Crysis 3 single-player review: looks can kill

By John Keefer, Feb 19, 2013 6:00am PST

The Crysis series has always been the benchmark for pushing gaming PCs to their limits. Crysis 3 is no different. It is unsurprisingly gorgeous on PC, especially if you have a rig capable of showing off all the wonderful things that CryEngine 3 can do.

But get past the pretty graphics, and you'll discover a strong single-player campaign with engrossing gameplay and a decent-enough story.

What makes Crysis 3 so fun to play is the array of weapons and powers you can play with while donning the Nanosuit. Every situation pushed me to experiment with many different augments, weapons upgrades, ammunition, and suit abilities. Dying wasn't an impediment; it encouraged me to try a different combination to see if I got better results.

The star of the arsenal is the Predator bow. Using my visor to tag enemies, it became a choreographed dance of death as I invisibly maneuvered to vantage points to silently pick off enemies. Hearing their panicked comments as their numbers dwindled made the experience all the more satisfying. Arrows can be equipped with explosive or electric tips, offering more killing power against tougher or multiple enemies. I occasionally found myself wanting to eliminate every single enemy on the map, even when I didn't have to, just for the continued pleasure of using the bow.

Granted, some later enemies necessitated heavier firepower than the bow. If I didn't have a good weapon, it was rather easy to swap for a better one, such as Ceph weapons that quickly make enemies explode into jelly rather. There is a relative scarcity of ammo, however; I found myself doing more melee and in-your-face kills than I'm usually comfortable with.

AI impressed me, especially on higher difficulties. Silly mistakes, such as coming out of stealth too soon, become quite difficult to recover from. I had to constantly monitor my energy meter or tag new enemies as they showed. Otherwise, both CELL and Ceph troops would easily overwhelm me.

Unfortunately, Crysis 3 is not without its flaws. Early in the game, it was fairly easy to move from point A to point B, while tackling the occasional side mission. But as the game progressed, the areas get larger and it becomes easy to get lost. On more than one occasion, I found myself wandering aimlessly trying to get to the next checkpoint, checking the map several times to see if there was a path I was missing. I eventually made it through, but not without some frustration.

In addition, checkpoints are few and far between, particularly in large areas with a lot of enemies. Since Crysis 3 eschews a quick save system, moving from checkpoint to checkpoint to save your progress is vital. While I didn't die too often, there were certain times that an untimely death pushed me back to the beginning of a level, forcing me to navigate the whole area again.

A few bugs also dampened the experience. From hard crashes to clipping through the floor, there were numerous glitches that interfered with my progress. Nonetheless, Crysis 3's campaign was a satisfying experience, a journey that took me nearly ten hours to complete. It's also a dazzling showcase for CryEngine. I challenge anyone to find a better looking game on the PC right now.

Oh, and once you complete the game, do yourself a favor and sit through until the end credits are over. You won't regret it.


This Crysis 3 single-player review was based on near final PC code provided by the publisher. The specs of the review machine were a quad-core i7 2600 3.4 GHz processor, 16 GB of RAM and a nVidia GTX 660 video card. The game is also available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A separate multiplayer review will be coming a bit later when we can test servers and gameplay in post-launch conditions.

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