Editor: Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
The release date for Crysis 3 looms towards the end of the coming fortnight, and developers Crytek Frankfurt and UK, who worked on the main title and multiplayer components respectively, as well as publisher EA will be hoping their upcoming sci-fi shooter will make an impact. Having released a multiplayer beta towards the end of January, which is scheduled to go on until the 12th of February and is available on PSN, Xbox Live and Origin on PC, I had a chance to go hands on with the title’s multiplayer and get a general feel for the gameplay.
Provided in the beta was a combination of 2 game modes and 2 maps. The first of the game modes, Crash Site, can be directly compared to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s Hardpoint mode, where two teams compete for control of a randomly spawning zone (a crashed Ceph pod in Crysis 3) which vanishes after a short period of time, exploding in Crysis 3 and killing any player unfortunate enough to be standing too close to it.
The second game mode, Hunter, is another game mode with a direct Call of Duty comparison in the Infected game mode. 2 players start as cloaked nanosuit soldiers, with their primary objective being to hunt down the other players in the lobby, who are playing as normal soldiers awaiting extraction. As each soldier is killed, another hunter spawns – this continues until their are no more soldiers left, or the soldiers receive extraction.
Both game modes contain certain contextual bonuses, where the first player to find or acquire them receives a big boost to their character. These are items such as powerful Ceph weaponry and board-able gunships, which allow the player to shoot out of an autonomous flying gunship while remaining out of reach of enemies. The gunship’s mounted turrets can also be detached, after which the soldier can leave with the weapon and bring their extra firepower down to ground level.
The maps included in the beta show a more destroyed and dilapidated version of the remnants of New York City, which is unsurprising, given the setting of Crysis 3. However, these maps also show potential for a type of gameplay that is slightly off the beaten track for first-person shooters, a sense of verticality. This allows for multi-tiered maps in which the player’s nanosuit’s abilities can be explored and exploited to outwit their opponents by climbing, sniping or air stomping their opposition. Added to this is the basic abilities of the nanosuit, which would be the cloak and strength features which allow the player to temporarily become mostly invisible or notably stronger than usual. These offer many tactical options when facing off against other players or teams in order to get the beating of your opposition.
However, the multiplayer is not all that gamers have to look forward to with the pending release of Crysis 3, as the singleplayer campaign will offer an extension on the intrinsically link characters of Prophet and Alcatraz as revealed towards the end of the 2011 prequel, Crysis 2. While the narrative of Crysis 2 was not its shining point, Crysis 3 will aim to improve in these areas, with the sequel set 24 years after the events of Crysis 2, as the reasons behind the C.E.L.L. Corporation’s construction of Nanodomes to protect against the alien Ceph threat is revealed.
The character movement and control system seem a lot smoother and the playable character (or unnamed nanosuit drone, as I like to call my multiplayer character) responds in a more fitting fashion that Alcatraz or the unnamed nanosuit drones in Crysis 2 did. Gunplay seems improved, and while I’m sure that the focus of the title will be on the visuals and the nanosuit powers, for a first-person shooter to be successful, it often has to have its shooting right first. However, the proof is in the pudding, and I will be looking to see if Crytek have managed to mix all these elements together to create a smoother, more user-friendly playing experience.
While you fight your way through the Ceph and C.E.L.L operatives, you will be able to marvel at the graphical excellence that Crysis is renowned for. This is where I am quite envious of the PC gamers, because if the system requirements and Crytek founder and CEO Cevat Yerli are to be believed, the Crysis 3 graphics will “melt down PCs” with its graphical quality. However, on any platform, the graphics will certainly be eyebrow-raising, and the battered and nature-reclaimed New York City will certainly be a sight to behold.
While the second title in the Crysis series was by no means a bad title, it lacked somewhat in its storytelling and lasting appeal in my opinion. It does seem as if Crysis 3 aims to remedy these errors by making the title a far more streamlined and deep experience; and a couple of compound bows and air stomps here and there certainly won’t hurt either.
Crysis 3 is scheduled for release on the 22nd of February 2013 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC systems.