Building on the idea of “destroyed beauty”, Crysis 3’s artists have created a stunning, picture-postcard vision of a destroyed Manhattan, transformed into a diverse cityscape filled with nature – and deadly enemies

AT THE time of writing,  the PlayStation 4 was about to be revealed – sadly, as my invite to the exclusive reveal was lost in the post, I’m skipping on to the just released

Crysis 3 (sorry, Sony), another one of the triple-A titles that are now flying onto shelves as 2013 unfolds.

Given that there are seemingly an endless amount of first-person shooters that are all noise, bluster and angry men with beards shouting at each other – yawn – the Crysis series has created a small, but interesting, niche for itself.

True, you still wander around shooting bad guys, but Crysis has succeeded, to date, in crafting well-realised worlds and interesting scenarios for adult gamers.

As a brief recap, and for those new to the series, aliens (established in Crysis) invaded New York in Crysis 2, with you, as the protaganist, donning an enhanced cyber-suit to make your way through one set-piece after another, culminating in the destruction of an awful lot of Uptown real estate. Oops.

Now, several years later, and with the abandoned ruins of New York safely encased under a vast dome by a somewhat nefarious corporation, everything seems quiet in the city. Too quiet …

It’s not long before you’re back in Manhattan, investigating both what the surviving aliens have been really getting up to for all those years, as well as encountering the inevitable (human) bad guys that also have an interest in the domed, and doomed city …

From here, you’re in familiar Crysis territory, with the game providing plenty of player choice in how you approach each scenario and set-piece.

For example, players who like to “tank” their way through can charge around, if they wish, while stealth play is also rewarded, as you gradually unlock new abilities and enhanced powers, courtesy of your suit and weapons.

So far, so kind-of familiar, but where Crysis 3 once again excels is in its stunning art direction, and environmental design, with its “destroyed beauty” aesthetics creating a New York that’s both familiar, yet alien.

Shattered and fractured, the city has been transformed, with rivers and lakes joining unexpected forests and plains, as Mother Nature, the aliens’ machinations, and the domed environment conspire to dramatically change the city – to stunning effect.

Once again, PC owners with hefty gaming rigs get the best from Crysis, with a noticeable boost to graphics and detail.

The game’s still quite a looker on the XBox and PS3, despite some occasional glitches, making it not just a game that’s great fun to play, but one that’s also sure to impress onlookers, too, with its stand-out design and unique vision.

It’s worth pointing out that, again, Crysis has a great multiplayer side to get stuck into, with some interesting variations on standard multiplayer gaming, courtesy not just of each players’ suit’s powers, but with a twist on some classic gaming modes.

While graphics are always less important than gameplay, its striking design, reasonably open gameplay choices and fun multiplayer options make this a Crysis that’s definitely worth welcoming.