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    Crysis 3: Single Player Campaign Review - Xbox 360 - by INTY



    If you're wondering after the back to back Dead Space reviews I did before Dead Space 3's release why I haven't given Crysis 3's release such similar treatment, it's due to two things. One, I haven't actually ever gotten round to playing the first Crysis game, due to a lack of interest, and past that I don't have as much passion for the Crysis franchise as I do for Dead Space. So, in short, don't expect such treatment in future reviews, unless it's for a game I feel very strongly for. As for Crysis 3, I finally got around to playing it, and will be detailing my findings, analysis and thoughts of the game in this article. Please be aware that this review does contain spoilers for Crysis 2. Also take into account, Ive only played this game on the 360, and certainly in the graphics department with this particular game, and of course in the game-play department, versions of the game on different platforms may have significant differences. If you plan on buying this game on another platform, please look for another review as well as this one, specifically covering the game on that platform just to be sure that there are no current game-breaking issues.

    Also, as the title of the thread may suggest, this review will be based purely on the games single player campaign mode. While I did have the opportunity to play the MP Modes, I was not particularly fond of the multiplayer in Crysis 2 and therefore felt my time would be better spent devoted to a full critical analysis of the game story mode. Just to give you a feel for the games multiplayer though, expect Call of Duty’esque multiplayer with the full capabilities of a nano-suit at your disposal. If you like the sound of that then it might warrant some further research.

    Writing, themes and aesthetics.

    Crysis 3 is set 20 years after the events of Crysis 2. Militant corporation, CELL has managed to monopolize and dominate the energy industry, placing them in practical domination of the human race. After being in Cryo-Storage for some time, the main character, Prophet, is freed by a resistance group who desperately need his help in their fight to invade CELL bases in the now sealed off city of New York, to destroy their sources of power. Yet regardless of the alien Ceph’s relative quietness, Prophet is haunted by visions of a world destroyed by an extremely mighty Ceph: the Alpha Ceph.

    What I'm going to be saying about the writing here does apply to the campaign from every aspect here, and it's that this game starts off slowly. I'll go into detail on that in the other sections, but in the writing department, Crysis 3's story starts off without much going for it. Considering the scenario, everything feels very in control. There isn't much of a sense of urgency, or of being out-matched as you'd have thought there would be. The events feel very stagnant and just don't hold much atmosphere. I can assure you though-and you'll know where it is when you come to that point yourself, it does improve. I'm not going to go into detail of course, but the tables suddenly turn, and the plot suddenly becomes a lot more urgent, a lot more atmospheric and far more intriguing. Would I say the writing is as strong as it was in Crysis 2? Not quite. Crysis 2 had a slow start, but this was very relevant. You arrived in a dead city that was supposed to emit this atmosphere of a lost battle, it was fairly quiet and very ominous. Here, there is still a battle going on at the start, so there should be some more charge behind the atmosphere. Even when the urgency kicks in it's not quite on par with the atmosphere that Crysis 2 set-but like I say, it's only 'just under'. What I will say for Crysis 3 is it's a bit stronger in the character department…which is funny really, because it's only due to one character!

    'Psycho' makes his return to this game from the original Crysis, and he's more British than jumping into a warm bed with a nice hot woman while watching the footy. He's an absolute typical gruff lad, and puts up a really good, energetic performance, how ever letting his energy drop appropriately due to the changing levels of the writings atmosphere. He steals the show honestly-but that is how ever not to suggest that the performances aren't good across the board-which they are. All of the characters give good performances, but this is similar to the situation of Dead Space 1 I suppose, where I said in that game the voice actors were good, but the characters not particularly memorable. It's not that they're bland per say, but-fair enough, the characters are all tired and worn under the circumstances. This is very appropriate considering the bleak atmosphere Crysis 3 tries-TRIES to set. The characters lack of personality is just a bit distracting though, in the earlier hours of the game before atmosphere, suiting their tiredness, kicks in. And if you're wondering why I've mentioned a secondary character over the main character, well, it's because the main character shares the problem, he's tired, and not too memorable really. Oh-and for those wondering where Alcatraz is, the main character from the second game, I'll say here if you want to know as it's not particularly explained in this game. Basically, Prophets personality still being in the suit through Crysis 2, allowed him to take over entirely, replacing Alcatraz. Now I'm not sure if he just screwed Alcatraz over, or if Alcatraz was dead, considering how Crysis 2 ended-but like I say, it's not well explained.

    Overall Crysis 3 is a case of just starting off slowly, without good reason to. I really do want to stress that the game does pick up, and reaches a good quality of atmosphere-but I will fairly warn you that the first few hours do feel like a bit of a drag as far as the writing goes, simply due to a lot of things not merging well with the lack of atmosphere. It's similar to having a film without music.

    I suppose there's a good question as to what themes Crysis has in terms of its genre. Well…the game is set in a sub-futuristic world. Not too far away from ours. The game is set in 2047, but obvious, believable advancements have been made. The world's nice for that in all honesty, because it's believable. Crysis 2 and 3 have both tried to have very urgent feelings behind them, so the believability behind the games world works well to add to this. In certain games that are too far forward in the future where you have access to things such as weapons that can, as an example, do things such as break apart things at an atomic level, it's hard to truly connect yourself to the world, so it's hard to feel the urgency the game could be trying to make. Here, Crysis 3's relative advancement makes a world for you that you can connect to, while also giving you a great action experience due to the play-ground you're given. It's odd to say play-ground for a linear first-person shooter, but I'll go into detail on that in the game-play section.

    As for how the game is aesthetically represented, there is of course one thing the Crysis series achieves and dominates in, in every aspect across the board. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.

    The music. Yes the music in Crysis 3 is of a very good quality, offering the game some very memorable tracks that all do a good job of managing to suit the events they're being played to, really adding to the atmosphere and vibes of what's going on. The initial slow build-up of the game is also present here how ever. I did actually only seem to notice the music later on, at about the point where the game suddenly picks up. Here's an example of a music track I particularly liked. Also I specifically set it up in video form rather than link, due to potential spoilers in the comments.


    The game also has some great sound design, from subtleties of the wind breezing through nearby trees, to extremes of loud, meaty guns firing in to a Ceph as it screams an electronic wail of pain. As for the graphics, they're ok.


    The game looks gorgeous of course it does!

    I mean what do you want me to say?! Crysis 3 looks utterly beautiful! Mind you, I say that but I suppose for some the Crysis series reputation for it’s graphical fidelity was a bit stained by the look Crysis 2 had. This is something I generally don't like, but the Crysis series is best known for its breath-taking graphics. The original Crysis was considered a ground-breaking bench-mark for graphics when it launched exclusively for the P.C, and even managed to be too much for certain P.C's to handle, spawning the phrase 'Can it run Crysis?' as a test for P.C gamers and there P.C's. How ever, when Crysis 2 was released for consoles as well, the game looked a bit less impressive. The game by no means looked bad, but the game got a lot of negative panning from P.C elitists generally speaking, using the fact that the game didn't look as good as an excuse to pan consoles for not being able to manage textures at as high a resolution as the P.C can. And this was fair in senses. Texture quality was somewhat reduced, and the scenery was less pleasant to look at, taking away the tropical, Jungle greenery of the first game, and replacing it for the modernized, City jungle of new York. Crysis 3 makes an interesting decision and obviously merges the two. New York's been sealed off by CELL, and nature has begun to take the city back. Trees have over-grown through buildings, plant-life and grass are largely over-grown and water floods some of the landscape-where occasionally you'll find some wild-life. Texture quality is back up to par, and the scenery is once again beautiful. The game also includes some notably advanced effects, such as water that ripples upon impact, foliage that shakes in the wind, and some very, very nice lighting.

    I could go on, and on, and on about how the game looks, but Crysis 3 is simply put, a beautiful looking game. I think the decision to merge modernized structures with nature was a very interesting idea, providing a very interesting world to play in that's fantastic to look at.

    Game-play

    Crysis is far from just a dumb, good looking cheer-leader though. Crysis is a cheer-leader who knows how to play chess very well. I am glad to say this, as usually games that tout themselves on their extremely high fidelity looks are usually as interesting as something that's typically used as an example of not being interesting. Crysis 3 is a First-Person Shooter that does a fantastic job of giving you a custom experience that gives options to a variety of play-styles from both the more modern crowd of First-Person shooter fans, and the more traditional gamers. One of the best examples I can give with this is with the Mounted gun. Turret sequences are held by most, myself included, as one of the biggest examples of a bad direction that First-Person Shooters are going in these days, limiting the player to literally just standing on spot to point and click at enemies at they come, without option. In Crysis 3 as well as 2 how ever (can't vouch for the first), there are a few sequences that can be played as Turret Sequences. Or, you can rip the gun off of its rigging and walk around with it. For more modern first-person shooter fans, they've got that Turret Shooter experience there for them, but for shooter fans who like a bit more interactivity, there's the option of movement as well-and I just love that this option is given by ripping the gun off of it hinges too, that really carries that bad-ass attitude that a lot of more traditional shooters like Serious Sam or Painkiller did. Is the game quite like those? Well no, in fact the Crysis games shouldn't be compared to those games, and for good reason.

    The reason is that Crysis 3 at core, while being very a very approachable game in terms of its freedom, is a slow game at core. Crysis 3 will often give you these big areas, filled with enemies and other things to interact with, which if you just run into without any strategy, will chew you up, spit you out, vomit you back up and then piss on you. I'm sorry for the crass example but it's true. If you don't give this game even the slightest level of attention or strategy, it will destroy you. This does not limit you to one approach how ever, not in the slightest, let me explain.

    The Nanosuit, and Prophet inside it, is capable of doing a lot of things. There are of course the two most well-known capabilities of the Nanosuit, Armour mode, in which you become far more durable to damage, allowing you to be more aggressive, and Stealth Mode, making your character almost totally invisible while you creep around the area for a more silent approach. (No the, Speed Mode and Power Mode don't make their return from the original Crysis, if that's something that interests you.) I really want to touch on that these two modes are both extremely well balanced-making sure you don't run around like an idiot. Both modes rely on suit energy, meaning at a certain point of usage, if you're not giving the Suit some time to recharge, you'll be completely out of energy and won't be able to keep either mode active. You'll still be able to fight and function when not in a suit Mode, but you are very vulnerable, and not particularly fit for battle without one. If you're trying to run around the map while invisible without any thought, and are running straight into enemies head-on, they will notice you, and if you're not taking breaks to re-charge, you can find yourself running of out energy right in front of everyone. As for Armor Mode, you will need to still exercise some self-control, as Suit energy will reduce as you take damage, meaning if you're not keeping yourself somewhere where you can hide and re-charge, when you run out of energy you'll suddenly feel very fragile indeed.

    Prophets super-human capabilities don't just end with this how ever-he has a number of abilities that can be used along both of his Suit Modes. Off of the top of my head he can: Pick up Objects and throw them at people, run at a fast speed and break into a very harmful slide, pick people up and choke them-or throw them at enemies too, hack into enemy turrets, hack into enemy mines, while in Stealth Mode he can sneak up behind an enemy and instantly, and silently kill them, he has a heat-vision mode, he has a tactical vision mode that allows you to highlight enemies and other elements within the map through walls, leaving them marked permanently for you and can simply punch a man to death. I’ll consider calling the guy a Swiss Army Knife amongst video gaming characters.

    You can also find 'Nano-suit Upgrade Kits' around the map, which allow you to improve, and unlock abilities for your Nano-Suit. The interface for this at first seems clunky, and in ways it is. There are 4 vertical columns within the unlock system, each one containing certain abilities. You can adjust each of the 4 columns, so that the four abilities you want on each one is next to each other, and then you can save that selection to a slot, so that you can select it again in the future by re-visiting the upgrade page. You may have 3 selections-and can't have multiple selections active at once.


    Not much explanation as to how you activate abilities.

    This is how ever a shooter! So let's not forget the guns in this game! I'm really pleased to be able to continue praising the game here in particular, as the guns are really good in this. There's not only a wide variety of guns in the game, ranging from the humble Hammer Pistol, to the high-tech M.I.K.E (nicknamed the Microwave Cannon for very goon reason) that each suit certain play-styles and scenarios, but even from there, the guns are also customizable! You can choose a base gun models scope, ammunition type, and barrel-as well as more depending on the gun. You do unfortunately only have 2 weapons slots though, as well as a slot for explosives, allowing for you to either carry Sticky Charges or J.A.W Rocket Launchers, good for a one time use on the more powerful enemies, and another slot exclusively for Grenades. If you've been interested in this game for some time as well, I'm sure you of course know about the Bow and Arrow, that has its own exclusive slot-as the Bow and Arrow was something the advertising really made a big fan-fare about. It's a good weapon, certainly interesting, but it hardly steals the show from everything else.

    As for how the guns play…God it's meaty. Guns have a big feel of weight and power behind them, (some-times slowing you down when using the higher-power weapons) featuring a varying level of re-coil and knock-back, meaning the player will need to evolve their management skills with the specific weapons they may prefer to use. As well as this the guns are just really satisfying to fire, sounding very authentic, and feeling great when you fire them in general, with some very responsive animations. You'll usually know when you've landed your shot on an enemy too, with the sounds they'll have made.

    And there are the enemies. Now, the enemies themselves don't have much variation behind them—at first. You're mainly just stuck with humans to start off with (again, the game overall has a slow start) but the Ceph do start to fill the ranks in the end-somewhat. Regardless of the smallish variety behind them though, they're all very functional for the play-ground element of the game (meaning they can be dispatched in many ways)-how ever they are not ones to simply lie down and take it. The A.I behind enemies is pretty intelligent. For instance, if you're using the Stealth Mode and have just killed someone, other nearby enemies will throw grenades to try to flush you out of hiding, and if you've moved on from there under your Stealth Mode, they'll continue to focus on that area, before sending themselves on patrols for you. They add to the immersive, relatable nature of the game due to their above standard behaviour, only occasionally breaking the fourth wall when a Ceph starts to glitch. This seemed to be an issue in Crysis 2, as the Ceph were very prone to breaking. It's far less problematic here.


    One of the new Ceph enemies, the Scorcher.

    Something I can't deny about Crysis 3 though is that it’s not added many new elements at all. There are 3 new enemy types, the ability to hack turrets/mines, the Bow and Arrow and some new weapons. But past that, Crysis 3's experience could be considered to be dangerously close to Crysis 2 as far as the game-play goes. Just fair warning on that one, if you're looking for a newer experience. Myself? I don't mind this within this games situation. Because of the Crysis games playground feel, and how you can play with levels in entirely different ways for a reasonably long time, just giving the player some new context within the story, and even a few new toys to play with, is enough incentive to play this for me.

    So yes, Crysis 3's game-play. It does an utterly fantastic job of giving the player a LOT to play with, in different ways, to suit lots of different approaches. Most options are very valid, showing a lot of time put into making sure all of the players and guns capabilities are balanced, and satisfying. Not much has been added, and this problem is very relative, and could be a big decider in whether you get the game or not, but if you enjoyed the Crysis 2 experience, then the new context of the story coupled with the new elements to play with, and the levels to play in might be enough for you.

    Also want to mention there's one later level that features, and encourages you to drive some really bad vehicles. They control like each of the cars four wheels have a mind of their own; like they all disagree with each other, and none of them are on your side. It took me a bit longer but I just walked.



    Crysis 3 is a very enjoyable, very engrossing experience that gives the player a lot of freedom and customization in character statistics, load-outs, approaches and planning. All options seem very plausible and just as well made as each other, meaning there should be a strong option for most people in all of the levels. The shooting is very satisfying and varied, and the amount of depth behind the players abilities and powers really adds to that. The game looks utterly beautiful, and sounds incredible, adding to the engrossment of it even more. The story is compelling and really adds to the immersion. Everything in this game immerses the player, bringing them into a very authentic world, where they can do as they please in the linear, straight-forward levels.

    Now, considering the above paragraph, you might be confused as to why I didn't rate the game a bit higher. It's mainly due to the slow start. I can't state how much this affects the game for me. Strengths like the games customization and varied approaches are still in there to begin with, but the first few hours of the game just lack so much. The first session of Crysis 3 for me, was unfortunately just as I reached what I consider to be the point where the game picks up-and I didn't feel strongly enticed to get back to it. When I did though, and the game had picked up, I thoroughly enjoyed myself-I mean really, really enjoyed myself. There is of course the relative issue of that the game didn't add anything particularly new. You've got to understand though; this is a critical review and rating. The fact that the game didn't add much meant little to nothing for me, and it could very well mean little to nothing to you. I'd recommend this game to you even for JUST the game from where it picks up, and would say it's worth the time of getting through those first few hours. Hell, they're not even abysmal, or bad, just a bit average. Past that, and past those 2 problems the game has, the above paragraph is what you can expect from this game. If that appeals to you (and why wouldn't it?) I'd strongly recommend this game. It's a fantastically crafted, very approachable and very authentic experience.

    -INTY
    Last edited by Vault Hunter; 04-10-2013 at 12:12 PM.

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    Also wish to add, as I wasn't aware until after I'd finished the game and watched Hannah while she was playing, Crysis 3 has some side-objectives. Can't particularly go into detail on these myself I'm afraid

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    Great review Dan. You're really coming into your own with these. The depth you go in to is quite refreshing I have to say.

    Do agree with you that the game started out slow, but it definitely picks up pace after the first Act.

    Surprised you didn't encounter any of the secondary obejective missions but they are somewhat easy to miss (especially if you're playing with subs turned off). They are quite cool though as some secondary missions will actually help aid you in the primary missions, helping you accomplish certain tasks in what could be considered a more effective way. Luckily, none of them are mandatory.

    Another think i'd like to add is the improvement on the collectibles in this game. They actually help to further the story in Crysis 3, whereas the collectibles in Crysis 2 were just silly little souvenirs.

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