Crysis 3 Review

Developer: Crytek / Publisher: Electronic Arts / Played on Xbox 360 & PC [Also on PlayStation 3] / Price: $59.99 / ESRB: Mature [Blood, Strong Language, Violence]

For as much as Crysis 2 differed from Crysis in foregoing open world level design, the sequel managed to carve its own identity with the help of a dramatic context of a near future New York under siege. Crysis 3 is also based in New York and not only retains the previous installment’s “wide linear” level design but also reunites us with Prophet, who awakens to a Manhattan overrun by the antagonistic faction known as C.E.L.L..

Waking Prophet after 24 years is his old squadmate Psycho who has shed his formerly infused nanosuit, but not out of choice. Psycho struggles with being human again but does his best to ignore this perceived impotence. He does this by helping Prophet and a band of rebels take down C.E.L.L..

As the game’s thematic marketing imagery conveyed time and time again, one of Crysis 3‘s messages is the hunted becoming the hunter. Often seen with a bow, it’s convenient that Prophet gets to ride the recent pop culture fascination of archery. It takes little time to get used to this weapon and makes for a welcome addition the arsenal, especially for those who prefer playing stealthily. By giving a bow to the already powerful Prophet, you might think this would make Crysis 3 too easy, and in some respects, it is. But that’s why harder difficulties exist. If anything prevents this game from being a cakewalk, it’s that Crytek has improved the enemy AI over the last game, specifically in fixing pathing issues and enhancing their fields of vision.

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Making you that much more of a silent killer does favor the stealth approach overall, but folks who like it loud and out in the open <ahem> will still find the same appealing playground style level design that worked immensely well for Crysis 2. Since the levels aren’t corridors, there’s a lot more to assess. Like a secret agent mentality noting all the exits and alternate routes even before firing a single round, Crysis 3 feels most gratifying when you do manage to clear an expansive area without dying and having used the environment to your full advantage. You realize that the Crysis series is your kind of shooter when dying doesn’t feel like a negative; that just means you have a new opportunity to address the situation with a different approach.

It’s a blessing that these levels have a significant level of replay value, especially when this is unquestionably one of shortest worthwhile shooters in recent memory. If you’re the type of player who doesn’t need to clear an entire map of enemies, just the direct threats, expect to beat the game at its Veteran setting in less than five hours. If you’ve been griping that action game campaigns are typically too long during this console generation, Crysis 3 is definitely for you. But if you expect a narrative and playthrough at the same grand scale of Crysis 2, prepare to be disappointed.

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The one casualty to this short playthrough is the flow of the screenplay. Heavy-handed drama and character development is nothing new, but when compressed in a five hour end-of-the-world context, some characters come off as bi-polar when reacting to the rapid change of events. For instance, rebel leader Claire goes from having all-business assertiveness to fits of despair to being positively reinvigorated in the span of thirty minutes. As one of the game’s few new characters, this kind of emotional rollercoaster makes her feel out of place in the larger scope of the series.

Whatever your opinion of short playthroughs, Crytek makes each of the seven chapters count when it comes to presentation. New York in Crysis 3 is consistently saturated in beauty within decay. And even with all the gutted buildings and the rampant vegetation, there are subtle touches to the level design that help steer you to objectives without having to rely on hallways; of course, waypoint indicators help.

The series’ expansive arsenal and the depth of the weapon modulation has made competitive multiplayer a natural complement to the campaign. Along with the bow and the unique features of the nanosuit, Crysis 3′s multiplayer manages to stand out while relying on familiar modes like Capture The Flag (retitled Capture The Relay) and Deathmatch. Many of these modes were already in place in the previous game, with Spears and Hunter being the new additions.

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Spears makes up for the lack of a Conquest or Domination mode in Crysis 2. The twist is that the team that captures a spear doesn’t have to stay close to the spear to earn points. As you might expect, this creates an unusually fast-paced version of Conquest, which works great for Crysis 3.

Hunter is this game’s version of Infection mode. Normally the predators in this game type do not have ranged weapons, but the nanosuited troops in Crysis 3 do. The challenge lies in trying to survive as C.E.L.L. prey and without stealth. Get killed and you become a bow-equipped hunter. This mode is surprisingly well-balanced; while the hunters have stealth, the prey only need to survive for 90 seconds.

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While there is a satisfying sense of resolution to Prophet’s story, the short play time makes Crysis 3 feel more like an extended epilogue than a complete final act in a trilogy. Still, the openness of the levels and the variety of skills at Prophet’s disposal makes each chapter a joy to play and replay. The literal urban jungle provides a sense of continuity with the final events in the last game, yet what’s more important is the believability of this decaying metropolis, however otherworldly it might be. The gameplay foundation laid by the previous installments helps add considerable replay value to the campaign, and especially the expanded multiplayer. These are enough to recommend Crysis 3 to any shooter fan as long as they don’t put a dollar amount on campaign length.

+Visually arresting environments
+Playground style level design
- Shortest campaign in the series

8.5 / 10

  1. Well I’m glad I didn’t pre-order this.

    Seriously ?

    A five hour campaign on veteran difficulty ?

    EA have done it again!

    Since I’m not a massive fan of muItiplayer this is devastating.

    I’m in the U.K and was very close to pre-ordering this tonight after watching so many trailers ect, I’m glad I read this first soooo thanks Machinima.

    I think ALL game companies should put average campaign lengths in their trailers so people don’t feel totally ripped off when the game just starts getting interesting and ENDS!

  2. This review is being nice to this game. *sigh*

  3. I’ve just given it a playthrough and my complaint is that there is no other objectives other than getting to a button and pressing it. With a few minor exceptions, you can get through most levels without even having to kill a single enemy. This makes all the levels feel redundant and without purpose.

  4. A five hour play time is getting close to a poor amount for the money. I don’t play multiplayer, so a single player campaign is what I shop for. Crysis 2 was a great experience with few complaints. A few months wait may be in order to get the price down to a 5 hour value.

  5. Campaign is very short and easy even on post human. about 5 hrs. Graphics are very nice as always. Haven’t played MP as yet but I have seen forum comments that hardly anyone is playing. This would’ve been a better game if it were longer and the AI better.

    Not very impressed and given how shit MoH Warfighter was I will be avoiding EA games from now on. They do not make games for the gamer. With their using in-game transactions more and their tendency to make the same game in different clothes that are SHORT, it is obvious that they are only interested in ripping off their customers. Look at how they have ruined good franchises. The change of simcity to always online is a case in point – Forcing more DRM on us (under the guise of needing to process on a server bullshit!) and f*&king up the release royally whilst not really giving a shit.

  6. Since the game is only about 5 hrs of gameplay, I really hope for a LOT of DLC

  7. I love this game and find it disappointing that it does not get the credit it deserves. Visually its the best game on the market and the technical game play kicks ass hands down. But why the hell does Crytek keep making small maps and short game play. This is the sole reason why nobody buys it or if they do they quickly trade it in. If they can only put some serious effort into giving players some serious game time on huge maps they will for sure earn my money on the next game.

  8. Well, it’s been more than five hours for me, but then I’ve always been a bit slow at these games.
    Here’s my problem with the game. I played Crysis through, beginning to end, three times. I’d play it again before I played this one again. I played Crysis 2 through, beginning to end, FOUR times. I’d play it again before I played this one again. What’s the difference? The first two seemed more like real life than this one. This one is too much a game. How so? The bosses. Come on now. I want a game that I could, in real life, survive realistically. Getting by these bosses takes multiple efforts, and they are just way too difficult. Now it’s a game. The first two didn’t have that. Yes, some parts were difficult, but not THAT difficult.
    I like to feel like I’m in a real world. I like the illusion of being part of that world. Crysis 3 gives me that much of the time, but the bosses kill the illusion. Suddenly, I’m back in a game.
    By the way, I’m still stuck trying to get past the boss with what looks like whirling blades. I survive it once, kill a few aliens, then it attacks me again and I always die. Can’t get past it.
    Stuck in a game.

  9. By the way, there’s a lot more than five hours gameplay here. I tend to take my time and explore. Some of you rush through, miss a lot, and then complain. Try taking your time. It doesn’t have to be a race.

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