the Andrew Bailey

Crysis 3

Thanks to EA's promotion of 2 factor authentication in October, they've given a lot of people a free month of Origin Access. Now, I can play almost anything on Origin. First up is Crysis 3. It seemed to go by rather quick. I guess that might be good for time efficiency sake, but that's a shame.

"Screenshot of Crysis 3, showing a destroyed apartment building"

It replicates the old Crysis (and Far Cry) school of level design. There were plenty of times where the first few things I tried didn't work, so I looked around for other options. The level design falls into two camps: claustrophobic city canyons at night or nearly barren wide open spaces in daylight. It does live up to the illustration on the box art of being the hunter. Except for the first level (which is pretty linear), the rest of the game presents MOBA-esque lanes to whatever your objective is. Also, most levels end with some kind of explosion. There are plenty of weapon caches, intelligence, and upgrades scattered around, though you will almost have to tag them with your visor to discover them.

Like Crysis 2, Crysis 3 puts you in Prophet's suit, which gives you all the fun Crysis gameplay features. There's the usual armor and stealth (invisibility) modes. There is no separate strength mode, as that's only used for actions like jumping and strangling your enemies. Speed mode is absent too, and running around doesn't seem to deplete your suit power. Weapon customization remains, but I seldom needed to use that. There's a zoom visor mode and 'nanovision' (which is just night-vision), both of which I mixed up constantly, due to their hotkeys being next to each other.

There are a wide variety of weapons. Some of them confused me, because I couldn't visually identify whether they were rifles, shotguns, or something weird and cool. And if it was weird and cool, I needed to do some live experiments to figure out its strengths, so I guess that's fair. Then there's the bow, which is the only weapon that can be fired without knocking you out of stealth mode. (Doing almost anything other than walking around or staying still knocks you out of stealth mode.) It's pretty weird that takedowns disable your stealth for a second or so, but there seems to be an upgrade that takes care of that. If you're lucky, you can pick up dropped alien weapons. If available, you should always take advantage of them.

Despite being 'on ice' for over 20 years, it feels like nothing for Prophet. At the end of the last game, I smashed the alien Ceph pretty bad, so I'm not sure how the oppressive omni-corp captured you. You meet up with your buddy, Psycho (the guy from the original and Warhead). His outfit is a bit different. You ask him about it, and he says that he was 'skinned', like every other nanosuit wearer. Despite constantly whining about it, Psycho was lucky, because most people don't survive being skinned from their suit.

"Screenshot from Crysis 3, showing a ruined Chinatown."

The original game inspired that question about new computers, which the Crytek is aware of. Crysis 3 is no exception. It is very pretty. Because the Origin Access subscription includes the deluxe version, I also have the soundtrack. It does the job, and the other sound design is good. (It's hard to judge sound design quality, since it's very easy to tell whether one game has better graphics than another; less so with sound.) This game feels well optimized on my geriatric GPU, and I had no problem running it (maybe I turned down the settings too much).

In the end, Crysis 3 tries to go for the melodramatic war story about people that it wants me to care for, but I don't. There's only two people in the game that I remember, so while it sucks about what happened to Psycho, I don't care about any other character. Like I mentioned about the levels ending with explosions, the whole game seems like a tour of set piece to set piece, interspersed with other people's problems. I rushed through it as fast as I could. There might be plenty of cool gameplay possibilities, but I didn't have the initiative to find them. Even if I happen to own this game in the future, I don't see myself coming back.