E3 2012 Preview: Crysis 3

June 7, 2012

In with the huge batch of games we saw on day one of E3 2012 was Electronic Arts’ and Crytek’s shooter Crysis 3. Built on the latest version of Crytek’s propriety CryEngine 3, the German developers are again bringing the infamous nanosuit to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Crytek’s Rasmus Hojengaard explains that the third game in the pioneering series is once again aiming to be rather ambitious. That could be an understatement, given that the makers are already on record as saying they hope to achieve next-generation visuals on current console hardware.

The game seemingly picks up 20 years after Crysis 2, with Prophet once again embodying the trademark armoured suit. Prophet has a vision of the future that has no place for humans, but only the alien ceph. As Prophet, this image defines the player’s actions in the game. Hojengaard, presenting our E3 demonstration, says the Crytek team have been hard at work on Crysis 3 for the last fifteen months. Whereas the last two iterations each possessed their own unique setting, this time, the developers want to showcase a number of distinct environments within the game, identified by different tones and structures. In one moment, players might be venturing through a bright canyon, and the next, a dark swampy area.

Our presentation, known as the ‘Dambusters’ level, kicks off in New York city, which has been transformed into a hybrid urban rainforest housed within a giant nanodome. This structure has been built by Cell Industries, who once again sit beside the Cyph as the game’s main antagonists. We view a massive dam in the middle of a decaying New York city. The plant fuels an mammoth energy system that gives Cell Industries’ a monopoly on the world’s power reserves. Naturally, players are charged with stopping Cell’s nefarious plans and, in turn, destroying the dam. New York looks completely different to what we witnessed in Crysis 2, and although the foundations for the location were laid in the previous game, it didn’t make the transformation any easier for Crytek.

Just as Crytek want to include a range of environments to marvel at, they also want to give the player a number of different ways to complete the game. This idea is exemplified in the presentation, with Prophet having three distinct ways to reach his objective, each requiring their own tactics. Crytek describe it as the player’s ‘hunting playground’. Whether it be stealth or a full frontal assault, the nanosuit again empowers the choice of gameplay. You can buffer your armour against a hail of bullets, or if silent and steady are more your thing, timed invisibility is again another option.

With the all-new crossbow in hand, Prophet can take down enemies silently and without breaking his suit’s invisibility, as the more conventional firearms do. The latest weapon in the player’s arsenal possess its own unique feel and attributes. Firing through trees and logs realistically strips away bark, and by adjusting the pressure on the crossbow’s string, a heaver pull can pin enemies to walls. The crossbow is like a Swiss army knife, albeit a very expensive one, that can do many things  Arrows can also come with an in-built sticky grenade, making it possible to kill more than a single enemy with a well-placed shot. And, in case you missed EA’s on-stage demonstration, an arrow can also pierce the cockpit of a helicopter. What you might be thinking is completely right – you can take out a helicopter with your crossbow.

In Crysis 3, the nanosuit has been fused to such an extent with ceph technology that you can have ceph fingerprints. The identity crisis within the suit, however, also allows you to use ceph weapons such as the new X-PAC. Another new gun, called the typhoon, fires 500 rounds a second, making very short work of enemies. In addition, the nanosuit now possesses a new hacking ability, and in effort to give players the notion of really embodying the advanced armour, visor effects such as dust appear in your field of view.

The remainder of our demo followed the same course as the one seen at EA’s press conference. Prophet successfully infiltrates the dam, sets an explosive or two, and hightails it before the timer reaches zero. Along the way, his gun shreds though a number of Cell operators and he evades a hovering helicopter. Just before the explosives go off, Prophet uses a zip line to escape the destruction. From a safe vantage point, he views water spewing from the destroyed dam.

Crytek explains that Crysis 3 is a culmination of the entirety of its iconic series. The game is known for its graphical fidelity, and although the third entry is only in the pre-alpha stage, the visuals already look fantastic and possess a steady frame-rate. The shooter is still some time away, so expect to see plenty more information in the lead up to its release date in February 2012. Keep your internet locked and loaded to Rocket Chainsaw for more information on Crysis 3 in the near future.