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Crysis has always found itself at the forefront of graphical prowess. Whenever someone asks about a beautiful game, plenty of people point to Crysis and say, “Get a good rig.” Crysis 3 is another great example of just how good Crytek is at building a beautiful world. However, beauty is only skin deep and Crysis 3 has plenty of things wrong with it once you get past the pretty face.
Crysis 3 starts 24 years after the second game, with the protagonist, Prophet, being held in stasis by the CELL corporation. Luckily, Prophet’s old war buddy Psycho is there to break him out and thrust him to the forefront of the rebellion against CELL. From there, the game follows a pretty basic script, one that you could see coming a mile away. Crytek seemed hell bent on making the super-soldier-realizes-he’s-lost-his-humanity-and-fights-to-get-it-back angle work but in the end it really isn’t anything new. Halo 4 did it last year and did a far better job. Though Crysis has never been known for its engrossing story, you’d think after three games, with Crysis 3 finishing the arc, they’d be able to put out a good story but that’s just not the case.
If you’re like me, you pretty much ignored the story and focused on the two things that separate Crysis from all other sci-fi first person shooters. The bow and the Nanosuit are the best things about Crysis 3 but are also what makes the game so one dimensional. The bow is easily the most powerful weapon in the game; one hit kills are nearly guaranteed and you can even take down attack helicopters with it. Though you have a limited supply of arrows, the Nanosuit allows you to see the arrows you fired, which never break, and pick them up to create an essentially unlimited supply of firepower. Though it is enjoyable to use the bow as much as possible, it does not have the same thrill as the bow from Far Cry 3. Aside from the bow, using any other weapon is an exercise in futility. None of the other weapons separate themselves and make you want to use them; time and again I found myself reverting to the bow and using my Nanosuit.
The Nanosuit, the crux of Crysis’ combat, allows for stealth or armor capabilities which make you slightly invisible or slightly invulnerable. Unfortunately, since the bow is so over powered and you stay cloaked when using the bow, stealth is far more useful than armor. I found myself using stealth more than power, hiding out in places while the suit recharged, just so I could use the stealth and arrow combination. When a game allows you to spam it’s systems like that, it really takes away from the experience and makes gameplay lifeless. This lifelessness carries over to the suit upgrades, which I found myself only adding to stealth, as that’s all I really used.
Crysis has always allowed players to explore their environments freely; Crysis had the most freedom while Crysis 2 had more linear areas. Crysis 3 tries to make the best of both worlds, but the sense of exploration is lost when you find that the levels are empty. If each level was a house, there’d be far too many empty rooms while one room was packed with everything in the house. It’s a shame really that the spaces couldn’t be filled with something. Though there are datapads scattered throughout the game, finding them does not really require much exploration, which makes the empty areas feel even emptier.
The multiplayer of Crysis 3 finds itself falling into the traps created by Call of Duty. Players earn experience to level up their characters, unlocking guns, attachments and dog togs. It’s all very clone-like. There is an exception to this, though. The Nanosuit adds small wrinkles to otherwise tired modes; watching super soldiers leaping around, some cloaked, some armored, trying to kill each other is quite a spectacle. Hunted mode, which starts with a few cloaked players against non-cloaked players is a thrill, and the only standout of the multiplayer, since the cat and mouse aspect of it really shines.
Crysis 3 is the most divisive game I have played in quite a long time. I really wanted to like it coming in; having never played the original 2, nor the expansion, I was looking forward to the graphics and gameplay. Having put in just seven hours to complete the campaign on Normal, and another seven on multiplayer, I was left wanting more. Not more in the sense of loading the game back up, but more in the sense that Crysis 3 was lacking that ‘it’ factor that makes a game great. It took me a long time to figure out exactly what it was, and I’m still not sure I have found out what it was but Crysis 3 never really clicked for me.