Crysis 3 often feels, even at the start, like the ending of a game, where you’re superpowerful and have all the toys to play with.
And that’s a lot of fun, of course. Everyone enjoys the ending moments of a game. But can that sustain a longer playthrough?
Story Is For Wimps, Apparently
It’s pretty hard to care about the unsubtly named Prophet, or his equally unsubtly named buddy Psycho, or really anything that goes on the game. It’s all kind of ridiculous and pulpy, but at least it’s good-natured and doesn’t waste too much time trying to convince us it’s art. This is a game where I skewer aliens with an arrow, I don’t really need a complex plot. Although in a way, it’s too bad: The game has the themes and ideas to support something genuinely thoughtful, but it’s too busy glorying in superheroics to notice.
Look, But Don’t Touch
Far Cry 3 has a complicated, vast open world. Dishonored has levels where you can climb on almost anything you see, teleporting past your enemies to your target.
Crysis 3 has skyboxes. Like, really great ones.
It’s a stunning game, even on console, but the beauty of it just serves to draw more attention to what you can’t do. You see a place and think “Wow, that’s gorgeous, I can’t wait to explore it”… and you never get to go there. While what you do get to play is enjoyable, it’s hard not to feel a bit of longing, especially as you explore a beautifully rendered ruined New York.
You Can’t Choose The Road But You Can Choose How You Travel Down It
Early on, Crysis 3 makes it clear you can play the game the way you feel like playing it. Want to sneak through? Go for it. Kill everything? That’s cool. Mix and match? Whatever works.
That said, the game is essentially a series of big rooms connected by corridors. You choose a spot, pick off enemies, collect ammo and data, rest to refill your meters, and continue. It’s fun, and often quite a lot of fun at that, but it’s not breaking any new ground gameplay-wise.
Not helping is the fact that this game gives you so much up front that it’s often easy, even on higher difficulties.
So When Do They Get The Nanosuits?
During my playthrough, I was shocked by the advantages I started out with. My nanosuit can tag enemies from a thousand yards away? My energy levels and health recover that quickly? I don’t have to earn any of this? Surely the game would take these advantages away, or give my enemies similar ability. But it never really does.
Most games start you off relatively weak and you earn your way to shredding through groups of them like toilet paper. Here there are upgrade points and the like, but you start out overpowered and just get more hulking and superhuman. The difficult curve here is flat.
The bow, newly added to the game, is a good example of the game’s balance issues: It’s silent, it’s got a long range, you can fire it while cloaked, and you can collect arrows from your targets for pretty much infinite reuse. It’s even got trick arrows to play with. It’ll be your go-to weapon throughout the game unless it forces you not to use it.
Not helping is how incredibly dumb your opponents are. The old trick of skewering one foe, then waiting for his buddies to find him and picking them off, will serve you well here.
Better With Friends
The game’s multiplayer is probably the strongest suit, especially Hunter mode, which is particularly exhilarating when you actually win as a Cell operative. The single-player campaign is solid fun, but brief, taking me eight hours only because I spent far too much time trying to pin enemies to walls. But overall, it feels a bit shallow.
Crysis 3 is essentially a one-night stand with somebody dumb and hot: A lot of fun while it lasts, but you’re not going to look them up again. Still, if you’re yearning for a shooter, this should fit the bill quite nicely until BioShock Infinite comes along.
Crysis 3 is available on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3