Crysis 3: Amazing Graphics, Boring Execution
Multiplayer is considerably beefed up from previous Crysis games and borrows a great deal from BF3 and Call of Duty as far as their ranking systems are concerned. You earn XP by killing other players, defending "Spears" (think control points), and accomplishing various objectives. There's a unique Hunter Mode, in which most players start off as Cell operatives but transform into Hunters once killed, and an Assault mode in which each player only has one life. Toss in a bit of Capture the Flag and a little King of the Hill, and you've got a sense of what the game offers.
Check the lighting and you'll see that while the texture detail is still impressive, the light model is tuned for performance
There are a huge variety of upgrades and unlockable weapons that you gain access to as you level up, and the game tries to help newbie players who might be facing off against other teams far out of their league. Rack up more than three deaths in a row, and the game applies an automatic armor buff that you keep for a longer period of time until you break your death streak. You can unlock other abilities as well, from better radar to faster-firing weapons and better aim.
One interesting difference between the single-player and multi-player campaigns is the level of map detail. In multiplayer, the maps aren't quite as sexy. This was obviously done to make it easier for frame rates to stay high, and it's a good change. The game still looks great, but it runs noticeably smoother, even with all detail levels set to the same "Very High" options.
Conclusion: Buy It -- Eventually
I'd pay $9.95 for Crysis 3 as an amazing tech demo. I'd consider $19.95 a fair price if you loved the previous games or really want to cut your teeth in the multiplayer options. Thing is, if you want a gorgeous screen saver, you could always download the Heaven or Valley benchmarks from Unigine -- they're free.
Crysis 3 could've been a great game -- but as implemented, it hits too many false notes. It feels like a science experiment -- how much poor gameplay will players suffer through in exchange for utterly amazing graphics? The game is gorgeous enough that I actually played more of it specifically to see how segments would look. That's impressive. But it's not enough to recommend for $59 in this economy. At the very least, I'd wait until this title hits $29.99.
Crysis 3 is great for making console gamers cry jealous, jealous tears. It's beautiful. Its soundtrack is pitch-perfect. As a technical achievement, this game is stunning. As a first-person shooter? Save your money. There are flashes of brilliance, but nothing more.