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Crysis 3 preview

by Jeff Mattas, Jun 07, 2012 11:00am PDT

QUICKTAKE: Crysis 3 is the "finale" of Crytek's shooter trilogy. Once again, you can play stealthily, aggressively, or a combination of both. The new compound bow is a real boon for players taking a stealthier approach. Although stil in alpha, the E3 demo was downright stunning to look at.

THE DEMO: The demo began with a short briefing, in which I got to sit down at a PC and play a single-player campaign level called "Dam Busters."

DETAILS: In the pre-gameplay briefing, it was explained that players will assume the role of returning character Prophet. The evil Cell Corporation has been encasing cities (New York, specifically) in giant Nanodomes, to try and harness the aliens' powers. New York's dome, known as the Liberty Dome, has transformed into seven distinct environment types known as the Seven Wonders. Of course, Prophet finds himself in the thick of the conflict.

The setup for Crysis 3 provides a lot of opportunity for variety in design. Generally speaking, the "Seven Wonders" idea allows Crytek to go for a variety of different environments. The "Dam Busters" campaign map I played was set in a sort of swampy urban jungle, and if the other environments are as gorgeous, you'll be hard-pressed to find a prettier shooter. It was also explained that each of the seven environments geography will also cater to different weapons, enemies, and tactics--a welcome idea that promises to shake things up from sandbox to sandbox.

The map was quite large, and as I slowly took out enemies from afar and made my way toward the objective marker. Normally, I would have naturally settled in to my favorite Crysis tactic of uncloak-headshot-cloak. However, thanks to the slick-looking compound bow I've been hearing so much about, I uncloaked far less frequently. It's a design nod to the stealthy player, and one that comes off quite well. Normally, firing a weapon in a Crysis game while cloaked immediately renders you visible and temporarily depletes the nanosuit's energy supply. While the bow still takes a bit of the energy bar when it's fired cloaked, it's not much. With it, I was usually able to get off a couple of undetected shots before I had to hide and recharge. It's subtle, but it really improves the experience for those who like to play stealthily.

Awesome bow aside, the mechanical and presentational improvements in Crysis 3 seem incremental, but since Crysis 2 is still one of the best looking shooters out there, that's not particularly harsh criticism. The "Seven Wonders" idea of creating multiple disparate environments within a devastated New York is particularly intriguing, and though I only experienced one environment and map, the overall premise seems to be potentially the best of the series.

The nanosuit returns in February of 2013 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and based on the E3 demo, I'll be gearing up to put it on again.





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