Before XBOX 360/PS3 came out and pretty much put a preliminary end to this “cold war arms race” (because from then on everything was just developed for their fixed hardware), it was typical that the newest games wouldn’t run on PCs older than 2 years, or only with significantly lowered quality settings, at least. By and large, it’s my opinion that this circumstance helped to spawn a (not necessarily the) “golden age” of gaming. Without just running to get the latest graphical wonders out of the newest hardware, games had to grow in other areas. I was very happy about that. Before, game series like Mass Effect or BioShock, which basically used the same engine for all their installments, would have been unthinkable. It helped games like these, to be a continuation in more than just story. Trilogies/series before that stage used to be like Gabriel Knight, which were forced to use an entirely different technology for every sequel. I’m pretty sure GK3 never would have sucked the way it did if they could have made it a classic adventure like the first one – but that wouldn’t have been following the trend back then.
Crysis 3 now, seems to be more a member of this era, in which devs first and foremost tried to deliver current graphics and then called it a day. Gameplay and story (I just realized there was no need to use the spoiler tag, because…) are only added to the degree that’s necessary, to just make it seem more than a mere tech demo. It succeeds at that. The game also performs very well on my very (at best) mediocre hardware and I enjoyed that a lot, I certainly didn’t expect that – it should be commended for that. It’s just nothing that I will remember for more than giving such an example. The mere technical level of the graphics (in Crysis 3) seems superior to BioShock Infinite, but the actual game is infinitely inferior to everything else in BioShock Infinite. The art/look/feel in BSI is crafted to a level where sole rooms in it stay memorable, C3 has pretty much no such spot in the entire game. Its beauty is shallow.
Now, I have this super-special talent to make these things sound so much more dire than I actually think about them, because Crysis 3 is still a competent FPS and it can still be worthwhile for someone who’s honestly into this genre, but it sadly fails when compared to other FPS games like The Darkness II, whose campaigns are truly memorable and fun. It’s supposed to be a GAME, this is not an entry to a contest where mere game engine technology is presented. Under those conditions it probably would do much better…