Dome, Sweet Dome!
Crysis 3 is probably the prettiest game you'll ever see on a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. The PC version really pushes the boundaries in terms of tech, but its console cousins are no slouches, either. Look around and you'll see marvels: the rocks are slippery with rushing water, the sky is covered with shifting clouds, grass sways beneath your feet, and buildings and enemies are wonderfully detailed.
It helps that the game takes you somewhere really special, too. After the first Crysis game dropped you into a tropical island mid-way through an alien invasion, and Crysis 2 whisked you to New York once the outer-space baddies had reached Manhattan, Crysis 3 wants you to have the best of both worlds. Twenty years have passed since you defeated the alien menace - or did you? - and in that time, the evil Cell Network has built a massive dome over the remains of New York City, imprisoning any remaining extra-terrestrial threats inside.
Inside the dome, all is not what it seems, however: geological processes have been sped up, and New York has become an urban rainforest. Streets have split into canyons, and the financial district's become a network of caverns. Cast as Prophet, the Nanosuited superhero who's been sent to save the day, this means you get to explore a range of diverse environments, shooting up everything you come across as you try to work out exactly what the Cell network is up to.
To help you on your way, you've got that futuristic suit of yours, of course: a weapons system that can provide you with bursts of super strength when you need to race across the terrain at double-speed or kick a car into a bunch of enemies, but which also allows you to either boost your armour capacity during firefights or turn invisible when you want to get sneaky. This is where Crysis 3 is at its best, in fact: alongside the suit you've got a new Predator Bow for sending arrows silently winging their way across the landscape, picking off foes without being seen.
Like the game's guns, your bow can be customised and filled with different ammo - some of which is electrical, say, or explosive. You can also customise your suit in various ways by collecting upgrade kits. This should bring new life to the campaign as you kit yourself out with a variety of different skills before wading back into the action.
That's the good news. On the down side, Crysis 3 sometimes struggles to live up to its promise. None of its guns are as memorable as the weapons you wield in a Halo or a Call of Duty game, for example, while the campaign's fairly short and filled with the sort of set-pieces you're likely to have played through in dozens of other games. There's variety - you'll get vehicle sections, bosses, and a handful of story moments - but, environment aside, there's little that you genuinely won't have seen before. It's prettier here, but you may still tire of the campaign before it reaches its conclusion.
Luckily, that's when you'll want to switch to multiplayer, and this is where Crysis 3 really shines: there are twelve varied maps to play through, all the levelling up and unlock action you could care for, and plenty of great modes, from death match and a version of Capture the Flag and King of the Hill, to a brand new game type called Hunters, in which two players don the Nanosuit to track down and kill all the other players - growing their ranks with each kill.
In multiplayer, Crysis 3 is fast and furious and endlessly entertaining. It's just a shame that the campaign can't quite live up to the same high standards. If you're looking for a really good-looking shooter with clever stealth options and a great multiplayer, this should still be well worth your time. If you're just after a truly outstanding single-player campaign, however, you're going to end up a little bit disappointed.
- Stunning visuals
- Great stealth
- Lots of multiplayer fun
- Short campaign
- Disappointing gunplay
- Set-pieces are a bit predictable