There are few franchises that can mirror what Crysis has to offer. The gorgeous visuals, fast-paced gameplay, and a strong artificial intelligence all make these titles part of EA’s best. In our hands-on time at this year’s E3, I took the role of protagonist Prophet, and made my way into the game’s central location – the Liberty Dome.
What hit me right off the bat was how impressive-looking CryENGINE 3 really is – it’s difficult to think of a more beautiful title on display at this year’s show and, while it’s a sure bet that the console versions won’t match up to their PC counterpart, the engine looks good no matter how you slice it.
However, unlike the first two entries in the Crysis franchise – which are considered by many to be glorified tech demos - Crysis 3is trying to create intriguing and thoughtful gameplay. The iconic new addition to Crysis 3 is the bow and arrow which, according to our presenter, was designed to complement the more stealth-inclined player. With this new weapon and the cloaking ability of Prophet’s suit, the game offers the player an entirely different avenue of play.
Crytek have put a great deal of work into making the bow feel powerful. When I pulled the drawstring on Prophet’s bow back, I could almost feel it, as if I was about to loose an arrow in real life. Despite this, I never felt like I was too powerful – but when I was in a good position, I knew it. Crysis 3 was never too hand-holding, both crushing me for my faults, and boosting me up for my achievements. From what we were able to see, combat felt well-balanced, and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the game.
Player choice is a pivotal focus in Crysis 3’s development, according to the presenter. While being able to gorge yourself on stealth-oriented gameplay is good, it’s also smart to remember that there are many other styles to choose from. Thanks to the power of the nanosuit, it’s entirely possibly to play as an assault specialist, or even a damage-absorbing tank. We re-tried a few of the scenarios in different ways to test this out, and found it stood up fairly well.
Apart from what we’ve discussed here, the game is by-and-large the same as the franchise’s previous entries. That might sound like a write-off, but honestly – Crysis 3 is one of my favorite games from this year’s show. It’s definitely a Crysis experience, but that doesn’t stop it from making everything about that experience multitudes better. The new gameplay elements and a focus on player-driven character progression offer far more reward than the previous games in the series, and if Crytek keeps their eyes laser-fixed on the goals they have laid out for themselves, they might just get there.