On the surface, Crysis 3 is a modern military shooter with a super jump, temporary invincibility and invisibility. Deeper than that? It’s a modern military shooter with a super jump, temporary invincibility and invisibility. There’s actually less activated abilities this time around, most likely to make the game more streamlined. Sprinting automatically gives you superhuman speed and no longer expends precious suit energy.

I wouldn’t use the word mediocre to describe Crysis 3 gameplay wise, I would rather use the words average or normal. Crysis 3 doesn’t really have much going for it beyond its graphics, especially in the single player. And the story? Completely skippable. But, of course, you already knew that if you played the other two Crysiseses’.

rain looks great

Running the game for the first time, it was a laggy mess, but after some tweaks it works great.

Not going to beat around the bush, I’ll save you some time and say it now; Crysis 3‘s single player is just Crysis 2 without a cover mechanic with slightly bigger maps, better grass graphics and a bow and arrow. That’s all it is. If you know exactly what I’m talking about then, congratulations, you’ve completely grasped everything that is Crysis 3. The game’s multiplayer is like a whole different beast, however, and I’ll get to that later.

Story, or lack thereof

The story takes place after the events of Crysis 2, and follows our nanosuited protagonist, Prophet, as he fights against both human and an alien force called the Ceph. The game takes place in the ruins of New York city and has you saving the world once again from the evil Alpha-Ceph and a greedy world-dominating corporation called CELL. It hits the usual stuff… evil corporation is using tech they shouldn’t tamper with, it backfires at them… Prophet’s suit is the key to everything and he mustn’t get too close to the enemy.. things like that.

There is some drama involving your typical “are you even human?” and “those aren’t prophetic visions, they’re delusions” science fiction tropes, and it’s largely forgettable stuff. The story is rudimentary and is clearly there just to provide a reason for you to go to different areas and blow things up. Crysis 3 is the first game I have played in a long time that, upon loading my saved game the next day, I completely forgot what I was doing or why all the characters had problems with each other; that’s how ineffective the storytelling is.

For a newcomer, the story will be trite yet convoluted. For people who have played the previous games, it will be full of unneeded exposition and cringeworthy drama, especially with the returning character Psycho and his ‘inner turmoil’. Prophet is a paper cut-out of a human being, which they talk about in the story, but I believe that’s only a reaction to the fact that the character has always been a soulless husk.

psycho

Psycho has developed from an irritatingly predictable hotshot to an annoyingly depressed asshole.

Shooting Cardboard with a BB Gun

It’s a pretty barebones shooter in singleplayer with very little to offer. You’re going to wander around some pretty wide maps and shoot things in your way for about 8-10 hours, then you’re done. Crytek said that the Crysis sandbox gameplay is back. It isn’t, the maps are just twice as wide as Crysis 2; it’s not a sandbox. Gameplay consists of walking, aiming down the sights and shooting at more or less everything that moves, it’s as simple as that.

3 shots

This tower has 3 movement tracking artillery guns. Using the basic nanosuit system, it was the easiest fight in the entire game.

Beyond the basic shooting is a streamlined and simplified nanosuit system which returns from the other Crysis games. While this feature makes confrontations a little bit more interesting, a straight out firefight is not very intense. The nanosuit itself has three modes, normal, armor and stealth. In your normal mode, you can sprint around pretty fast, in your armor mode, you’re basically invincible for about 10-20 seconds, and when you are in stealth mode you’re invisible. In any of the three modes you can jump really high and climb on edges. Crytek has added a level up feature quite similar to Dishonored’s rune system. Finding nanosuit systems in the field can customize your suit in certain ways. You’re only allowed to have four upgrades on at a time, but it doesn’t alter gameplay by very much, in the end you’re always going to be using the same tactics over and over again.

suit customization

Suit customization seems pointless and makes you trade other abilities over others. Why not just have them all from the get go?

The suit also has a visor mode which functions a lot like your typical binoculars. You can switch to nanovision mode (which is just a fancy way of saying thermal vision) or hack computers like security pads, automated turrets and even some Ceph enemies. If you played Far Cry 3, you’d recall the tagging system it had. It required you to tag enemies using your camera so you can tell where they are at all times. With the wider map sizes Crysis 3‘s visor system is even more powerful, making the game much more contrived; you can tag enemies, items, secrets and weapons through walls. I know this sounds useful but it completely breaks the immersion and fills up your HUD with unneccessary garbage and removes all forms of exploration.

break the game

Get ready to break the already little challenge Crysis 3 offers using the free wall hack.

You need to play a certain way or give yourself your own rules of engagement if you want to keep things interesting – utilizing all of the suit’s capabilities is just too powerful. If you want to play practically, or sensibly, there’s really no reason to use the stealth mode for infiltration. Armor mode is quite generous and the artificial intelligence doesn’t react very well to the different modes that you have. If you’re under fire, just pop on armor mode and stand in the middle of the road slowly walking to your enemies and shooting them in the mouth. If your armor mode runs out, run away and hide until your energy comes back and do the same thing over and over again. Despite the fact that the entire Ceph race and CELL know who Prophet is and what his abilities are they still act like they have no idea what’s going on in a firefight. Shooting them feels like shooting cardboard with a BB gun – kind of boring.

Crysis 3 has some of the dumbest AI I have ever seen in a AAA game. This is made even worse with their inhuman eagle eye-sight. Considering the history Crysis has with Far Cry, I expected Far Cry 3′s foliage stealth system to be implemented here. After all, Crysis 3 shows off some pretty great looking waist-high grass, perfect to hide in. Humans and Ceph can see you from behind any sort of foliage, even the ones you, yourself, can’t see through. The only way to stay properly invisible is to use the nanosuit stealth system. Way to not properly utilize your graphical improvements with gameplay innovations, Crytek.

30 feet

This enemy saw me through almost 30 feet of grass. Amazing!

If there’s anything Far Cry 3 did right, it was the way AI enemies “remember” where they saw you last. You can flank them by making them think you’re somewhere else. Not in Crysis. Enemies always know where you are even if you break line of sight. Shoot a guy in the chest and then head with a carbine? He didn’t say a word? Too bad! The entire squad has called reinforcements and they all know exactly where you are making stealth incredibly superficial.

Multiplayer – The Only Reason Crysis 3 has a positive score

Multiplayer is a completely different world and the quality of game suddenly shoots higher. There are two main game modes that differ vastly in terms of pace, speed and overall feel. The normal mode is nanosuit versus nanosuit, but the classic mode pits normal human beings against other human beings. The game’s got your typical options that most shooters have nowadays, killstreaks, perks, weapon attachment, party management – you know the drill.

Crytek did a good job in providing options for selecting how you play. The filter and quick play works exquisitely even if you’re under a strict firewall. The netcode is wonderful despite the game’s twitchy nature, I can play with almost anyone I want around the world. Yes, in the end it’s a twitch shooter and the one with the fastest ping will win but, hey, I haven’t been able to play a proper competitive shooter in a long while. Oh, and guess what? Dedicated servers!

match highlights

Match Highlights are played at the end of the round and showcase your best kills in slow motion.

In normal mode, battles are hectic and intense. In some aspects, the multiplayer nanosuit is much stronger than the singleplayer nanosuit, which makes things a little more interesting. There is no longer a shared pool of total suit energy, armor and stealth have completely seperate reserves. This makes meter management an important skill to master very early in your Crysis 3 multiplayer career because not having your armor up at the right time can cause instant death from the higher level guns and perks.

The default (untweaked) field of vision makes the nanosuit targets challenging to hit and their superspeed makes them difficult to track, especially with the large amount of foliage in each map. The speed isn’t Quake fast; shooting causes your movement speed to decrease at an alarmingly fast rate and it keeps you quite vulnerable. The pace of the gunfights remind me very much of FEAR Combat, but they don’t feel as tight because instead of the constricting corridors and urban areas of the FEAR games, you’re treated to Crysis’ open air foresty maps where there isn’t a lot of cover and corners to utilize. Because of this, Crysis 3′s normal mode has a Unreal Tournament feel with super jumps and quite a few instagib options.

While it may take some getting used to at first, popping your different modes at the perfect moment, then headshotting someone in midair using a bow and arrow is a very satisfying experience. Playing this game like a modern military shooter is a big mistake, you’re more like the Hulk with a laser rifle and invsibility. You can rip sign poles and other objects from the ground and use them as weapons, or you can punch people to death. Mastering Crysis 3 involves jumping around and using the superhuman abilities at all times; it’s a little overwhelming to inexperienced gamers.

Classic mode feels like Modern Warfare 2 at first, especially in the lower levels. It only takes a few bullets or a single arrow shot to kill a player. The pace is quite different and it helps to be a little bit more patient here. It is similar to hardcore modes of Call of Duty and Warfighter but it takes quite a few more bullets and there is a HUD that is always on. While this mode doesn’t support the furious stealth and armor switching normal mode has, there is a larger emphasis on cover because health doesn’t regenerate and movement speed is drastically reduced. Unfortunately, the maps were obviously designed with the nanosuits in mind. The importance of height advantage is negatively impacted here and the maps are too wide to traverse quickly and safely without super speed. While it is quite an enjoyable experience in the lower levels, once higher level items and perks get introduced it becomes quite one-sided.

high level items

Don’t let the sniper rifle fool you, it got too easy to kill people using the high level items.

I have an almost fool-proof system to determine whether or not a shooter will have a life beyond the year of its release, it is determined by 3 simple factors. Is the game: super accessible like Call of Duty? Easy to run like Quake Live or Counter-Strike? Cheap or free a la Planetside 2 or Team Fortress 2? Crysis is none of these things. Without a few graphical tweaks, you’ll be experiencing input lag and frame dropping and without good graphics long distance targets are hard to hit. The game’s normal mode is quite inaccessible, especially if you’re from a modern military shooter background; super jumps, instant kills and super speed alongside proper meter management while aiming? It’s pretty daunting.

The game also comes in at a hefty €55 and for the Digital Deluxe edition? €75. The Digital Deluxe edition basically removes some of the grinding that you need to use the more practical multiplayer weapons there are out there, and the game is really grindy. It’s not as grindy as Planetside 2, but you need to put in quite a few hours to get everything you want.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a hardcore shooter with a beastly PC, this is actually a good multiplayer pick if you can get by starting with crappy guns in the beginning. If you buy this for the multiplayer be warned, if Crysis’ multiplayer community doesn’t stay strong… it might end up like Max Payne 3′s multiplayer: Dead and empty… you would have spent all that money for a benchmarking software.

Graphics and Sound

Straight out of the box, you probably won’t be able to run Crysis 3 on absolute maximum graphics, you’re going to need to do a bit of tweaking. Once you get it running it looks absolutely stunning. Medium graphics doesnt look half bad, either. Screenshots will not be able to properly convey how great this game looks, because it’s much more impressive in motion. However, the leap from Crysis 2 to Crysis 3 isn’t that great. There are a handful of nice weather effects, though, and the animation is still nice.

The best part of Crysis 3 is the grass and new cloth physics – they react so well to movement, weight and wind. If you don’t have anti-aliasing on, it does look a little strange, but, this new technology reminds me of the first Splinter Cell’s cloth system. It was a little rudimentary, but it was impressive for its time and will most likely pave the way for better systems in the future.

grass

The grass is lush, dense and everywhere. Frame rate stays consistent no matter how much is on screen!

It’s not without problems. There are quite a few visual artifacts if you haven’t set your settings right. Overheating is to be expected and it causes flickering and other nasty things that can adversely affect your multiplayer experience. Also, like in previous Crysis games, multiplayer does not look as good as single player.

Closing Points

Buying this game is actually a pretty difficult decision. If you want to look at pretty graphics, probably just wait for Watch Dogs to come out for PC instead of getting this game at full price. The story and single player is really not worth your time – don’t treat it like Star Wars: Episode 3 and say “Oh, I played the first two, I might as well finish it”.

It’s a bit pricey right now, and is not actually worth the money. However, waiting to buy it when it gets cheaper might be a bad idea as well because you’ll miss out on a lot of multiplayer wars being waged right now. Look at it this way, if you can afford a PC to run it on maximum, you can probably afford to buy the game anyway right?