The fact that Crysis 3 runs on console at all is a remarkable achievement, with Crytek deploying a wide range of advanced rendering techniques which make the game one of the most visually impressive titles released on the current-gen consoles to date. However, the admirable desire to pursue the latest graphics technology also means that the core gameplay is heavily compromised by what can only be described as some truly shocking levels of performance.
The fact is that while Crysis 3 may look stunning, it shifts between a highly enjoyable to a deeply compromised experience in a matter of moments. With that in mind, the relatively smoother frame-rates make the 360 version the more enjoyable one to play, but neither compares favourably with the PC version. Beyond the issue of performance, there’s little meaningful difference between these two versions. Away from the harsh focus of direct A-to-B comparisons, the slightly softer image of the PS3 game isn’t too big an issue, while the small inconsistencies in other areas won’t impact your enjoyment of the game at all.
Where Crysis 3 really shines is on the PC, in which we are presented with a huge leap in graphical quality that gives us a tantalising glimpse of visual accomplishment on next-gen hardware. If you’ve got the requisite hardware to run the game smoothly at 60FPS (or indeed a locked 30) it’s easily the definitive way to experience the game. However, for lower-end enthusiast systems this does mean scaling back most settings to the low preset and opting for the more performance-lite SMAA TX2 option when targeting 1080p60, while aiming for either 30FPS or 720p60 gives you more headroom to use higher-quality features. Either way, even on lower-level settings, Crysis 3 on PC still yields a far more impressive experience than either console version.
From a technical perspective, then, Crysis 3 is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated releases to date. However, the leap forward in visual beauty hasn’t quite been complemented with a similar advance in gameplay. The AI is fairly decent, featuring very realistic qualities, but is also unnaturally aggressive, while the larger, more organic environments lack the same level of scope found in the original Crysis. In that respect Crytek’s decision to create a more story-focused campaign – while factoring in more of the freedoms given to the player from the first Crysis – works very well, but not without feeling that the core ideas contained within are held back by the lack of ambition in other areas, outside of crafting even bigger visual spectacles with each new instalment.
Crysis 3 Face Off at Eurogamer