They Call Me Prophet – Crysis 3 Review
Twenty-four years have gone by since Prophet turned the tide against the alien race known as the Ceph in New York City. Now, after being freed from captivity by fellow ex-Raptor teammate Psycho, you awaken to a world slowly being taken over by the corrupt CELL Corporation. But Prophet knows that even as CELL consolidates its power for their own evil intentions, a more sinister force known as the Alpha Ceph is making its way to Earth.
Crysis 3 is a first-person shooter that takes place in the year 2047 in New York City, which nature has since reclaimed. The game centers on Prophet, a former member of the elite task unit codenamed Raptor. He, along with his compatriots, were each outfitted with Nano-suits based on Ceph technology. As the game series progressed, Prophet has bonded more and more with his alien power armor and subsequently become less human. This gives him the ability in Crysis 3 to operate Ceph weaponry found in the field, but the newest addition to Prophet’s arsenal comes in the form of the Predator Bow. This powerful compound bow is capable of being fired without disturbing Prophet’s cloak, and makes minimal noise so as not to attract any unwanted attention when sneaking through CELL facilities.
Like its predecessors, attachments can be fitted onto most human weapons to maximize their effectiveness for how you wish to play. For example, if you wish to make your way through the game as stealthily as possible, you may opt to use a silencer on your assault rifle to muffle the noise. The trade-off, of course, is that the weapon will become less powerful over larger distances, forcing you to stay within close quarters. If you prefer a more ‘full-frontal’ approach, you may instead opt for extended clips and/or a grenade launcher attachment.
Picking up a weapon with an equipped attachment allows you to unlock it for use, with a basic set of attachments available for each weapon early in game. Even your bow can be customized with different types of ammunition and an adjustable draw weight. Draw weight is important, as a high draw will inflict more damage while lowering your rate of fire, whereas a low draw does exactly the opposite. In earlier levels, you’ll be able to get away with a low or medium Draw for enemies, but you’ll find that you’ll need to bump it up to be effective against Ceph in later levels. Different arrows have different effects as well. Carbon tips are completely silent and can do some high damage, but Thermite explosive tips will be more effective against armored foes. Generally, your Carbon tips will be the one you’ll use the most, and I’ve run into few instances where I really found it was worth taking the time to switch out a tip. Same with most guns; once you get comfortable with certain attachments, there’ll really be no need to swap out for anything else.
Also making a return in Crysis 3 are your various Nano-suit abilities including enhanced armor and optical camouflage. Once again, these features help the player to support different methods of play, using armor to bolster against incoming attacks during a firefight, while optical camo assists the player in stealthy situations. Your abilities draw on your suit’s energy supply in order to be operated, and will be disabled while the suit recharges. Increased movement and taking damage can also affect how quickly your suit draws on its battery, forcing the player to rely on good energy management skills in order to ensure that the suit can be used most effectively.
Visor and Nanovision modes make a return in Crysis 3, giving players the tools they need to assess a situation tactically. Visor gives you the ability to mark hostile targets and points of interest such as waypoints, CELL data files, and ammo drops, whereas Nanovision is better suited for low light conditions, giving you a thermal image to see targets that you might otherwise not see. Visor mode will be your more frequent go-to as it gives you a pretty good lay of the land for quite a distance, allowing you to track your targets and figure out the most effective way to take them down without alerting the rest of the group.
One of the things that I really enjoy about Crysis 3 is that they’ve managed to design a tutorial that’s short, sweet, and helpful in getting a player up to speed. This allows veteran players of the series to get into the game without the annoyance of a long and drawn out tutorial, while those who might be new to the game get what they need in quick fashion to concentrate on playing and enjoying the game. Furthermore, there’s a brief “Previously on Crysis” video to catch players up on what happened in the prior installments to get everyone up to speed.
For those who are more interested in the online competitive experience, Crysis 3‘s multiplayer offerings are of mainly standard fare. Aside from the self-explanatory Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch, there’s also Capture the Relay, which is a capture the flag game type. Along the same vein is Hunter mode, which is essentially an infection variant where Hunters seek out the opposing force of Troopers. When a Trooper is killed, that person then becomes a Hunter and starts to hunt down their former team mates. Crash Site makes a return from Crysis 2 and maintains the same basic premise as the previous game: secure the alien drop pods as they fall from the sky and prevent the opposing forces from getting their hands on it. In the appropriately named Spears Mode, players will engage in a domination game-type where they must capture Ceph spears as waypoints on the map and hold them from the enemy. Points are allotted over time as you hold the spears, and the team that reaches 100 points or has the most points when the clock runs out wins. Extraction is an objective-based game where you must pick up power cells defended by the enemy and return them to the designated extraction point. Finally, Assault is another objective-based game type where you must hack data terminals throughout the map in order to accumulate points to win the match if attacking, while the defenders must prevent the terminals from being captured.
There are a good variety of maps available to play in Crysis 3 with a total of 12 maps available at launch, comprising of both symmetrical and asymmetrical layouts. The map designs are all well thought out for some good, fast-paced combat; however, I found that some maps are poorly suited for certain game types. For instance, the Airport map is a fantastic example of a solid asymmetrical layout that’s perfect for DM or TDM games, but the terrain is very poorly suited for modes like Crash Site, where players can take over Pingers (basically Ceph versions of walking tanks). These Pingers can frequently get dropped into areas where they have very limited mobility, and are thus vulnerable and essentially useless.
Crysis 3 is an absolutely gorgeous game to look at, but it’s obvious that CryEngine 3’s capabilities in the console space are currently very limited. The world of New York is very lush and green, giving a beautiful look of a city that has been long abandoned by its residents and left to be reclaimed by nature. Even underground areas have that look of degradation and decay from disuse. It is unfortunate that the consoles aren’t capable of keeping up with what CE3 is able to do, with many of the textures looking somewhat bland and a lot of the tessellation absent from what we’ve seen in the Crysis 3 tech demos. Playing the game in 3D mode puts even more pressure on the hardware, which usually results in excruciatingly long load times for high-res textures on the screen. That being said, the game does sport some of the best looking lighting and shading effects seen this generation.
Unfortunately, the game does suffer in the AI department as well. Oftentimes when you kill an enemy and it alerts another, the newcomer bungles right into the same spot where the baddie you just killed was standing. This makes clearing a room at times laughably easy. On the other hand, the allied AI suffers from just being unremarkable, typically acting as nothing more than a stand-in to toss out the occasional line of dialogue to break up the silence or move the story forward. In firefights they’re essentially useless, taking cover and firing bullets vaguely in the direction of where the opposing forces are.
The game’s story is also somewhat bland and rather predictable. You start to figure out pretty early in the game what’s going on, even before all of the necessary pieces are fed to you. If you’re playing the game for the sheer enjoyment of the eye-candy, this might not be so bad, but if you prefer to enjoy the journey, you’ll find yourself wanting something a bit more tangible.
Crysis 3 isn’t a bad game, but it’s not exactly great either. If you’re looking to get the full-on graphical effect that Crysis 3 is meant to present, you might want to look towards the PC version. But if you’re looking for something memorable, you might want to pass on this title for the time being.
Crysis 3 receives a 3.75/5.0.
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