Crysis 3 PC Review: The New Bow

 

Crysis 3′s first level is a rain-drenched infiltration of the Liberty Dome, a giant structure erected over Manhattan by the evil CELL corporation. The sequence sets a spectacular standard that the game maintains throughout. It’s hard not to be amazed by the uncanny wetness of the downpour, the scale of the surroundings, the sweeping searchlights, and the various subtle ways that the game pushes graphics technology to its limit.

Crysis 3
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), XBOX 360, Playstation 3
Developer: Crytek
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: February 19, 2013
MSRP: $59.99 (PC $49.99)

As player character Prophet moves deeper into the city, Crytek’s level designers work overtime. The hyrdo-electric dam; the swamp that used to be Chinatown; Penn Station, oxidized to death — all are striking. Many shooters promise a “sandbox” approach, but Crysis 3 is one of the few that delivers, successfully fusing the best elements of Crysis 1 and Crysis 2 and turning the player loose in vast environments that reward a variety of different routes and tactics. Despite the size of these areas, the attention to detail is obsessive.

The level design is complemented by the gameplay. Wearing his signature sinewy nanosuit, Prophet can activate brief periods of invisibility or impenetrable armor, and Crysis 3 has perfected the moment-to-moment thrills these abilities provide. Players hug shadows and plumb tunnels, invisibly sniping thrum by thrum with a compound bow, then charge in, armor activated and high-tech firearms coughing death. Commandeering alien weapons offers boosted nanosuit abilities and irresistible power. Well-designed vehicular sections provide the faintest echoes of Half-Life 2.

Crytek have mastered the technical aspects of shooter design: staggering visuals, crisp animations, outlandish weapons, and the feeling of being superhuman as you sprint and leap and slide and cold-cock gibbering Ceph aliens with your nanotechnology-enhanced fists. The interface is so slick that even the turret-hacking minigame didn’t feel like a chore.

This prowess carries over into multiplayer, which is another exercise in maximized mastery. More game types, more unlockable perks, more toggleable mini-challenges, more ways to scrutinize your experience gain. This is the type of game that keeps track of how many weapon attachments you have equipped so that it can impose incremental weight-based penalties on how long it takes to switch from one gun to another. It shines in the clever “Hunter” mode, which pits teams of wary CELL soldiers against silent, deadly opponents armed with bows and swathed in stealth. Die a CELL, and you become a Hunter, until everyone goes down and the round starts over.

If only Crysis 3 had included more features like Hunter Mode, one of the few that feels distinctive and original. The problems start with the predictable narrative, a cliche-ridden thriller about evil scientists using alien technology to dominate the world energy market and accidentally-on-purpose unleashing a gargantuan, tentacled Alpha Ceph. It’s the worst kind of “I’m here to fix the cable,” only included to provide a perfunctory structure for the kind of violent, GPU-crushing pornography that is the game’s main selling point. Sean Chapman does a great, gravelly Cockney as Psycho, and the facial renders are predictably state-of-the-art, but every other element feels depressingly familiar: Psycho’s wisecracks, the faceless goons, the female voice in Prophet’s ear speaking military jargon, the sci-fi insanity that only an iron will and a steady mouse-hand can defeat. The plot, laden with heroic sacrifice and ham-handed romance, reaches for the same operatic registers as Crysis 3′s AAA peers and hits the same, flat note.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

7 Comments on Crysis 3 PC Review: The New Bow

David

On February 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I just finished up the game myself today and hollow is a great descriptor to use. I hated the campaign. What I wanted was, more or less, Far Cry 3 with the Nanosuit. I can’t stand these linear CoD-style shootfests anymore.

It is graphics porno though, man, what a pretty (but soulless) game.

SXO

On March 1, 2013 at 7:55 am

Confession time, I actually liked the story from the first game. It wasn’t original, but it was a well laid out adventure with a few surprises. Crysis 2 took that simple story, tossed it out the window, and went to the extreme with the clich├ęs and plot-holes. With that in mind, I have no interest in Crysis 3.

Legendaryscmt

On March 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

Crysis 3 really felt like an expansion to me. As everyone will say, the graphics are stunning and completely wipes the floor with the first two games. That said, I really agree with the review in saying that there really isn’t any stand out moments in the game. Maybe the first time you see the city, but beyond that there’s nothing over the top or things that make you say “wow”.

I was also disappointed in how the game really didn’t explore enough of the city. The second and third levels do so to a degree and it’s great to see what 20+ years of decay has done, but after that it seemed that it just turned into a giant battlefield and nothing more. A game like this, with how incredibly beautiful it is, should have had more emphasis on having the city be a part of the game instead of just the game’s location. I appreciate how the game was a little more open than Crysis 2, but imagine if it had more levels where you could fight on the streets, or sneak through the decaying buildings avoiding those fights.

Pat T

On March 2, 2013 at 12:47 am

I’m not hating here, but I have not seen a review from GF that is above an 80. Maybe I am not watching the right reviews?

Jay

On March 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I really enjoyed the game… Besides the obvious visuals on a top-end PC (which look rediculous, like everyone who’s ever played this game at max settings will tell you), the controls, the gun-play, and your weapon customization all play out really well. On the same level as the biggest titles out there, such as Battlefield 3, CoD, and Halo. That’s the games biggest strength.

The main problems I see is that the narrative, while better, is stereotypical and flat. Same goes for the final mission. The other problem is that the game is both short and very easy. If you play smart and use all the tools available to you the game is SO easy at the maximum difficulty. This is mostly from the Predator Bow, which outclasses every weapon in this game except the temporary use of a few Ceph weapons.

A better game than Crysis 2 hands down, but it still doesn’t match the open jungle that the original game had. It has managed to keep my attention longer than the first two games did however… Which only lasted through one playthrough (I’m on my 3rd and probably last).

Ron Whitaker

On March 4, 2013 at 7:16 am

@Pat – I don’t think that’s a function of our reviews. It’s more because there haven’t been any super games released of late. I know Phil gave Antichamber a 90 recently.

There are plenty of high scoring games if you check out our archive, but if you want new games scoring high, you’ll have to wait for something great to be released.

Also, remember that 80 is a damn good score. The perception that 80 isn’t a good score is one of the biggest problems with reviews these days.

If you want to know what Game Front’s review scoring means, here’s the definitive guide. http://www.gamefront.com/about-reviews/

Dratkin

On March 5, 2013 at 5:22 am

So basically they FINALLY made a game on par with the original FAR CRY.