As far as console games go, it doesn't get much prettier than Crysis 3, the latest effort from developer Crytek. Built upon the eponymous CryEngine, Crysis 3 again takes place in a dilapidated futuristic vision of New York City, 24 years after the events in Crysis 2. Even more overgrown with greenery and wild animals than before, the city bares little if any resemblance of what it once was.
You probably don't need to have played the previous game to get the gist of what's going on in Crysis 3 as there is a fair amount of overlap with plotlines and characters. To me, Crysis never really excelled at delivering a compelling narrative, so it'll be the first-person-shooter action and snazzy graphics that draws in gamers.
Players assume the role of Prophet, a soldier with a mechanized suit that can use an invisibility cloak and hardened armor shell. Prophet must use these abilities to sniff out operatives from an evil organization and speedy creatures left over from an alien invasion.
There's not many new and exciting abilities within Prophet's arsenal, save for the introduction of a high-end bow and arrow. It's a great addition considering the huge open areas gamers will find themselves in -- and especially where stealthiness is paramount.
Technically speaking, Crysis 3 is a gorgeous example of what's still possible on current-gen hardware, but PC gamers will really be treated to some jaw-dropping eye-candy. During my time with the game on Xbox 360 I experienced a significant amount of choppiness and a dreadful sound dropout that was tough to ignore.
One area I really had a difficult time appreciating is Prophet's upgrading system. Even at the time of this writing I'm still not completely sure I understand every aspect of its implementation. Upgrades and abilities are laid out in a rows of four (like a slot machine) and have a corresponding unlocking value assigned. But once you open an ability, you then must customize a loadout so that the abilities can be activated. It's here where the confusion starts. Why does this have to be so complicated? I understand the desire to turn these types of features into mini-games of their own, but Crysis 3's upgrade mechanic didn't work for me on any level.
If you can bypass Crysis 3's lack of an engaging storyline, you'll likely enjoy a lot of what it has to offer. There's plenty of impressive sequences that unfold and do a wonderful job of pacing the action. That said, as a player I wish I could take part in these blockbuster scenes as opposed to just sitting there paralyzed as the events take their course.
CNET verdict: Shooter fans only
Crysis 3 doesn't innovate much nor stray away from the crux of the series, but core shooter fans will enjoy making their way through the game. Crysis 3's visuals are almost always off the charts even if a few technical hiccups occasionally dampen the main campaign experience.
Casual fans of first-person-shooters would wise to try out a demo of the game before playing or check out some more video to better decide on making a purchase.
As always, you can also check out GameSpot's full review here.