The lights are on
Let it be known that I hold Crysis 2 in the highest regard. I adored that game so much that I compare every other shooter to it. To me, Crysis 2 is the perfect shooter. It offered linear gameplay, as well as open battlefields. It let you play it as a straight up run and gun shooter, but also let you play it like a stealth game. It rewarded exploration, but didn't punish you if you just wanted to get straight to the good stuff. It is an all around perfect shooter in my not so humble opinion.
Obviously, I was more than excited for Crysis 3. However, I did not let hype get to me. I didn't read a single preview, didn't watch any videos, and pretty much went on a complete media blackout for the game. On launch day, I was all set to pick up my pre-order when a friend text me and told me quite a few reviews pegged the game at around 6 hours. I have a few simple rules developers/publishers have to follow if they want me to buy their game. No Online Pass, and at least 8 hours worth of single player content for $60.
Before you get up on your high horse and hit the comment button, yes, we've all heard the counter argument that there are plenty of amazing $60 games less than 8 hours long. That's great, and I agree, but I won't drop $60 on a game that can't offer me more than 8 hours worth of single player content. So, regrettably, I cancelled my pre-order. Luckily for me, Red Box was renting the game for $2 a day, so I picked up a copy, ran home and popped it in. And, a little over 5 hours later, watched the credits roll.
For anyone not paying attention, that's less than half the length of the first two Crysis games. This disappointment capped of an underwhelming game that I was severely bummed didn't turn out better. Sure, they improved some things like the graphics. Even on consoles, this game is absolutely gorgeous and by far the prettiest game to ever land on consoles. I was consistently blown away by what I was seeing. I didn't know current gen consoles could handle a lot of the things I was seeing.
There is one trivial thing in particular that blew me away. I know this sounds crazy, but there is a mission in a Dam where you have to shut off the turbines. When I got to the turbine and looked at it spinning, it was the most photo realistic thing I've ever seen in a console game, or any game for that matter. It was so gorgeous looking I didn't want to have to destroy it. The lighting, textures, animations, faces, and even the particle effects are all top shelf stuff. This is one pretty game.
However, that's where the good news ends. The rest of the game is a serious step back for the series. It all feels so unfocused. Crysis 2 had some really great firefights that felt like they were meticulously designed through and through. Most of the firefights in Crysis 3 feel slapped together. You can literally see enemies just spawning randomly and running towards you. There's no tension. Instead of designing firefights, they just spawn enemies and let the A.I. do all the work.
Then there's the level design. Sure, they made everything bigger, but in the process demolished the pacing. Not only that, but there's nothing to do in these big environments. What's the point of this huge area if there is nothing to do in it but the objective? Maybe there'll be some ammo cases in the corner, but that's about it. The game doesn't seem to reward exploration nearly as much as the last one.
And then we come to the story, which again feels slapped together. Whereas Crysis 2 had a well thought out and easy to grasp story with lots of well defined characters, plot twists and the like, Crysis 3 feels like it was slapped together with failed ideas that never made it in the the previous entry. It all feels so thrown together. There's no pacing, few memorable characters, silly dialogue, and lousy voice acting.
The frame rate seems to have taken a hit as well. Crysis 2 wasn't running at 60fps on consoles or anything, but it felt a lot smoother than this one does. Things feel jerky and sluggish compared to the last, especially with enemies on screen. The resolution seems to have taken a hit as well. Even the audio is a downgrade from the last. Almost anything you can think of has taken a hit.
Crytek as expressed enthusiasm for going all Free to Play, and abandoning core games for core gamers in search of money in the casual shooter market, and you can tell that they put none of their good people on Crysis 3. It was made by a B Team, no question, and that's a damn shame. If Crysis 3 had matched the brilliance of Crysis and especially Crysis 2, it could have been one of the most well rounded and fantastic trilogies on any platform. Instead, we got a watered down Crysis 2, without any of the things that made the previous entry so special.
If Crytek wants to turn their backs on gamers who like to pay a flat price and actually own the games they buy, let them, but do yourself a favor and don't support them by buying Crysis 3. You would be supporting laziness. Leave Crysis 3 on store shelves, let Crytek go bankrupt trying to make casual Free to Play shooters, and hopefully then they will realize that gamers aren't going to fund laziness.
Crysis 3 isn't worth your time.
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