Crysis 3 is an interesting case. On paper, combining the best parts of the first two games in the series not only made sense, but it also seemed to make for a great game. Heck, it even played well back at E3.
But you know what they say: just because it looks good on paper doesn’t mean it’ll come out great. Sadly, that rings true here. A game that looks absolutely fantastic fails to find its own identity as Crysis 3 is nothing more than an above average shooter. Heck, we’d probably like more if it wasn’t for the name rising expectations.
Expectations, that’s an interesting word in gaming, isn’t it? It’s safe to say when the game was announced, our expectations were high. Crytek followed up a successful PC release of Crysis with a more streamlined and accessible sequel in Crysis 2. This would be the end of the trilogy, the debut of CryEngine 3, and a chance to make one of the best shooters this generation by combining the good from the first two and learning from mistakes.
I can’t help but be sad things didn’t turn out the way I expected, which is ironic because Crysis 3 is everything I wanted it to be. It just turns out that what I wanted isn’t as great as I thought.
I absolutely have to talk about CryEngine 3 first. The thing is absolutely beautiful. Yes, the game will push both consoles and PCs to their absolute limits. Remember when Crysis 1 came out and PC’s feared the thing? That’s happening again, but there are some issues along the way in regards to optimization. The game’s refusal to run at 60 FPS on my PC, which could easily handle Crysis 2, is beyond disappointing. Is CryEngine 3 that much better looking? Yes and no. The detail to the game has been increased, but you’ll have to look super hard to notice improvements. If Crytek chose to better optimize and utilize their previous engine, then they’d still have the best looking game on the market.
Apart from the engine, problems arise from the get go. This is a cinematic experience and Crytek wants you to know that. You’ll often be taken out of gameplay seamlessly into a quick cut scene that serves little to no purpose. I understand that there’s a story trying to be told, but we’re realizing that the franchise is at its best when you’re given guns and an open field to play with.
Speaking of those open fields, they’ve made somewhat of a return, though the jungles of New York aren’t the jungles of an isolated island. The game’s still a little to linear for my tastes, but there’s a distinct lack of identity to be found this time around. I longed for the streets of war-torn New York. I wanted the full blown guerrilla warfare of the jungle. Instead, I got a compromise and I wasn’t terribly happy about it.
But again, I go back to the expectations I had for the game. Personally, they were quite high. My PC was ready to be put to the test. I wanted that ultimate Crysis feeling. Instead, I got a campaign that mish-mashed what worked from the first two titles, multiplayer that feels like Call of Duty with the speed dialed wayyy up, and instead of a grand finale, someone wet the fuse. Lower your expectations and you can enjoy a quick weekend with Crysis 3. But don’t expect the swan song for a visually impressive franchise.