"Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing"
The Crysis series has always been about potential. The original Crysis, which appeared in 2007, introduced nanosuit-clad, military-trained soldiers into a vast jungle landscape, pitting high-tech equipment against a lush, hostile, and often mysterious environment (and the things that lived there). Crysis 2 was set in the near-future in a war-torn New York City, moving the battle to an urban environment. This was in many ways a positive move that led to more streamline and effective combat, but lost the sheer scale and depth of the first game's setting in the process.
The third game attempts to deliver of the promises of both its predecessors in many ways by jamming them together: Crysis 3 is set in an apocalyptic New York City in the slighter farther future, where the natural world has begun to reclaim sections of the destroyed landscape, the forest clawing back into the city.
In Crysis 3, you once again play Prophet, who returns to New York twenty-four years after the events of the last game to find it encased in the "Liberty Dome", a nanodome created by CELL, as part of a vast conspiracy on the organization to make a bid for world domination through novel means: binding the populace with crippling debt. With a complete monopoly over global power, CELL charges exorbitant amounts of money for it, and those who can't afford it are forced into slavery. It's an incredibly timely and relevant plot device, but one that always remains in the background, as Prophet and his allies engage in the nitty-gritting of battling the corrupt superpower.
There can be no doubt that Crysis 3 is a graphically beautiful game. The PC version is considerably more gorgeous than anything available on a console, but the PS3 version is still fantastic. The environments are exquisitely designed, and there are moments when just looking around a ruined New York being reclaimed by rainforest that are absolutely breathtaking. Even more so than the setting, however, is the character rendering and design. Early in the game, when rescuing an old ally, Psycho, during a rain storm, the visuals are jaw dropping, from the glistening wetness to Psycho hurt, haunted, scarred-up face. This graphical heft also improves the acting immensely, with well-rendered and natural facial expressions, adding to the game's sense of urgency and emotional intimacy.
Though the graphics make this kind of great in-game acting possible, in the end, the voice actors and characters are still hampered by a pedestrian script. Crysis 3's writing is only ever just okay, and though its delivery uplifts it considerably, the story is predictable and the dialogue can be clumsy. Plus, the story's entire premise, the "one-chosen-man-must-save-us-all-from-ancient-aliens", has been a much overused gaming archetype in recent years.
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