so when the graphic settings are on medium it runs better.

As for "was this sequel really necessary" I would say, sure.... I've never understood when reviewers write stuff like that. They're a business making a product/video game for money and overall, they made a good product. It terms of continuing a story, it's never "necessary" regardless of the game. If you don't feel that another Crysis was necessary then simply don't buy this one lol.

Either way I enjoyed the review Jeff.

Edited by 9_95

To answer the headline question-No,there is no reason for Crysis 3 to exist.What we have with Crysis is a very mediocre game with great,top notch graphics.A excellent example of better graphics not making a better game.

Edited by kindgineer

Well, what was to be expected? The entire series is based off a beautiful, medicore game. Crysis was a great looking game, but wasn't really that great to begin with.

Posted by axlvandamme

@project343:

@axlvandamme said:

Yes. Too bad it wasn't discussed on the podcast. Any one else feel GB is focusing too much on the quick, pick and play "mini" games lately (i.e. Frog Fractions, Space Team, Runner 2,...)?

Good tiny games >>> bad boring AAA games.

I agree to a point, but none of the above games I mentioned are any good.

Posted by chilipeppersman

Good review! Good recommendation for far cry 3, its a great game

Posted by dexterslu

@Jeff Lobbing the criticism of "Was this sequel really necessary?" is really lazy. Why even review the game then? And if you are going to lob that kind of criticism, why stop there? Why not ask questions like are any sequels really necessary? Are video games really all that necessary?....

Posted by NTM

I just got this game. I haven't played it yet, but honestly, I don't think I can view this game as the same as Jeff. I mean, I believe Jeff see's Crysis as an interesting series that has some neat things with beautiful graphics, but as far as sheer enthusiasm goes, he doesn't seem to be that big of a fan of it; it's not his type of game (which sounds weird in a way).

It's just opinion, but this review can't really speak to me the same way it can for some. That's not to say I'll love it or hate it; I have no idea, but I just know my feelings won't be the same. I absolutely loved the original Crysis, and while I thought there was some great stuff in Crysis 2, it was ultimately a broken game in a few aspects that mattered; while I'm not entirely excited to play Crysis 3, I'm hoping to be a bit surprised. If it's better than Crysis 2 at least, I'll be surprised.

Jeff here, even before the game didn't seem excited, as if Crysis 3 before he had played it was a dull game. That shouldn't mean anything, but it does.

Edited by poheroe

@video_game_king: LOL i was just thinking that too. i guess there was no more comments about the game.

Edited by ahgunsillyo

As much as I like the new site design, I have to admit that I really miss the old review portraits that accompany the scores.

Posted by Palaeomerus

I think this is my last Jeff FPS review. Our tastes in game are way too different for me to make use of Jeff's reviews from here on out I think.

Halo 4 4/5, Crysis 3 3/5, Syndicate 5/5 ... the whole "is this game necessary" schtick from Bioshock 2. It's useless to me as buying advice.

Posted by RainDog505

@sleepydoughnut: The choice between what games warrant a review is just as much of a business decision as a personal obligation on the critic's choice. Jeff and crew know a good deal of people will likely consider playing Crysis 3 considering it's lineage and the general accessibility of FPS titles ---which means a good number of potential review readers which in turn equates to site visitors. Ni No Kuni, on the other hand, has an audience that was sold or shunned right at it's title. Yes, not all JRPGers while suffer through a cruddy game, but that genre is becoming more and more niche (at least stateside---where I imagine GB pulls most of it's audience in conjunction with western Europe).

Vinny, Drew and Dave love DCS...no reviews of that series to be found on this site either. Brad's infatuation with microtransaction-heavy iOs games are well documented, again no reviews. Because the work of a review would not be worth the effort in terms of site traffic. That's that.

Posted by mrsmiley

Man, since when was presenting a player with a sandbox of enemies to dispatch how he sees fit a bad thing? That's part of what made Halo so revolutionary- and the original Crysis for that matter. It's amazing seeing features that were a big part of why games were so successful 10 years ago now being part of what makes a game bad.

Posted by prontopup20

Nah it wasn't necessary, I'm bored with it.

Posted by NTM

Yeah, this game is actually great; much better than two in my opinion. There's a lot of collectibles to search for, there's side missions that were missing from two, and it's just an an overall wonderful time going through the environments to either fight your foes (which I must say, while not hard to take down, are far more competent than they were in two), or to just walk around looking at the beautiful settings to either admire what your looking at, and/or to search for items. Oh, and the upgrades you get in the game are a lot of fun to use; being able to shoot a sniper rifle as fast as you could pull the trigger is very nice. Oh, and to answer the question, yes, this game was necessary; I don't see why it wouldn't be; you could say that about any sequel really.

Posted by NTM

"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.

In this game, you'll feel a lot more compelled to take everyone down instead of sneaking past everyone. I thought Crysis 2 (on 360 at least) was kind of broken, and very boring in many aspects; this game's different.

Posted by the_puzzler

Exactly what I was thinking. If I wanted to kill a sh!t ton of people with a bow and arrow? I would pop in farcry 3

Posted by tgoldberg

What's this? A mainstream review site giving a tepid and bluntly honest review of a blockbuster game? Have I stepped into some bizarre alternate dimension?

Posted by Nuke117

Were Call Of Duty 5,6,7,8, and 9 necessary. No, don't hate on Crysis 3. COD has barely changed its engine. COD is a cow that Activision milks for a quick buck every year. Crysis 3, arguably, has some of the best graphics in a video-game to date. Maybe Crysis didn't bring a new and fresh thing to the table, so what? COD never does crap and you give it a high score.