Years after they are released, people look back at games and remember certain things. When I think back about Final Fantasy VII, I remember the death of Aeris; when I think about Unreal Tournament, I remember my adrenaline-fueled adventures with my first competitive online multiplayer; and when I think about Crysis, I remember how amazing it looked. Now, almost ten years after the release of the first game in the series, how will Crysis 3 be remembered?
Crysis 3 was originally released on February 13th, 2013. Undoubtedly, anybody who boots this game up now, three years later, will be amazed at how good it looks. Let’s not forget that this is the series whose first game spawned the, “Can it run Crysis?” benchmark by which all enthusiast gaming rigs were tested. Even being three years old, this game still looks great. During the cutscenes, I often felt as if I were watching a movie—that’s how amazing the characters look.
The characters aren’t the only things that look amazing, though. Crytek did a great job of making a destroyed Manhattan come to life; grass sways around you as you make your way across a desolate field that used to be a train station, the dying light of a setting sun shines through the windows of an overtaken warehouse, and water ripples around you as you stalk your prey through the ruins of a city street. This is a real, breathing world. Although it isn’t sandbox in the purest sense, the levels of visual authenticity are enough to suck a gamer right in.
The best part is that you don’t need an enthusiast-level PC in order to reap the graphical benefits of the game, as Crysis 3 looks good on almost any setting; however, if you can manage to crank this baby up to its High or Very High graphical preset, you’ll probably get diabetes from all the eye candy. The customization options for the graphics are fairly robust, so you can do some tweaking on your own too, just in case you’d like to save the occasional frame here or there. I’m running a Radeon R9 390 card that is being slightly bottlenecked by my CPU, but I was able to pull off running the game on the Very High setting with slight mods (like taking off a couple post-processing effects and motion blur), at an average of about 30-40 FPS.
While the amazing graphics keep the game nice to look at, the gameplay and story are what keep most gamers coming back for more, and, unfortunately, Crysis 3 suffers a little under these categories.
The Crysis gameplay is almost identical to its predecessors. In this game, you play a soldier named Prophet who comes armed with the Exo Suit, a powerful exoskeleton that gives its wearer increased speed, strength, armor, and stealth abilities. As in the previous games, the suit makes the game. Depending on your style, you might switch to armor mode, bust through a door, and take on enemies guns blazing. Or perhaps you’d rather activate your stealth cloak and take out enemies one-by-one. The choice is yours, and the different battlefields allow for whichever style you’d like to adapt. You’re also able to customize the Exo Suit with various new abilities if you can find the required items, which are scattered throughout the maps. Once enough are unlocked, you can save different setups, such as one for assault and one for stealth, and you can switch between them relatively easily.
The stealth style is given a huge boost in this iteration with the inclusion of the Predator Bow. In the past Crysis games, you couldn’t attack from a distance while remaining in stealth mode—firing from stealth would drain your energy and leave you exposed. The Predator Bow allows you to attack from stealth and remain cloaked. This gives stealth mode a lot more flexibility, and it even adds more tactical options in the different heads you can put on the arrows: standard, explosive, or electrical.
The other weapons were fairly generic feeling to me. I never really cared what other weapon I had as long as it shot fast. The on-the-fly weapon customization is back from the previous games, which makes it simple for switching up for stealth and assault variations. The only exceptions come in the form of the Typhoon (a ridiculous gun that shoots about 100 rounds per second) and the various Ceph weapons you can pick up along the way. These serve to add a little more diversity to your combat.
Speaking of the alien Ceph, they remain one of the main adversaries you’ll be going against, along with the Cell corporation. Apparently, Cell has grown to be a powerful energy company by exploiting Ceph resources. They are so powerful that they are able to enlist debtors as indentured servants until their debt is paid off.
The game starts off with a mission to sabotage the Cell corporation by infiltrating the base they’ve set up around the devastated island of Manhattan. Assisting Prophet is Psycho, one of the more colorful characters from the original Crysis, and who was given his own game in Crysis: Warhead. Only now, Psycho is without his Exo suit. Why and how this happened (as well as how Psycho feels about it) is brought to the front of the story quite a few times throughout the game, and always in a fairly heavy-handed way.
In fact, the entirety of the story is told with little to no subtlety at all. This lead me to feel most of the NPC’s were more annoying than anything. You’re never lead to figure out anything by yourself—it’s all spoon-fed. In fact, one of the more ridiculous moments comes when Prophet is talking about the visions he keeps having of the Alpha Ceph. A scientist NPC comments by saying something along the lines of “Visions, eh? How prophetic.” Really? Did we really need to hammer home the point that there is a connection between his code name and the fact that he’s seeing visions?
For me, the best part of the game were the battles, or, more specifically, the hunting that would occur before the battles. Generally, each battle would start with me taking as many enemies out as possible without alerting them. Then, when they found me, it was time to go to work with armor mode. This made me feel like a true predator, using my advantages to hunt my prey. It was equally satisfying when they would find me, because then I knew it was time to let my guns do the talking.
Crysis 3 is a pretty fun game, and it’s also extremely pretty to look at, but the gameplay and especially the story drag the experience down a bit. The action also starts to drag towards the end of the game, which is ironic, as the game really opens up to some huge battlefields in the final missions.
How will Crysis 3 be remembered? Not as a great game. Not as an exemplar of the ending of a trilogy. Not as a groundbreaking first-person shooter. This was just an okay game that happens to look amazing.
+ This is one of the best looking PC games out there, and that still holds water after three years.
+ The Exo Suit is a great gameplay mechanic, and it allows you to play the way you want to play.
– Annoying, forgettable characters – Psycho is a totally wasted opportunity here.
– Heavy-handed storytelling with no subtlety.
– Even with the Exo Suit, combat starts to get old towards the end of the game.
Andrew Garvey is a Geekiverse editor. Normally he berates the other Geeks for their grammatical errors, but sometimes he lets the others clean up his mess. This is one of those times. Catch Andrew on Xbox, PSN, and Steam via FeirlessLeider.
Crysis 3 was reviewed on PC. It is also available for PS3 and Xbox 360.
What is a hindsight review? It’s an article in which a Geekiverse writer reviews a game that they have never played before and is outside its launch window. It offers a fresh perspective and shows which games in your backlog are worth playing through.
Far Cry 4
Spyro The Dragon
Resistance: Fall of Man
The Lego Movie Video Game
Sniper Elite: 3
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Lego Marvel Super Heroes