Crysis hit shelves back in 2007 for Windows PC gamers and it made one thing clear; the CryEngine was the next step forward for computer game graphics, and your PC or console wasn’t ready. This year Crysis 3 brought us the CryEngine 3 and as per the expectations that have attached themselves to the Crysis franchise, the graphics are stunning.
Crysis 3 is set 24 years after the events of Crysis 2. In usual Crysis fashion you are equipped with the Nanosuit; an amazing piece of technology designed to enhance a wearer’s stealth, strength, speed and durability. The abilities of the Nanosuit have not changed much over the Crysis story arch; each suit generally has a type of enhancement for Armour, Strength, Stealth and Damage Resistance. The Nanosuit sees use in single player and multiplayer in Crysis 3, the energy consumption is greatly reduced for multiplayer meaning abilities can be used longer.
The game opens in a very Tron-like room which serves as the tutorial and training centre for the player to get to grips with the Nanosuit and familiarize themselves with anything that may have changed since Crysis 2. The first noticeable difference Crysis 3 has to other modern day shooters is the default control scheme. Playing on Playstation 3, the default buttons for aim and shoot were L1 and R1 instead of the expected trigger buttons. The triggers were used for Nanosuit abilities, although this can throw you off a little at the beginning of the game it does not take long to adapt and I have to say, using the L1 and R1 buttons feels a lot more responsive than the default trigger keys of games like Call of Duty. The tutorial takes less than 20 minutes to complete for gamers of any experience level, but gives all it needs to give for basic game play practice.
The tutorial leads into a gorgeous cut-scene where Prophet, the main character from the previous games, explains the back story of himself, the other games and gives great incentive to keep playing. As far as opening cut scenes go, this one leaves you with enough questions to need to play the game because you want them answered. The scene is dark and mysterious and gives you the chills when you think of the journey you’re going to experience in order to get to the moment in the future that Prophet speaks of. Another great thing about the cut scenes that other modern games fail to provide more than you’d like is the ability to skip them. In fact the option to skip the scene and the button to do so never leaves the screen. This is both good and bad. Although the option to skip a cut scene is something every game should offer, as to not have one feels like a game trying to shove it’s story down your throat and can become frustrating. But having the button at the bottom of the screen for the entire scene takes the immersion away and feels like they’re almost begging you to skip it.
When you finally enter the game that is more than just black hexagons, it shows just how stunning the CryEngine 3 is. On a dark and rainy night, the game sucks you in with some of the most realistic facial movements in a game since L.A. Noire used Motionscan. Not far into the first mission of the game you receive the main weapon, the bow.
The bow is a glorious little thing and it is surprising that previous Crysis games hadn’t implemented it yet. The bow is a silent weapon and your improved Nanosuit strength gives it an extra kick to its arrows. The other great thing about the bow is that it doesn’t break you out of stealth like other weapons do, making it very diverse and very useful. The bow doesn’t make the other weapons useless though, there is a lot less ammo than most of your other weapons, meaning, you have to use it sparingly. The bow balances out the lack of a big ammo pool with a reusable one though. You are able to take the arrows from the fallen enemies in a nice little touch of realism. The bow certainly encourages rewards and is often needed in places where stealth is the only option. The first mission contains a section where running and gunning through like playing Call of Duty will probably fail, but if you cleverly use your bow and stealth functions together, you can achieve your goal without taking a single hit.
The hacking mechanic through your visor vision is a nice little element the game has. Although the hacking starts simple; the difficulty increases and the learning curve is a steady one.
A very welcome return to the game is your British ex-Nanosuit wearing friend Psycho. Meeting him straight away gives familiarity to the player but as he explains why he isn’t wearing his Nano-suit and what it’s like having it taken off shocks and angers the player well enough to care about what may happen to your friend and what he has been through to get to where he is. Psycho explains what has happened since the events of Crysis 2. Since defeating the Ceth, an alien race who tried to invade earth, the CELL Corporation has been using alien technology to become the world’s most powerful organisation through the energy market. CELL control so much energy, they have a scheme for people to work off their energy debts, of course they never really do. That’s what Psycho has been fighting against and he explains in more detail in another stunning cut-scene that you have some control over the view.
The game has a wide variety of terrain types, from a CELL Corp facility, the jungle of New York and even a city scape, Crysis 3 spoils the player for environments, which is nice in a genre where brown and sand seem to dominate games.
The music throughout the game is really atmospheric. From action music getting you pumped for a fire fight, to the orchestral scores when you witness a CryEngine 3 landscape, the music always suits the situation and fills the player with the emotion that the game developers seemed to be aiming for. The transition of music to silence and back to music isn’t at all jarring. Action music builds up just before a fight like it should where ambient and wondrous music sort of pounce of your ears at the same time the imagery hits your eyes.
The voice acting is very good, and the way the dialogue works between Psycho and you (Prophet) adds perfectly to the characterization of the two. They talk like they have a history together, because not only do the characters, but so do the actors who voice them. The single player campaign gives a very satisfying conclusion to the series and will leave fans both pleased with the good work of the creators, but also sad that this story is over. But, Crysis has never been known for just its single player.
Multiplayer has improved over the Crysis series since the beginning. As an eSports enthusiast it’s upsetting that a game like this never broke into the eSports market as it has great potential to. It mixes fast-paced game play of the old Quake style games, with the newer tactical shooters like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike. Hunter mode is by far the most fun public multiplayer mode. Much like the old Half-life 2 mod, The hidden, players are split into 2 teams; CELL operatives, and 2 hunters. The hunters are always in stealth mode and never break it and are armed with bows. As each CELL operative dies to a hunter they become a hunter themselves, much like a zombie mode game. The more CELL operatives that die, the more the teams get stacked against CELL until either 2 minutes pass or all CELL operatives become hunters. Although this game play mode will never be an eSport, it is by far the most fun to play and even more so if you can play with a group of friends either in a console party or a private PC server.
Crysis 3 is a more than worthy addition to the Crysis franchise. The single player rounds off the story while still leaving room for more. This is a trait that most games can’t seem to stop themselves doing nowadays. The fact that Crysis is not a yearly title is very much to the game’s credit and I hope that EA will keep this in mind for possible future Crysis games. If you are a Crysis fan then you don’t even need to be told to pick this one up. If you haven’t played Crysis before I would say definitely pick this one up, but also play the first 2 in the series. They were years ahead of their time, meaning they can rub shoulders with the best modern games. Crysis and Crysis 2 are old enough to be around £10 each. The multiplayer will engross you for long after the single player has been completed.