Crysis is a first-person shooter series renowned for good looks above everything else – play Crysis 3 on either of the two main seven year-old consoles, and it won’t feel like outdated technology anymore.
The story of the series is notoriously rubbish, however, and while Crysis 3 makes a well-intentioned bid to turn the tide on that overall bored consensus, the game ends up being almost exactly as good as the last one anyway.
What worked about Crysis 2 was the gorgeously-realised vision of an I Am Legend-esque abandoned New York, wartorn by humans and aliens that still had the hallmarks of the city you know and love – that’s all still here, except Manhattan has been placed under a giant dome, and there’s loads more verdant overgrowth hugging the remains of mankind’s favourite island.
To walk around this place, sometimes just booting yellow cabs around in a nanosuit or looking down a decaying corridor of skyscrapers without the interruption of enemies is actually awe-inspiring in itself. It’s just that not every firefight is that interesting, particularly as most of the occupants of this amazing world could’ve been airlifted in from any other shooting game.
Some set pieces have a much larger sense of scale than the previous Crysis – but they’re a little too infrequent, and a lot of the objectives just aren’t terribly thrilling. You still spend a bit too much time running through corridors, too, which seems like a waste of a fictional world like this.
A better addition to this empowering shooter, though, is the multi-ammo bow-and-arrow, a devastatingly cool weapon that sits well in these times where The Hunger Games and Arrow have such captive audiences. The bow really affects the momentum of Crysis 3’s gameplay in a positive way, and shooting explosive arrows into groups of enemies only for them to then explode is brilliantly silly fun.
Story is still the main factor holding Crysis back, though. If Crytek can find a way to make this universe less generic and more exciting, this would undoubtedly be one of the best FPS series on the market. But hearing characters get emotional about nanosuits is as about as interesting as it gets – and to us, that’s still less exciting than the idea of a Chancellor Valorum Star Wars spin-off movie about trade disputes. There’s still a long way to go for mainstream games in storytelling, it seems.