Crysis 3 Single Player Hands on Preview


Crysis 3 Single Player Hands on Preview
Crytek brings back the nanosuit in style
We’ve got hands on with a new single player mission in Crytek’s cerebral shooter Crysis 3. Read on for more.

Back in 2007, German game developers Crytek unleashed a PC only FPS that was as tactically rich as it was graphically stunning. Still a visual delight five years on, it focussed on a Nanosuit wearing super soldier called Nomad who gets mixed up in a fight against the North Koreans in the near future. Things get more complicated when aliens enter the mix and that’s before the lush tropical island gets frozen and some serious shit goes down on an aircraft carrier.

The main story continued in 2011s sequel (read the review), with control shifting to a regular human called Alcatraz who gets his own supersuit and takes on the Cephalopod aliens once more and the story taking place in the ruins of a devastated New York.

The character of Prophet has appeared in all previous games and takes centre stage for Crysis 3 in a story which takes place in the year 2047. Long after the alien invasion, the human forces of the corrupt Cell Corporation have erected a series of nanodomes which are intended to contain the Ceph threat. But they also serve a more sinister purpose and Prophet sets out to find out what and destroy Cell for good.

Our new single player experience took us to a level called ‘Railyard’ with an opening voiceover from Psycho (a returning character from the first game) tasking you with meeting up for some ultraviolence. But first you have to get through the heavily guarded train platform that’s in the way.

The Crysis series has become synonymous with incredible graphics and Crysis 3 continues to impress. CryEngine 3 was first used for Crysis 2 in 2011 but still retains a level of detail in its textures and smoothness in its character models which few other engines can match. New lighting and motion capture are matched by impeccable level design with care taken to make every corner of the environments feel realistically battered by years of decay.

The train platform presented plenty of obstacles as well as multiple routes to engage with your enemies. With the choice between the silent but ammo limited compound bow, your regular loud SCAR rifle and a handful of grenades, its up to you to decide how you take on the Cell troopers nearby. Of course your greatest weapon is actually your Nanosuit, and some newly streamlined power use makes it easier than ever to take advantage of the many options it provides.

Fast movement, jumping, etc now carries its own energy meter which isn’t shared with that for stealth and armour. In addition, suit energy now leaches much more slowly in stealth mode (at least when crouched) and attacking with the bow leaves you full cloaked – ideal for moving like a ghost through levels, pinning enemies to walls with well timed strikes.

The changes are clearly aimed at improving the accessibility of the title but happily that doesn’t mean the difficulty has been decreased. We died multiple times just trying to leave this relatively simple room – sometimes stealthing around the edges, other times making plenty of noise while trying to get the better of some tenacious turrets.

Crysis 3 - Railyard
Crysis 3 - RailyardEnlarge Enlarge

It’s a testament to the strength of the level design that it rarely felt like either approach was necessary in our playtime with Crysis 3 and a mix of the two is likely the way most players will manage to progress. The game feels most at home when a certain amount of care is taken, softening up lone targets with arrows or melee attacks but Prophet is always ready for more aggressive action, with the free running and mantling movement allowing for some effective evasive action.

When we finally destroyed all comers in the area, a zipline took us to the next level load and the reveal of one of Crytek's Seven Wonders of Crysis 3. In a blaze of sunlight, we were given our first glimpse of the Field – a mass of tall grass which has taken over the railyards in the decades since the area was abandoned by humanity. The fronds sway organically in the breeze, responding to our passage in an extremely pretty manner. Unfortunately, they also conceal the latest threat to your innards – a super fast Ceph foe with razor sharp limbs for the slashing.

Flocks of the infernal things stalked us through the high grass, often disappearing from view and leaping from one rust covered rail car to the next. Our best strategy was to get our back to a wall and fire up the newly acquired shotgun, with some frantic reloading as the beasts bore down on us, shrieking.

After meeting up with Psycho, we proceeded through some more lush landscape before landing up in a brief siege situation – forced to hold off the hordes with a mounted gun which made marvellous mincemeat out of the enemies, a spray of purple viscera signalling every kill. From there it was time for a cut scene which showcased Psycho’s unusual approach to infiltration – hopping on top of a rail car which then careened through crowds of Cell troopers before crashing into a tunnel and dumping us unceremoniously inside. End demo.

While some elements of Crysis 3 have been streamlined, the core experience retains the commendable difficulty and sense of freedom which the series has become known for. The levels themselves may lack the sheer scale of those found in the 2007 original but the tactical options remain varied, with enough signposting and story elements to keep players engaged. The gameplay is fluid and the Nanosuit neatly sets the title apart from other run and gun shooters, essentially allowing you transition from chaotic warfare to sneaky stuff without the need for a level load. If the team can work on a somewhat more coherent story this time around, Crysis 3 could well be one of the most engaging titles of 2013.

Crysis 3 is coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC from the 19th of February 2013.

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