As a single player experience, Crysis 3 unfortunately tends to fall into the category of generic shooter. Much like previous entries in the series, the semi-open world mechanics lean more towards encouraging player creativity, but does very little to coax them from their standard run-and-gun ways. A primary offender of this is the mediocre AI, which tends to render the opposing forces wandering around the battlefield aimlessly until attacked. Sure, the player may have an invisibility cloak of sorts, but their lack of logical squad tactics leave much to be desired. The result is a collection of enemies with a chronic case of what some might call “short bus syndrome.” At the end of the day, all the player needs to do is press forward and shoot anything that enters the crosshairs. Despite the ability to branch out and try new approaches to combat, when there is so little done to force the audience outside of the normal comfort zone or reward for them doing so, any true innovation ends up lost in a haze of gunfire and chaos.
What the campaign lacks in overall innovation, it attempts to overcompensate with production values. And to that point, you would be hard pressed to find a more gorgeous showcase of high-end PC technology. The lush visual presentation that varies from sparse mechanical cityscapes to densely populated jungle all scream of environmental artists gone wild with ambition, yet lacking an overall direction. Variety is nice, but this is borderline schizophrenia. But what a beautiful madness it is… Further emphasizing the fantastic presentation, each character model is so painstakingly realistic looking that it dips a toe into the waters of the uncanny valley. We may not quite be there yet, but with time the lines could further blur into oblivion.
But really, who wants to once again toil in the trenches saving humanity by themselves when they could instead be fragging their friends in multiplayer? When it comes to playing with strangers in an online FPS, there are few that can match what Crysis 3 is offering. Featuring a standard leveling system, complete with equipment unlocks and perks (Call of Duty says “Hi”) the fast paced chess match will be able to keep audiences entertained for countless hours on end. Under most circumstances, the stages that will be the most entertaining are those that find a way to emphasize usage of the different tools found in the nanosuit in intriguing ways. As previously alluded to, these matches will turn into mental battles of who can best use a combination of the environment and the proverbial tools in their utility belt to outsmart the opposition. He (or in some cases, she) who makes the first mistake, will ultimately suffer the most dire of consequences.
For everything that Crysis 3 manages to do right, there are still significant stumbling blocks that prevent it from ultimately becoming the classic that Crytek no doubt hoped it could be. That isn’t to say that it isn’t worth playing, but if your platform of choice isn’t PC, which is where it truly shines at least in the visual sense, it may be worth holding off on. This may be one of the opening salvos in the next stage of the console cycle, unfortunately it is also one where PC is currently leaving consoles in the dust. Player beware, your mileage may vary.