OXCGN’s Crysis 3 Review
Best looking game on 360 to date?
by Daniel Geikowski
©2013 Daniel Geikowski
Whether it’s being placed in the shoes of a supersoldier wielding an arsenal of weapons, a highly-trained assassin, or given superhuman powers by an ancient god, gamers love playing the one man (or woman) army.
It’s one thing to be given a whole bunch of neat abilities though, but players want to roam environments in which they can constantly utilise said abilities without feeling forced.
Thankfully, Crytek has once again created some diverse and gorgeous environments in which to blow enemies to hell in. Situated in an abandoned New York, nature has reclaimed the city, perfect for hunting unsuspecting prey throughout.
Crysis 3 once again places players into the Nanoboots of Prophet, seen in previous Crysis titles. How can this be, as he *Not much of a spoiler* shot himself in the head at the beginning of Crysis 2? I’m glad you asked.
Here’s a bit of backstory information.
Prophet had previously been exposed to the Ceph directly, and they too are responsible for the technology utilised by the Nanosuit. Therefore, to prevent being taken over by this Ceph technology resulting from this exposure, he killed himself, breaking the Ceph hold on him.
However, the Nanosuit given to Alcatraz by Prophet, had his personality and memories assimilated within, and Prophet was therefore able to merge and therefore control Alcatraz’s body, the poor chap. Armed with Alcatraz’s memories, Prophet was able to continue his mission against CELL and Ceph alike.
Crysis 3 takes place in 2047, 24 years after Prophet returned after the events of Crysis 2.
Between this time period, Prophet, along with the returning Psycho, and other Nanosuit operatives, are hunting for the Alpha Ceph, the one responsible for controlling all Ceph on Earth.
The team eventually lose faith in Prophet, and the disharmony within the team lead CELL, now working toward global domination, to disable Prophet and capture the remaining members.
The Nanosuit operatives are all skinned from their suits, as CELL aim to recover lost alien tech from them. With no more suits to test, CELL request the transfer of Prophet to New York.
This is where the game opens to players.
CELL has become globally dominant over this time, after producing limitless energy, and now stand unopposed. They have constructed Nanodomes over the world, in order to house this energy.
One Nanodome is situated over New York, which has become virtually abandoned, with nature reclaiming the city.
Prophet is rescued by rebel forces before CELL can conduct tests on his body, and he is taken to this New York Dome, where the players’ task is to not only bring justice to the corrupt CELL corporation, but find and destroy the Alpha Ceph before it destroys humankind.
While the game itself isn’t really too narrative-focused, and the story isn’t a literary classic, it doesn’t aim to be.
In between mowing down CELL operatives and blowing up Ceph, Prophet constantly battles both internal and external questions on what it means to be “human”, and what/how much is sacrificed in times of crisis.
It’s effective as it’s not always thrown in the players face, but ever so subtly mentioned, like something’s gnawing away at your subconscious. It’s a nice change from the usual invincible, gung-ho attitude of many current gaming protagonists.
Narrative is fed to players mostly through communication with other characters, with some face-to-face meetings. These characters feel pretty believable, and the standout has to be Psycho, and the baggage he carries as a result from the separation from his Nanosuit.
Players can also find Intel littered around each level, along with blackboxes found on CELL corpses, which is a effective method in creating a living, breathing world for players to explore.
Made from Ceph technology, the Nanosuit grants the wearer superhuman abilities. These include, increased armour, cloaking, increased tactical and visual senses, super speed and agility, basically turning a regular human into a superhuman.
The Nanosuit is one of the coolest gaming mechanics throughout recent years, and Crysis 3‘s suit is no different. Fans of the series will feel right at home, as if they never got out of the suit themselves.
The Nanosuit once again caters to the various number of playstyles gamers out there have.
Thanks to the Stealth, Strength and Armour abilities of the suit, players can use it to play to their strengths.
Whether gamers like to smash down the front door like a human tank, jump about the rooftops like an agile warrior, or sneak through a back door like a silent assassin, Crysis 3 allows players to tackle objectives in any way the see fit.
The Nanosuit’s Visor Mode allows players to see upcoming targets, which to be honest, takes away a bit of the challenge by constantly being able to see enemies, but I understand it fits into the design of being the ultimate hunter.
The Nanosuit’s abilities are able to be upgraded through the use of Nanosuit modules that players can find throughout the game.
However, once an upgrade is unlocked, that’s it. In order to upgrade the suit even further, players are forced to complete a certain task pertaining to that specific module.
To enhance the players agility, the player must complete 30 ledge grabs, or to increase cloaking effectiveness, must remain cloaked near enemies for X amount of time.
This is a really genius method of upgrading.
Instead of collecting modules in order to upgrade the suit to its limits, players are forced to work for their upgrades, tasking them with mixing up their game styles in order to maximise every Nanosuit ability.
A player who constantly utilises stealth may be forced to come out in the open in order to boost their armour abilities, and vice versa.
There is also another fantastic ability to store three different sets of upgrades, mapped to the controller, which allows players to select the right module combinations for a particular combat scenario.
In a first for the series, the Nanosuit has some new trick’s under its skin.
Thanks to the modifications made by Prophet over the 20 odd years he’s been in the suit, players are able to assimilate with and utilise Ceph weaponry, which opens up a new style of gameplay, as these weapons are far more powerful than the majority of weaponry in Crysis 3.
Tools of the Trade
Speaking of weapons, one of the new signature weapons in Crysis 3 (among many other games recently) is the Predator Bow.
As Crysis 3 borders on the futuristic, the bow is simply more than your standard Bow and Arrow.
It allows players to become the ultimate weapon.
Instead of only being effective against infantry units, the Predator Bow has a range of arrow types, and is effective against all targets. It can defeat most enemies, but still is able to resist becoming too overpowered.
The bow have four arrow types:
- Standard Arrows – Useful for infantry, are able to be retrieved.
- Thermite Arrow – Effective against armoured targets, timed explosive.
- Electric Arrow – Delivers a shock to target, can electrify multiple targets standing in water.
- Frag Arrow – Detonates on impact, useful for armour and multiple infantry units.
The player is also able to modify the pullback of the bow, using a small pull for close infantry targets, or large pull for long range engagements. Taking down a CELL operative from the roof of a building with a well-placed arrow never gets old.
The bow is a versatile weapon, and fits in perfectly with the overall design of Crysis 3, being set in an urban-turned-jungle environment. However, there are many more weapons available should it take your fancy.
As noted before, Prophet is able to utilise Ceph weaponry this time around, and these act as a one-time use weapon, unless recharged at Ceph beacons. These weapons are in stark contrast to the rest of Crysis‘ weaponry, and actually remind me of Halo in a ways.
Ceph weaponry is extraordinarily powerful, with sniper rifles, mortar cannons, and repeating cannons making light work of both human and Ceph enemies alike.
However, the human weaponry still maintains an equal balance, containing some powerful weaponry themselves.
While there is the stock standard pistols, machine guns and sniper rifles, two standout human weapons have to be the Typhoon, along with the Sabot Rifle.
The Typhoon is capable of firing 500 rounds per second, enough to shred anything standing in front of it, while the Sabot Rifle packs enough force to punch holes through even the most stubborn enemy.
Much like the Predator Bow, as well as Nanosuit abilities, each of the human weapons can be altered to suit the various combat situations, once these components have been unlocked.
Weapons are able to have silencers attached for stealth engagements, grips for increased stability, various scopes for both long and short range firefights, as well as extended magazines and various fire modes.
EA and Crytek have succeeded in giving players the option of how to proceed through the environment taking into account their weaponry.
Virtually every firearm is able to be modified to fit specific situations, taking into account the enemy, as well as the terrain.
Crytek have done an impressive job of giving players a versatile and diverse playground to play in, in whatever manner they deem appropriate.
In gameplay trailers and press releases before the launch of the game, EA repeatedly informed gamers on the 7 Wonders in Crysis 3.
These 7 Wonders refer to the environment itself, with 7 different locations in which the game takes place.
For one thing, they look gorgeous.
Whether it’s a rainy dock, rivers ravaging the once great city, jagged cliffs rising from the Earth, these places are a wonder to behold. Not only do these Wonders provide a visual freshness, but a gameplay freshness also.
A highrise building may tempt a usually run-and-gun styled player into climbing up and silently sniping foes from afar. A grassy field can give a stealth player confidence to proceed straight down the middle, rather than constantly slinking around enemies from the side.
Every one of these 7 Wonders grant players ample use of their chosen skill set, with multiple paths both to and from various objectives. There are even large open sections in which players can ustilise vehicles, although these sections are a bit clunky for my liking.
New Coat of Paint
Utilising CryEngine 3, Crysis 3, like its brothers before it, look amazing.
The PC version is hands down graphically superior, although running on the Xbox 360 it still looks superb. I’d even go so far as saying it is the best looking game on 360 to date.
Sure, there is a bit of fuzziness when you move quickly, and the shadows are a bit buggy at times, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more graphically-surperior game on a console.
Unlike FPS’s of recent times, with the exception of Far Cry 3, Crysis 3 portrays some beautifully coloured environments, instead of the usually dark and gritty landscapes.
Weapons are also highly-detailed, with branding and markings visible on every firearm. Enemy models also look great, from the CELL operatives to the slimy Ceph stalkers, to the annoying Pingers.
A good game also needs effective audio, and Crysis 3 has this base covered.
Voice acting is top notch, especially from Psycho, although Prophet felt to me like the weakest voice actor, which is a shame being the main character.
Environmental sound is top notch too, providing plenty of ambiance to players. Whether it’s frogs in a swamp, birds in the sky, or a raging waterfall in the distance, the sound does an effective job at transporting players into the Crysis world.
Crysis 3 offers a wide variety of modes, as well as granting access to the Nanosuit, which should cater to any competitive gaming enthusiast.
There is the standard and hardcore deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, as well as a Crysis-themed Capture The Flag. Crash Site and Spears modes are your various point-capture modes.
There are a couple of modes more likely to entice players, entitled Hunter and Assault.
Hunter is round based, with CELL Operatives tasked with surviving against Hunters wearing Nanosuits, with victims becoming Hunters themselves. This mode is not new though, as it’s very similar to Infection seen in Halo 3/4.
Assault Mode turns the tables on the Hunters, as they are now tasked with downloading terminal data, which is protected by CELL Operatives, with the kicker being that they only have one life to use. This all of a sudden forces the powerful Hunters to take a more cautious approach.
To prevent multiplayer from becoming stale over time, Crytek have also added a Developer’s Choice playlist. Every so often, the guys at Crytek will set up a mode with custom rules, be it unlimited ammo, minimal health, specific objectives, etc.
This really helps by adding variety to the stock standard multiplayer modes most games seem to offer.
King of the Jungle?
While it’s far from the perfect game, there is a lot of fun to be had here for gamers of diverse playstyles, ranging from multiple routes to varied, solid weaponry.
It’s more than just a re-skin of Crysis 2, with new additions, namely the Predator Bow, adding new depth to gameplay.
The A.I were great too, flanking me and taking cover, instead of charging mindlessly into my arrows/bullets/fists of fury.
Crysis 3 is by far one of the best looking games to date, but as they say, graphics aren’t the be-all and end-all of grading a game.
While there are multiple routes offered to objectives, it is fairly linear, and I personally felt that there was no need for me to go and play through the campaign once again.
In the one attempt, I had managed to acquire all upgrades, complete all side missions and collect 90% of the Intel.
While I felt the story was a bit lacklustre, Crysis 3 isn’t meant to be a narrative epic. While there are some slow moments throughout, the ending was pretty impressive, I must say.
Crysis 3 is all about the action, which it has in spades. It does a fantastic job of making you feel like a one man wrecking-ball, or surgeon, depending on your preference.
If you can look past the lacklustre narrative, and feel like switching off for some good old fashion destruction fun, I’ve got no doubt you’ll enjoy slipping back into the Nanosuit once again.