With videogame developers feverishly preparing for the new generation of consoles set to be released next holiday season, many popular game series are ending this spring. From “Assassin’s Creed 3” to “Far Cry 3” and “Dead Space 3”, “Crysis 3” marks yet another trilogy bidding a tearful goodbye to obsolescent hardware like the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. But how does “Crysis 3” handle such a heartrending breakup?
Eh, not too well.
Like an uninspired partner on Valentine’s Day, game developer Crytek does little to woo its fans again. Every metallic muscle fiber is right where it belongs. Cloak and armor abilities are still the name of the game when it comes to dishing out unfettered carnage. But ultimately, “Crysis 3” refuses to stray from the formula of its predecessors.
Allied with the determinedly British soldier named “Psycho,” players are yet again thrust into the symbiotic confines of the Nanosuit, an alien device that binds itself to the host human. Taking place in Manhattan, “Crysis 3” returns to the perspective of Prophet, the game’s protagonist, as he fights his way through the fleeting remains of an alien race known as the Ceph and simultaneously thwarts the power-hungry corporation Cell. Although pangs of emotional interest shine through at some points, “Crysis’” storyline remains in the backseat when compared to other features of the game. The convoluted plot and lack of character depth often allows the game to devolve into mindless “run and gun” gameplay. On the hardest difficulty, a playthrough of “Crysis 3” will take no longer than a brief six to eight hours.
Of course, it’s impossible to be critical of “Crysis 3” without conceding a very clear victory to its visuals. Crytek has long pioneered in the production of some of the most graphically intensive games available for PCs and consoles. “Crysis 3” continues this long-standing tradition of jaw-dropping environments. Crossbreeding the luscious jungle textures of the first game with New York’s urban gridlock from the second game, the third installment of the Crysis series succeeds in creating a rich sandbox for players to explore. While environments are not necessarily as open as they were in the first game, corridor-gameplay has been minimized, and it’s easy to engage enemies from a number of creative approaches.
The impressive eye candy is also supplemented with a notable armory upgrade. Within the first level of the game, players are introduced to newly added Predator Bow, a sinister contraption capable of impaling targets from a considerable distance. This particular weapon balances out the Nanosuit’s stealth mode, since it is capable of being fired without turning off the suit’s cloak. Alien technology collected from the corpses of fallen enemies can also offer some amusing kills. Disintegrating a giant alien enemy into a red mist with the Reaper Cannon is always pure bliss.
The multiplayer component of the game deserves attention too, especially since the campaign is relatively brief. “Crysis 3” has a surprising number of intense online game-modes, the best being Hunter Mode. In this survival game, players are suited up as Cell operatives, without the luxury of the Nanosuit. After a grace period of a few seconds, the cloaked “hunters” are unleashed into the map to take out the vulnerable humans. Those surviving each round the longest are rewarded the most points, which can be used to rank up and acquire weapons and attachments. But it’s a dubious proposition to suggest that “Crysis’” online features will draw a strong community following in the coming weeks and months. For the most part, multiplayer simply functions as a lukewarm diversion from the much stronger single-player experience.
For more seasoned “Crysis” fans, this iteration of the game will not raise eyebrows. While there are some well-advertised additions to the game series like the Predator Bow and the multiplayer Hunter Mode, “Crysis 3” lacks the necessary amount of innovation to stand apart from competitors. After only a week or two of gameplay, “Crysis 3” will likely begin collecting dust on gamers’ shelves. Does an eight-hour campaign and average multiplayer equate to $60 worth of entertainment? Probably not.