Due to be out on February 22, Crysis 3 will be the newest game in the critically acclaimed Crysis franchise, infamously known for both its impressive visuals and the desperate swirls of overheating GPU-fans as a result of a former. From what we've seen, Crysis 3 unsurprisingly checks in on that tradition, but does it also bring anything new and interesting to the table? Yes and no.
Crysis 3 takes place 24 years after the events of Crysis 2. The bulk of New York has either been destroyed by the squishy Ceph alien forces or been flooded with water. Consequently, surviving civilians had long fled the area when massive "Nanodomes" were starting to be built over the remains of the city by the almost comically-evil C.E.L.L. corporation in an effort to achieve world domination, turning Manhattan into a lush, tropical paradise.
Just as in Crysis 2, the player takes control of Prophet (formerly known as Alcatraz) and all his nano-suity goodness to set an end to the terrorist threat and send the aliens on their way back home – again. Undoubtedly, the story may be considered silly by newcomers to the series, but then again, the Crysis franchise was never known for its deep plot or complex characters. What Crysis 3 lacks in narrative, is easily made up for in gameplay.
Judging from both comments of the developer Crytek and gameplay footage, Crysis 3 promises to be a return to the free-roaming strengths of the series' first instalment, in contrast to the more restricting linearity of Crysis 2, which was the source of much controversy and disappointment for fans. Whether you like to approach enemies head-on or lurk in the shadows for guards to look the other way, Crysis 3 provides ample opportunities for both. Most levels are said to support multiple ways to approach a given objective, so that choices like the best way into a building - which might range from knocking on the front door, over crawling through the sewers to entering from the roof - is ultimately up to you.
Crysis 3: gameplay, setting
This trend of blending the best elements from both previous games not only manifests itself in gameplay, but also in the setting, resulting in an unique mix of urban and tropical environments: The levels shown so far are quite diverse, ranging from a swamp-like version of Chinatown, over the street canyons of the Upper East Side to a derelict and overgrown version of a train station - all cool, all visually impressive, all quite hardware-hungry. In fact, when faced with rumors regarding Crysis 3's visual quality, Crytek's CEO Cervat Yerli has not only confirmed that the game will need a DirectX 11 video card to run, it will also "melt down PCs" on its highest settings. No doubt, a joyous message for graphics enthusiasts.
To help players in their quest to rid New York of all sorts of baddies, the game also provides a staggering amount of tech and toys that make the likes used by John Rambo or James Bond pale in comparison. This applies particularly to the player's Nanosuit – a futuristic combat exoskeleton providing both protection and functionality through various "modes", which can be upgraded as the game progresses. Combined with a varied weapons arsenal to choose from, it's virtually impossible to resist the urge to experiment: Those who prefer offensive action might come to appreciate the "Armor mode" of the Nanosuit to dampen the impact of bullets and the ridiculously destructive Typhoon rifle, capable of firing 500 rounds a second. Those who prefer to sneak, however, might want to scout out enemies before rushing in with "Nano-Vision", turn invisible by activating "Stealth mode" and take out enemies silently with bow and knife.
Crysis 3: multiplayer mode
In addition to its single player campaign, Crysis 3 will also offer a competitive multiplayer mode, pitting players against each other on different maps. So far, two modes have been announced: The fairly conventional "Crash-site"-mode, in which player will battle for superiority in key areas of the map and the much more innovative "Hunter"-mode. In the latter, the game divides players into two teams of 14 "normal" CELL operatives and two invisible "hunters" with Nanosuits. What may sound boring and unfair at first has a nice twist: Any normal soldier to fall subsequently becomes a new hunter, so that surviving on the CELL-team becomes increasingly more difficult as the time goes on. Whether or not any CELL-operatives remain alive after two minutes ultimately decides which team wins the round.
The multiplayer will also have an unlock system in place to reward diligent players with goodies like new weapons or modifications, making the prospect of going for another round all the more attractive.
Overall, Crysis 3 seems to be coming along nicely. From what we've seen, that game manages to combine the strengths of its predecessors without falling into the trap of repeating their mistakes, resulting in what could be the perfect hybrid that fans of the franchise have been hoping for. Obviously, no final verdict can be given before the release, but from what we've seen so far, Crysis 3 easily has the potential be become the best game in the franchise yet.