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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Crysis 3.

TranscriptEdit

When two games come out late in the week, my task then is to decide which one to plough through over the weekend and which one to devote the whole of next week to. Basically, it's about taking an educated guess as to which one is more likely to be a quick hacked out puff of bunny flatulence that will come and go like a gentlemen caller at your mum's house, and which one will be an overwritten slog with dialogue edited by a comatose man with safety scissors. In this case, an educated guess that had to be made about Crysis 3 and Metal Gear Rising. I didn't say it was always a difficult educated guess, mind.

And I'd just like to express my appreciation to Crysis 3 for being over in two quick sessions, so the weekend I'd set aside for ploughing through it could instead be spent exploring the human body's maximum pie capacity. The fact that it hasn't been that long since Crysis 2 made the whole affair smell of hack-job to me, and what also didn't bode well was that the graphic for Crysis 3 on the Xbox Dashboard showed the Crysis 2 box art. I suppose it's easy to overlook the fine details when you're hacking out a sequel with a fucking meat cleaver.

Long time, and medium time and probably the short time viewers as well actually, will remember that I quite liked Crysis 2 which managed a rare thing of having an unstoppable messianic super-soldier who was simultaneously vulnerable and sympathetic, because Alcatraz was a barely-alive mush sealed in a nanosuit against his will by Prophet, a passing wanker. In Crysis 3 however, we are now playing as Prophet because his personality was still in the nanosuit and has somehow overwritten the Alcatraz identity, with Alcatraz offhandedly mentioned once in the opening backstory basically as a big pile of convenient spare parts that happened to be lying around. You fucking dick, Prophet! So we're just left with the unstoppable messianic super-soldier with none of the vulnerability, and also he's a fucking bodysnatcher now.

Crysis 3 opens with Dickbag emerging from suspended animation 30 years after the last game ended to find humanity now enslaved, and must join a civilian resistance partially consisting of old colleagues of his, 'cause Crysis 2 had so much fun nicking ideas from Half-Life 2, we might as well go for the record. In this case it's CELL, a corporation with the same ethics as Weyland Yutani but none of the insatiable appetite for self-destruction, who have enslaved humanity by monopolizing the world's energy.

On Prophet's side, we have Psycho from Crysis 1, The World's Most British Man, whose every word seems to form into a chip butty as it passes through the air, and whose main task is to rather desperately demonstrate personality to make up for Prophet's deficiency in that area. So he's really cross at CELL for taking away his favorite pajamas, and he gets betrayed, because video game stories have to feature at least one betrayal (I think that was a part of the Treaty of Versailles) and you can't effectively betray Prophet because he has all the character of a Jaffa Cake. Also, there's the resistance leader lady who doesn't like Prophet for no particular reason besides token character conflict, which is a shame because there were so many perfectly adequate reasons to dislike Prophet.

Together, they destroy CELL's power facility, but Prophet is concerned that this will make the aliens come back, because the Foreshadow-tron 4000 is going ballistic and there's still two thirds of the game to go. But everyone blows him off and sure enough, the aliens come back. Wow, who could have seen that coming? If only there was someone around here whose name means someone who predicts things!

It seems to me like jumping the plot ahead 20 years is the drastic move one saves for the crazy big sequel with the all new engine and mechanics, not the 'wimpy glorified level pack insultingly brief "whoops forgot to change the Xbox dashboard graphic" sequel that comes out less than a year later, 'cause the end result is a game in which I feel a little detached from events. There are a lot of things happening and I wasn't entirely sure how or why. As soon as the big alien gets loose, all the alien soldiers just sort of materialize and immediately invade, with the explanation that they were hiding behind someone's fridge or something all along, and CELL have a doomsday satellite that they're going to blow up New York with, except it will also blow up the world, so we have to go to a control room and bang our heads on a wall so that it doesn't.

The defining moment for me was during one of the in-game mission briefings when two sentences in, I realized I didn't know what the blinking crikey the leader lady was going on about. It felt like a conversation from about two thirds of the way into an episode of Star Trek when the bloke with the engine filter stuck to his face explains the solution he's come up with by reading aloud the contents page of the Enterprise's technical manual.

Maybe I just don't have the genius brain for some good old hard sci-fi, the kind of hard sci-fi where the most significant new addition is a bow and arrow. Yeah, that's some real hard fuckin' sci-fi right there. It completely illustrates how desperate they were to find a new feature to trumpet the amount of fuss that gets made about a fucking string tied to a bendy stick. First it features prominently on the box art and then it's introduced in the first mission in what sounds like a conversation from the fucking shopping channel:

"Gosh! I just love exterminating my fellow man with the most advanced projectile weaponry in existence, but sometimes I think that if I could just pick the bullets out of the ruined bodies of my victims, put them back in my guns and use them again, then that'd be so much more productive! But there's no way I can do that, is there...?"

"Well, Prophet! Have you tried Bow & Arrow?"

"Bow & Arrow, you say?"

"Yes! Not only does Bow & Arrow allow ammo recovery, but it's also silent, can be fired without de-cloaking and does about twelve times the damage of a bullet for some reason."

"Gosh, Psycho! Bow & Arrow sounds so convenient, it almost makes me wonder why they were completely supplanted by guns fucking centuries ago!"

Alright, maybe it's playing up to the whole stealthy predator image they're going for, and maybe it is fun to nail a complete bastard to a wall by his memories of childhood, but the thing is, Prophet isn't an alien Predator who needs to kill sentient life to make his cosmic balls feel big, and Crysis 3 still hasn't adequately explained to me why I should bother hunting all the enemies when it's easier to cloak past them and go straight to the objective.

And don't say, "because it's fun". I'm the kind of guy who needs context for that kind of thing. I like my porn to have a story. I don't get anything from it if I don't know who this woman is and what kind of poverty has driven her down to use blowjobs as payment for all her deliveries and household maintainence. And I'm not going to go out of my way to stealth hunt blokes I don't percieve as either a threat or an obstacle. In a sandbox maybe, but this is a linear game no matter how many pointless side missions they throw in that consist of only going to a single spot that's slightly out of your way.

So Crysis 3, kinda forgettable. "How forgettable?" you ask. I'VE FORGOTTEN!!

AddendaEdit

  • Shot an arrow into the air: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • So no-one thought to maybe push a broom around New York at any point in the last twenty years
  • But will Prophet ever be able to ecscape from Alcatraz
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2

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