Review of the Crysis 3 campaign
Available: as of February 21st (in Europe and Australia) (19th in USA)
Consoles: PC, PS3 and XBOX360
More Entertaining Than: Crysis
Less Entertaining Than: Bioshock
Rating (out of 10): 9
Length: Between 8 and 10 hours
-Frequent entertaining action sequences
-Advantageously beneficial upgrades
-Easily exploitable AI
Since 2007, Crytek have been dazzling gamers with the Crysis franchise, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Like Halo, Gears of War and Mass Effect before it, Crysis is a trilogy, and Crysis 3 sees the game come to a close.
Once more you put on the legendary Nano suit and take control over the character Prophet, who effortlessly commands the screen in this relentless action blockbuster.
As always, you go up against the insidious Ceph alien force, whilst additionally facing CELL, the human organisation wishing to use the alien technology to dominate the planet.
Crysis 3 is set over 20 years after the events of the game before it, and is once more set in New York. However, time has not been nice with what is hailed as one of the single most beautiful cities in all the world; CELL have encased the once proud state in a gigantic sphere to separate it from the rest of society, whilst commanding the awesome power of the Ceph from within to seize control of the American capital and force all into enslavement; working to help them further dominate the planet. But, as we all know, utilising alien tech is traditionally never a smart thing to do, and so inevitably everything is bound to go terribly wrong.
Believed to be extinct, the Ceph wait to once more rise up from beneath the Earth to complete their master plan; to send a message out to their own galaxy, and alert their forces to come to planet Earth to bring an end to the human species with one swift act of global extinction.
Prophet knows the plans of the aliens, for when he upgraded his Nano suit with alien technology he managed to connect himself to the Ceph hive mind, and communicate with the villainous leader of the Ceph forces; the Alpha Ceph, who communicated back to him his plan; and how Prophet would fail to stop it from coming to fruition.
After been captured by CELL, who wish to rid Prophet of his suit in exchange for the power it contains, he is saved by his old friend Michael Sykes; known to Prophet as Psycho, a former Nano super soldier. He however has not been so lucky, Psycho’s suit having been torturously ripped from his body, reducing him once more to his humanity.
Because of this, Prophet remains the only soldier wielding the power of the mythical Nano suit; and so is the only human being alive capable of stopping not only CELL, but the horrifying Ceph forces. It is here, that Crysis 3 begins.
Unlike its predecessors, Crysis 3 offers an emotionally in-depth experience. In a few of the cut scenes that separate the action sequences, the sheer intensity of the scenes will really get to you, and they proudly display not only human’s will to survive, but the immense power of humanity’s spirit, and the human heart.
These moments are triumphantly executed with beautiful acting and outstanding visual effects that will ultimately leave you breathless.
Graphically, Crysis 3 is unfathomably superb, and has, hands down, the most gorgeously fabulous visuals of any game released this year. The flawless graphics allow the characters to come to life and the environments you fight through look all the more stunning, drawing you deeper into the storyline and the frequent action sequences.
When not eliminating hordes of enemy opponents, you will most likely be admiring the beautiful effects that Crytek have efficaciously installed into their product.
Joining Prophet and Psycho this time round is Psycho’s girlfriend, Claire, who appears much like Ashley Williams/Kaiden Alenko in Mass Effect 2 and 3 after the discovery that Sheperd had briefly forged an alliance with Cerberus; except Crytek further accentuate the animosity. Throughout a majority of the game, Claire sees Prophet as nothing more than a machine, referring to him as an ‘it’ and as ‘hardware’, going so far as to say that he is not even human. She is unbelievably emotionlessly zealous, and I will not be surprised if you come to loath her character as much as she hates yours for a considerable portion of the title.
Another character who joins the team is Resch, who is the former founder of the Hargrave Institute and the designer of the original Nano suit, whose knowledge on its design could very well be unfathomably wealthy.
Moving on, the Ceph have additionally upgraded their ranks, and you will discover that there are not just grunts and heavies roaming about the fields, with a few friends coming to join the war effort to halt your progress. One new opponent is the Incinerator, who uses a terrific flame thrower to heinously devour you in fire. When been fired upon, it borrows its head, its only vulnerable point, into the ground as to keep you from taking it offline, which is a wonderfully unique experience.
Some may recall that in the original Crysis, although the period was short lived, you were given the opportunity to wield an alien weapon. In Crysis 3, this ability is in vogue once more, with some awesome hardware the likes of the Balt Sniper, Incinerator, Reaper Cannon and the predominantly found Pinch Rifle, just to name a few, all been up for grabs.
However, alien tech can only be equipped for a temporary basis, and cannot be fixed into a slot in your inventory. Running on a singular power cell, once all of the energy has been spent, the weapon is rendered redundant, and you return to wielding human weaponry.
An annoying feature of the alien weaponry is that not always does an alien opponent drop a weapon after been eliminated. On many instances I obliterated an alien antagonist, only to find that it failed to drop anything for me to take. Bigger enemies always drop something though, but grunts only provide you with a nice little gift every so often, so don’t be continuously expecting a reward for taking a few of them down.
Alien technology aside though, the human weapons at your disposal are just as entertaining as they always were in previous titles, with the return of the much loved Scar, Feline, Marshal, Jackal (and my personal favourite) the Grendel.
Additionally, the Predator Bow makes an appearance into your inventory, been an addition to the other three weapons that you choose to carry (one primary, one secondary, and explosive ordinances). The bow effectively allows you to fire, whilst remaining concealed in cloak mode, and you can retrieve basic carbon impact arrows from the bodies of your enemies.
The arrow types include, as already mentioned, carbon impact, which is your typical day to day arrow; the super thermite arrow, which will stick to any surface before detonating when an enemy enters its proximity; the airburst frag, which detonates upon impact, and is great for dealing with groups of opponents, and lastly the electric charge arrow, which decimates all technology with an EMP burst that fries anything electronic.
All weapons can once more be upgraded, however the system works differently than it has in the past. No longer are the potential upgrades simply beneficial, and on occasion upgrades will limit your weapons as much as they empower them.
For instance, employing a larger magazine will limit the total amount of rounds you can carry for that weapon, whilst attaching a fore grip will limit a weapons’ overall efficiency.
This is additionally the case with some of the upgrades that can be attached to your Nano suit. Unlike in Crysis 2, where you acquired what was essentially needed to upgrade your armour from the bodies of the deceased Ceph, in Crysis 3 you need to discover small packages which each contains a single credit which can be spent towards an upgrade.
Upgrades require between 1 and 3 credits each as to be successfully unlocked, and so you need to choose what it is that you intend to spend your points upon. Unlike in the second game where there were four separate categories to choose from and you could only purchase one from each to use at a time, in Crysis 3, all upgrades can be attached to your armour to make you unbelievably powerful.
However, as previously mentioned, some of the upgrades additionally limit you as much as they benefit your character; for instance, by increasing the potency of your suit’s armour capability, you additionally cause your body to move slower. This is simply one of several examples to be found. Safe to say, you need to make choices as to what you wish to be made stronger, and what you are willing to sacrifice to be all that you must to defeat the alien menace.
Another new addition to the game is the ability to hack enemy turrets, mines, doors and other like devices, which on occasion is a mandatory aspect of the game. Hacking in general is not immensely difficult; you must align the signal wave so that it all connects to the same circuit – honestly, it sounds more difficult than it is. The difficulty can sometimes be that you might be under pressure from enemy fire, and if you fail the hack, your suit’s energy is automatically fried and you must begin again.
Furthermore, the enemy AI is something that the Crysis franchise has always had difficulty delivering. In previous titles one might on occasion find an enemy running into a wall and refusing to budge. Once more, this is one such occurrence that transpired a number of times during the game. If you happen to be on a higher ledge than an enemy, more often than not they will run up to the corner of the building you stand upon and stand there as though waiting to be shot.
Although easy to exploit, the enemy AI also does have its moments. Enemies do take cover and will call in support (they do this unbelievably well) and take notice if members of their team are killed. If they see you, find a body of a deceased member of their team or believe something is wrong, they will immediately begin to make your life a misery by alerting everyone to the presence of an enemy combatant.
Stereotypical enemies are not very powerful and can be dispatched with ease, however, so can your character, even with the legendary Nano suit, and so much of the game is spent ducking in and out of cover.
Because of this, Crysis is not very challenging, and you will often find yourself flying through the campaign, even on the ‘Super Soldier’ difficulty setting.
Many a moment can be easily conquered with the use of the awesome abilities of your Nano suit and the raw firepower of your weapons. If anything, the Predator Bow further increases the effectiveness of your inventory, and even the strongest opponent can be taken down with but a single arrow (on occasion).
When fire power is not working, one can simply run around the opposition, all the way to the next area and continue on from there, avoiding whatever it was they were having difficulty with in the process.
For example, one particular moment that looked particularly gruesome to me was when I had to make my way to Claire’s location and provide her with cover fire. To get there however I had to cross several battlefields rife with unimaginable enemies. Suddenly, I discovered a tank in the corner, and I let loose with the trigger and haltered the enemy rampage with such unbelievable ease that I even surprised myself when even the biggest enemy of all came crashing to the ground with very little struggle.
Due to the game’s ease, it will not take long for you to eventually complete the campaign which you could finish off over the course of a day (yes, even on the highest skill setting). Previous Crysis titles offered considerably challenging scenarios and (especially the second game in the franchise) offered a rather massive campaign. With that said, the general size of the game, and the knowledge that this is the last in the franchise, will leave you feeling a little deprived as you lick your lips after your final battle in the hope for a little more.
However, even though the campaign is ridiculously short for a Crytek game, the ending brings to a close the series and leaves you feeling content with all that you have accomplished, from the original Crysis, to the conclusion of Crysis 3.
All in all, Crytek should be proud of their legendary accomplishment, and someone should most certainly by these guys several rounds of beers.