Gamescom 2012: Crysis 3 Multiplayer Hands-On Preview – Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel
Written Wednesday, August 22, 2012 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Remember that one scene in Predator, where the titular alien hunter is skulking in the trees, picking off its prey one by one? I say one scene, when in fact, that was essentially the whole movie. My point is, it’s one overpowered killing machine against a group of ill-equipped soldiers. Well, imagine that in an enclosed map, no trees, but with lots of heavily armed soldiers instead and a countdown timer. If you’re a soldier, survive and you win. If you’re the predator, kill, kill, kill! It’s as simple as that. That, my friends, is Crysis 3’s new Hunter mode.
Crysis 3’s Hunter mode, for all intents and purposes, is Crytek UK’s take on the popular ‘zombie’ game mode. Starting with 2 Nanosuited hunters and 10 bog-standard agents (14 on PC), depending on who you are, depends on your objective. If you’re a ‘hunter,’ you’re armed with the Compound Bow, a knife and permanent invisibility, and it’s your job to take down all of the agents on the ground. Kill one and they become a hunter. If you’re a non-Nanosuited tank, then your objective is to simply survive. Thankfully you’re armed with the 500-rounds per second Typhoon and EMP grenades – which disable a hunter’s cloak, so you’re not completely helpless. In fact, if you’re intelligent, there’s plenty of points to bag as a non-hunter. The Typhoon incidentally is a mean rifle and should you get the jump on the hunter, he’s toast. Getting the jump is the tricky bit though as they can not only see you, but see where everyone is on their map too! It’s a tense affair.
The game is broken down into 5 two-minute rounds with the hunter’s randomly picked every round. If you’re a hunter, you’ll get points for taking down the troopers and strengthening the hunter assault squad; and if you’re a trooper, you gain points for surviving – and taking down hunters. The longer you last, the more points you accumulate. If you can survive into the last 10 seconds of a round, you’ll be inundated with points galore, but surviving is the tricky bit.
The museum map is the location for our hands-on, with the multi-levelled arena full of large open spaces, rickety wooden platforms leading up to decimated stone walkways, and nooks and crannies galore. The swamp-like lower region, surrounded by shrubbery, makes you easy pickings for the hunters if you’re a soldier, so naturally, the group gravitates to the higher ground, trying to narrow their field of view so that they have more chance of a hunter coming.
It’s easy to say tactics are essential, but here they really are. It’s easy to think that sticking with the group and believing in the power of numbers is the way forward too… Honestly, it’s not. At least in our experience it isn't. If you’ve seen any hunter vs. prey movie – like Predator – you know that the Predator will pick off the stragglers at the back first. That’s the same here. What we did was try to go as far as possible away from the others. We had a Typhoon, so we weren't completely helpless and managed to stay alive where others died. In every round we adopted this strategy, we were fairly successful. Beware though, because the Typhoon might pack a punch, but it doesn’t hold much ammo, so it pays not to be wasteful. The tension as a straightforward soldier is pretty intense and you’ll often find yourself watching every approach like a hawk as you attempt to find the optimal vantage point.
Then there’s the hunters… ahhhh, the hunters. Starting as a hunter is a pretty exhilarating experience, if truth be told. Watching 10 soldiers run for their lives as you’re crouched in a bush is a pretty powerful moment and then picking them off one-by-one with the one-shot, one-kill Compound Bow... Well, that shit is legendary. What makes it better is watching the group scatter, before deciding which one to chase down and kill. As I’ve already mentioned, you’re not all powerful, so a little bit of tact is required, but if you’re good with a bow and like to play mind games with your prey, you can have an incredible amount of fun flushing them out. In all, it’s pretty adrenaline-charged stuff.
The key to success in modes such as this is balance and it seems like Crytek has absolutely nailed it. The hunters are super-powered beings, yes, but the fact that the normal, non-Nanosuited soldiers are equipped with a Typhoon and EMPs means that they are more than capable of defending themselves. Usually you’ll find that it sucks to be the prey in this hunter vs. prey style game modes, but honestly, sometimes it was more fun to be the prey, which is rather surprising.
Last, and definitely least, we also got chance to go hands-on with Crash Site, a 6-on-6 mode that featured in Crysis 2. It’s straightforward ‘king of the hill’ with moving hills. Stay in the hill, get points. Simple. How Crysis 3’s version of crash site differs though is with the inclusion of a controllable Pinger in the map. Gain control of it and you'll get a significant advantage, but be careful, the ride can be jacked and your worst nightmare can be turned against you.
Included as standard as well is what Crytek is calling the “New York Feed,” which is effectively Crysis 3’s Autolog feature. It’s presented as a dynamically generated map of NYC, which creates an information flow of what you and your friends have been achieving in-game. It allows you to earn extra XP and rewards via a series of challenges, which come in three flavours: ‘Social,’ which are dynamically generated challenges by your friends for achieving a high score in a specific statistic; ‘Chance,’ is a challenge that is picked at random by the development team; and ‘Lobby,’ which pits you against the people in your lobby and the person with the highest stat in a random area will win. It sounds like a nice little addition, yet how it’ll ultimately turn out remains to be seen.
For all intents and purposes, Crysis 3’s multiplayer is all about its brand new Hunter mode, taking the online multiplayer from a run-of-the-mill affair with upgradable Nanosuits and giving it something fairly unique that plays to the strengths of the game’s new innovations. It’s fun, it’s intense, it’s essentially what the Crysis 3's multiplayer craved. Let the hunt commence.
Crysis 3 is scheduled for a February 2013 release.