Review Price to be confirmed
First Looks: Crysis 3
Showcased at EA’s E3 press conference and covered in more detail behind closed doors on the show floor, Crysis 3 has the makings of a smart step forwards for the series. The first Crysis might just be the best sandbox shooter ever made, but with so much to do and such large areas in which to do it, it was a more natural fit for the PC than any console. The second was a little more focused and its engine console-ready, but the sandbox elements felt toned down and – with its more linear levels – it didn’t deliver the sense of freedom that the first game had in spades.
The third looks set to find a sweet spot in between the two. This time the player takes the role of Prophet, resurrected at the end of the second game and on a revenge mission in a 2047 New York. Thanks to the fiendish Cell Corporation, the Big Apple has been transformed into a vast urban rainforest under the cover of a gigantic ‘Liberty Dome’, with seven distinct sections – known as the seven wonders – providing the player with seven very different environments to battle through. There will be opposition both from Cell’s own security forces and the alien Ceph, while Prophet will receive assistance from Crysis Warhead protagonist, Psycho.
A Bigger Sandbox
From what we’ve seen so far, the big difference between Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 is that the latter will see a return to the wider, more open levels of the first game, with each of the seven wonders acting like a playground in which Prophet can display his destructive chops.
The Liberty Dome has transformed New York’s skyscraper canyons into verdant jungle, while rivers have been dammed and allowed to flood the streets. The result is environments with more structure than those of Crysis but more interest than those of Crysis 2, and perfect for those of us who like to play Crysis as a predator, using the trees for cover while we sneak up and assault the enemy in rapid bursts.
Needless to say, the nanosuit still has a major part to play, and its stealth camouflage, armour, speed and strength capabilities remain intact. Whether you like to leap into battle and throw those Cell troops around or sneak around in the trees and tackle them at distance, you're equipped for the job.
However, if Crysis 3 has a signature piece of equipment its Prophet’s new compound bow. Silent and deadly, it can be adjusted for tension, pinning enemies to walls at maximum strength, while customisable arrows allow you to fit explosive or armour-piercing heads for added versatility. On top of this, Crytek promises a wider array of alien weapons, allowing you to tackle Cell and Ceph in spectacular style.
It all sounds very enticing, and the section we saw demonstrated allowed scope for a variety of approaches, from classic sneak-and-snipe gameplay to full-on confrontation. If you like to experiment while playing, then Crysis 3 should have you covered. It was also undeniably spectacular, with huge explosions, lavish showers of glowing particles and a bombastic dambusting climax with impressive chunks of flying masonry and floods of water.
And you might want to upgrade your PC, because the PC version running at the show looked absolutely incredible. At a show that wasn’t short on rich textures, lush vegetation and ultra-realistic lighting effects, Crysis 3 still looked like it had beamed in from the future, throwing impossible layers of detail at the screen, with some of the most convincing water interactions and explosions we’ve seen in any shooter to date. Along with Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs and Lucasart’s dark Star Wars actioner, Star Wars 1313,Crysis 2 helped make one thing clear: the next-generation starts next year, whether the console manufacturers are ready for it or not. Crysis 3 is scheduled for a February release.
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