inFocus

“Can It Run Crysis Again?

Game Info
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Crytek
Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Date: 02/21/2013
Meta Score


Crysis has long been synonymous with one thing: computer crushing graphics. The fact that “But can it run Crysis?” has become a meme for advanced technology shows as much. But what people often forget is that the original Crysis had an intriguing story, great combat mechanics, and interesting use of open world gameplay that allowed you full range of the tools at your disposal. It was well paced, well balanced, and even if the back end was a bit out of a letdown with the Ceph, it was (and is) still a fun game.

Crysis 2 was much more of a stumble. Fans railed against it when the PC version released with watered down graphics meant to fit on the consoles, but the biggest let down for me was that it had taken the interesting sci-fi set up with deep themes about what makes us human from the first game and turned it into a simple story about a guy fighting aliens (with a misplaced Prophet narrative).

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So how does Crysis 3 stack up? Was it able to recapture the strong and contemplative narrative of the first game, or does it fall ill to the same played out tropes of the sequel? Does the great open fields of the first game return, or are we stuck with the linked sections of semi-open battlegrounds from the sequel? Let’s put Crysis 3 under the lens.

Story: The story in Crysis 3 isn’t very strong, but it’s not as thin as the water Crysis 2 called soup and served us. You start out as Alcatraz… err, Prophet, since Alcatraz pretty much died in Crysis 2 and the suit used stored data from Prophet to reconstruct his memories out of the meat mass floating around inside of it (you know, since Prophet put a bullet in his own skull). This marks the biggest failure of Crysis 3’s storytelling: it doesn’t tell you a damn thing.

All that sci-fi awesomeness about nano-bots rebuilding a dead man out of the body stuck inside the suit? None of that is told to you in the game. You start out on a ship in a tank, and Psycho shows up (suitless) to pull you out. He calls you Prophet, and it’s like the second game never happened. That explanation game from the Crysis forums wherein people explained what had happened between the games using little bits of info from the devs. Major story points often seem left out of the games (like how Nomad, the freaking main character from the first game, died in the comic books and was never again mentioned in the games).

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Psycho convinces you that an evil company called Cell is going to take over the world using energy from a dome they threw up over New York city (apparently not pissing off the tens of millions of displaced citizens?) As you break in and begin fighting back, you meet a rag tag team of scrappy fighters who will help you take down Cell and completely ignore you as you try to tell them Aliens are here and trying to kill everyone (until the aliens show up and try to kill everyone).

Motivation (and as a result, character development) is something that Crysis 3 just doesn’t seem to understand. Psycho is the only person with any real motivation as CELL “skinned” him from his suit by tearing it off his body. Claire, the leader of the anti-CELL force, is given a motivation late in the game, but for a long time you’re left wondering why anyone is really doing anything. CELL is evil because we’re told they’re evil. There is just so much raw potential in the story, but it feels like it’s being told in the most incapable way.

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One thing that Crysis 3 does at least deserve credit for is consistency. There are no radical tonal shifts or jumps. The narrative may be thin, but Prophet’s complaints about the Ceph remain constant (and warranted), and it themes of transhumanism and why we fight are touched upon throughout the story. Granted, they are presented with one of the most heavy-handed voice-over narratives I’ve ever heard, at least they are consistent.

Graphics/Presentation: Crysis 3 is a graphical powerhouse. On the 360 and PS3, it’s is up there with the best looking games of this generation. You might be able to argue minutia of whether Halo 4 had better textures or if this had nicer lighting, but simply, it’s a good looking game. The facial capture is fantastic and you can really come to be friends with Psycho simply off how real he looks.

That doesn’t mean it’s without problems. Perhaps because of how intense the game is graphically, I experienced plenty of pop-in throughout the game. Objects would appear and disappear, as would enemies. Textures didn’t seem to suffer often, but it could be annoying when you drove into a wall of air, then a building appeared in its place. This isn’t really a huge gripe, but it’s worth noting. On the PC, however…

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Oh man, Crysis 3 on the PC. This game will be one of the bars that people measure their systems against. The draw distance, lighting, textures, faces, particle effects… everything about it was gorgeous. Playing the game on High settings, which still looked great, I was able to pull 60 fps constantly, and I could run Very High at ~40 fps. So this game is a real system crusher, be wary if you have a weaker machine.

Gameplay/Controls: Thankfully, Crysis 3’s gameplay is better than its story. The series has always held a bit of unique position in the FPS genre as it’s based around a single conceit: you are the most powerful chip on the board. Crysis 3 embraces this idea fully.

For the start of the game, you are the ultimate predator. You can turn invisible for great deals of time, harden your armor to take tons of damage, sprint around at full speeds, and use an impressive array of weapons. You won’t need to use any of the other guns in the game though because Crysis 3 pulls out its WMD the first chance it gets: the bow.

The bow can kill nearly every enemy in a single shot, can shoot explosives that take down helicopters, and shoot arrows that electrocute people, all while never having to decloak your stealth. You can literally enter an area, crouch, and take out every enemy. Then once you’ve killed them all, you can walk over their bodies and pick up your arrows again. Playing on Supersoldier, the hardest difficulty, I used no other weapon than the bow for 90% of the game and made it through without hardly ever dying.

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This leads to what some may consider a problem: the game is unbelievably easy. Unless you impose restrictions on yourself like “can only use stealth for 10 seconds”, you will not find challenge in this game. You are the apex predator, and though you may die one or twice, especially in the two scenes where the game takes away your suit powers, you will likely make it through without any trouble.

This doesn’t mean the game isn’t fun. Sitting in a patch of tall grass, waiting for an enemy to walk by then pinning him to the wall with an arrow, it’s great fun. You really get the feel for just how powerful the nanosuit is. It’s works with the story.

Sound: The sound design for Crysis 3 is alright. There are times when the game sounds quite nice: standing in the tall grass while hiding from Stalkers, the air being cut as you launch your bow. There are times when it sounds only good, such as Sean David Kennedy’s over the top accent for Psycho which he really sells (and I ended up liking near the end). And then there are times when Crysis 3 is simply an affront to the world of audio mixing.

The biggest offense is that there are times when the audio quite literally falls apart. For a good chunk of time during the second mission, the audio was static and clipped, taking two minutes to say things that the subtitles had drawn up in the cinematics so long ago. This wasn’t a one time occurrence either. I experienced it in the third and fifth mission as well, on both the PC and 360 versions. The credit cookie (which you can see after sitting through 24 MINUTES(!) OF CREDITS) had a version of this problem too, but it was far worse. I only got little snippets of what they were saying, and it was far desynchronized from the person speaking them. It tore down the experience every time it happened.

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James Vincent Meredith’s performance as Prophet also leaves something to be desired. He seems mostly emotionless, and every time he talks about the Ceph he comes across as whiny. It doesn’t help that his dialogue for the narration is grandiose and awkward, but overall it was a serviceable performance.

Replay: The game isn’t long. I clocked my run through on Supersoldier mode at 7 hours (though the in game clock told me it was 5), but I spent a great deal of time slowly stalking my prey. I’m sure dedicated players could run through this game on Easy in a few hours. There are collectibles to obtain, but not a crazy amount of them. I managed to pick up 92% of them just playing through the game and doing sidequests when presented.

But outside of the singleplayer there is the whole multiplayer universe. The online for Crysis 3 can be a blast. There are a handful of modes like Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag, but the real standout winner is Hunter mode, which plays out like Infection from Halo 2. You are either a weak human or a superpowered nanosuit wearer with unlimited invisibility and a bow. The feeling of running at top speed, leaping into the air, and sniping a running human is fantastic, and the game mode can be wonderfully addicting.

Turning invisible, or throwing on a shield to stop a killing blow completely changes the dynamic from a normal shooter, and I would normally recommend the game on this alone, but Crysis 3’s online suffers a terrible blow: the netcode is a wreck.

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Sometimes you’ll play a game and everything will be perfect. You’ll die when people shoot you (or live if you use armor!), your audio alert will tell you when a suit is approaching with a metallic twang, and a well-placed arrow will send a player to nanosuit heaven (or maybe turn them into a pile of meat goo that Prophet will possess). But then other matches will be cataclysmic.

Though everyone will report having good connectivity and there won’t be visible lag, things just don’t work. In one match, I entered a building, ran up the stairs, crouched in a corner, then died. In the killcam, it was shown that I was sniped as I was running up to the building, a great deal of time before I died. Via killcams, I’ve seen arrows pass through walls, through the ground, and through time. People have run up to me and stood on top of me and my audio sensor only works for a second before I die. I’ve pulled the trigger and not had bullets come out of my gun.

When Crysis 3 online works, it really works. It’s probably the best online I’ve played since Black Ops 2. But when it messes up, it really falls apart. You can usually spot it pretty quick though; it will be the match where everyone quits in less than a minute.

Crysis 3 PlayStation 3 Footage Shown Below.

Overall,  Crysis 3 is a fun game with a bit of a personality disorder. It can be the best dressed girl at the ball, and it can be the girl who stayed home to muck out the stables. The story is weak, but the gameplay really makes up for it. If you want a fun game and can deal with some melodrama, or cool online that sometimes drops the ball, this game is for you, Gambler.

Written By: D.R. Maddock


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