EA and Crytek are about to release the third major installment within the ‘Crysis’ franchise, a series of games that have become synonymous with amazing graphics and high-action gameplay.
Many games suffer from the pitfalls of making a third installment of a series. The writers are burdened with the task of wrapping up all of the loose-ends and plot-points, while still having to offer new content for players. Games are of course limited in the amount of gameplay they can offer, more so when running on such a graphics heavy title like Crysis 3. There is only so much space on a disc but the developers of Crysis 3 seemed to take the obvious choice, they condensed the plot and streamlined the story.
I found Crysis 2 to be a bit confusing at times and at points hard to follow the writer’s exact intention with certain characters. I imagine anyone that didn’t play the original ‘Crysis’ spent most of their time during cut-scenes in Crysis 2 studying the story and characters, rather than enjoying them. The story in Crysis 3 is much simpler and even though the plot has been boiled down to almost a ‘David & Goliath’ story-line between lead protagonist ‘Prophet’ and the ‘CELL Corporation’, it still holds up as an engrossing game.
The new installment still hinges on the same lead character Prophet, who has amazing abilities and talents, thanks in large part to his powerful Nanosuit. This time around Prophet will set out to take down the evil CELL Corporation, who currently has a militaristic stranglehold on New York City.
New York is the setting for the game and although the title isn’t as large as some sandbox titles that have been released recently, the scope of the game is condensed and made better through its limitations. Crysis titles are always beautiful, they are some of the most amazingly detailed games that you can play, and as a FPS the graphics are among the best in its class. Now ‘condensed’ is my word of choice when talking about ‘Crysis 3’. The story-line, the setting, the characters, everything seems trimmed down and refined from previous titles. This is what allows the game to fit all of this beauty and all of the necessary plot-points in the title. I can’t speak for Crytek, but after finishing the game (no spoilers don’t worry) I felt that each department knew how much content they needed to fit into this title and really made each frame and each cut-scene count (with one exception that I’ll get to later).
[quote_right]Just like other stealth-based games, players that trip alarms are met with stronger, more volatile enemies. This offers unique challenges for players that enjoy stealth or assault-based gameplay.[/quote_right]One of my favorite aspects of the Crysis series is the stealth mechanic. Crysis 3 could easily be a great FPS without it, but the additional gameplay mechanic really gives players multiple options when dispatching foes. For fans of stealth-based games, I would highly recommend Crysis 3. The game really offers that perfect stealth scenario, allowing you to quietly and meticulously take down all of the enemies in your path as you infiltrate each level. The game also offers some great incentives if you are successful in doing so. There is also a mechanic built in for the people that enjoy a large body-count. Just like other stealth-based games, players that trip alarms are met with stronger, more volatile enemies. This offers unique challenges for players that enjoy stealth or assault-based gameplay.
Crytek gives players all of the tools they need to experience the game as they choose. Prophet’s Nanosuit allows him to take fire head-on, hide in shadows, get to higher ground or retreat and regroup quickly. It is a very welcomed change from other FPS games that tend to allow players to hide behind chest-high walls and either shoot from ‘gun a’, ‘gun b’ or ‘gun c’; all while they travel down a linear path to victory. One of my favorite mechanics in the game is tracking enemy movements. You can easily spot obvious patrols and highlight them just like you could in Crysis 2, only this time it’s a much better system. Crysis 3 uses popular stealth based mechanics as well, including alert-levels for guards and the before mentioned alarm system. One nice feature is the ability to mark items you see, like ammo or upgrades, so you don’t lose them while your slithering around enemy troops.
[quote_left]The vehicle scenes in the game are really the only weakness, after being free to roam about the land as a stealthy assassin of fog, the vehicle scenes were like a fireworks show, and all I could do was sit back and watch them.[/quote_left]The vehicle scenes in the game are really the only weakness, after being free to roam about the land as a stealthy assassin of fog, the vehicle scenes were like a fireworks show, and all I could do was sit back and watch them. Luckily these don’t make up a large portion of the game but I question why they were implemented at all. It was the only part of the game that seemed like ‘filler content’ and as player’s are given more freedom in modern games, I thought about whether or not ‘on-rails’ vehicle scenes even have a perfect fit in any title at this point. With that out of the way the single-player campaign is one of the best in the series across the board.
In multiplayer it was refreshing to get some unique game-modes that catered to title’s core mechanics. ‘Hunter Mode’ is new and I think it will be a crowd favorite for anyone that wants to test his or her metal against other stealth strategists. In the game-mode players will either be one of two Nanosuit combatants, armed with bows and stealth capabilities, or a patrol of CELL soldiers. These soldiers can be any of three class-choices, which is a nice solution to mixing up the gameplay per round. Each CELL soldier that is killed will become a ‘Hunter’ and join the other side, until one side eliminates all opponents.
There are also a few standard game-modes that rely on teamwork but these are far more traditional. The only other new game-mode to the title is a ‘conquest’ type mode called ‘Spears’. In this mode the game has two teams fighting over locations on the map. There really isn’t anything inventive about the gameplay but it does offer players a chance to work together and fight in a higher-octane setting. Overall there are eight different game-modes for players to choose from. All the classics are accounted for and the maps are great change from the usual flat, grey and brown landscapes or bases which are found in other FPS titles. Players will have other common features as well, including the ability to level-up, unlock weapons and customize their classes for every situation.
If you are looking for a game-mode that offers something a little more tactical than Team Death Match, but faster than Hunter, then you should check out the Extraction Mode. As one team guards cells the opposing team must infiltrate, steal, and recover them. It’s definitely a strategy based game-mode that will require a lot of team work if you truly want to dominate teams.
After everything is said and done, Crysis 3 contained all of the aspects of the series that I have grown to enjoy but delivered the content in a much more precise and impactful nature. The game isn’t a sandbox, but it isn’t exactly a linear walkthrough either. You are given options, both in gameplay and routes, and that allows each player to tackle the objectives and enemies in their own style. Its a great game with very few setbacks. Although the story-line isn’t exactly an epic-saga it was well told and fans of the series should enjoy this installment.