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Game Review: Crysis 3

Posted March 21, 2013 by Colm O'Brien in Action


Ramp Rating


Genre: ,
Platform: , ,
PEGI Rating:
Release Date: 21 February 2013


Solid core gameplay, fun weapons and suit powers


Undercuts itself in terms of story and character, general lack of ambition

Crysis 3 is a game that consistently seems as if it’s setting itself up for something better, but it never quite delivers. Colm reviews.

by Colm O'Brien
Full Article

Crysis 3 is extravagantly, luxuriously unremarkable. It’s a big-budget AAA release, the all-action conclusion to an FPS series once legendary for its technical ambition, and yet the eight or so hours of its main campaign leave barely a ripple in your memory. In a country with way too much time on its hands, it would be a crime for a game to look this good and feel this robust while having so very, very little at the heart of it.

It’s not that it’s never fun to play. After an off-puttingly corridor-heavy opening, the game drops you in some nicely open arenas (albeit never as truly open as Crysis 1‘s Lingshan Islands) and gives you ample opportunity to play around with your nanosuit’s stealth and super-strength powers, as well as a decently fun array of weapons (none cooler than the game’s signature bow and arrow and the deliciously ludicrous 500-rounds-per-second Typhoon assault rifle). The game is confident enough to give you some wiggle room in your approach to most situations, and many firefights can be circumvented entirely if that’s how you want to play it. In a genre where tedious scripted shooting galleries are the norm, that kind of freedom is most welcome.

This guy sounds exactly like Werner Herzog, which improves the experience 10,000%.

The problem is that they just don’t build anything else on that solid foundation. They keep threatening to; for instance, rather than going the CoD route of covering shortcomings with LOUD NOISES and PEOPLE SHOUTING BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW IT’S DRAMATIC, Crysis 3 has a couple of characters that in the right light and with the right amount of drink taken could be almost kind of considered interesting and sympathetic. The nanite-addled player character, Prophet, is endearingly Spock-like and single-minded (there’s a childlike glee to be taken in his constant worried exclamations about ‘The Alpha Ceph!’), while right-hand-man Michael ‘Psycho’ Sykes has a real vulnerability behind his hard-nut Cockney bluster. So it’s weird that, having gone that far, the developers seem so reluctant to actually let any real drama play out. The story feels like it’s making grudging concessions to drama, like it knows it needs to get certain moments of conflict out of the way, but has no interest in dealing with any long-term implications. A character will flip out and swear off the mission, then a few scenes later turn back up, gun in hand, acting as if nothing happened. Story threads get resolved in a manner so neat it’s almost parody.

Likewise, as fun as the core gameplay can be, the game is still riddled with generic action-game ‘Press X to cutscene’ nonsense, where stuff blows up cinematically as you get thrown around the place before conveniently ending up at the start of another corridor you need to run down to repeat the process. Worse, a couple of first-person cutscenes have Prophet sneaking about and taking out enemies, exactly like you would be doing if you were playing yourself, only of course the developers can’t trust you to do it in the right way at the right speed and they couldn’t possibly risk you missing out on thirty seconds of generic bad-guy scene-setting. It’s jarring, and it’s beneath them to pull a trick like that.

Ultimately, this is a decent game that suffers from a lack of ambition. What’s most disappointing is that it seems to set itself up for something better, and just never delivers. When you get to the ropey, predictable final act, stop playing for a moment and consider what an apt metaphor it is for the whole endeavour. And then weep quietly to yourself as you pump 900 rounds into an 8-foot robot squid-man. Trust us: you’ll feel better.

About the Author

Colm O'Brien

Born in Ireland at the tender young age of 0, Colm is an ardent fan of literature and computer games, and the curator of South County Wicklow’s third-finest head of hair. He likes shorts more than he used to.

  • http://twitter.com/Sarklor Ciaran O’Brien

    Is it ever explained how a pointy bit of wood does as much or more damage than armor piercing bullets? Not that I *mind* a bow being lethal, it’s just there’s a reason that today’s military forces don’t still use them…

    • http://www.emesq.com/ Colm

      Yup. The bow’s made specially for Prophet, as thanks to the nanosuit he’s the only man alive strong enough to handle the draw weight. Also, one of the special arrows is an armour-piercing high explosive, and there’s a cheevo for taking down a helicopter with it. See, this is why it’s so frustrating: Crytek have a good instinct for top-notch Rule of Cool fun, but they almost never let it carry over to the writing.

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