E3 2012: Crysis 3 Hands-On Preview – Damn-Busters
Written Thursday, June 21, 2012 By Dan WebbView author's profile
The sign of a good threequel, as we’ve always said, is to combine the best bits of the first iteration with the best bits of the second iteration, and as a result, you should have the best in the trilogy. It’s a logical equation in truth, but despite that, it doesn’t always pan out that way. Whether or not this was intentional with Crysis 3 – according to Crytek, it wasn’t – that’s what’s happened and as a result, we may just have the best Crysis heading our way in 2013.
At this year’s E3 we went hands-on with a lengthier version of the gameplay demo shown at the EA press conference. With us at the helm though, we were able to tackle it in any way we wanted to, which is what Crysis is all about. After all, Crysis 3’s mantra is “assess, adapt, attack,” and that we did.
In a mission titled, “Dambusters,” our objective was simple: destroy the hydra dam that’s been set up in New York City. New York City is of course housed under something called a Nanodome in Crysis 3, meaning that the vegetation and ecology of the region has been vastly accelerated, meaning that there’s essentially a rainforest in the middle of New York City. So expect long grasslands, swamplands and canyons, which incidentally forms the hunting ground for our mission, as we find ourselves on the corner of Broadway and Liberty with a swampland in front of us, ahead of the canyon area which plays host to our target: the dam.
Starting up in a building overlooking the swampland, we have three obvious paths in front of us that we discover using our trusty binoculars. The left route takes us through the swampland and into danger, while the middle leads through the building that dissects the river and into danger. On the right, the path heads through another region of swampland and into danger. The environment that stands before us is absolutely huge and littered with (yes) danger, so busting out the cloak we drop down to the surface and stick to the trees as we sneak past a group of soldiers.
One of the simple but brilliant additions for stealth players like myself is the ability to use the cloak more effectively in Crysis 3. The Compound Bow is obviously the new weapon, but allowing you to stay cloaked while you fire it means you can breeze through certain areas without alerting the rest of the nearby troops. Of course, you still have to be careful and have quick reactions as very rarely will you find a guard on his lonesome – they travel in pairs.
How I approached the level as I reached the dam facility changed drastically. Gone were the wide-open swamplands, surrounding trees and upturned buses that I used for cover, and instead, metal walkways and ammo crates became my cover as I switched out the Compound Bow for the 500-bullets-a-second Typhoon. It’s a devastating – and ultimately fun – weapon to wield and we ripped through the infantry on the catwalk with sublime ease.
Crysis 3 seems to throw more obstacles at you and pads to hack than ever before. There’s laser grids everywhere that you have to hack to disable turrets or just to keep noise at a minimum. With infantry everywhere the last thing you need to do is make a scene and attract their attention. Alas, that’s what we did though. With the Typhoon, armour mode and the shotgun armed, we made quick work of them. It did give us a great chance to see Crytek’s improved AI at work though, as they worked in teams to perform a classic pincer movement on us. Even better was the last soldier running for his life when he realised he was fighting a losing battle. Subsequently chasing down and air stomping that son of a bitch into the next life was a great way to end an intense firefight.
Perhaps the most joyful part of our hands-on was being able to bust out the different tips for the bow and cause some mayhem. You don’t have many of these at your disposal so it’s important you don’t waste them, but the problem is because they're so damn fun and powerful, you can’t help but use them as and when you pick them up. When climbing into a vent and sneaking through to one of our objectives, we were able to equip an electric tipped projectile and take down two guards stood in a puddle with a single arrow, which was admittedly pretty impressive.
However, using the explosive tipped projectiles on our way to the final checkpoint, we were able to take down large groups of soldiers who were awaiting our arrival on a nearby helipad. With superb particle and explosion effects, the Compound Bow with all its powerful tips had to be one of the more formidable weapons at this year’s E3. It made our final jaunt to place the explosives rather simple, and then as the dam blew, we were able to zip wire to safety in style – you know, as you do.
Crysis 3 does definitely seem to be far more sandbox-oriented and expansive than Crysis 2 in terms of its environments. The action caters to both those who like all-out warfare and to those who like to play a little bit more stealthily too. Both of which are good signs for Crytek’s threequel. That said, one of the hang-ups of Crytek’s Crysis titles ever since their inception is that they’ve been a little soulless.
Crysis games are generally classed as extremely beautiful and solid shooters with epic set-pieces, but where they’ve lacked that cutting edge is in terms of story. There’s not much doubt in our mind that in terms of controls, setup and general mayhem, Crysis 3 will be the best Crysis the developer's ever created. However, to really propel it forward, we’re hoping that Crytek can deliver a much less convoluted and more gripping story this time around.
Crysis 3 is scheduled for a February 2013 release.