GAME NAME: Crysis 3
PUBLISHER(S): Electronic Arts
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): 22 February 2013
Crysis 3 puts players back into the shoes of Prophet, somehow, and sticks them into the Liberty Dome in what used to be New York. Prophet, whoever he is under that nanosuit, is living up to his name and having visions related to CELL’s ‘power’ grab and the end of the world (Ceph, apocalypse, we’re all boned, etc.). Following the events of Crysis 2 CELL have managed to take over the distribution of electrical power around the world and in doing so have essentially enslaved a large portion of the planet. But there is obviously a little more going on here.
Right out of the starting gate Crysis 3 provides players with… pretty much the only weapon they will need until the game’s finale, the much-touted compound bow that comes replete with a handy selection of arrow types of all occasions. The best part about this weapon is that players can make use of it while cloaked without giving themselves away, making most of their trip through the Liberty Dome a stalking, hunting, ‘I’m being sneaky’ affair. If that’s what you want, that is.
There is still a full complement of conventional ballistic weaponry available for players who are fans of the run-and-gun approach to go wild with while kicking over bits of jungle scenery and scraps of a broken city. But there is little doubting that the bow is an awesome addition to Prophet’s arsenal.
Players are fairly limited when it comes to the bow’s ammo, with a mere eighteen arrows available. Nine of these are standard arrowheads, which are retrievable, and three each of the thermite-tipped, electrical and airburst type. Thermite arrows are for heavy armour (two will take down a chopper), electric arrows are handy against Ceph units and anyone stupid enough to be walking in water and the airburst are handy for crowd control (CELL units) or speedier Ceph enemies. The standard arrows shouldn’t be underestimated however, a single shot in the upper torso will take out all human opponents and most bipedal Ceph. Best of all, it is quiet.
Hunting your prey will take you through a fairly diverse set of areas, from lush jungle to coastal areas to what looks like a quarry of sorts, with facility interiors, a dam and military bases thrown in for good measure. These locations are overlaid rather convincingly on top of what used to be a city so your jungle is also a decaying neighborhood and the grasslands area is mostly an old train yard, for instance. Each area will have an ideal approach to enemy engagement but, as long as you’re familiar with swapping between the Nanosuit’s Armour and Stealth functions, you’ll probably be okay no matter how you take on the enemy.
There is also a visor function that lends itself to the stealthy approach however, where players can locate and tag nearby enemies, pickups and weapons. Once tagged these remain on your HUD as long as you are in the area, giving you a decent idea of where and when you can de-cloak to refill the suit’s energy levels. It also serves to allow players to plan a little strategy to go along with their guns-blazing attacks, if you don’t mind being a bit patient and doing a little recon.
Not all is well with Crysis 3 however. The storyline for the single player isn’t the most consistent thing I’ve ever seen. Crytek have gone for a bit of emotional interaction between Prophet and Michael Sykes (Psycho), who is no longer a Nanosuited supersoldier following a spot of torture in CELL’s labs. At the outset this all seems a bit contrived, though their interaction improves towards the endgame, but it just doesn’t seem to fit the game’s setting. The campaign is a little short to boot, players will find themselves clearing it in anywhere from five to eight hours.
In addition, during review a few items glitched; including one section where I managed to sneak right into the CELL trooper spawn point before triggering their spawn. This resulted in a decloaked Prophet being surrounded by a magically-appearing group of enemies who instantly opened fire. I got them all but that isn’t the point. There were a couple of other instances of AI idiocy in evidence but nothing overtly bad. A few enemy suicides and teamkills and at least one opponent who stopped tracking me the moment I wandered past him. You’d really have to be looking for these flaws to notice them and, weighed against what Crysis 3 does right, they don’t amount to all that much.
Crysis 3 looks fantastic on the Xbox 360. It doesn’t quite measure up to the rig-crushing PC version of the game but we weren’t expecting it to. As far as console titles go it is one of the best-looking games out there and there is nary a hitch or stutter in frame-rate during play. The game’s weapons are all spot on, differing greatly according to attachments and weapon types and getting your hands on some Ceph hardware just adds to the fun to be found there.
The playing locations are still just as linear as Crysis 2 but you wouldn’t guess that by playing through them. You’re being funneled to a set waypoint but there are multiple paths in most instances and it looks as though you could go exploring at will. You can’t, but these linear areas are also much larger that you’d expect and there is usually something stashed away in a hidden corner somewhere.
Which brings us to the multiplayer. There are a bunch of standard gameplay modes included in Crysis 3 (Deathmatch, TDM) as well as a few tweaks on old favourites (Capture the Relay, Extraction, Spears and Assault) but there is only really one new mode to worry about. This is Hunter, which seems two players wielding a bow and a Nanosuit against CELL troopers. If you’re popped by the Hunter you’ll be joining him in the sneaky hunting until there is only one CELL trooper left (or time runs out) and he’ll be constantly jumping at shadows and hiding in a corner until someone nails him to a wall.
Unfortunately the multiplayer side of the game doesn’t retain the good looks of the single-player campaign, coming across as warmed-over sci-fi Modern Warfare 3 as far as the maps go. Still, there is a lot of play value there and MP is the obvious drawcard for anyone who has stomped the Ceph threat into the ground already. As shooters in general are concerned, you’ll probably come for the single-player and stay for the multiplayer.