(EA for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
It’s funny that two games starring cyber-enhanced futuristic super soldiers released on the same day in February, and in both of them the protagonist uses ancient weaponry to get the job done. In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance it’s a sword, and in Crysis 3 it’s a bow. And in both cases, it works, because as the player, you don’t want to completely overpower your enemies and lose any sense of tension, and the satisfying feedback offered by simpler tools of destruction can be more immediate and rewarding than scorching the earth with lasers shooting out of your fingers.
In Crysis 3, the bow fits the game especially well since the most interesting of the many ways you can approach a battle is to hide in the shadows, find a good vantage point and pick off your enemies one by one. Wearing the series’ trademark Nanosuit as you traverse a beautifully-destroyed New York City, you can choose to creep around the battlefield using the invisibility-causing cloak ability or jump in guns blazing with your suit’s armor boost turned on.
But as varied and dynamic as the gameplay is, where the Crysis series has always had the biggest impact is with its incredible visuals. Exceeding even the high standard set by the previous entry, Crysis 3’s environments are among the most dense and satisfying to explore in all of gaming. The lush greenery clashing with the ruined buildings makes for some striking areas, and the detail with which they are realized makes most other shooters look sparse and lifeless by comparison. It’s not an open world, but in these landscapes you’re allowed to be curious, look around and carve your own approach rather than simply adhering to an obvious path.
Of course, an updated take on the series’ multiplayer returns in this third installment, and it’s still satisfying but nothing that stands out in the crowded FPS arena, save for the interesting new Hunter mode, which plays like a deadly game of hide-and-seek. The real draw is the fantastically realized world of the main campaign and the different ways you can make your mark on it. Happy hunting.