FutureFive NZ - Review: Crysis 3 Xbox 360

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Review: Crysis 3 Xbox 360

It is time to don the Nanosuit as Prophet, once again, takes on both the alien Ceph and the corrupt CELL Corporation in Crysis 3.

Never Played a Crysis game before? Confused? Don’t be. All will be revealed.

As with the previous games in the series, Crysis 3 is a science-fiction first-person shooter; the player controlling an ability-enhancing Nanosuited super-soldier code-named Prophet.

Using augmented strength, speed, armour and a nifty cloaking invisibility mode, players take on both human and alien opponents.

The first game in the series, Crysis covers the events surrounding the awakening of an ancient biomechanical alien race, called the Ceph. Set a remote Pacific island, the games environment starts out as a lush jungle before becoming transformed into a frozen battleground as the Ceph mobilise.

Taking control of the Nanosuited operative Nomad, players are up against both the occupying Korean Army and the reawakened alien forces.

In Crysis 2, set three years after the first, the action switches to a devastated New York with the private military outfit, Crynet Enforcement & Local Logistics (known as CELL) fighting off the aliens from the first game. This time protagonist is a US marine codenamed Alcatraz who, at beginning of the game, is given a Nanosuit by Prophet; Nomad’s commanding officer from the first game.

Sick with a deadly plague, Prophet then seemingly takes his own life. Hunted by Ceph and CELL forces alike, Alcatraz must navigate his way around the war-torn New York and rescue a VIP who possesses the key to saving humanity. During the course of the game Alcatraz unlocks Prophet’s memories buried deep in the Nanosuit eventually becoming one with the suits former wearer.

As the game closes, when asked who is in the suit, Alcatraz simply replies, “They call me Prophet”.

There’s absolutely no need to have played the other games before you play this one. From a gameplay point of view the action within is totally independent from that which has gone before. In any case, the game starts with the brief recap of the story so far, basically filling you in with the above.

Crysis 3 picks up 24 years after the events in Crysis 2 with Michael Sykes, formally the Nanosuited operative known as Psycho, reactivating Prophet aboard a CELL transport. The foul mouthed Brit, who had his own

Nanosuit forcibly removed from him by CELL scientists, is now part of a resistance group. The group is fighting a guerrilla war against the powerful Cell Corporation, who has managed to subjugate the population with a form of indentured slavery.

Since defeating the Ceph, CELL has been using alien technology to corner the market on energy and in the process become the world’s most powerful corporation. The source of this power, System X, is kept within the domed ruins of Manhattan, which has now been reclaimed by nature.

The game environment is interesting mix of the lush jungle of Crysis and the urban New York setting of Crysis 2. Deer and other animals roam the grassy fields and canyons that form this surreal NYC. Bizarrely, harmless feral alien Ceph drones also occupy the overgrown urban landscape. Just as in the first game, the presence of a Nanosuit, in this case Prophet, once again awakens the dormant and malevolent alien force.

What follows is an epic trek across the ruins of New York as Prophets seeks to finally put an end to the alien menace before it wipes out humanity. All credit must go to the developers, Crytek, for giving us a true trilogy of games.

Each Crysis game feels like a proper act in a narrative arc; a beginning and middle and an end. This last act, whilst feeling a little on rails at time, does provide the epic conclusion to an epic story.

The game is powered by Crytek’s proprietary CryENGINE 3 technology, the same as Crysis 2. This amazing graphics engine is still managing to wring the last bit of power from the aging Xbox 360. The visuals are very easy on the eye, the lush vegetation of the ruined city expertly rendered and full of beautiful detail.

Although there were a few tell-tale signs that we are nearing the end of this current console cycle. Crytek have gone on record as saying that Crysis 3 uses all but 1% of the console’s capabilities.

Whilst that may be so, there were a few times that it looked as if Crysis 3 could’ve done with a bit more processing power. Stuttering sound, iffy motion blur and some depth-of-field focusing issues that were not present in the PC version betray the platform’s limitations.

As we reach the end of this generation and developers gear up for the next we are, sadly, going to see more games starting to struggle a bit on the Xbox 360. This issues are really only niggles and in no way affect the enjoyment of the game.

Crysis 3’s gameplay builds on that of the previous games. The Nanosuit's strength ability provides the means to reach elevated positions that in turn affords players with the opportunity to engage opponents from afar. The suits cloaking ability allows for some pretty cool up-close-and enemy takedowns.

The inclusion of a bow in Prophet's arsenal this time around improves on the series unique stealth gameplay that goes with the cloaking ability.

Ordinarily, as soon as a weapon is fired, the Nanosuit’s invisibility switches off allowing everyone to see where you are. With the bow Prophet stays invisible, enabling players to sneak across the whole map taking out all the enemies without them knowing what hit them.

Ammo isn’t a problem either, as long as arrows are collected from the fallen. I found myself using the tactical view, to locate and mark enemies on the HUD, a lot more this time in order to take full advantage of this enhanced stealth gameplay,

As fun as the bow is, you can’t beat a full on assault and for that Crysis 3 delivers with a huge variety of weapons from pistols through to rifles, with even a few alien devices for the extra bit of carnage. Weapons are customisable, but I didn’t really feel a great need to do so.

The same goes for the Nanosuit; along the way I picked up a victory of different suit buffs, but never once did I bother to adjust them.

Apart from a few invisible walls and some inexplicably un-traversable vegetation, I can find little fault with the game. The AI is good although, as usual, I found the human opponents more fun than the aliens. I think it is a personal preference of mine, but I’ve always felt this way about the Crysis games.

If I did have to choose one thing that really miffed me it’d be the game’s hacking mini-game. Crytek have taken those awful quick time events and managed to make them into something even more annoying. The mindless timed button-mashing is a bit of a letdown in a game that otherwise pushes boundaries.

Whilst the single player campaign does provide an epic conclusion to the series, the fun doesn’t stop with the credits. Crytek has been honing the Crysis multiplayer game with every new release.

Crysis 3 offers up the usual multiplayer faire, but spliced with the unique abilities of the Nanosuit. The game comes with a variety of multiplayer modes based around multiplayer staples such as deathmatch, base capture, capture the flag and assault.

Hunter is by far the stand out multiplayer mode. Players are divided into two teams. One team being made up of ten CELL operatives and the other, the Hunters, a team of two permanently invisible Nanosuited operatives armed with bows.

The aimed of the game is for the CELL team to survive for two minute whilst the hunters are tasked to bumping of the CELL guys. Similar to a Zombie mode, each dead CELL player is resurrected as a Hunter, the odds becoming exponentially stacked against the CELL team as their teammates are taken out and switch sides.

The multiplayer mode on the Xbox 360 doesn’t seem to be as popular as the Halos and Call of Dutys, but community is there and it is fairly easy to get into a local game.

Crysis 3 provides a fitting conclusion to an excellent trilogy. The ending does leave the door open for more, but I think that it would have to be in a totally different direction.

Despite the large levels, the single-player campaign did seem a little more constrained than before but what I felt I’d lost in freedom I gained with the game’s pacing. It was never dull to play.

Technically game pushes the Xbox 360 to its limits and whilst the aging console does struggle to keep up sometimes, it never really interferes with the game. A cracking single player campaign coupled with a fun multiplayer mode make Crysis 3 an easy game to recommend.

Graphics: 9.5
Gameplay: 9.0
Sound: 8.5
Lasting appeal: 8.5

Overall: 9.0

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