Crysis 3 is the sequel to 2010’s Crysis 2, a game about which I had pretty mixed feelings. Then again, I’ve had pretty mixed feelings about the series since the first game as well. Crysis 3 takes place 25 years after the events of Crysis 2, and you’ll once again reprise the role of Prophet, though, given the ending of Crysis 2, I’m not sure how this is even possible. In any case, Crysis 3 is something of a fusion between Crysis 1 and Crysis 2. Whereas Crysis 1 took place on a tropical island and featured a semi-sandbox design, Crysis 2 took place in New York City, was far more linear, and featured much less variety in the environments.
I sat down behind closed doors and was given the choice to either watch a guided demo of Crysis 3, or play it for myself. Naturally, I chose the latter, so read on to see what I thought.
Crysis 3 once again takes place in New York City, only things have changed a great deal in the 25 years since the events of Crysis 2. The city sits contained within a dome, built by the Cell Corporation, for the purpose of containing Ceph (the invading alien force) technology. Nature has largely reclaimed the city, creating a run down, but incredibly lush aesthetic – it has become an urban jungle, if you will.
The game feels more open than its predecessor pretty much immediately, and even hearkens back to the original Far Cry a little bit. Most areas have a number of vantage points that you can use to survey the battlefield and tag enemies with your visor to keep track of their locations. It lets you do a bit more planning than was possible (or necessary) in Crysis 2. Your binoculars can do more than just spot targets now, though. You can also use them to remotely hack enemy gun emplacements, turning them on their masters.
There are a number of new weapons in the game as well, but the most important is the new compound bow. Whereas in the previous two Crysis games you could only carry two weapons at a time, the compound bow is a permanent third weapon with multiple types of ammo to boot. See someone standing in a puddle? Equip an electric bolt and fry his sorry ass. Enemies behind cover? Fire an airburst arrow to explode above their heads. The bow also has regular bolts and explosive bolts, but the electric and airburst seemed the most fun and interesting. Of course, the thing that makes the compound bow so indispensible is the fact that you can fire it while cloaked without revealing your position.
Speaking of cloaking, your nano-suit retains the same abilities from previous games – stealth, armor, speed, strength, and visor mode. One might have thought that in 25 years, the suit could have received some upgrades, but I did not notice any significant changes. Regardless, in theory, the nano-suit is designed to give you a number of ways to tackle any given situation, but in practice, I’ve never really found this to be the case.
Running and gunning is a good way to get yourself killed in this series. Even if you’re using speed to make a quick escape, or using armor to soak up extra damage, chances are you’re going to die a lot unless you take a stealthier route. The routine of cloak, kill, hide, recharge, cloak, kill, hide, recharge, is still your most viable means of success in combat, though now you’ll at least need to change positions sometimes since enemies can eventually draw a bead on your approximate location.
If there’s one thing the Crysis series does particularly well, it’s the presentation. I demoed the game on PC, presumably running at maximum settings, and it looked pretty fantastic. Great lighting, tons of particle effects, and smartly designed environments combine to create a feast for the eyes.
After about 20 minutes of playtime, I made it to my objective, which was to destroy a dam being used by the Cell Corporation, and the demo ended. I walked away feeling like Crysis 3 will mostly maintain the series’ status quo, but whether you see this as a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of personal preference more than anything else. Solid mechanics combined with a more open world should please fans of the Crysis franchise.
Crysis 3 will be released in February 2013 for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.