Article first published as PlayStation 3 Review: Crysis 3 on Blogcritics.
The Crysis series made its debut back in 2007 and quickly became a technical benchmark for PC shooters. The undeniably gorgeous sci-fi shooter was held back from the masses by stiff system requirements and the plot didn’t impress many critics. Even with those handicaps, the original Crysis holds a Metacritic.com score over 90. Now five years later with the release of Crysis 3, developer Crytek has mostly conquered those obstacles. The PC version still requires an elite rig but the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 releases look pretty good and both consoles support an impressive stereoscopic 3D presentation.
In Crysis 3, Prophet returns as the nanosuit clad soldier, on a quest to rediscover his humanity and expose the source of his disturbing visions. The game returns to New York City, which has been encased in a dome by the Cell Corporation. The corporation has channeled their inner drug dealer in their business dealing by initially providing a new energy source for free until a monopoly status could be achieved. Their benevolence was short lived and labor camps were installed to indenture their customers that couldn’t pay. It is to upset this balance of power and destroy Cell that leads Psycho to enlist Prophet in the rebellion.
A good part of what makes the story in Crysis 3 work is the relationship between the two soldiers and the other main characters. The original games fell into the standard super-soldier first-person shooter tropes and while Prophet is still super-human, the interactions go a long way to making the experience better. There is still plenty of room for improvement in storytelling though. The length of the campaign has also been trimmed nearly in half from its predecessor. While gamers often complain about the brevity of action games, the ones that have tried to buck the trend are rarely successful and end up with rambling plots.
Crysis 3 isn’t an open world but its medley of environments is much more open than the mainly urban environments of the last game. Still set in and around New York, the game spends the early parts alternating open and tight maps. Prophet encounters both the human Cell forces and the ancient aliens known as the Ceph, requiring a variety of tactics. Crysis 3 finishes with some dauntingly large battlefields that can be navigated by vehicle although the role of the silent hunter offers great satisfaction. Though Crysis 3 doesn’t include as many RPG elements as Far Cry 3, there is plenty of opportunity to choose your play style.
The controls will be second nature to first-person shooter veterans, with only the stealth and armor modes assigned to the triggers, as variances. The gameplay has been improved since last time, in a number of ways including the addition of the Predator Bow. The bow is usable while cloaked and makes stealth an appealing option. Though limited by your energy store, crouching through entire levels invisibly is possible if you have a good eye for cover. The bow utilizes different arrow types and both the suit and weapons are upgradeable and customizable in an interface that borrows from Mass Effect. As hybrid, Prophet can use both human and alien weapons.
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