According to Electronic Arts, Crysis 3 is the ďbest kept secret in shooters.Ē Well, itís not really is it? Prophetís last adventure performed well for the publisher, and it was only a matter of time before developer CryTek was going to reveal the next chapter in its flagship franchise. And itís not looking too shabby either, even at this early stage.
On the surface, nothing has really changed. This new sequel continues to flaunt a decidedly dark techno-centric presentation, and Prophet is still inside a nanosuit kicking the arse of invading alien race the Seth. The setting here, however, is somewhat reminiscent of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
- the world consists of huge protective domes that shield key capital cities from total destruction.
takes place in New York City, which is encased in one such dome - built by the Cell corporation for Ďthe greater good.í Whatís happened though, is that the Seth have managed to break through it and continue their assault on the human race. Guess itís too late to ask about an insurance policy at this point.
No, instead itís Prophet and his techno-babbling super suit to save the day, with British operative Psycho tagging along via audio to give you some guidance on the mission. Weíre not told too much about the rest of the plot - how the extra-terrestrials break in, or just what the hell is going on in a broader sense - but a demonstration highlighted a gameplay segment in NYCís Chinatown that needed to be defended. A comms tower has been knackered, and it has to be taken back to broadcast a signal.
Looking at this environment is a wonderfully bleak vision of a future reigned by urban forestation. CryTek describes the design of the NYCís Liberty Dome as a marriage of form factor between the man-made and the overgrown, looking at the visual language of each and applying these shapes to be a defining aspect. As a result, Chinatown is part neon-lit alleyway and part swamp. Itís an interesting combination not unlike Ninja Theoryís more colourful efforts with Enslaved.
One new gameplay trait thatís apparent in Crysis 3
is the heavier emphasis on stealth play. Prophet has a brand new composite bow and arrow weapon, which can be used to take down bad guys with one hit. The potentially game-breaking thing is, this deadly weapon can be used whilst cloaked. To compensate for this, CryTek is implementing a range of environmental and enemy traps that will seek to de-cloak you if youíre careless (and of course, the energy bar still depletes with its activation).
The idea is that Prophet has become a little bit tired of being hunted by alien scum for the last two games, and has turned the tables to become the hunter instead. Thanks to his absorbed Seth DNA, the protagonist can now use alien technology too. And some of the equipment can be meaty. A plasma cannon that can send shockwaves along the floor, cutting enemies up; a heavy mortar that looks like a giant alien claw that can decimate surroundings; a tasty sniper rifle that can lop an enemyís head clean off. All with appropriate kill cams for exotic finishers.
Itís a good job you have access to these weapons too, because the new enemies you face are just as brutal - for instance, huge metal crawlers that bear resemblance to the nippy little ink-spitters from Jurassic Park
(only these guys spit fire instead). Floating security orbs will also seek to detect you in stealth mode, and once discovered can leave you open to attack.
To avoid this, you need to be more mindful of the nanosuit. Itís still the most powerful weapon in the game, thanks to its melee capabilities and terminal hacking applications. The impression here is that you can take as much time as you want tackling stages in Crysis 3
- the nanosuit can better scan the surrounding area and allow you to make judgements based on enemy positions and movements.
CryTek is suggesting that stages will be more open than those found in the urban surroundings of Crysis 2
. Environments will be an artistic mix of jungles and cities, with winding paths for different objectives. From the sounds of it though, the game wonít be quite as open world as first Crysis
game, in order to maintain a flow of direction. What this simply means is that levels will have alternative pathways to complete objectives.
Either way, it looks like a proper return to the more open, cyberpunk action that the series was known for. Weíre keen to see more to whet our appetite up until itís Spring 2013 release.