Crytek is obviously putting a lot into the third title in the Crysis series, after all it’s over a year before we’ll see the release and already Crysis 3 is one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen on a console.
We all knew the game was coming of course, but that didn’t make sitting down to see it for the first time any less special. The occasion was a recent EA Spring Showcase, packed full of journalists and development teams from around Europe. It was Crytek’s Rasmus Hosenguard, Director of Creative Development who was on hand to take us through the first showing of Crysis 3 and what a showing it was.
Before taking us through the game itself, Hosenguard was duty bound to set the scene by talking up the game, which included telling us how Crysis 3 will push the enhanced version of the Cry Engine 3 to its very limits and judging by what we saw soon after, he wasn’t joking.
So up starts the game, set in 2047 and bang in the middle of an Alien Invasion. The SEF want Earth for their own purposes and the Cell want to harvest its power for world domination. Prophet? Well he’s just fed and and decides to take things into his own hands, therefore as you play through as this main protagonist you’re no longer the hunted…You Are The Hunter!
That brings us up to date with what’s taking place, but it’s not actually until you see the new world that you really appreciate the extent of the changes. The Cell have placed the world’s cities under large Nano domes in order to cleanse them from within and hopefully stop the enemy from invading. The result is what Hosenguard described as a “Urban Jungle”, which depending on the part of the world you find yourself in includes Jungle, Grasslands, Rivers and Swamps.
This particular demo took place in the Chinatown Area of NYC, which has been covered by the ‘Liberty Dome.’ This particular area is set in a Drenched Jungle, with plenty of trees and water under foot. During the opening scene you soon see that the Cell’s plan to keep out the SEF has not worked; they’re everywhere. Thankfully Prophet has a few neat tricks up his sleeve, as I mentioned before he is now the hunter, which makes it all the more relevant that he is carrying a kick-ass bow which generally cuts through the Scarab in one neat hit. Sticking with the hunter theme, Prophet can also combine the cloaking function of his suit with the bow, allowing him to stealthily pick off enemies, making for a whole different style of gameplay to the usual all out gun battles seen in the series.
The objective in the demo was to reach a tower used to scan for enemy threats. This involved a mixture of the new hunting techniques and some good old fashioned gunplay. It’d be great if you could just sneak past the enemy using your cloak and bow, unfortunately though the enemy isn’t that simple; By using drones the enemy is able to scan and uncloak such threats, meaning that sometimes using a gun is just the way to go. Thankfully, not only are there new and powerful weapons, but for the first time Prophet can also pick up enemy weapons, allowing him to turn this firepower against them. There are also new weapons, such as an awesome Heavy Mortar gun, which does plenty of damage.
Interestingly the melee combat has also been improved, with one particular scene showing Prophet punching a guard so high into the air that he could probably have got a home run.
To guard against these new found skills, the enemy has also been subjected to a large upgrade, therefore you’ll find yourself dodging large creatures such as the Scorcher, which spits out fire with a flame thrower effect and although this is the only example we saw of the enemies threat in the short play through, we are promised that there’s much more to come.
Visually the game is a treat. China Town looked spectacular, with lush greens and flooded streets almost feeling as if they where part of the area rather than an addition to it. A lot of care has went into how the environments feel and it’s certainly paid off. Throughout the journey you’ll see plenty of example of how nature is moving into these usually bustling cities, therefore don’t be surprised if you hear a few frogs or dragon flies as you are wander through the impressive, physic-reacting grass. Yes the demo was short, but based on what was on show, Crysis 3 is shaping up to be one of the most visually impressive games around.
Going into the demo I was thinking to myself, ‘great another shooter, just what I need.’ At the end of the demo though I was already converted. Here we have a game which makes you the hunter, allowing you to use tactics to think your way out of situations instead of shooting your way out, although you still can do this if needs must. Crysis 3 is shaping up nicely and just think, there’s still another year to make it even better.
Crysis 3 is set for next year on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.