However, I am not as sure about Prophet, the hulking superhuman I'm in control of. He doesn't seem to really be himself. Is he more alien Ceph than human now, and how much of Alcatraz is really left in him?
To answer these questions, we're once again thrown into the war against both the Cell and Ceph, one that sees us caught in the middle of the battle (with only good ol' Psycho, who more than ever lives up to his name, backing us up).
It's not the sort of back-up you'd turn down, regardless of whether you're off to chop some trees or save the world. You'll also notice how Prophet has undergone a slight personality change. He now poses, is viewed from arty camera angles, and hands out one liners to anyone listening. He's not just some guy in a suit these days.
One major topic when talking about Crysis 3 ahead of its release was the location. We're in a war-torn New York, which has been ripped to pieces. Vegetation has consumed the Big Apple, now a true concrete jungle where skyscrapers resemble giant trees. The weakened Ceph encapsuled New York in a giant dome and inside of this giant structure time passes at an accelerated pace. Think of Will Smith's I Am Legend, but a hundred times worse.
Rivers flow where Kung Pao Chicken once did in a destroyed Chinatown. The National Museum now houses mould instead of beautiful art. That your initial weapon of choice is a bow feels entirely natural in this kind of environment. You're a superhuman Rambo.
The bow is something you always will have access to, and it quickly grows into an indispensable weapon for those who want to stealthy decimate enemies. You never have to ditch your bow in favour of some other weapon, and as soon as you run out of ammunition it's there to help you hunt the enemy.
There are several types of arrowheads, with explosive and electrifying ones being the most potent. This makes for an even more satisfying experience, and there is really no time when it's not suitable to use your trusted bow. Killing off an enemy that has strayed to close to you while cloaked only to use your bow to finish off his friends is simply incredibly satisfying. Same goes for the combat change-up, as you transfer from cloaked jungle warrior and unsheath your Typhoon rifle - which sprays a thousand bullets per second - to finish off the remainder.
Crytek have found the right direction for Prophet in Crysis 3, and he feels much more iconic and prominent than in the previous games. Cue plenty of cut scenes in which he demonstrates superhuman abilities that would make Master Chief green with envy. Some of you may be turned off by the fact that Prophet has more of a personality to him, but every main character doesn't need to be created from the same mould as Gordon Freeman and Master Chief and personally I found the dialogues Prophet and Psycho share entertaining, partly thanks to great voice acting.
Likewise, the lush surroundings are the right compromise between the more open approach found in the original, and the linearity of the sequel. Crytek often referred to Crysis 3 as a mix between Crysis 1 and 2 in this regard, and I feel that's an apt description. Sure, you're constantly driven towards an objective, but there are often several alternative routes, plenty of side-quests and alternative ways to tackle problems.
The best parts of the game are the levels that feature more open environments where you can choose to go on foot or use a vehicle to approach your enemies. These levels also show off some of the most impressive visuals of the game, and the effects are simply outrageous. There is a great sense of freedom as you take higher ground and look down on the swaying tall grass below, you can tell by the ripples in the grass the enemy is approaching, completely unaware of your position. You take out your bow and send an explosive arrow where you think an enemy is heading. A second later you're rewarded with a wonderfully meaty explosion that's a feast for your eyes.