Crysis 3’s visually stunning and addictive multiplayer makes up for its bland campaign

Okay, so Crytek has, kind of, totally messed up the story with this one. So much so, it is almost difficult to take, literally, anything in Crysis 3’s campaign seriously. There’s nothing left in the world of Nanosuits, crazy German scientists, dormant Cephalopods and optional solo stealth gameplay that offers interest, intrigue or curiosity. Crysis 3’s campaign mode involves shooting and killing a lot of people and things for reasons known (or unknown) to its protagonist and his pals in an unbelievably gorgeous, dystopian version of New York and its surrounding areas — think of it as nothing more and the worst case scenario has you being slightly disappointed at the end. Crysis 3’s campaign can be bland — painfully so at times, but all is not lost.

The first redeeming feature of Crysis 3 is that the boring-yet-awesome-looking campaign is brief. The second is that the multiplayer is very well-designed. The third through hundredth, of course, are its graphics.

Expectedly, Crysis 3 is one of the best looking games on the planet. Its greatest achievement, however, is not that it simply looks amazing, but how apparent this is at all times. When a game is fast-paced, there is a general tendency on the part of the player to forget about the inherently virtual nature of the in-game environment, lighting effects, textures, character models and whatnot — but not in Crysis 3. Its beauty is so ubiquitous, yet in-your-face even when you’re sprinting to a Crash Site online, in an attempt to save your team from utter humiliation; its water effects are noticeable even when you’re being blown to bits by proximity mines — not dissimilar to the occasionally blinding muzzle flash (and the complementary multi-point light reflections) on the Grendel assault rifle as it unleashes a three-round burst of certain doom. You get the picture.

This is a pretty game, all right, but not just when you’re playing by yourself. Crysis 3 manages to look just as great when played online with a bunch of strangers from across the world. Multiplayer is where the core experience of Crysis 3 lies, and it’s good to see that there were no compromises here.

I have always been of the opinion that the original Crysis featured one of the best multiplayer experiences of its time (or any time for that matter) with large maps, vehicular battle, and that incredible Power Struggle game mode. Crysis 2’s online offering, while competent, just felt too Call of Duty-inspired. Crysis 3’s online modes are fast paced, but there’s something about the character progression system, pace at which items are unlocked and its not-necessarily-derivative game modes that make the whole package awfully appealing.

Crysis 3’s campaign might be a beautiful-yet-bland affair, but its multiplayer is addictive, offers a lot of variety, sports a powerful arsenal of weapons and some great maps — all while remaining accessible. The PC version is a real looker as well — at medium settings, it manages to surpass almost every other game on the platform, while at maximum settings, it gives real life a run for its money. It’s amazing that Crytek has made the multiplayer version of this game look just as good as the campaign at all times (even when a server is crammed with 15 other players). Even if you choose to ignore the story mode (or run through it in a matter of hours), there’s enough and more addictive, visually stunning multiplayer content to keep you sufficiently occupied until the next big shooter comes along.

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