Crysis 3 is the first game in a long time I was legitimately excited for. It was one of the very few preordered games I will partake in this year. If you are a fan of the Crysis series, or a new participant in the franchise, Crysis 3 lives up to the hype.

The game opens aboard a containment ship, as Psycho (a Crysis alumni) frees Prophet (your character) from Cell clutches. Right away, the visuals from the screenshots that we were teased with leading up to Crysis 3's release come into play. The game is absolutely gorgeous, even from the opening player involvement.

As you move from the ship to the eventual inside of the Liberty Dome, Prophet is much more fluid than he was in Crysis 2. Any and all clunky feelings from the previous installment were wiped clean in Crysis 3. The Liberty Dome itself is a character in the game. Inside the dome, the city of New York lies overrun with foliage and ruins, in addition to wildlife and hazards around every turn.

The Cell organization placed a dome around the city to further their power-hungry ways. The alien Ceph race is locked inside, dormant, waiting for their time to rise. Psycho is apart of a rebellion group determined to bring Cell's actions into the public eye. Prophet is thrust into this three-way struggle as the rebels look for any way to get a leg up. The nanosuit donned by Prophet is enough to turn the tide of battle to whichever side its playing for. From the outside looking in, it first feels like quite a bit to comprehend at the start of the game. If you aren't familiar with the previous games, the story is hard to keep track of.

The nanosuit itself has gone through a few upgrades. No longer will the suits energy levels decrease when you sprint, which was a thorn in my side from Crysis 2. The Visor is upgraded, too, as marking targets no longer requires a push of a button. You can also hack enemy turrets and landmines, rendering them useless. In several cases with the turrets, they will fire upon the enemy forces, helping you advance uninterrupted.

As with the previous games, advancing is your choice. You can go in the front door and kill everything that moves (my personal way to play), or you can utilize the suits powers to stealthfully make your way through the Liberty Dome. The nanosuit enables you to be invisible to enemies and allowing you to sneak past them undetected. You have enhanced armor in case someone does spot you, and you are suddenly taking enemy fire in a hopeless situation. And, as always, silencers and scopes attached to your weapons are a blessing.

A newly added feature to help those stealthy players is the bow. Psycho gives you this magnificent weapon early on in the game to give you time to perfect it. The bow enables you to take down enemies from afar without detection. To make things more fun, the arrows themselves vary in usefulness. You have the normal arrows for normal kills, sure, but where's the fun in that? Wind arrows and Explosive arrows add to the variety. And yes, it is extremely satisfying to kill your enemy without them knowing you're even around.

Later in the game, Ceph weapons become a normality. The nanosuit upgrades allow you to wield these alien tools of destruction. One of the heavy duty Ceph weapons allows you to fire mortars at unsuspecting opponents. Another permits a continuous stream of electricity. No longer are you confined to the normal metal arms in Crysis 3.    

Nanosuit upgrades are infinitely easier to use and understand than they were previously. You are now able to mix and match upgraded abilities to fit your method of play, and switch in different sets on the fly, to further make Prophet into a one-man army. Gone are the ways of collection alien tissue from downed Ceph for suit upgrades. Instead, you pick up upgrades much like you pick up ammo and guns. In addition to their ease of use, these upgrades now appear on your visor when you are scanning your surroundings (which should be all of the time), making them easily marked and difficult to pass up.

Upgrades are plentiful inside the Liberty Dome. Not only are they acquired in the progression of the game, but they are oftentimes rewards so side missions. When the game opens up to give you free reign, you can accomplish tasks that are off of the main track to enable you to progress more efficiently. These missions can help in the long run, so it is a good thing to take a few minutes to do them. In one case, the path I needed to go through led me to three or four Pinger's (if you are a Crysis 2 fan, you know of these monstrosities). Normally this would be a task for even the most experienced Crysis players. However, if you rescue a group of stranded rebel troops, they'll call in air strikes against marked targets... those strikes make the Pingers a forgotten issue.

There is a section of vehicular combat and airborne battles against Ceph airships as well. These portions seem a little forced, as they occupy so little of the overall game. It feels like the devs didn't really want to include those aspects into the game, but their bosses told them to just for a little diversity. They act as little more than distractions from the storyline, however, and are easily completed.

The story itself has been labeled "absent" and "nonexistent" by several reviewers. In my opinion, the three-way battle between the rebels, Cell, and Ceph is a much more interesting and gripping story than those that occupy the bigger FPS franchises. It's not perfect by any means (nothing is), but it's better than most.

If you are an FPS fan or a fan of the series, Crysis 3 is extremely satisfying. It's by far the most visually stunning game I've ever played. Crytek is a studio to keep an eye on in the future.