Crysis 3 Review

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Developer(s): Crytek Frankfurt, Crytek UK
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Review Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date: February 19, 2013

Crysis 3 was one of my most anticipated games of early 2013. I was one of those Xbox 360 players who was lucky enough to be able to play Crysis 2. I fell in love with the game and when the original Crysis was brought to the 360, I jumped at the chance to play the game that started it all. I enjoyed my time with the original Crysis, but preferred the second game to the first. For me, there was so much more to like about it. Needless to say, Crysis 3 had some expectations to live up to. Overall, Crysis 3 is a good game, but not as good as Crysis 2 or the original Crysis.

Crysis 3 sees you returning to battle in the same teched-up suit from the previous two games. Players can enter a stealth mode that cloaks Prophet--the protagonist you play as--in a sheen of transparency. There is also an armor mode that allows players to essentially eat bullets; and, of course, the speed mode that allows players to run at a very fast pace and jump very high distances. Also returning are many of the weapons from Crysis 2. There is one weapon, however, that is a new addition to the franchise--the bow.

Bows are a kind of a big deal now, and when the bow for Crysis 3 was revealed I was excited to see how it would change the game. The bow is a decidedly overpowered weapon. You have access to different arrow types that can obliterate most of the foes that the game throws at you. You also don’t drop out of stealth when you fire an arrow, so it’s entirely possible to go through an entire area of enemies completely undetected and unchecked. Don’t get me wrong, the bow is cool; it just shouldn’t be so cool that it’s the end-all-do-all weapon for every enemy encounter in the game. 



Narratively, the game improves some on its predecessor, but for every step it takes forward it takes several more back. I actually found the story of Crysis 3 to be more emotionally engaging than that of Crysis 2. There were two moments in particular that tugged at my heartstrings. But, they only work because the game takes itself so seriously in those moments. While the game’s story succeeds at creating an emotional atmosphere, albeit a shallow one, it doesn’t succeed in being original or meaningfully short. To avoid spoilers I won’t reference anything in particular; but, let’s just say that there is entirely too much about Crysis 3’s story that draws from the Reaper portion of Mass Effect 3’s plot line. I finished the game at seven hours dead, which is significantly shorter than the 12 to 14 hour story of Crysis 2. I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with the length of the game if all seven hours managed to be as intelligently designed as Crysis 2, but it just simply isn’t as intelligently designed.

Somewhere along the way, I suspect that the development team working on Crysis 3 realized that they were running out of time. I don’t know why, but the only explanation for how poorly designed some of the open-area confrontations are and how dismally awful the last half of the game is, is that time ran out. There is a strange disconnect between the first-half and second-half of the game. The first-half feels closer to what one might expect to find in Crysis 2. Yes, there is too much linearity in the first-half even, but the open-area portions of the first-half feel better-designed than those of the second-half. The second-half’s open-areas are quite simply too big. You’ll be travelling long distances in environments populated sparsely with shelled out vehicles and lots of water. These huge, open spaces are desolate, colorless and feel less alive and populated than other portions of the game. In Crysis 2 and the first-half of Crysis 3, there are moments when the player is moving from point-A to point-B; in other words, point-A to point-B is the time that the player is travelling between the open-area combat portions of the game. In the second-half of Crysis 3, the open-areas are the point-A to point-B. It’s a design flaw that is largely unforgivable, considering what the franchise is known for.


The second-half of the game also plays host to a handful of some truly terrible vehicle play. The dunebuggy you are prompted to take at several points in the second-half of the game is the worst thing since the M-35 Mako transport vehicle from the original Mass Effect. Yeah, it’s that bad. There are times in the second-half of the game where you are expected to use vehicles to destroy large, powerful enemies. At first, I thought it was some kind of joke, but then I realized that the game actually expected me to be able to stand toe-to-toe against these hulking machines in the equivalent of a Hot Wheels equipped with an airsoft gun. It was easier for me to get out of the vehicle and destroy them with traditional weapons. Then there’s a flying sequence. Yeah... that’s terrible too. It essentially the equivalent of being put on a rollercoaster in California and being told to shoot the lighting rod on top of the Empire State building in New York.

Many reviewers of Crysis 3 have praised its multiplayer, and while I certainly had more fun with it than I did with the multiplayer of Crysis 2, it still isn’t what I would call a good multiplayer formula. The game mechanics of Crysis, the different suit modes, the bow... none of it lends itself very well to a competitive multiplayer experience, which is ultimately what I’m looking for when it comes to a FPS. The suit modes make death feel cheap. It’s frustrating being killed randomly by someone who is cloaked and camping your spawnpoint. It’s frustrating emptying an entire clip of bullets into an enemy, only for him to continue his march of death toward you. At the end of the day, Crysis 3’s multiplayer is simply too much uncontrolled chaos for the sake of uncontrolled chaos. It’s pure anarchy and hard to make sense of what is happening on the battlefield at any given time. If that sounds like fun to you, great. Have at it. It just simply isn’t the kind of FPS multiplayer experience I’m looking for. Blacklight: Retribution is a game similar to the multiplayer of Crysis 3, and as far as I’m concerned, the superior multiplayer experience. There is a saving grace, however. Hunter Mode is like Halo 4’s Infection gametype but with the added ability to cloak. A group of players start as Cell soldiers, and one or two players start as cloaked Prophets with hunting bows. Their job is to pick off the soldiers one by one until no one is left. As soldiers are picked off they become hunters themselves, heightening the tension if you happen to be one of the unlucky soldiers left on the battlefield. This is a gametype that works well with the mechanics and combat style of the Crysis franchise. Fast, intense and uncompromising, Hunter Mode is exactly what the multiplayer of Crysis 3 needs, if only there could be more of it. 



I’ve spent this review talking about all of the things that are wrong with Crysis 3, and you’re probably expecting a low score. I’m not going to give it a low score. The fact of the matter is, Crysis 3 still manages to be fun and exciting, just not as much as the previous installments in the franchise. Crysis isn’t the only kid on the playground anymore. Franchises like Deus Ex and Far Cry have superior stealth elements, and the stealth elements are well-balanced with the action elements. The inevitable next installment in the series is going to have to do more if it wants to hold onto its reputation as one of the bigger kids on the playground.


Final Score “Solid, Despite Many Issues 8.0
Graphics
Yes, it’s a beautiful game. But, it clearly isn’t at home on consoles. The Xbox 360 version that I played for review certainly had its moments, but particle effects and texturing was bland, if not outright gross in some areas. Facial animations looked waxy. Still, there is enough that is impressive to warrant a high score.
8.5
Gameplay
The bow is too powerful and the gameplay is well-worn at this point and the open-area design is less refined than  that of previous installments in the series. There are plenty of moments that will capture your attention, and the game is certainly fun to play; but at this point in the game, it’s an experience you’ve had before.
7.0
Value
A tricky one to score for this particular game. The length of the single player experience has been cut in half, but the quality of the experience is largely on-par with previous installments if you overlook the design issues. Multiplayer is better, although still not my favorite thing about the franchise. At the end of the day, it doesn’t offer you any more or any less than anything else on the market, and it’s still miles ahead of a Medal of Honor or Battlefield single player experience.    
7.0
Sound
With the proper sound system this game really comes alive. You can feel the pulsing rounds of the Ceph weapons slugging you in the stomach, and the ambiance of jungled New York City may trick you into believing you’re actually there. Again, an excellent score rounds out a superb audio experience.
9.0

Review by Jon Hamlin
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Jon Hamlin is a freelance game journalist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He plays too much Mass Effect 3 multiplayer and enjoys a good glass of wine. Occasionally, he can be found commanding his legion of doom on Xbox Live as GeniusPantsPhD. Follow him on Twitter @WordsmithJon, or email him at jonshamlin@gmail.com All Articles by Jon.


2 comments:

  1. Half the length? wth?

    ReplyDelete
  2. is this a two player game like a guest and online player like in call of duty?

    ReplyDelete