Published on March 1st, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
A Bow is a Bow, Unless it’s a Bow: Crysis 3 Review
[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]Release Date: February 19, 2013
Genre: Action, FPS
Developer: Crytek Frankfurt
Platform: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], Xbox 360 and PC
It is often said that the sequel to a movie is never good as the first installment. Of course, “Kill Bill Vol. 2” is the only exception to that rule.
The length in time between the in-game events of Crysis and Crysis 2 spanned just a few years — three to be exact, starting out in 2020 in the first and jumping to 2023 in the second. The development time showed in the games polish, multiplayer and story length. Crysis 2 took almost four years to develop, which is in high contrast to Crysis 3, which was pushed out in just about two years in its development cycle.
The original Crysis is still, to this day, one of the most visually pleasing first-person shooters on the market, and Crysis 2 is no slouch either. When it came to the release of Crysis 3, the final product does not deviate from its predecessors.
When first catching wind of Crysis 3, I personally had mixed feelings. On one hand, it was pleasing to see the story come to a conclusion with Maj. Laurence “Prophet” Barnes making his return as a key player. On the other, it seemed as though it was almost too abrupt a follow-up, considering that most were still digesting the first sequel.
The game continues on the direct storyline from the first two titles. Prophet is re-introduced, and from the second game, the Cell, an industrial conglomerate that is hell-bent on power, is seen fighting to keep control of New York City. The commentary between these goons’ keeps them grounded as they can often be heard bagging on each other. It seems that in order to become a Cell agent you must be a good name caller and a lousy shot. The events occur almost 25 years after the showdown with the alien race known as the Ceph in Crysis 2.
Once again, it’s all about the suit. Or, is it? This time around there is a bit more reflection by Prophet and his role in the world conflict.
The Ceph have almost disappeared, however, they are still a force to be reckoned with. We see doses of Ceph interaction, mixed with the meddling Cell, delivering challenging shootouts that test the Nanosuit’s abilities.
New York is now an overgrown forest. There are even wild animals such as deer running among the dim city lights and once busy streets. The mixture of the game’s environment blends towering structures with forest foliage –both areas in which the franchise has touched on. The newly remodeled New York City pays tribute to the jungle-based tactics of Crysis in Langshin, and inner city structures that previously challenged the urban use of the Nanosuit in Crysis 2.
Something different this time around is ease of use with the tactical visor. Previously, the visor needed manual identification of objects and enemies. Now, focusing on an enemy or weapon installation will ‘lock’ into your HUD. This makes being surrounded by multiple enemies even more manageable, and opens the freshly implemented ‘hack’ ability. If you have played the reboot of Syndicate, you might find some mechanical similarities between the two games. The term “tag’em and bag’em” has never ringed so true.
Weapons and enemies can be hacked based on line of sight. Things like Sentinel automated turrets, Cell Intelligent Munitions System (IMS) and Ceph pop-up mines can all be disabled with the hack tool. Access to enemy ships and weapon drops can also be gained if you are able to find them. The tool was useful in some cases, but the overall feeling behind it only seemed to draw out the game’s length. For example, instead of blasting through enemy waves and making it directly to the next location, most areas must be hacked for access and enemies the same. The use of this ability comes in handy when your invisibility cloak is engaged, and further plays to the clandestine nature of the game.
It seems that in most cases, stealth is the key ingredient to success. It feels more prominent in almost every encounter, which does seem to dwarf the other abilities of the suit. Even with varying enemy types, such as Ceph Grunts or Cell Marksman or Enforcer, there never felt like a huge difference in difficulty between enemies. Even the taller Ceph creatures could be dropped with a tactical takedown. Unless the enemy was dispensing floods of liquid flames about, which even those could be hacked leaving them incapacitated for a few moments, there was not much difference with ‘who’ (or what) you were fighting.
The length of the game chimes in anywhere from four to six hours. This depends on whether you run and gun, find all hidden items, or simply just go through the motions to complete it. Contrary to popular belief, the game was played on the ‘Normal’ setting. Sorry, peanut gallery. This is about half the time it took to complete Crysis 2, which is reminiscent of the game’s short length.
The functions were condensed in Crysis 2, where Strength and Speed became the Maximum Armor and stealth having the Cloak enacted. Having the two converge delivered the best of both worlds. There was hardened strength when times got tough, or when you simply wanted to shoot first and ask questions never. The stealth provided instances to sneak through a camp unnoticed, or the necessary takedown of a Cell guard or two. In the case of Crysis 3, it felt that the sneakiness was a necessity. There were few instances where brutally smashing objects was commendable, and didn’t come with a swarm of enemies as punishment. Throwing random objects at Cell guards is still fun. Who doesn’t want to power kick huge objects at unsuspecting soldiers? Thought so.
But if it’s brute strength and lead pumping you want, there’s an atmosphere for that.
If you were looking for the perfect place to show off that destruction, the multiplayer modes serve as a welcome party. Having taken part of the open beta sessions for both Crysis 2 and Crysis 3, the bow seemed like a promising edition for new modes and challenges in matches. Although the use can be beneficial in most cases, it never really achieved the high soaring impressions that it was going to be somewhat of game changer. It did reinforce the focus on stealth, delivering more than a silencing barrel to each weapon. Takedowns can be achieved with precision aiming as long as you have the ammunition to do so.
The ‘Hunter Mode’ makes good use of the bow. Teams start out with limited hunters against a squad of Cell troops. Once a Cell player is killed by a hunter, they too dawn the bow. While this is fun in some aspects, the overall feeling remains. In the end, it’s just a bow.
Other online modes are similar to what you can find in Crysis 2. Modes like ‘Crash Site’ and ‘Team ‘Deathmatch’ make their return. Although these are the same, this is what first drove me to pick up the game in the first place. However you shape it, the Crysis multiplayer is fast-paced and draws on your knowledge and wit of the Nanosuit. It’s different when another human out there is using the same abilities vs. an AI opponent. There is a slew of new unlockables for the suit, which have been further streamlined and tweaked. Much like the game, players can make modifications to suit abilities. Something that was kept from the previous game was the ‘mini’ trailer showing exactly what the suit upgrade do in-game.
The “Tiers” in which the upgrades are broken down allow players to view the progress in a more identifiable manner. Other things like the gun customization were also turned into a continuous slide bar so that you can see everything you’ve unlocked in one spot. While most online modes might need lengthy explanations, there hasn’t been much changed since that of Crysis 2. A few new modes, new perks, maps and the same competitiveness still exist.
Fans will find familiarity, but notice varying details like the sprint not drawing from your suits power any longer. It has been my go to game of choice in my free time. The split second decisions made in-game further support my short attention span and spastic outbursts into a controlled machine. Some levels also make their return sporting the new found overgrown plants as skin.
The multiplayer will no doubt provide a general added length to the game, something in which the single player campaign lacked.
It seems to me the both games could have been combined, leaving us with a strong storyline and developed list of characters into an unfolding tale of world domination. Even if things stayed the same, the third installment should have been pushed back further, allowing more levels to be developed and the game to provide more than just a hunting bow and stealth tactics to tie it all together.
Crysis 3 continues the trend of being one of the best looking games on console and PC. There is no doubt that the game has pushed the limit of current-gen console power, but it has also delivered to those wanting a high-end experience on gaming rigs.
Even with the game looking pristine, the campaign felt rushed. Suit upgrades received a much needed overhaul, giving players the ability to unlock and modify three pre-loaded sets of abilities. The game didn’t add much in the multiplayer department however, it is still fast and fun.
In the end, Crysis 3 set its sights on developing Prophet as a balanced hunter. The bow, Nanosuit stealth mode, and pacing of the game shaped it as such. In doing so, the other abilities of the suit seemed to be dwarfed much like the overall length of the storyline. Crysis 3 doesn’t blow the lid off of first person shooter games or bring anything new to the table. It does play off the strengths of prior titles still delivering a pleasant experience, just not as promising as the hype built it up to be.
+ Weapon Upgrades
+/- Bow as end all critical weapon
– Storyline Shortness
– No variance in enemy difficulty