E3 2012

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  • Crysis 3 Preview

    9 June 2012 | Written by David B.

    Crysis 3 is the third installment (not counting Warhead), in a visually stunning line of the futuristic first person shooters. Much like a seasoned twenty something model from Sao Paulo, Crytek's showcase piece franchise is known for jaw dropping good looks, and in the world of souped up hardware makes GPUs cry and CPUs fry. Immense realism brought by a tweaked CryEngine 3 as well as an endless stream of hyperactive firefights makes the brand new Crysis 3 a sexy sandbox shooter packing enough fun to be had by all.

    To be fair and in all honesty I found Crysis 2 to be somewhat linear, not very open, and certainly not as spontaneous as other Crytek games such as Farcry and Crysis 1. Whether that was a result of the port to consoles I don't know, but even though Crysis 2 was thorough shooter, I found myself missing some of that Farcry freedom I had grown accompanied too. Happily the E3 demo revealed for some levels at least that Crysis 3 would be returning to its unfiltered roots and allowing us to re-live the days of aimlessly scouring the map looking for stuff to power kick.

    All your wild Crysis 3 adventures will take place in 2047, years after the original Ceph invasion and well after people stopped caring about urban renewal. Our demo level had us prancing about a dilapidated New York City which thanks to Cell has been encased in some sort of bio dome in order to halt the Ceph invasion. Though technically taking place 30 years after Crysis 2, EA was tight-lipped about the storyline however we gather the Ceph and Cell will probably fill out the roles of antagonist. Also curious and another unanswered question we had was the viability of Prophet. If one were to apply long division, the youngest Prophet could have been when he joined the military was 17-18, and given his advanced nature in the first two games he was probably a seasoned veteran by the end of Crysis 2. Fast-forward to 2047 and you get a protagonist who may or may not be collecting a social security check. According to Crytek and EA there is all part of a very reasonable back-story Prophet went through between the second and third game, but again the details are being kept under wraps.

    So the game looks great, domed New York has literally become an urban jungle due to the whole Ceph invasion thing combined with 40 years of poor gardening. CryEngine 3 still looks best in class and rendered environments are as high quality as any other new release. Water effects, and dynamic lighting seem upgraded from Crysis 2 plus the fact our demo was running on a PC and not Xbox may have helped. The EA rep did not indulge us with the graphic tweak details but needless to say the big booms and sunlit rooms are all in all everything one would except from a Crytek game.

    Our demo level lasted about 15 minutes and the objective concluded with you blowing up a Cell somewhere near what used to be the financial district in Manhattan. All the controls were familiar from an Xbox perspective the back button still functions as your primary gateway into weapon and power up mods. Speaking of weapon mods, your firearms and alien weapons (yup) are now more mod-able than ever. The basic assault rifle adds an under rail for more accessories like fore-grips as well as your normal optics and barrel types. The compound bow that has been prominently featured in the media blitz made for an interesting addition to Prophet's default arsenal though I am still a sucker for all out automatic weapons. If you're into the whole Stealth, cloak and dagger and exploding arrows thing, you'll probably find the bow right up your firing lane. The bow doesn't drain your stealth the way fire arms do and firing it of course is whisper quiet. All told we counted about three or four new weapons including a lethal alien mortar gun similar to the mortar found in Halo 3. Fun, but not nearly as satisfying as the new Typhoon gun which fires 500 rounds a second according to the EA rep. Though we were unable to independently verify that number rest assured this new piece of machinery put rounds on target faster than a nuclear powered mini-gun. Anyway, the controls. Again fairly simple, Crytek did not stray from the console formula set forth by Crysis 2. Remember, double tap Y for grenades, oh and no more choking opponents option, which is sort of a bummer.

    For demonstration purposes whenever you died you re-spawned in the same location, which helped as the relentless AI did not take pity on accumulated Crysis rust. After shaking off the cobwebs we managed to find a good groove between deaths and began the ole shoot, hide and recharge, armor up, shoot, hide recharge routine until most if not every bad guy was dead. As in any Crytek game there are plenty of exploding barrels and pipes that offer the situational aware user the ability to leverage the environment to their advantage. Cell soldiers are still able to take a decent number of rounds so ammo count will definitely be a concern, especially with the harder to come by weapons. On a less than enthusiastic note the AI still struggles when trying to work as cohesive fighting uit. Cell soldiers were oblivious to squad tactics and were amateurish when performing shoot, move, communicate type drills. Ironically the AI's lethality actually increased when operating in solo mode, a weird quirk but worth noting none-the-less.

    After our brief encounter with the game we are confident Crysis 3 will still lead the way in terms of graphics and physics models at least until the next generation of consoles arrives. Small AI quirks aside the game still feels frenzied and futuristic adding depth to a crowded genre. Unfortunately there was no multiplayer segment of the demo so we can only guess that on line game play will remain as schizophrenic fans have come to enjoy. In a world filled with a trove of modern shooter FPSes, Crysis 3 will make it's mark as being a standout sandbox experience that offers gamers more than one way to strategically launch exploding arrows.

    Crysis 3 Screenshots