Crysis 3

The Crysis series has always been known best for its impressive visuals, and Crysis 3 carries on that tradition, but is it a step too far for this console generation?

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Crysis 3 is a good game.  It’s a beautiful game, and, for the most part, well made, apart from the story which is a confusing mess that manages to befuddle players with the intro cinematic somehow.

You play as Prophet, y’know the guy who shot himself in the head, but you’re in Alkatraz’s body because Prophet’s dead, and he put Alkatraz in the suit but the suit speaks with Prophet’s voice because Alkatraz’s vocal chords are ruined. Alkatraz even refers to himself as Prophet, even though he never speaks in the second game.  Perhaps because everyone else keeps calling him it?  Apparently there’s a book that explains all this in greater detail, so maybe I should learn to read.  There’s a part of me that wants to just wail on Crysis 3’s, frankly pish, story but let’s face it: no one buys Crysis games for their story.  No one.

So, getting down to it, you play as Alkaprophet throughout the time you’ll spend in Crysis 3’s single player mode, and it’s a fun jaunt through a destroyed and reclaimed New York if ever there was one.  Wild Deer wander through battlezones, what was once streets and railway yards are now enormous fields, and you get to stalk hapless soldiers through tall grass like a right clever girl.  The soldiers you’re stalking are fairly well realised on an AI level, too.  They’ll cover each other’s advances, break for cover, and throw EMP grenades at your last known position to flush you out before advancing.

It lays the foundations of an excellent stealth game, but unfortunately this same AI is also apparently clairvoyant and will often instantly figure out your position the moment you come out of stealth.  Naturally from that point every single enemy in the area will know your exact position, which is a royal pain in the arse.  More than a royal pain in the arse, though, is how much it ruins the effect of the stealth.  Sneaking through a squad of guards only to have your energy drop behind a crate at the last minute and BANG everyone in the area knows EXACTLY where you are.

On the flipside this means that the feeling of achievement I got when I did manage to stealth my way through an area was magnified by double digits, but the number of times I was able to pull that off could be counted on one hand.  The stealth in Crysis 3 is unmanageable, made near impossible by omniscient enemies.  When the shit hits the fan the gameplay does feel empowering like it should. The weapons are all satisfying to use, with good sound effects and effect on target, especially the new bow weapon that comes with multiple different tipped arrows for various situations, although you’ll mostly be using this to take down as many fools as possible before your cloak runs out and every enemy on the map surmises your exact position.

The multiplayer is unbalanced as hell, giving a huge advantage to anyone who’s levelled up enough to get their hands on the first unlockable gun, as the standard weapons for each weapon type are complete, unusable, tripe.  You’ll have to grind your way through lucky shots and camping like crazy before you can even really compete in Crysis 3’s multiplayer, and even when you pull that off it’s a relatively shallow experience that offers little you’ve never seen done before and better.

The absolute nadir of the experience of playing Crysis 3 on a console was the framerate.  In my opening statement I posed the question of whether or not Crysis 3 is asking too much of the hardware, and the answer is a resounding yes.  Crysis 3 brings both the PS3 and Xbox 360 to their knees (PS3 to a greater extent) with a framerate that spends the majority of its time hovering between 20 and 30, which is just unacceptable.  At this speed the game feels horribly sticky at times, and aiming can be a real chore, making me praise all things holy for the inclusion of aggressive aim assist (which suggests Crytek know about this issue).

Even with this hit to the framerate though, there are corners cut everywhere with the visuals.  Yes, Crysis 3 is stunning for the most part but when you take a closer look you start to notice entire objects like desks and crates popping in around ten foot in front of you.  It makes me wonder if Crysis 3 should have been left for the next generation later in the year rather than force it onto current gen hardware.

As I came to the end of the campaign the game seemed to get sick of me and just started crashing.  As of writing this I’m yet to see the ending cinematic, although I’ve killed the final boss a number of times.  During the final boss fight the game often freezes up when reloading after you’ve died, and whenever I do kill the boss my game fades to black (presumably to load the ending) and then quietly crashes.  Obviously other publications haven’t been on the receiving end of this set of issues, at least, I sincerely hope so else they’re keeping very quiet about it.






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