- February 26, 2013 (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
- March 07, 2013 (Patch PC-only/PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
- March 28, 2013 (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
- April 03, 2013 (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
Crysis 3 multiplayer is fun. A lot of fun. There is something about being a super-human soldier wearing the world’s most advanced piece of military technology that developers Crytek really got right. But even if the fast-paced, high-powered gameplay of the Nanosuit isn’t your cup of tea, Crytek still offers an extremely solid multiplayer experience for FPS gamers of all backgrounds.
Sticking to the more mainstream FPS multiplayer formula set in place by games like Halo and Call of Duty, Crytek may be staying comfortably on the safe side with Crysis 3′s multiplayer formula, but they are doing things right this time around and it’s paying off. Crysis 3 looks, but more importantly feels noticeably better than it’s predecessor in all senses and on all platforms.
After only a few rounds of this MP rodeo, I can tell right away that Crytek means business and is serious about offering a more than legitimate alternative to the current platter of FPS MP tastes that are beginning to grow stale.
At first glance, Crysis 3 reeks of “same-old, same-old.” You’ve got guns, attachments, classes, loadouts, killstreaks, “prestige,” ect. – everything you’d expect of a first-person shooter in today’s FPS market. However, underneath this shell of familiarity is an experience like none other. The gameplay in Crysis 3′s multiplayer is fundamentally different enough that it feels like learning to play shooters all over again. The way you move and the way you must think – especially the way you must think – might not be what you are used to. Managing and knowing when to effectively use your suit’s abilities means life or death in this future battlefield. Not only must you manage three distinctly different suite configurations of mobility, armor or stealth, plus your energy consumption, but you also have an entire enemy team with similar abilities to keep in check as well. To complicate things further, you have access to up to 17 different suit “modules” that enhance or alter your abilities. Unlike Crysis 2, three module slots are available that you are completely free to modify – no “tiers” or “categories” that you must abide by, allowing you to mix and match to your heart’s content.
I’ll admit, the cloaking mechanic in Crysis 3 can get annoying for those with little patience. As I mentioned above, it is an added layer of strategy, but it takes a solid effort to get used to cloaking effectively and also knowing how to deal with cloaked enemies (hint: use your Nanovision). Make no mistake, however. Once you “get it,” it can be a very rewarding feeling. Crytek really gives you the opportunity to not only outgun your enemy, but outsmart or outplay them as well, thanks to the many options at your disposal. Fast thinkers and quick decision makers will often find themselves coming out on top.
Crysis 3′s gameplay is very fast-paced. With a bevy of super-human abilities you are given from the get-go, “camping” (the spiteful act of remaining stationary for the majority of a match) is almost non-existant. There is just too much fun to be had sprinting, jumping, sliding, air-stomping, climbing and vaulting over objects and obstacles to waste time standing still (all abilities which have seen significant improvement over Crysis 2). Not only that, but you are only rewarded your map-specific killstreaks after picking up the dog tags of fallen enemies, enticing players to stay on the move. Side note: do yourself a favor and equip and level up the Maneuverability module. It’s a heck of a lot of fun to speed through combat areas.
Because soldiers move so quickly, the stationary, one-shot-one-kill sniper style of gameplay can be a rather tough one to excel in. You may get a few shots in, but you’ll find the enemy all up in your face within seconds, if they decide to gun for you. This is especially true in maps that feature uneven terrain or significant verticality where soldiers rarely run in a straight line and where lining up shots might be difficult. Weapons like the new Predator Bow or the Gauss Sabot Rifle do pack quite a punch, however, and will kill most enemies in one shot. Lastly, if you are going to take a more stealthy, slower-paced angle, don’t miss out on the opportunity to use your Nano-goggles to spot/tag enemies for your team and for yourself. It’s only a button/key press away and only requires you to look at your enemy for a mere second. It’s easy to use and aids your entire team significantly.
Along with improvements in movement, Crytek has put a solid effort into making sure weapon handling feels as good as it can get. Many, though not all, of the guns have satisfying kick as well as recoil that seems fair and manageable, though head shots still feel random and unintentional most of the time. The ‘aim down sight’ sensitivity could be lowered a bit on the PC, as it’s sometimes difficult to steady. Aiming down sight and switching to secondary does, however, feel quick and snappy, especially with the Weapon Pro module equipped. Even without the upgrade, swapping to your secondary is quick enough for it to see a decent amount of use. Additionally the ability to swap weapon attachments on the fly while in game is genius. There are a total of 21 weapons in Crysis 3, four of which act as secondaries. This includes the nifty new Predator Bow that supports four different arrow heads, but more importantly, allows you to stay cloaked when firing. For it’s high rate of fire, the new Typhoon sub-machine gun could use more recoil or a reduction in damage, which is apparently the case in Patch 1.1. Otherwise, it easily outclasses most other weapons. Six different explosive devices are also available for those who just want to blow things up.
Of course, what good is your arsenal, your quick reflexes, or your aim if the game’s netcode leaves you high and dry. Luckily, Crysis 3 does not suffer from the same horrendous network issues Crysis 2 did. *Wipes the nervous sweat of my forhead.* The game is still very playable on a three-bar connection. It’s not 100% perfect, and I do still run into the occasional inexplainable death, but it works. I am relieved to find my experience, so far, rather smooth – much smoother than in 2011.
Despite a few needed weapon tweaks, balancing issues aren’t all that apparent. However, I do worry players will eventually find the ‘ultimate’ weapon and Nanosuit module combination that will outclass any other combination. Issues like these are inherent in games that include a large number of customization options. Personally, I don’t find much use for many of the modules other than Weapon Pro, Hunter, and Maneuverability. I find this combination puts you at a pretty significant advantage based on the added speed of moment, reloading, and aiming down sights alone. Then, add to that the ability to remain silent and track enemy movement, and your enemies will never know what hit them. Thankfully, power weapons and vehicles all have their weaknesses, making them a meaningful and balanced addition to the gameplay.
In closing, yes, there are many shades of Call of Duty (control scheme, killstreaks, infantry-focused gameplay) mixed with highlights of Halo (energy shields, more health, super-human abilities, power weapon pick-ups, the Pinger) in Crysis 3′s gameplay, but it makes for an inviting platform for gamers of both backgrounds. As stated earlier, there is plenty here to provide an exciting new experience only found in the Crysis series.
Crysis 3 offers an impressive variety of game modes, one in particular that I’d like say a few nice words about. But first, let’s have a gander at the surprising number of offerings. Team Deathmatch and Deathmatch (Free-for-All) are your standard versus modes, each with their own Hardcore variants, while Crash Site (a returning favorite from Crysis 2), Spears, Extraction, and Capture the Relay offer more objective play. A small gripe I have with objective-based modes so far is that markers tend to obstruct views often, something that could hopefully be fixed with some patching. Moving forward, refer to the list below for brief descriptions of all game modes.
- Team Deathmatch
- Standard vs mode
- Crash Site / Spears
- Headquarters with one rotating capture point / Domination with 3 stationary capture points
- Extraction / Capture the Relay
- Like Capture the Flag but with two flags on one side / Capture the Flag
- Nanosuit soldiers vs Cell soldiers, Cell soldiers must survive duration before being turned into Hunters
- Nanosuit soldiers vs Cell soldiers, Search and Destroy
- All game modes mixed
- Cell vs Rebel
- TDM, DM, Crashsite, Spears, CTR, Extraction without the Nanosuit
- Developers Choice
- Custom game mode of Crytek Developers choice
- Maximum Team Deathmatch
- Hardcore TDM
- Maximum Deathmatch
- Hardcore DM
As you can see, there is something for everyone with the more unique choices being Hunter, Assault, Crash Ship and Extraction.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, Crytek does offer something rather special for those unwilling to put up with the complexities of Nanosuit-powered gameplay. Forgoing speed, armor, stealth, suit modules, and killstreaks all together is the barebones Cell vs Rebels game mode. All that’s involved in this particular mode is your gun, your attachments, and your task at hand. I’m not sure how a game mode that lacks all the characteristics of what makes Crysis, Crysis has gotten me so excited, but something about its stupid simplicity with a hint spice in the form of Crysis 3′s unique arsenal of weaponry just works.
A lot of the maps seem drastically bigger thanks to the lack of mobility without a Nanosuit, but with it comes an equally drastic change in gameplay. Teamwork becomes all the more essential in game modes like Extraction or Capture the Relay since you are no longer a one-man army. You have a long way to go before returning a captured objective, meaning more than ever, it’s important to have a squad ready to back you up and continue your task should you perish. The struggle for dominance in modes like Crash Site or Spears intensifies as more time is spent trying to get to the objective than actually capturing it. The game’s pace is slowed significantly, which can be very nice. It gives you time to breath and plan ahead. It’s also just simply well done and fun to play. It makes me wonder what Crytek could accomplish with an entire game centered around non-superhuman, infantry-based combat. Warface, maybe?
Hunter mode is Crysis 3′s brand new Nanosuit soldier vs Cell soldier game mode. Permanently cloaked Hunters hunt human soldiers who must use a variety of special equipment to identify and take out their enemy. Should one be killed by a Hunter, they are then turned into one themselves, turning the tide in the Hunters’ favor. It’s an exciting game mode to play with friends, but can be frustrating or even boring when played alone.
Crysis 3 offers 12 different maps, one of which is an updated remake of Crysis 2′s Skyline – a definite fan-favorite. I’m glad they included it for two reasons: It’s a fun map and it also shows off the many visual improvements Crysis 3 has made over its predecessor. Williamsburg is also a bit of a re-imagined Shipyard from Crysis 2′s Retaliation map pack, another map that happened to be one of my favorites. Maps play as they did in Crysis 2: Parkour jungle gyms featuring tons of verticality. However, there does seem to be more variety in size this time around. You’ll find a few larger locations here, most of which were likely included to accomodate the VTOL Warship that floats about in a number of the maps, as well as the pilot-able Pinger that randomly drops onto the battlefield. I find Financial District and Penn Depot to be two of the more competitively inclined maps due to their symmetry. All maps play well, though some fit certain game modes better than others. Many of the maps also feature some sort of interactive element to keep things interesting as well.
Navigating Crysis 3′s menu’s is a much smoother ride this time around, especially the Equipment Customization screen. You have five class slots that you can swiftly toggle between and customize. Selecting weapons and attachments is easy enough, as is viewing your weapon level and figuring out what you’re unlocking next.
The multiplayer menu in general shows how many players are currently playing each game mode while challenges and party options are also easily accessible. The “New York Feed” displays what your friends have recently been up to in the background in a neatly presented fashion. Challenges randomize based on duration and are a simple way to earn some extra experience points. Simply bring up the menu and choose tasks that best fit your play style. There are a ton of dog tags to unlock through various in-game actions, as well as dog tag customization options you earn by simply ranking up. There are also items to unlock through rebooting your Nanosuit upon reaching the maximum rank. The general unlock progression is clearly presented within the multiplayer menu as well as in the after-match report, so you clearly understand what upcoming goodies you can expect.
Generally, Crysis 3′s presentation is top-notch and pleasing to the eye.
Achieved with CryENGINE 3
Now, you’re probably wondering how I made it this far into the review without mentioning the visuals. Personally, I tend to save the best for last.
I could easily spend hours boring you with technical specs explaining why Crytek’s latest visual masterpiece will melt your face (if not your PC first), but it’s not so much the graphical power that Crysis 3 possessed that impresses me, but rather the direction in art and atmosphere.
The lighting, background, art style, and sound design really come together to create a distinct atmosphere within each of the 12 locations. The struggle between man-made, urban marvels and nature’s will to reclaim what is rightfully hers is clearly expressed through the setting, the most unique of which can be found in Central Cavern. Here, Ceph (alien) architecture dominates a deep cavern situated in the heart of New York city. The mix of dark foreign structures lit with sinister red alien lighting and the more natural rocky formations under beams of sun light cracking through the ground above make for a chilling atmosphere. In fact, I find the darker maps like Central Cavern, Williamsburg, and Museum more impressive than maps set in the day time thanks to the CryENGINE 3′s extremely powerful lighting system. It’s also easy to get lost in the backgrounds of maps like Skyline or Hydro Dam with their towering, damaged skyscrapers being reclaimed by the earth’s lush, green foliage. It sounds silly to show an appreciation for something that has no effect on actual gameplay, but it adds to the believability of each location and sets a more serious tone.
Graphically speaking, the PC is obviously the way to go here, but Crytek has done some serious optimizing when it comes to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well, making Crysis 3 on the consoles nothing to scoff at.
Sound design also has a lot to do with the atmosphere, as mentioned earlier. The sounds of birds chirping, wind howling, and rain dropping all play a role in adding to the liveliness of each map. Sound in general has seen some major improvements in Crysis 3. Not only do many of the weapons sound much beefier and feature qualities that differ between indoor and outdoor areas, but soldier banter is also much more realistic and believable. Explosions, quite honestly, suck, however. They seem to lack any sort of bass or depth. Though, you will notice a greater attention to little details like expended bullet shells hitting the floor at your feet.
Yes, Crysis 3 is beautiful, maybe the most beautiful game out there at the moment, but I believe it’s due in equal parts to both engine optimization and improvements in art design.
Though Crysis 3 is off to a great start in terms of polish, there are the odd few bugs here and there, including killcams that never seem to work properly. Patching is certainly in order, though Crytek has already shown their attentiveness towards their fans. An issue that should be dealt with rather quickly, however, is the abundance of “aimbotters” or cheaters on the PC. It clearly isn’t any fun entering into a lobby with these folk. It would also be nice if matchmaking worked 100% of the time. Quick Match doesn’t always throw you in the game type you told it to look for. Other than these issues and a few others mentioned above, there aren’t too many faults here that would turn an FPS enthusiast away and out the door. If you don’t like Crysis 3, it’s most likely because you aren’t digging the gameplay or are just tired of the same old FPS formula. However, like I said, if the whole Nanosuit thing just isn’t for you, at least give Cell vs Rebels a shot. You might grow an attachment.
When it comes down to it, Crysis 3′s greatest strength lies in its ability to make you feel like a real bad ass. Crytek gives you all the tools necessary outdo your enemy and put the opposition to shame, should you take the time to master the game’s nuances, that is. The slight learning curve provides a worthy challenge while yielding some extremely rewarding gameplay. The fun factor runs high and I promise that you’ll run into moments that will have you jumping out of your seat.
While Crytek doesn’t bring a whole lot of innovation to the standard FPS formula, Crysis 3 sure is pretty to look at and exciting to play.