- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2013

The saga of an armor-encased superhero named Prophet continues in the first-person, sci-fi shooter Crysis 3  (Electronic Arts, Rated Mature, reviewed for the Xbox 360, $59.99).

Bigger and more brutal than the previous efforts, this sci-fi extravaganza takes place in 2047, decades after the events in Crysis 2.

It finds Major Laurence (Prophet) Barnes returning (at least in conscience, don’t ask, it’s complicated) to a rotted Big Apple wearing his alien-biogenetic infused Nanosuit.

Along with mouthy Londoner Psycho, they go on an adventure to find the secrets of the Alpha Ceph (an alien invader leader), the militaristic mega corporation CELL and its Nanodome and prevent the extinction of humans on the planet.

Sure, sneaking into a nearly demolished New York City (covered by a protective bubble that turned it into an unkempt terrarium) and killing lots of dumb bad guys might make Snake Plissken giggle, but this game excels from the marvels tied to that glorious black, mutated Nanosuit.

The latest version offers a wealth of offensive and defensive extras not limited to super-high jumps, a cloaking device, enhanced armor (cushion potentially fatal falls and absorb attack damage) and super kicks and punches to knock objects at opponents.

Also add a cool tactical visor to not only hack locks and gun turrets (using a codes wavelength) but tag enemies and visual filter energy signatures to find hidden targets (Nanovision).

Finally, use of found Nanosuit Upgrade Kits adds another level of strategy as a player combines upgrades to unlock enhanced suit powers such as endurance, brute force and stealth.

Uninitiated comic-book readers or pop-culture fans might reference the heroes X-O Manowar and G.I. Joe in his accelerator suit for some perspective.

While fighting CELL military goons and the spindly, extraterrestrial species called the Ceph (that came up from the earth to conquer in a very “War of the Worlds” style), life is a constant battle for survival for Prophet who finds himself in a near constant firefight.

Our hero delivers relentless fatal blows with help from a carbonite Predator bow with multiple types of arrows (explosive tipped work well) along with standard rifles and such slick gear as a rapid-fire machine gun that fires sticky electrical pellets and the Ceph Incinerator that delivers a stream of super-hot liquid plasma on an unfortunate foe.

The satisfactory solo campaign plays out over seven enemy-filled environments through a foliated Penn Station, and various parts of the city often resembling a moss-covered rainforest or Dagobah.

However, The multiplayer fan will find even much to appreciate with Crysis 3 through a dozen maps and eight modes.

Up to a dozen players can split into teams to engage in matches that include CELL vs. rebel, CELL surviving against Nanosuited Hunters and variations on capture the flag (secure active alien drop pod sites).

Strategic options during matches offer plenty of customizations, weapons loadouts and the always-welcomed ability to go invisible while stalking the enemy — not too shabby.

Crysis 3 is a solid adventure with plenty of eye candy and will more than satisfy the fan base of the series.

Unfortunately, the more I mindlessly killed, the more I felt less attune with the story and any empathy for Prophet. I found titles such as Far Cry 3, Dead Space 3 and the latest Tomb Raider to be a much more compelling, cinematic experiences.

Parental advice: The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) after watching the Prophet kill hordes of aliens and punctuated by plenty of blood spurting, decided to label this game “M” and that stands for mature — adults 17 years and older need only try to save Earth in Crysis 3. So don’t let your 12–year-old convince you that “it’s like Robocop meets ‘Falling Skies’ and ya get to wipe out a bunch of nasty aliens.” The game highlights plenty of crumpled bodies of humans that will also cry out in pain and aliens exploding into a mass of blue goo.



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