Crysis 3 Preview
Crysis 2 is easily one of the best games of the generation. If you haven’t played it yet, go do so. Seriously. Despite all the crowing and boasting by Crytek (which admittedly gets on my nerves), it was also one of the best-looking titles in the industry’s history, although I will always maintain that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves had it beat. Anyway, Crysis 3 once again seeks to set an awfully high graphical bar and although it doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of freshness or originality, it should still be one of 2013’s best.
It really does look amazing, as evidenced by any number of videos and pieces of gameplay footage floating around. The environments are stellar, the special effects are beautiful, and the extreme level of detail and general clarity is Crytek’s bread and butter. This bad boy will boast everything from mind-blowing particle effects to fantastic and invigorating CGI sequences, so Crysis 3 is destined to be a visual tour de force. And don’t you worry, series fans: Despite what you may have thought, Prophet is alive and well, and he’s back to kick large amounts of futuristic ass.
We’re not really sure how the protagonist is alive (anybody who finished Crysis 2 is confused); after all, the dude basically took a bullet to the face. At least, that’s how it appeared. Nevertheless, he’s back, and he’s now involved in a war that has left major cities like New York in ruins. Strangely enough, a dome has been erected over the shambles that is NY, which has turned it into a unique environment. Essentially, one could describe it as both an urban and a jungle setting. The bad part is that Prophet had a vision where the Ceph conquered the world, so you’re on a quest to stop this from happening…and it isn’t gonna be easy.
As is usually the case in this franchise, freedom will be a huge part of the experience. And when I say “freedom,” I’m not referring to free-roaming across open-ended terrain ala Grand Theft Auto or The Elder Scrolls. While you can expect relatively large areas in Crysis 3, it’ll still be a linear adventure. The freedom comes from choice; i.e., how you choose to upgrade Prophet and utilize his assortment of awesome skills. If you’d rather be stealthy, you will focus more on stuff like his cloak; if you’re into the run ‘n gun, you’d work on his strength and defense.
But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. That Nanosuit is just plain sweet and I can’t wait to see what kind of improvements and upgrades we can expect. One of the new weapons, which you’ve undoubtedly seen by now, is the much-heralded compound bow. In addition to standard arrows, there will be specially tipped arrows, such as electric, explosive, and pressurized (which can knock back enemies). These unique arrows are gone after using them, but you’ll be able to retrieve regular arrows from felled foes, so…regenerating ammo! Always useful.
We’ve also seen Prophet execute hacking abilities with his visor, which is uber cool. The bottom line is that when faced with a situation or obstacle, you can approach it however you see fit; if you think you have the power to nail everything in sight, go for it. If things are looking a little dicey, reside in the shadows, implement some classic stealth and guerrilla tactics, and basically hit ‘em when they’re not looking. I spent a lot of time with stealth-related abilities in the second title, which was a ton of fun. And I still had a blast getting trigger-happy when it was necessary.
Crysis 3 probably won’t feel a heck of a lot different when compared to Crysis 2. Don’t expect to see a whole lot in the way of innovation and new mechanics, because the new effort simply seeks to take a tried-and-true formula and make everything better. For the record, I have zero problem with that. There are times when originality is wanted but there are other times when it’s perfectly okay to take something everyone loves and just improve upon it. Besides, changing things too much can cause you to lose your target audience: The fans. Hear that, Square Enix?
Crysis 3 is set to launch in February for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.
9/4/2012 Ben Dutka