Crysis 3 – A New New York
Not that the world as it is can be called ‘normal’. Under the biodome, New York has gone back to nature. Rivers now flow through the shattered streets, and huge sections have been turned into jungles, swamps or canyons.
It’s an impressive vision, realised by some equally impressive technology, and one of the most stunning things you’ll see on a current-generation console. When the action kicks off, the lighting and particle effects are absolutely dazzling, and even the close-up animation is hard to fault. Make no mistake: Crysis 3 looks nothing less than awesome.
The brilliance of Crysis 3 is that it’s found a balance between Crysis’ openness and the narrative drive of Crysis 2. It knows when to give you a huge area of swampland with an objective in the middle and let you find your own way there. It also knows when to funnel you through a disused train yard full of sneaky Ceph stalkers, and make you work for every checkpoint.
It’s a game with room for some emergent action, but where there’s also room for big set pieces. And throughout Crysis’s handling of action, stealth and gunplay has never felt more confident or assured.
Crysis 3 – The Silent Assassin
One part of this assurance is the tools at your disposal. The suit works pretty much as it did in Crysis 2, allowing you to switch between stealth and armour modes by tapping a bumper, with the sprint, power-jump and super-strength abilities always available. Stealth is also improved by the addition of a new weapon – the bow – that can be fired without de-cloaking.
The steady reduction of your energy bar stops you from using stealth all the time, but with its standard arrows the Bow is a mid-range sniper’s dream weapon, and when you throw in electric, explosive and armour piercing heads, it’s a versatile arm as well. Arrows are in short-enough supply that you can’t use the bow exclusively, but it’s definitely one of the highlights of Crysis 3.
Other weapons benefit from the same customisability as before, with different sights, silencers, stocks and accessories that enable you to tweak your loadout for any occasion. Meanwhile a system of suit upgrades gives you room to optimise your suit for stealth or all-out assault.
Out-sneaking, out-punching, out-maneuvering – these activities are the meat and drink of Crysis 3, and the game really is at its best when you feel like a predator, using your brains and your adaptability to counter the superior numbers of the Cell troops, or the brute force of the Ceph forces that turn up later on. It’s doubtful that Crytek will ever make as big and glorious a playground as they made for Crysis 1, but the third game still makes you feel like a superman amongst mortal foes.