to join the Xbox community. Not a member yet? Join now!
38 Reviews

Crysis 3

Prophet says nanite to the Alpha Ceph

Will you like Crysis 3? Well, that depends on you. Join in with this interactive review, and get yourself a unique, personalised score. Well, as unique as the numbers between 1 and 10 can be. I'm not pretending to have invented integers, here. Sometimes I worry that you expect too much of us.

Decent characters and script are .

Prophet begins the story by saying he has sacrificed himself. He's presented as a man whose humanity is on the brink of being devoured by his long exposure to the nanosuit. And yet, beyond a few flashes of alien mouths, he seems normal. He talks normally. He thinks like a human being, and communicates with other humans using human compassion and words. How are we supposed to buy into this idea that Prophet is a non-person, when he's openly ticking all the checkboxes on the heroic human list?

Zoom
Suit upgrades boost healing, strength, sneaking, sprinting - everything nanosuits do, basically.

Enter Claire. Prophet disgusts Claire, and the scriptwriters are forced to keep Prophet silent around her, because any conversation would show her up to be an irrational bigot. Even then, this doesn't work: our sympathy is with Prophet, the proven decent guy. Her journey to acceptance can be summarised as "abrupt" and "oh, sod off".

Warhead's Psycho, for the most part, is the light relief. He's the foul-mouthed Cockney sparrow who gets all the comedy lines. He's even got a bit of emotional drama, which is acted well enough. But the way his speech has been threaded into the game has ended up leaving delivery-killing pauses. I can forgive poor timing when applied to disposable drama - but when you're killing jokes with bad event triggers, I get antsy.

Zoom
Someone needs to make an archive of the world's hacking mini-games.

I prefer a game.

Playing stealthily is how Crytek want you to play. That's the idea behind the new bow and arrow, which you can fire without uncloaking. It's also the reason that there are so many AI barks relating to you being invisible, reappearing, and being a pussy for playing hide and seek. Play the stealth game, and you will be called a pussy a lot.

Don't let the constant barrage of emasculating insults get you down. Nothing restores a sense of manful pride like having an Overpowered Bow Of Superior Killing. (I realise that I'm writing to an assumed male audience here - female readers, please interpret this paragraph as a sneering subversion of the assumptions made by the game.)

Zoom
Theory: "Freed of limitations, you can become anything imaginable!" Practice: Better guns

Even without the explosive, incendiary and electrified arrow tips, it's an instakill on all humans, and the grunt-level Ceph. Crawling around in stealth to preserve your energy levels, and plucking the arrows from your victims to keep yourself restocked give an effective illusion of being A Great Hunter. So don't listen to those rude Cell soldiers - if they're going to call you a pussy, they're not your real friends, anyway.

If you're a gun nut, your progress creeps upwards from a classic range of futurised human weapons. Bullets slip from the barrels of an SMG with an electrified, greasy sfrrrt. I never had occasion to use a shotgun in the campaign, because it felt much simpler (and more achievement-getting) to run in and punch them.

In the second half of the game, you'll find yourself using discarded Ceph weaponry more often. Low on ammo capacity, but recharged by hanging around next to the batteries that litter the world, using a Reaper Cannon to time a devastating burst onto a stubborn, armoured Pinger feels like you're making full use of the world.

Zoom
Hey, Hivemind. Watcha thinkin'?

If you want to play tactically, there's not much meat on the bones. Analysing the battlefields is a matter of spotting the hackable points - turrets, and minefields - and getting into a position where you can cloak and initiate the hacking mini-game. The tagging process that Crytek began in Far Cry, has taken an unsatisfying turn. Crysis 3 lets you see, and tag, every Cell and Ceph (aside from a couple of rare, tag-resistant units) through a wall. This makes tagging less like a satisfying prelude to a well-planned fight, and more like pre-battle paperwork.

Multiplayer is .

It's something of a coquettish understatement to say that the campaign isn't where Crysis plays its strongest hand. It's a relatively short game - seven missions will take an hour each, if you're meticulous about using your visor to spot and reach all the suit upgrades and collectible intel.

Trilogies kind of rely on you caring about the story, and if you asked me about Crysis 2, a game I honestly enjoyed at the time, I'd be hard pressed to give you any details beyond "there was a bit with a helicopter outside a building, and a pit where I punched some jelly-filled panels". I suspect, in three years time, Crysis 3 will be the game where a Cockney called me a prick, and I smiled.

Zoom
The bow takes out every non-special unit in one shot - wherever you hit them.

But the multiplayer is entirely redeeming. The moderate-sized battlegrounds that make up the arena of the campaign, transform into fantastic self-contained multiplayer playgrounds.

There's a new mode, Hunter. This pits two permanently cloaked Nanosuits against a team of Cell, with a two minute timer to track and kill them all. You have a radar, which fizzes over when you're close, and Cell members have a directionless proximity alarm that creates the perfect level of panicked threat.

Two minutes is a tough time limit, but every Cell member you kill joins the Hunters. The last ten seconds of matches can devolve into hilarious Benny Hill chases scenes, as the last soldier is flushed out of his hiding place and desperately tries to survive the counter.

Zoom
Psycho, the entertaining repository of the profane. He'd call me a ponce for saying that.

Variants of Deathmatch, Domination and Capture the Flag variants are all here, lent nano-flavour by Crytek's excellent UK division. And there's the return of the no-respawn console-hacking round, where Cells and Suits wage assymettric battle in a fast-paced spree. It's happily evocative of Counter-Strike, but there's a touch of the pleasant chaos of Half-Life 2 Deathmatch, too. You can pick up and chuck objects using your suit's strength, delivering difficult to connect, but immensely satisfying instakills.

With a stream of awards, levels, unlocks and the rest, this is the part of the game that offers the true humour, and the real nanosuit spirit. If the disappointing campaign leaves the multiplayer lobbies empty, it'll be a real shame.

I Crysis 2.

Yeah, that's a cheap shot, isn't it? I just repackaged the worst cliche in the gamer review handbook. "If you liked X, you'll like X+1". I'm killing the medium, and must be stopped. But really - when Crysis 3's campaign and structure adheres so closely to the structure of it's predecessor, it's a valid question.

Crytek's original Cry-baby, Far Cry, has become defined by open world action. Crysis 3's campaign remains a series of good-sized and largely entertaining battle arenas, linked by tunnels.

Zoom
Cloaked, you're virtually invisible - uncloaked, they'll spot you over massive distances.

Look, some of my best friends are linear shooters. But the penultimate mission breaks this spell, taking place in a huge crater, populated by chunks of New York remains. Numerous secondary missions have an impact on the world, and make your life easier. Three primary missions can be taken on in any order, the substantial journeys between them part of the challenge.

The scale of this map, the flexibility it offers, and the feeling of a plan coming together is unmatched elsewhere in the game. It's so entertaining and engrossing, that it makes you feel cheated by the previous five missions.

I .

No one loves the Crysis series more than Crytek. And if that love drives them to wring great looking games like Crysis 3 out of aging tech, that's a good thing. Crysis looks fantastic.

But I'm not sure the love that's heaped onto the Nanosuit is matched by sane members of the public. In the main menu, there's a Nanosuit Showroom, which shows their beloved creation in all the most powerful, strident poses. Want to see a statue of a muscular exoskeleton pounding the ground? Come to the Nanosuit Showroom. You get the very real feeling that someone in Frankfurt, there's a cardboard cut-out of Prophet with a waist-height hole cut into it.

Zoom
Look at that. Nice bit of landscape, there. Makes you want to fire arrows into it.

Crysis 3 might be a victim of this love-blindness. You'll never be bored during the campaign, and certainly not during the excellent multiplayer. But Crysis 3 feels like a retread of entertaining ground, with a frustrating glimpse of how good it could actually be.

The verdict

Hate story, like power-stealth, and love multiplayer? Get in.

  • Redeeming multiplayer
  • Looks fantastic
  • Stealthy bow-crawling is great
  • Harder levels much more rewarding
  • Story fails to engage
  • Short campaign
  • Potential realised slightly too late
7
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Crytek
Publisher
EA Games
Genre
First Person Shooter, Action, Sim / Strategy

Comments