Crysis 3 accessibility review

Josh Straub5 minute read

Crysis is one of the most innovative franchises in the first person shooter genre. The ability to turn oneself into an all-powerful predator has drawn hardcore shooter fans and casual players alike. Crysis 3 carries on this tradition with stunning graphics and the kind of open world gameplay that will appeal to anyone who appreciates a good sci-fi frag fest. Unfortunately, the polished gameplay and stunning visuals will remain inaccessible to large numbers of the disabled community because of a few barriers that turn Crysis 3 from a challenging game into a quagmire in which players have to struggle just to get through, let alone have fun with.

Players with visual disabilities should be extremely wary when purchasing this title. I have no visual disability, and was playing a game on a high definition TV, and yet I still struggled to read some of the game’s most important text, like the description of each upgrade that makes the nano-suit an even stronger killing machine. Even worse was the fact that the first mission Prophet goes on features such dark visuals that even without a visual impairment it took me two hours to get through what should have been an hour long level.

The one thing that saves Crysis 3 from being completely inaccessible for the visually impaired is the thermal imaging mode, which players can turn on in low light scenarios. However, because this mode drains the nano-suit’s power and is visually fatiguing, it’s hard to imagine anyone playing for protracted periods of time with this feature turned on. To compound matters, the problem with shadows gets even worse in combat situations. I eventually stopped playing the game because I kept getting ambushed by guards that should have been in plain sight, but whose images were blending in with the surrounding shadows. Even turning up the game’s gamma all the way to maximum did not alleviate this problem. The bottom line: Crysis 3 is a very dark game, and it can be hard to see your way through it even without a visual disability—to say nothing of the game’s radar system, which features small, color-coded icons that change as each battle unfolds.

Crysis 3 poses even more problems for players who have fine motor disabilities. To being with, the game features extremely limited customization, and players will always be relying on the triggers on the controller either to activate nano-suit abilities or to fire their weapons. As a result, players who have to use lap trays should not should not play this on the PS3. Dozens of times I found myself firing in front of an enemy while cloaked, which gave my position away, or even worse, I accidentally deactivated my cloak altogether.

The players who will have the least problem with this game are those who have hearing disabilities. The game features a persistent set of subtitles that displays whatever is being said if it is within Prophet’s earshot. And in a brilliant move by the developers at Crytek, the stealth mechanic does not rely on one sense to communicate. If an enemy is tagged, their awareness will be color coded, turning from blue to yellow to red as they become aware of the player’s prowling. This means that players with hearing disabilities will not have to rely on the game’s audio cues when trying to employ stealth. However, the problem is that in order for this system to work, enemies have to be tagged, which requires the player to open up a special HUD and then focus on all of the enemies it displays. As a result, on levels where reinforcements come in if the alarm is raised, players will often find themselves ambushed by enemies who aren’t tagged, and who therefore can be much harder to see, especially given the game’s propensity for dark settings. All of this means that if a player has an auditory disability and tries to play stealth, they had better be constantly checking for new enemies, because without the tagging system, all the players have is the audio cues for enemy awareness.

In addition to these disability-specific problems there is also one overarching problem with Crysis 3 that will affect all players, no matter their disability. Crysis 3 is incredibly unforgiving. The thing that really killed the experience for me was having to repeatedly go back and deal with enemies if I made one misstep (or accidentally uncloaked in front of an enemy) and ended up dead. I must say that I really do enjoy the Crysis series, but after a week of playing through the game and only getting through the first quarter, I’m ready to trade this one in and move on to the next title. However, if this were the end, it would be an unfair assessment of this game. There is one thing that saves it from being completely inaccessible. To counter its unforgiving nature, the game is very flexible, and will fit almost any player’s play style, whether it’s the nano-suit upgrade system which allows you to put together any four perks, or the open sandbox feel of the levels which allows players to approach each scenario in whatever way they see fit, if a player can handle some of Crysis 3’s barriers, the game will reward them with a one-of-a-kind experience.

Overall Rating: Partially Accessible
Visual Rating: Partially Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Partially Accessible
Auditory Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
GameInformer Score: 8.5

The Bottom Line for Disabled Gamers: Crysis 3

Visual– There are auditory cues in addition to the color-coded visual cues for enemy awareness.
– There is a thermal imaging mode for low light scenarios.
– The game allows players to tag enemies to keep track of their position.

– There are some very dark levels that are incredibly hard to see in.
– In thermal imaging mode you lose some important definition between enemies and the surrounding area.
– Thermal imaging mode is visually fatiguing.
– Some of the text can be hard to read even for the visually unimpaired.
– Features a radar that can be hard to read and is color-coded.

Fine Motor

– Game is incredibly flexible.
– Allows players a highly customized experience.

– Limited controller customization.
– Focus on stealth severely punishes mistakes.
– Focus on damage absorption requires fast reflexes.


– There are color-coded cues in addition to auditory cues for enemy awareness.
– Game has persistent subtitles that appear any time there is dialogue.

-Stealth aspects in the game still rely heavily on audio cues, especially when not all enemies are marked.

This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.

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