Having owned Crysis, Crysis 2, and played (skimmed really) Crysis Warhead, I was genuinely looking forward to Crysis 3, as the 2nd was not only one of my favorite games of all time, but also one of the key inspirations for my novel Divine Avenger. Both the 2nd and the 1st, though plagued with bugs and glitches, were easily some of the greatest games I've played, and expecting something similar, i was quick to preorder the game, knowing that i would enjoy it nonetheless.
The story starts off with Prophet being imprisoned by C.E.L.L.. He's soon rescued by Michael 'Psycho' Sykes from the first Crysis, and two members of Eagle Team from Crysis Warhead (Lazy Dane and Bandit). They inform Prophet that there's a war going on against C.E.L.L., which has enslaved people through debt. But Prophet's concerned about something else: the Alpha Ceph (aliens), who's been haunting him through visions and the like. Given this, Prophet has little concern about `human politics,' something that's often unnerved Psycho (explained via one of the first logs). Armed with a nano-bow that offers a selection of different arrow heads, Prophet must defeat both the CELL corporation, and the alien threat that looms upon humanity.
Unlike the second installment, this Crysis has only seven levels, in contrast to the 20± its predecessor had (showcasing the gamer hypocrisy of long games being padded [a complaint I heard about Crysis 2] and short games just being cash grabs). Despite this, the levels feel much longer and are more open, addressing a common complaint that Crysis 2 was too linear (it was fine by my standards though). Even so, I do feel the story was extremely compressed, and at times rushed. Remember the Hydro Dam mission EA showed us? That's the third mission, and that's where everything goes to hell. And to be honest, it felt rushed and forced, as if they were trying to squeeze everything into a seven-hour plot. Not the way to start a game; there was no build up, like in the 2nd game, where you encounter the Ceph sporadically until they finally come out full force. The 2nd game's approach was preferable, because it built up tension; when compared the Ceph to the C.E.L.L. Troopers, they were ridiculously intimidating, especially in maps where you had to fight them both at the same time.
Despite this, the gameplay is solid and top-notch. The bow was (unusually enough) fun and satisfying to use, and made me feel like a silent, deadly killing machine. The Human weapons maintain their traditional powerful feeling, and the new ones, especially the Typhoon, feel pretty damn powerful. The alien weapons also felt pretty powerful, and I enjoyed using them, in comparison to games like Halo, where I normally avoid them unless I have no ammo. There are some vehicle sections which I could describe on my own, but Yahtzee Croswhaw summed it up best with, "imagine that you've just woken from a twenty-year coma, celebrated the occasion by drinking six bottles of Mad Dog 20/20, then were called upon to pilot a light aircraft bearing a cargo of hippopotami[...]That's like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube with your elbows."
Multiplayer is also fun, albeit very frustrating. Do yourself a favor: start in the training playlists. Trust me, you'll save your controller. The bow is massively overpowered, among other balance issues. The old default rifle, the SCAR, has also been moved, now requiring you reach level 27 to unlock it, which... was a **** move, Crytek. I loved that gun. There's other concerns I can note here, but I think most, if not all of them, are due to latency issues on my part (which have been mostly fixed from Crysis 2), but if they turn out to be the opposite, I'll come back and edit this.
Maps have been significantly improved in comparison to number two, with higher degrees of verticality that allow the nanosuit's gameplay to truly shine as it should. However, there's one in particular that takes 2nd place for worst map I've ever played (the coveted 1st place belonging to Crysis 2's Lighthouse).
Onto my favorite part now: the pet peeves. This is where I discuss things that bothered me, but shouldn't discourage you from buying the game.
1) What the hell happened to Alcatraz? Don't tell me that his personality was corrupted, Crytek; I want answers! Christ, that's got to be one of the worst endings for a player-controlled character I've seen. And the game's ending just adds more insult to the injury.
2) Lazy Dane and Bandit from Crysis Warhead's were back for two nanoseconds. What's the point of bringing them back if they're not gonna play a major part in the story? Fan service? Might as well have not mentioned them at all.
So far, I've yet to regret my purchase, and I welcome the challenge (frustration) that the game presents. If you enjoyed Crysis 2 and Crysis, give it a shot; this one's not perfect, but it's great in every sense of the word. I give this a 4.5/5, and if there's ever DLC for it, I would happily buy it.
Thought I'd try talking about some of the game modes too, as well as my final pet peeve.
First there's your average team deathmatch and free for all deathmatch. There's nothing special here, except that, as mentioned previously, the maps are incredibly well-made (except for the one with the boat in the middle). One problem I do think exists is that in some maps (Hydro Dam), you can take too long to find another player; the action takes it sweet time. To put it in perspective, if Action were asking Hydro Dam on a date, Action would arrive at Hydro Dam's door, wearing cologne, bearing chocolates and flowers, with dinner reservations (six months in advance, mind you) to the fanciest restaurant in town, only to find Hydro Dam just barely waking up and saying "oh, that was today?"
The game's trademark mode, Hunter, is extremely fun too, if a bit biased in favor of the Hunters. Much more enjoyable than Halo 4's Flood mode and previous Halo's Infection modes.
Domination, a good old king of the hill, makes its return, and although I've never been a fan of KotH game-types, I found it enjoyable. If only for a while.
Cell vs Rebel, what little I played was frustrating to say the least. Avoid it.
Oh, and here's my final pet peeve (this one may contain spoilers):
3) There's no continuity between 2 and 3. Everyone credits Prophet with what happened to the Ceph in 2, with absolutely no mention of Alcatraz, the one who actually did everything. Having somehow become the first silent character I genuinely liked, I felt sidelining him took away from the storyline. His 'corrupted' status, as mentioned in peeve #1, feels like a cheap excuse to include Prophet instead, and the fact that Prophet barely touches upon the matter (Psycho does though. I like him.) makes it even worse. Additionally, there's barely any references to the Crysis 2 cast. Where's Col. Sherman Barclay, the hero of New York and survivor of the Ling Shang Islands? Dr Nathan Gould, who faithfully assisted Prophet and later Alcatraz during the New York Invasion? Chino, Alcatraz's friend who assisted him in more than one occasion? The only thing we get is a small cameo by Tara Strickland which really felt like a dismissal rather than a tribute, and Karl Rasch, whom I'm pretty sure was slated to appear if you pay close attention to the ending. I understand that 20 years have passed between both games, but this final peeve negatively impacted my full enjoyment. In fact, had it been addressed, I'm pretty sure the game would bear 5 stars, as I think the original deserves. But alas, we're left with a new, somewhat bland cast (sans Psycho. I like him.) that on occasion just bored me. I admit having Prophet speak (I hate silent characters) was a positive thing, but if Crytek had planned to pull this off in this way from the start, I would've ditched Alcatraz completely and simply made 2 about Prophet.