Crysis has always had pretentions of depth, though any meaningful narrative was drowned out by its own array of outlandish weaponry and alacritous ‘shooting gallery’ style of gameplay. Not so with this trilogy-capping outing – the focus is firmly on hero Prophet’s existential crisis. There’s no missing the effort to be perceived as serious science fiction, this time.
Prophet’s journey through the strangely beautiful and diverse locations of a ruined New York City raises questions of everything from the nature of sacrifice to the value of his own diminishing humanity, slowly being chipped away by the same nanosuit technology that empowers him. Of course, this is still wedged between bouts of killing mercenaries working for the shady CELL corporation or advanced Ceph aliens, so it’s easy enough to brush over if you want to focus on the action, something Crysis 3 still excels at.
Prophet’s high-tech abilities return from earlier games – invisibility, armour and strength buffs, heat vision, and so forth – though rarely with new applications for them, which feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. The greatest change comes from the new focus weapon, a war-bow that can be fired without dropping camouflage. Couple this with sly melee kills and the shift in tone is near tangible. Developer Crytek is clearly pushing players towards a more stealthy play style in Crysis 3, rather than typical FPS run-and-gun antics. Thankfully, it’s actually tremendous fun to skulk around, picking off targets at your leisure. You’re not an unstoppable murdergod though – invisibility rapidly drains energy, so there’s still some skill demanded.
While the story campaign is engaging, slowly building a plot that’s half alien invasion, half corporate-led global take-over, the multiplayer modes delivers plentiful content to sustain long-term interest. ‘Hunter’ is by far the most entertaining, with two nanosuited warriors assimilating rivals until only one remains, though more traditional deathmatch and capture-the-flag style games bring a level of familiarity to the versus play.
Although there’s something of an air of the game ‘playing it safe’ in parts – hide, shoot, drop jaw at gorgeous scenery – Crysis 3 enjoys a notable improvement in the storytelling department and sadistically enjoyable covert play. It’s hard not to recommend.
Reviewed by Matt Kamen