This edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Crytek's post-apocalyptic first-person shooter Crysis 3, which reviewers describe as "a self-assured but largely unambitious game." Crysis 3 currently earns a score of 78 out of 100 at Metacritic.com.
Game Informer's Matt Bertz scores Crysis 3 at 8.5 out of 10. "Modern science fiction is filled with wondrous alternate realities showcasing awe-inspiring technologies, but good stories are hard to come by," he notes. "Though it's still saddled with the plot baggage of its predecessors, Crysis 3 is at least the most cohesive story in the series."
Gameplay also sees its share of refinements. "Crysis 2 traded the wide-open jungles of the first game in favor of a series of smaller micro-sandboxes," Bertz explains. "This approach still allowed players to use the attacking tactic of their choosing, but some players longed for the freedom the first game provided."
Bertz continues: "Crysis 3 delivers a better balance of these two design philosophies. Many battles still take place in controlled spaces that limit your movement, but the action eventually opens up. The best missions, which come later in the game, feature multiple objectives you can tackle in any order, a healthy mix between standard infantry enemies and menacing heavies like the Pinger, larger tracts of land, and an array of vehicles the player can choose to use or ignore in favor of a stealthy approach."
The game may prove too easy for series veterans, however. "Whatever tactic you use, Crysis veterans should turn up the difficulty if they want a serious challenge over the course of the six-hour campaign," Bertz recommends. "With a customizable nanosuit that allows you to tailor the suit's powers to your play style, a new compound bow that you can use in stealth mode, and several high-powered alien weapons at your disposal, Prophet is more deadly than ever before."
"Crysis 3's evolutionary enhancements don't move the needle for the series very far, but the core nanosuit-based gameplay is still thrilling," Bertz praises. "If you have a rig that can run the PC version of Crysis 3, I strongly recommend you go this route. The high-resolution textures, realistic lighting, and detailed facial animations gives you a taste of the graphical fidelity we expect to be standard in next-generation consoles."
Matthew Rorie at GameSpy gives Crysis 34 out of 5 stars. "Let's get this clear up front: Crysis 3 is a better first-person shooter than Crysis 2 in almost every way," he assures. "Gameplay is more robust and varied, the storytelling is more mature, and it's often visually stunning.
"Unfortunately, it's also not very ambitious: it leans heavily on ideas already established by better games, and as such isn't an especially remarkable experience. Its reach might exceed its grasp in a few key areas, but Crysis 3 is still a largely enjoyable excuse to take a trip to post-apocalyptic New York."
Rorie warns that players can expect a slow start. "The first couple of levels feel rote and uninspired, and they're not helped by the feeling that the story is being picked up in medias res," he writes. "Text and audio logs provide some clues here (although the audio logs frustratingly make us sit in a menu the whole time they're playing), and the storyline is at least largely self-contained. A weak start hurts, though, because at only six hours long, Crysis 3 doesn't have a lot of time to waste."
"There are a few good tweaks to the core gameplay, though, most notably a simple hacking tool that lets you turn turrets and other computerized equipment against their owners," Rorie continues. "If you are interested in running and gunning, you'll find that most of the weapons here are holdovers from Crysis 2, although you are given a new compound bow early on, archery apparently being a bit of a fad in games of late. It comes with a variety of ammunition that allows you to adapt to the varying circumstances that you run up against."
"Crysis 3 is a self-assured but largely unambitious game, content to refine the experience of the previous games in the series without deviating very far from the standard that they set," Rorie says. "It takes itself a bit more seriously than its plot probably warrants, sure, and it willfully throws out references to games that are far more memorable than it ultimately winds up being, but to its credit, it seems quite comfortable to focus on execution rather than the revolution that the first Crysis shot for. Considering that it delivers a fun, polished experience, it's hard to fault it for that."
Polygon's Arthur Gies rates Crysis 3 at 7 out of 10. "Crytek has said on record that its goal is to make the best-looking game ever created," he recalls. "The studio has succeeded. Playing through the third Crysis game [...], I was stunned again and again by what was coming out of my PC. We've been talking for a year about the possibilities of the next generation of video game hardware, what it will look and sound like. Crysis 3 answers that now."
However: "A considerably less engaging playground and some ill-conceived additions serve to bleed Crysis 3 of its hereditary muscle," Gies writes. "Crysis 3 never manages to employ the Nanosuit-oriented brilliance of previous games, but it doesn't ultimately matter -- it never seems to ask much of the player, either."
Gies finds that the Nanosuit offers unique gameplay opportunites. "The Nanosuit offers a sense of raw physicality unlike any other first-person game out there," he praises. "There's something fundamentally satisfying about sprinting toward an impossible jump and just making it, your avatar grabbing at the ledge and hurling itself up and over, only to cloak and sneak forward to play the part of silent killer. In turn, activating the Nanosuit's armor mode, basking in invulnerability and laying into a group of Cell agents or alien Ceph with an M60 is rewarding in its own way."
These opportunities don't present themselves very often, however. "There are moments of greatness, particularly when a clever environmental layout is paired with capable enemies, which forced me to really consider my options rather than skulk around like some kind of serial murderer," Gies recalls. "It would have been even nicer to see some of the more powerful enemies paired up with larger numbers of infantry units, as the game rarely turns the odds against you."
"I enjoyed myself despite how much of a step backward the entire game feels from its predecessors," Gies concludes. "It's a beautiful game with jaw-dropping production values. But it took me a few hours to realize how empty Crysis 3 feels. The best thing I can manage to say about it is this: It didn't get in my way. But I would have had more fun if Crysis 3 had put up a fight."