Super soldiers in videogames are a common entity, sometimes you can’t even tell them a part. Yes I know I’m supposedly racist(?) against super soldiers, but has there ever been one that stood out as a compelling character? Take for instance Master Chief, probably one of the most well-known characters in gaming, yet barely has any depth beyond that of a block of wood (and before someone comes in and says ‘you should read the books’, I’m basing this simply on the games, if this were a book blog then this would be an entirely different argument…maybe). So why do these demi-gods born from syringes and lab experiments tend to sell pretty well when it comes to videogames? Well, probably because it’s their image that impacts people, like the way a Bruce Willis or Liam Neeson flick draws people to theaters.
However we can explore the idea of a super soldier in a different time, now is the time for the Crysis 3 review (developed by Crytek, published by EA)! Let me be clear, I never played the first two Crysis games so this was basically my introduction to the CryEngine 3, and damn did it look fine. Also yes, I did play it on my 360, I know I should have got it for PC and blah blah blah…I’m a simple-minded peasant consumer for playing it on a console. However with that said, the game still looks crisp when even running it on 360. The amount of detail put into crafting this world, starting from the rain to the tall grass is pretty stunning even when on a supposed ‘less’ superior version.
I can keep talking all day long about how great the visuals look, but what about the game? What makes it stand out from the rest of the increasing stack of generic FPS titles? By allowing more than one play style, and having open areas that rarely involve linear corridors or bland halls.
In the game you play as Prophet, a character whose name sounds like a super-pimp rather than a super-soldier, is reactivated 24 years after the events of Crysis 2. Apparently New York has now been covered in a huge dome, constructed by the evil CELL corporation, and not only that but it’s a tropical rainforest. Along the way he meets several key characters, such as Psycho a ‘used to be’ super soldier who was stripped of his suit, and Claire the head of the resistance.
The story can be convoluted at times, but to be fair maybe it’s because I didn’t play the previous games to fully figure out what was going on. At its core it does have story elements/twists that I’ve seen in previous sci-fi games (Mass Effect, Halo). However what sells it here are the performances given by the actors and the character depth as seen from the writing. Prophet may seem like a typical videogame archetype on the outside, but thanks to the actor (James Vincent Meredith) he has a pretty unique range of emotions that aren’t limited to just sounding badass or gruff. There are even some interesting and emotional character scenes that add some leverage to the somewhat confusing plotline.
Although the biggest draw here is the gameplay and how versatile it is. Allowing the player to fit Prophet the way they see fit, you want a brawler that can totally knock out a group of CEPH scouts with only one vehicle? It’s there, you want to feel like the predator and assassinate targets from the tall grass with your bow & arrow? Totally can do that.
It sounds like it’s strictly class based, but it’s really a pick and choose sort of upgrade mechanic that you can access at any moment. For throughout the majority of the game I was basically playing with the extended cloak and assassin perk, it was a lot of fun to snipe out enemies or take them out quietly But after a while I wanted to shoot the shit out of stuff, and so I switched over to my tank set that had an endurance and brawler perk. What’s neat is that this is all done through no pause menu, it’s done by simply pressing the select button, choosing what perks you want to go with, and you don’t need to wait to get back in the game – it’s very instant.
In fact it’s the same way with the weapons. Having the ability to customize your arsenal by either applying a muzzle, silencer, or an extended mag. The only downfall here is that you can’t choose what weapons you want at the beginning of each mission, unless there was something crucial there that I missed. Although the main attraction here is definitely the highly showcased bow & arrow that comes with detonation, electric, and frag arrows. There are also CEPH weapons that function differently and can allow for deadly firepower.
Earlier I brought up that one of the main strong points of the game were the open and lush levels. Within a good majority of these levels are good opportunities to spring up strategies or just go hog-wild crazy. They’re pretty much mini-sandboxes in a linear-progressed campaign, which is not a bad thing. It’s refreshing to actually see levels in a videogame that aren’t limited to just small contained spaces that go in one direction, even though they’re not all perfect.
I only had a few complaints here about the game, one of which was that the game does feel short, but in truth it’s only just a minor one. As much as I thought the whole urban rainforest environment was really neat, it could have benefited to see some entirely different areas that didn’t pertain to just trees and beautiful-tropical wastelands, but once again that’s just a minor complaint (if not, just me nitpicking). However this is another game that has the same issue with other triple-A games with short campaigns, which is the equal amount of time spent on refining and/or inserting multiplayer.
The multiplayer isn’t bad here, don’t get me wrong, however it does not really separate itself from the rest of the COD/Halo inspired multiplayer modes. Take for instance hunter mode, it’s a lot of fun to play, but it’s basically zombie mode except tweaked just so it can fit within the Crysis theme. The modes are very typical, you have a siege mode, you have a capture the flag-ish mode, and of course you have the team deathmatch mode. I will say though that I did have a surprisingly good time playing some of these modes, mostly because of the whole cloaking ability and being able sneak up on people. Those moments are rewarding, but ultimately not even that or the nicely detailed loadout menu was able to sway me into playing more of it.
Even with its, eh, problems the game is still very solid. If you’re into multiplayer along with just wanting more than one way to go through eliminating enemies, then I say pick this game up. Although if you want to play the game just for the campaign, I say just rent it or buy it when the price drops sometime soon, not because it’s in any way ‘bad’, it’s just a tad short.
Although I will say that the idea of utilizing a nanosuit can be very useful, in the idea that I would no longer have to wait in line at the grocery store! Okay now I’m excited, nanotechnology here we come!