Pros: Gorgeous technology demonstrator
Cons: Lacks realistic enemies and gore rendering.
Picking up years after Crysis2, the evil megacorporation, C.E.L.L, has encased NYC in a dome to contain the alien Ceph invasion threat and control their technology. The once silent nano-suited soldier known as “Prophet” (who is actually a deceased soldier named “Alcatraz” who’s had his body taken over by the Ceph-technology based nanosuit symbiosis) is back with the memories of the original Prophet (and his voice) to battle the C.E.L.L and Ceph once again.
Accompanied by his former squad mate, Psycho, Prophet must infiltrate C.E.L.L facilities and alien hives to cause enough chaos to bring down their control and attempts at world domination.
Crysis3 effectively ends the series with a bang.
“IT’S LIKE CRYSIS 2 WITH WEEDS”
I complained in my review of Crysis3 on the Xbox 360 that the game was too short, too easy and not significantly different than Crysis2. In fact Crysis2 managed to offer better set piece battles than Crysis1.
Crysis2 managed to feel distinctively like NYC – and I’ve lived here 30 years so I know the small differences between the appearance of upper and lower Manhattan. Crysis1 was all jungle and jungle clearing with no true distinctiveness between areas. Crysis 3 merges the jungle foliage of Crysis1 with the urban concrete textures of Crysis2. Unfortunately most of the distinctiveness is lost in translation. “Chinatown” looks exactly like the rest of the game and the only way you know it’s “Chinatown” is because of a few Chinese characters and obviously Chinese items (Dragon statues) littering the area.
For the vast majority of the game, you’ll find yourself fighting, treading through and seeking cover in weeds that have been allowed to grow between waist and neck high in this post-human world. The blades of grass, weeds and moss make almost no significant addition to gameplay because the enemy - even on “Supersoldier” difficulty- has an eagle eye and can shoot you from a distance once you’re spotted.
Whether you get sniped or not, unless you are on Supersoldier difficulty, dispatching the enemy has never been easier.
Throughout the game, you’ll see-saw between cloak and armor modes to deflect enemy bullets, sneak behind them to break their necks and/or plant blocks of C4 right at their feet before retreating to pull the trigger and laughing as their bodies fly through the air on fire.
Your ace weapon for the duration of this game is the “nanobow” – a bow and arrow set which allows you to shoot at enemies without depleting your cloak energy. This weapon is very cool with different draw strengths and different arrows. The explosive arrow effectively makes the bow a grenade launcher, the electric arrows shock enemies in water and the airburst arrows blow entire groups of soldiers out of their socks. Combined with your cloaking device you are virtually unstoppable – even on Supersoldier difficulty.
GRAPHICS and SOUND
Crysis games (and the Far Cry series) have always been tech demonstrators. In fact I usually upgrade my computers based on the specs of these games. If You can run Crysis3, you can run anything (for now).
Not very long ago I wrote (and video blogged) about my newest desktop – an HP ENVY H8 with a CORE I7 (3770) at 3.2 GHz with built in Beats 5.1 sound channel. I started with 16GB of RAM which would have been more than enough to run this game, but I sold my chips on Ebay and upgraded to a 32GB Hyper-X memory set so I’d never have to open up this case again until I sell this tower for the next one.
Crysis3 requires a dual core CPU, 3GB of RAM (minimum) and a Direct X 11 memory card with at least 1GB of dedicated RAM. Obviously, you must have Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 to have these specs. I have Windows 8 (and STILL HATE IT).
These specs are the minimum just to get the game to run in the lowest settings. To run it in the highest, you’ll need a Quad Core CPU with 8GB of RAM. Desktops under $800 come with those specs, so it’s likely if you recently bought a Windows 8 computer with a dedicated video card you can run Crysis 3 at least in it’s medium settings.
So what does your shiny new $1000 tower get you?
Well the Xbox360 version’s graphics on a 1080p HDTV are already the most gorgeous you’ll see amongst any games. The limits of the console are reached and besides minor sound skipping and some frame rate annoyances when too much action is on-screen, Crysis3 on the console looks fantastic – it is the equivalent of running the game on the lowest PC settings. Lighting is dynamic, almost everything casts shadows, water effects are jaw dropping – including the rain, and the foliage is lush and green.
The PC version on its highest mode simply gives you MAXIMUM FLOWERS!!!
-There is twice as much grass. All of it swaying in the virtual breeze.
-There are more weeds – concealing enemies you need to shoot.
-The water effects – especially ripples, are incredible and boisterously rippling.
-The enemy textures and wall textures are photorealistic.
-Your guns and the nanobow have details on them such as writing, scratches, etc.
-There is virtually no pop-in of textures and the draw distances are so far you can see enemies as far as 400 virtual meters away.
I am slightly disappointed. There are things I’d like to see that aren’t here which I got way back in 1998 with Soldier of Fortune PC.
-enemies are killed outright even if shot in the knees and feet. Why is it they can’t (realistically) suffer, waiting to be put out of their misery.
- laying C4 at someone’s feet does the same thing to their body as hitting them with an arrow. NOTHING. Why aren’t gore physics present here? Why can’t body parts be amputated?
- And why is it the Crysis series which used to give me North Korean soldiers with skin textures have made every single C.E.L.L member a helmeted stormtrooper? Why aren’t there enemies that look like regular people? I WANT REGULAR PEOPLE. This way I can judge how well my CPU works as I fill their 64-bit textured skin with arrows!
When you finally do see "regular people" character models, they look terrible - like models from the original Half Life.
Say what you want about Aliens vs. Predator, but when I KILLED in that game, it looked more than realistic.
And these are a few reasons why Crysis3 doesn’t fully deliver on its promises of cutting edge technology. The graphics barely make any difference in the gameplay. Unlike Splinter Cell, you needn’t stick to shadows because the enemy sees you whether it’s dark or not. Unlike Crysis1 where destroying rooftops and trees caused death for unfortunate enemies underneath them, the only interaction with the environment to find are random objects you can pick up and throw or kick into enemies.
SOUND effects are appropriately loud, chaotic and varied. Gunfire and explosions erupt marvelously and everything sounds fantastic. I didn't run into the skipping errors in background music I ran into on the console.
The originality and exclusiveness of the nanosuit is effectively ruined by giving everyone else one. When everyone else you are fighting can cloak, can deflect bullets or can use the nanosuit’s powers to see in the dark, or track footsteps, you simply don’t feel any more powerful than anyone else. Fortunately, the PC version gives you more control through the Mouse and Keyboard – allowing you to place more shots on target with the quick scrolling of a mouse, but for the most part, this multiplayer isn’t as varied or as exciting as “Power Struggle” on Crysis1.
The main edition this time around is “HUNTER” mode. One team has nanosuits and a bow for one shot kills and the other team of C.E.L.L has guns and motion detectors allowing them to know when they are about to get killed. These matches would be better if the maps were bigger, but they degenerate into camping – waiting for the timer to run down so a player can be the last man standing. A shotgun effectively takes down a nanosuited hunter in a few panic blasts.
While Crysis 3’s multiplayer remains mostly untouched from the second game, there is a new mode which makes things slightly more interesting. HUNTER mode stars one team of cloaked nanosuits with bows versus a team of C.E.L.L.. The nanosuits have many advantages over the C.E.L.L (think Predator vs. Arnold’s team) and most matches deteriorate into CAMPING – hiding in corners until there’s a last man standing. Out in the open, a C.E.L.L member gets killed quickly.
SPEARS has you capturing alien spears – which emit a shield protecting nearby players while giving your team points. It's a conquest style game where the control points stand still.
CRASH SITE has teams fighting over ground control of crashed alien pods (just like in Crysis 2). It's a "conquest" style game mode where the control points constantly change.
EXTRACTION is a capture the flag style game where one team attempts to steal enemy power cells and get them to an extraction zone while the other team attempts to stop them.
CELL vs. REBELS takes away the nanosuits and lets you fight it out as a regular guy. The combat is very similar in feel to Call of Duty: Black Ops, but the maps are far superior. Without nanosuits, the enemy is easier to see, track and kill.
Other modes of play include standard DEATHMATCH and TEAM DEATHMATCH.
All of these modes can be enjoyable, but I’m waiting for a Battlefield experience with graphics on this level. I prefer the chaos of being able to provide close support from a fighter jet or helicopter to my boys on the ground while they drive tanks and boats to assault the enemy base. In fact, strafing freshly spawned enemies in Battlefield 3 has gotten me banned from many-a-server.
In fairness, the multiplayer here is better than Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's. The nanobow offers a new sniper experience and some missions have dropships which you can jump in and use the machine guns as they ferry you around the map. Unfortunately, you won't have an opportunity to be flown by your teamates ala Battlefield 3.
The storyline of the Singleplayer in CRYSIS3 will take you less than 8 hours to blow through. It is a very effective ending to the Crysis series and even contains a humorous post-credits ending almost worth sitting through the 15 minute long reel of names.
I hope Crysis4 returns to the next generation systems with more variety in visuals and gameplay so I can have a reason to upgrade my PC once again. The experience of Crysis3 is definitely better on the PC than the consoles, but all versions do a great job of evolving the first person shooter genre.