Crysis 3 is more than your average sci-fi first-person shooter. It gives fans of the series a gripping conclusion to the storyline, but doesn’t alienate newcomers. There’s action, drama, and lots and lots of fun. It’s not an entirely flawless game, but for an FPS it comes pretty darn close with attractive and imaginative gameplay.
Crysis 3 (C3) takes place in 2047, nearly a quarter century after the events of Crysis 2. You still play as Laurence “Prophet” Barnes, but the private military corporation you once served, CELL, has turned against you. You are set off on a mission for revenge, but end up getting a much more in-depth plot than that. Familiar characters make a return to C3, but have changed due to CELL’s rise to power. Being the only warrior still wearing a Nanosuit, you quickly become the MVP of the freedom fighters.
CELL has attempted to contain the post-war chaos with ‘Nanodomes’; giant covers that will ‘decontaminate’ areas of the Ceph (an alien race). Crysis 3 plays out in the Liberty Dome of New York, covering all the most iconic landmarks of the Big Apple. The Nanodome has had the strange side effect of transforming New York into an ‘urban rainforest’, featuring seven distinct regions known as the ‘wonders’, including swamplands, rivers, grassy plains and deep canyons. Into this environment lands Prophet–previously the hunted, but now the hunter–on a mission to stop CELL’s quest for world domination and wipe the Ceph from face of the planet once and for all.
Prophet’s Nanosuit gives him special powers: extreme shielding, Predator-style cloaking, super strength, and incredible jumping abilities. With these powers, he’s able to compete with CELL soldiers–and with the Ceph. This ferocious alien race was nearly wiped out after Crysis 2, but they are somehow growing in number again on Earth. It’s up to Prophet to figure out how to stop CELL and quell the Ceph uprising.
C3’s linear story unfolds over maps that are–for the most part–laid out ‘sandbox’ style. This allows the gamer to choose how to go about reaching their objectives and how to take on their enemies. There is a diverse range of weapons to use, and these weapons all include unlockable attachments like different scopes, silencers, types of rounds used, etc. Different combinations work well in different environments and against different enemies. By choosing the right weapon and making good use of your suit shield, you can run through your missions with guns blazing and fists flying. The alternative to this tactic is stealth. There are moments where your guns just aren’t strong enough to take on the enemy, and you have to use your cloaking power to either sneak past the enemy or to perform stealth kills. Stealth is made easier with the introduction of a composite bow that won’t give away your location. It too has customizable arrows, allowing you to tackle obstacles any way you choose. Managing your energy is also a big part of the gameplay. Using your powers drains your energy, and the more you move or jump while your powers are active, the faster it diminishes. There’s nothing worse than sneaking quickly past an enemy, only to have your energy run out before you can reach cover. This leaves you bombarded by baddies while out in the open, waiting for your energy to recharge so you can employ your shield–not a happy place to be.
You collect suit enhancement points that can be spent on, you guessed it, suit enhancements. Here you can upgrade abilities like being quieter during stealth, climbing faster, and having more brute strength. After unlocking a few of these, you are able to select four enhancements you like and create a set out of them. You are allowed to create three sets, then equip them whenever you like. You can change and equip the sets as you need to, depending on your environment or enemies–adding one more layer of player preference to the gameplay.
Nothing enhances a phenomenal story and dynamic combat better than exquisite graphics. Regardless of what platform you are using, the visuals are amazing. Water drips down your screen when wet. Trees and tall grass sway in the breeze. Blood flies with satisfying realism. The audio is fantastic as well; you can hear when an enemy is close by the volume of their voice or footsteps. In one chilling moment during the campaign, Prophet was in an old train yard. Visibility was low due to tall grass, and suddenly I could hear the cry of Ceph Stalkers coming at me from multiple directions. It felt like something out of Jurassic Park.
While the campaign is incredibly fun, it is on the short side. Most players will finish it in around six hours. To make up for this, C3 has phenomenal mulitplayer options. C3 launches with 12 beautiful maps, including interesting spins on Chinatown, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Financial District. Hunter mode is by far the most fun, pitting two cloaked hunters armed with bows against 10 other players acting as CELL operatives, who become the hunters after killed in combat. Other game modes include: Crash Site (King of the Hill); Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch; Assault (team members attempt to download data while CELL agents try to stop them); Extraction (collecting devices within a time limit); and Capture the Relay (Capture the Flag). You are able to unlock customizations and goodies for your online soldier through a leveling system, making the multiplayer that much more fun the longer you play.
Despite all the wonderful things EA did right with C3, there are a few things that bring down the game a bit. There is no way to reload a checkpoint if you want to try getting through a section a little differently. You have to quit the game, then resume the campaign in order to get a second try. This gets frustrating when you are trying to make it through an area without wasting a single bullet. The loading times tend to be on the long side, adding to the frustration a bit. However, I would gladly have longer loading times if it meant that the gameplay was smooth, which is exactly what C3 accomplishes. There are also a couple of bugs to watch out for, such as the game freezing between cutscenes during the final battle. It can be fixed, but requires you to replay the entire level. These complaints are easily overlooked, considering there are so very few of them.
Dynamic gameplay and amazing environments–not to mention a wildly addictive story and action packed multiplayer–make Crysis 3 one of the best games I’ve played this year, and one of the most fun sci-fi shooters I’ve played in a while. There is a difficulty and gameplay option for everyone, regardless of ability or newness to the series. EA has really showed that when they put their minds and money into something, great things come of it.
Crysis 3 gets a 4.5 out of 5.