“Gameplay beats graphics”
You’ve probably heard that term being used by the dozen in the last few years, usually when a game has below average graphics but stellar gameplay. And it’s true, because no matter how good looking a game is, it lives and dies depending on how fun it is to play and how polished its mechanics are. It’s a statement that usually proves true on multiple occasions…until now. Crysis 3 may look the part, and it may trample all over the competition with its technological superiority, but unfortunately that’s where the bulk of its achievements ends.
Crysis has always been a series famed mostly for its hardware-pushing technological prowess. The first title all those years ago pushed the limits of the PC hardware until it started to bleed at the USB sockets, and 2011’s Crysis 2 made the jump to consoles to continue the trend. For the third entry in the franchise, those limits are surely bulging at the seams once again but after two chances to move beyond simply being a good-looking series, Crysis needed to evolve into something more than just eye candy–but it hasn’t, and instead it fits into the crowded FPS genre comfortably as opposed to causing shockwaves.
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Is Crysis 3 a bad game? No. Is it a good game? Also no. Is it a fairly average, run-of-the-mill shooter that fails to identify itself amongst the dozens of other first-person shooters on the market? Absolutely. Crysis 3 isn’t a poor game but neither is it particularly special, and in a genre like the FPS that continues to bulge at the seams with every release, it’s crucial that a game do something to stand out among the competition. Amongst the game’s other flaws, this is by far and away Crysis 3’s biggest problem and one that Crytek seemingly did nothing to try and prevent.
The result is a totally forgettable experience that, in all likelihood, won’t enjoy a lengthy shelf-life simply because everything it provides can be found elsewhere in more popular franchises. You can bet there will be a Crysis 4 and that it’ll be a next-gen title, but hopefully Crytek will move away from copying others and instead focus on providing something that turns the Crysis series into something worth experiencing.