“Well, no one’s ever done that before,” said the Crytek employee after he’d finished watching my playthrough of Crysis 3’s E3 demo. My Crysis 1 instincts had kicked in and I’d just snuck around just about every opponent in the whole 30 minute demo, taking out just a few turrets and soldiers as needed. With no aliens in sight and the cityscapes of Crysis 2 melded with the open-ended jungle gameplay sensibilities of the first Crysis, it seems like developer Crytek has finally gotten it right.
Crysis 3 puts you in the role of Prophet, the wreckless squad leader from the first Crysis who somehow gained the ability to adapt and use alien weaponry after he was abducted. This means that alien weapons now seem to play a bigger role in the traditionally human weapon landscape of shotguns and assault rifles. Running off of your character’s nanosuit energy – energy normally used for increased armor, stealth cloaking, and big jumps or punches – the alien cannon I picked up during the demo let me demolish a big enemy turret in seconds.
Alien weapons seem like a nice option for players who prefer to put on the suit’s maximum armor mode and gun down everyone, but the bow, the focus of much of the game’s marketing, was a big help for stealth players like me. Being the only weapon that can fire without disrupting stealth mode, the bow satisfyingly turns that last straggling enemy into a dangling, pin-cushioned wall ornament. Of course, you still have to nock each arrow and pull it back, so there’s a bit of nuance and timing to using it in any situation. Extra options, like explosive arrows and electric arrows, came in handy for detonating gas lines and shocking enemies stuck in pools of water, respectively. Those gadgety uses of the bow are nothing new to anyone who’s kept up on games for the past decade, but they do a good job of servicing the sort of multiple-solution-to-every-problem gameplay that Crysis 3 seems to be trying to carry forward in the series.
I played the PC version of the game and, unlike the modest and console-friendly visuals of the second Crysis game, Crysis 3 looked like it was squeezing a fair bit of power out of the gaming rig, true to the original roots of the series as a graphical showcase; foliage rustled in the breeze, fog moved realistically in the faux skyscape of the biodome I was in, and water rippled with every impacting gunshot and footfall.
Although the controls are largely the same as previous Crysis games, and standard fare for shooters at that, the gunplay felt a good deal more precise and responsive than it has before, even when I opted to use the Xbox 360 controller tucked behind the keyboard and mouse.
Crysis 3 is slated for a February 2013 release, and that will likely place it just a few months before the announcements of the next line of consoles. With the limited bits I’ve seen of the game, it looks like Crysis 3 will be a fine end to the series’ run on current gen consoles, and it won’t look too shabby while doing it.
Check back closer to the game’s release for our review.