Crysis 3 single-player review: looks can kill

Crysis 3 encourages creative experimentation with its array of weapons and nanosuit powers. It's also very pretty. We review the PC version of Crysis 3.

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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.

The bow is incredibly efficient, moreso while cloaked.

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.

Ceph stalkers are deadly, so don't get to engrossed in the gorgeous scenery.

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.
Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

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    February 19, 2013 6:00 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Crysis 3 single-player review: looks can kill.

    Crysis 3 encourages creative experimentation with its array of weapons and nanosuit powers. It's also very pretty. We review the PC version of Crysis 3.

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      February 19, 2013 6:04 AM

      Sorry man, cant do another bug hunt. Wake me up when someone thinks up something different AND so far ALL the Crysis games have been more potent than Nyquil to put me to sleep. I'll pass.

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        February 19, 2013 6:48 AM

        What are your top 3 games from 2012?

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          February 19, 2013 8:41 AM

          Far Cry 3, Darkness 2, Binary Domain, Xenoblade Chronicles, Witcher 2, Prototype 2, Risen 2 Dark Waters, Sniper Elite V2, Dragons Dogma, Max Payne 3, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Lollipop Chainsaw, The Last Story, The Amazing Spider man, Darksiders 2, Spec Ops The Line, Sleeping Dogs, Mark of The Ninja, X-com Enemy Unknown, Dishonored, Assassins Creed 3, Paper Mario Sticker Star, The Walking Dead, Kid Icarus

          I know these are more than three, but I had a blast playing all of these.

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      February 19, 2013 6:37 AM

      Keefer, how much Crysis have you played overall? Which one was your favorite? Did you ever play the original on Delta?

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        February 19, 2013 6:49 AM

        I played Crysis and Warhead, but when Crysis 2 came out, my PC couldn't handle it. I followed the game closely and watched others play it, but I need to go back and try it. I probably enjoyed the original Crysis more than this one. As I was telling a colleague, Crysis 3 is a solid game with some glitches, but unspectacular other than the graphics. I even enjoyed it, but I probably won't replay it.

        As for Crysis on Delta? No. I am incredibly average as an FPS player.

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          February 19, 2013 7:06 AM

          Thanks for the response, it helps a lot.

          It's worth trying Crysis out on Delta for a bit. Unlike a lot of other games, Crysis on Delta feels like an entirely different beast than the easier difficulties. It becomes this game of intense micro planning and energy management where fire fights are either a last resort or a plan gone terribly wrong.

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            February 19, 2013 7:20 AM

            What did you think of the story up to this point? I have my own opinions on 3, but I didn't want to add any story spoilers. Barnes --> Prophet --> Barnes dies for Alcatraz to become Prophet. It seems like up to this point, Prophet is the suit more than the man inside it. It's like the Borg.

            The Crysis 3 story luckily doesn't try to tackle that ... until the end.

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              February 19, 2013 7:56 AM

              The story has its interesting points, but started to go a bit off the rails even by the end of Crysis / Warhead. I feel like the strong point of most games comes from the atmosphere and characterization of people, places, and their subsequent situations, and not from narratives.

              Crysis was a simple find out what's happening and run for it kind of story leaving you plenty of space to have the world seep in, while Crysis 2 tries to railroad you through some convoluted narrative that suck all the air out the story leaving you with a laundry list of things that happen. Crysis 2 had the issue of the nano suit, mistaken identity, the whole Prophet dies to let another guy live via the suit who dies to becoming Prophet again, a city dealing with an invasion, PMC problems, Strickland and the crazies at CELL, Hargreave's betrayal, and a ton of other things I don't remember. It couldn't pick a theme let alone a singular notion to expound. It's a mess with an awe inspiring number of contrivances to just move the plot forward.

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          February 19, 2013 9:57 AM

          That's odd. Crysis 2 runs better than the first game on my machine.

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          February 19, 2013 10:05 AM

          The thing about Crysis on Delta is that it's not about traditional FPS twitch shooting skills. It's more about being careful, stealthy, systematic, and aware of your surroundings.

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            February 19, 2013 10:18 AM

            If what you say means it plays a bit more like Dishonored that hardcore FPS, then I might go back and try it.

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              February 19, 2013 12:54 PM

              Sort of? Because you're not really much tougher than the troops you're fighting, stealth goes from being an option to being a necessity. Trying to charge in guns blazing mostly just gets you killed.

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              February 19, 2013 3:03 PM

              It's worth it. IMO no other FPS has done sp so well, and it's all because of the suit. On Delta, you really have to try and to me that's what it's all about.

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                February 19, 2013 3:13 PM

                Your post crystallized what I've been trying to get across: On Delta, your only advantages are your brain and the suit. The game isn't doing you any special favors beyond that.

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            February 19, 2013 10:21 AM

            It's also about increasing AI reaction times to super human levels and nerfing your suit energy and HP so your awesome armored nanosuit is basically ineffective.

            When you compare the difficulty configs in the game directory you can see just how bullshit some of the changes are.

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              February 19, 2013 10:31 AM

              You basically end up being as tough as an ordinary soldier, plus a couple hits if you have a full suit charge in armor mode.

              As far as reaction times go, I never really noticed; if I care about their reaction times, I'm doing something wrong.

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            February 19, 2013 6:29 PM

            So it plays like the old Rainbow Six games?

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              February 19, 2013 6:30 PM

              Oh. What am I saying? It's got regenerating health.

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      February 19, 2013 6:47 AM

      So, big areas are no good? Is that because although the areas are big it's a maze to get around? I was especially hopefull they'd return to more open areas like the orignal, that's why this was confusing to me.

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        February 19, 2013 6:52 AM

        Yeah, the areas get bigger as the game progresses and near the end, the areas were large and I had some trouble navigating to checkpoints. All the enemies would still be dead, and I'd have to re-explore the whole area to find that one door or path that hit the checkpoint and moved me on.

        Or, I'd be trying to find the exit/checkpoint without killing all the enemies, and get caught up hunting that I'd miss an enemy coming up on me, die and have to start again at the beginning. More the former though than the latter.

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          February 19, 2013 11:56 AM

          Thanks for expanding on that, it's nice to know going in. I'm sure i'll love it on Delta like the last two.

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        February 19, 2013 6:52 AM

        His experience was pretty much the opposite of Arthur Gies' over at Polygon, so I'm curious about Keefer's opinion on Crysis vs Crysis 2.

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          February 19, 2013 6:58 AM

          It was a bit irritating, but didn't detract from the overall game. I completed it, so it wasn't insurmountable.

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        February 19, 2013 6:56 AM

        All the screenshots I've seen look like grassy hallways. I don't know if that's representative of the entire game, but if I eventually buy this game, I'm not expecting a wide open sandbox.

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      February 19, 2013 7:22 AM

      I greatly enjoyed Crysis 2 singleplayer. Will I enjoy Crysis 3?

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        February 19, 2013 8:29 AM

        You should, but don't expect anything groundbreaking other than the graphics. That's just one man's opinion of course.

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        February 19, 2013 7:14 PM

        You might also like

        Suicide
        Bareback horse riding (horse and rider)
        Seppuku
        Spores molds and fungus.

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      February 19, 2013 8:46 AM

      So does the PC version require UPlay?

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        February 19, 2013 8:51 AM

        If you mean Origin, it did for my build so EA could digitally track any leaks if they happened. But I was assured that it would not be required for single-player in the final version.

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          February 19, 2013 9:13 AM

          Thanks; I got confused by seeing "Ubisoft" on the page, and forgot that Crysis 3 was EA published. By "not required for single player", do you mean that an active connection to Origin is not required? Or could a gamer buy the retail disc and be able to play single-player without signing up for Origin?

          With almost every PC game requiring some DRM / auth hoop to be jumped through, I think it would be great to include requirements to play in the review. I have a Steam login, but I don't want to sign up for Origin or UPlay, so I have to navigate that minefield when going through previews and reviews.

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            February 19, 2013 9:18 AM

            That's what they made it sound like. Even when I played, Origin was only on in the background and I never noticed it except when I booted the game up. I did not mention it in the review because I did not have final code, so I didn't want to assume based on their promise.

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      February 19, 2013 9:13 AM

      Hey keef, how long was the single player campaign?

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        February 19, 2013 9:15 AM

        I got through it in about 10 hours, but I tend to play pretty slow. FPS experts can get through it considerably quicker.

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      February 19, 2013 9:43 AM

      It says the reviewing machine ran a GTX 660, is that a TI or just the regular? How did it play and what were your graphic settings like?

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        February 19, 2013 10:24 AM

        It was the TI. All graphics settings were on high or very high.

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      February 19, 2013 10:22 AM

      I really liked sniping camps from a distance in Crysis. Crysis 2 I couldn't even get through once it was all Alien corridors.

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        February 19, 2013 10:25 AM

        Yes, I prefer sniping as well. The bow does well for that, although a good sniper rifle can hit a bit longer distance. You can do sniping in Crysis 3.

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      February 19, 2013 12:18 PM

      what on earth was wrong with the awesome amount of openness of Crysis and Warhead?!??

      Crytek you are very odd!!!

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      February 19, 2013 12:23 PM

      very sad the quick save from Crysis 1 is gone.....(havent played 2 yet I know that's check points too).

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      February 19, 2013 12:31 PM

      So is the suit similar to 1 again (i.e. maximum strength skill option etc) or more streamlined like 2?

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        February 19, 2013 12:39 PM

        From the previews it is still exactly like crysis 2. Wish they would just start over with crysis 1 and improve from there then continuing crysis 2.

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      February 19, 2013 12:41 PM

      it becomes easy to get lost <-- that 's a good thing in my books.

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        February 19, 2013 12:46 PM

        no kidding. wasn't one gripe about crysis2 was it's too easy? all of those combat options presented right to you? sounds like they are listening to the complaints!!!

        ultimately they are trapped in another damned if they do, damned if they don't conundrum. gamers are quite fickle. if games are too open, they get lost. if they are on rails, they are too shallow. it seems very difficult to design maps and SP content these days :(

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          February 19, 2013 2:05 PM

          It really depends on how the plot and story are structured. You really don't see how many people complaining about open world games for RPGs and sandbox games like Just Cause and Grand Theft Auto. It is about allowing the player to feel a part of the world. Being forced along linear routes and prevented from exploring interesting areas by invisible walls I feel hurts the game.

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          February 19, 2013 7:01 PM

          I didn't find it too easy; I found the balance to be just right. But I did find it extrodinarily linear. There was simply no going off the chosen path.

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        February 19, 2013 2:03 PM

        Yeah I can't really find this review useful when that's a mark against a Crysis game.

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        February 19, 2013 7:14 PM

        Yes that is very much a good thing - I'm actually surprised to see this post, perhaps there's hope.

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      April 11, 2013 6:06 AM

      I downloaded this game for free from Mygame9.com . Other wasted their money in buying it.