STAFF REVIEW of Crysis 3 (Xbox 360)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013.
by Brent Roberts

Crysis 3 Box art In the video game universe you often find a few diamonds amongst the collective mediocrity. Every genre of video game suffers from this truth, and in the realm of first person shooters; this is where the big boys come to play. Originally on the consoles we had a choice between Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo. For the longest time the PC gaming community hoarded like Gollum, a secret first person shooter game that has not only been the punch line of many jokes when it comes to the size of your um... graphics card, but has also led the forefront assault to deliver some of the most beautiful gameplay around. Finally after years of demand by the console community, Crysis found its way home. While the PC loyalists still proclaim it to be the best on their system (which they are speaking truth), however when you enter the gaming world on a console a fifth the cost of a top end graphics card, you will truly be surprised by what can be accomplished. For years since Crysis 2 released, the Xbox world has waited patiently in hopes that Crysis 3 will finally release and provide us all another amazing experience while wearing one of the most bad ass outfits ever conceived for a video game, the nano suit. It's time to get behind the visor and see for ourselves what the good and bad elements are of Crysis 3.

When we hear the name Crysis we automatically have a bar very high in our minds where we see how the evolution of technology and game development is going and want that same evolution applied to the already stunning Crysis games. Crysis 3 from Crytek sets out to achieve that mark, but unfortunately there are some soft spots in the armor, but we'll get to those here shortly. For starters one of the softer points of the Crysis games has always been the story. While the campaign itself is always done in stunning beauty, the story itself left gamers with a deflated feeling given the sheer magnitude of production that went into development. This unfortunate feeling still persists in Crysis 3 today. While you do play the role of Prophet that is awakened over 20 years and reunited with one of his old friends Psycho, the overall feeling throughout the story is lacking in substance and emotion. While a letdown already going into Crysis 3, this is not something new so we can't bear much weight against it on this issue.

For those who haven't played any Crysis games, your character wears what is called a nano suit which enhances your speed, strength, intelligence, and more. The suit also offers you the ability to switch between stealth like cloak where you are merely a faint ghostly outline of yourself or an increased armor mode where you may move slower but you will be able to absorb a lot more damage before falling. This innovation has been with us since the beginning but now the people at Crytek have decided that you need to add a very destructive compound bow to your disposal. While you may be saying, "oh great, a bow against heavily armed military and alien forces, yeah this will go over well." Your sarcastic thought will leave you eating humble pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let us explain why. If you decide to go all stealth like in your gameplay approach, any gunfire of yours will not only make a lot of noise, but significantly drain your suit's replenishable energy supply and thus draining any cloak or hope you had of making it through ten guards on patrol. Now I said gunfire and that’s because if you use your bow there is very little reduction to your energy supply, meaning that you can fire an arrow cloaked, and remain cloaked after the shot. So now you're probably thinking, "So what if I'm cloaked after the shot, it's an arrow against enemies with advanced weapon systems and body armor." Here is where your 2nd serving of humble pie comes to the table.

The bow in Crysis 3 is in the same customizable boat along with almost every other weapon in the game. There are two points you can customize on the bow. The first option you can configure is your draw power. This allows you to optimize your bow for how you want to play. A higher draw will result in more power and more accuracy, but it will take longer to set up the shot; whereas a lower draw will result in quicker, but maybe not as lethal of a shot. The second customization point involves the arrow tips themselves. Outside of the standard razor tips, you can equip a timed explosive, electrocution, or proximity arrowheads which can really catch enemies by surprise, especially since you can remain cloaked after firing off an explosive arrowhead. The weapon customization feature is something that isn't new, however that doesn't mean it's a bad thing, especially when you're configuring powerful sniper rifles, heavy assault rifles and more.

One of the main strong points of the Crysis games has always been the graphical beauty of the game itself, and Crysis 3 truly pushes the envelope as to what we would think to be possible on consoles that we as a public already consider to be very dated. Back in the day you would read of people boasting about the specs in their brand new gaming computer, but when one question was asked, very few could raise their hands and the question was: "Can it run Crysis?" Given the fact that the technology inside the Xbox 360 is very limited and in some eyes, antiquated, Crytek goes a long way to showcase what can be done on such outdated technology in Crysis 3. Brilliant lighting effects, gorgeous detailed environments, and spectacular special effects combine together to create something so breathtaking that every level of play becomes unbelievably enjoyable. While the graphics of Crysis 3 are simply stunning, the sounds of Crysis 3 are sadly not up to par. It almost seemingly becomes a balancing of corporate resources and while the graphics team received the lion's share, you get the feeling that the sound and story departments scavenged for scraps.

Given the fact that the replay value of each level of Crysis 3 is very high, if you wanted to take your skills behind the visor against the world, then Crysis 3's multiplayer has you covered. While the traditional modes such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag (Relay) make their presence known, gaming modes such as Hunter and Spears make their debut and offer up some innovative new ways to play Crysis 3. Hunter mode is just what the name implies. You become the prey of C.E.L.L. and are forced to stay alive but without stealth. Get killed and your character will turn into a hunter with a bow equipped. Spears could be considered to be Crysis 3's answer to a conquest style gameplay. When teams fight to take control of a spear, the winning team to capture it does not have to be near the spear in order to gain points. This aspect puts an innovative and action packed twist that will provide multiple hours of excitement.

While some Crysis 3 gamers may miss the truly open world of the original Crysis, Crytek goes to great lengths to create a vast open series of levels that while may ultimately seem linear, provide expansive gameplay choices and decisions that impact how the game plays out for you. There have been a few bugs and issues that have been encountered as we played through, while some were small, others involved the sound completely cutting out or stuttering throughout the cinematic sequences. These little glitches and bugs though can be found in almost any game and we're predicting a patch in the near future to resolve this little annoying issues and bugs.

While Crysis 3 does not do a whole lot in terms of groundbreaking innovations that entice and captivate audiences for weeks and months down the road, what it does provide is a beautiful backdrop to an incredible gaming experience. If you haven't had a chance yet to pick up or play any Crysis games, the time to start is now. While not a perfect first person shooter, Crysis 3 has its sights locked onto that crown and with new technology around the corner, you should consider this the perfect farewell to the old technology, and get ready to start dreaming about the quality we can hope for from Crytek in the upcoming future!

Please work on developing an emotional story and a soundtrack that provides as much impact as the graphics do.

Overall: 8.7 / 10
Gameplay: 8.8 / 10
Visuals: 9.5 / 10
Sound: 8.3 / 10


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