I really enjoyed Crysis 2 you know. Despite the slight (and mostly justified) fan backlash that saw Crytek’s first console FPS go from a huge open playground to confined street areas, it was still my favourite FPS of 2011. When Crytek said they were attempting to mix both Crysis games together for the third entry, as well as bringing back my personal favourite character Psycho, I was very happy. When I was told I was going to be able to get a hands-on preview with the game I jumped for joy. Then I was told it was the multiplayer, and I landed carefully back on my feet without causing too much fuss.
Now I’m not against multiplayer, nor do I not enjoy it, but how many people play Crysis
for the online modes? I’ll dabble in them, but the headliner for me will always be single-player. Which is why Crytek becoming a free-to-play game developer terrifies me incidentally. Still, it is what it is and this is a discussion for another time. Let’s check out Crysis 3
’s multiplayer with an open mind shall we?
|Pretty ain’t it?
While there was only one map to play two modes were available, Crash Site (as seen in the previous game) and the newly unveiled and extremely promising Hunter. The map was called ‘Museum of Modern Art’ and was set in New York’s famous museum of the same name… except flooded, broken up, and overrun with both swampland and Nanosuited killers. The map was excellently designed, with many paths around the level, plenty of open areas, but very few back-to-the-wall hiding places that’d make a sniper invincible (a key factor to my personal enjoyment of the game). It was also just
the right colour and hew to make a suited Cell operative blend in even without a Cloak function.
It was gorgeous, it has to be said. Dark, dank, gloomy, oppressive, it felt like a real swamp had overwhelmed a major public building decades previously. Walls crack open to reveal handy passageways to travel down, the building tilts ever so slightly as if sinking into the swamp, atmospheric mist shrouds the battlefield and prevents you from seeing too far in the considerable distance, it really is lovely. It’s like a New York museum was forcibly uprooted and dropped in Dagobah.
The key selling point of Crysis
of course is the aforementioned Nanosuit, which allows you to Cloak, boost Strength and Speed, jump really high and charge your Armour. In the Crash Site mode you have access to all the suit’s powers. I have to say, I’ve never been killed by being jumped on before, so Crysis 3
gets points for that. Now I know how Goombas feel. Cloak is obviously a bastard but it’s a double-edged sword – you get spotted and shot or even if you just try to shoot while cloaked and you’ll find your energy/armour reset to nil, forcing you to wait several vulnerable seconds to recharge (by which time you’re probably dead).
|Is that a rock or a mech?
There are several classes to choose from in Crash Site, basically boiling down to Shotgunner (close range, not the best choice on this map), Assault Rifleman (not bad) and Sniper (risky). The point of the round is the traditional aim of holding on to Checkpoints, usually a King of the Hill scenario in the centre of the map. It’s made a lot more interesting by the occasional spawning of a giant tripod alien mech that you can stomp around in, which reminded me of Unreal Tournament III
. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go in one because everyone went for the bastards and I was busy dying and respawning. I took one down at least, thanks my ability to stumble upon a rocket launcher by running around the map like a frightened kitten. It’s all okay, but nothing we really haven’t seen before.
The Hunter mode was much more promising. Played on the same map, team one plays Cell Operatives and the other plays Hunters. Operatives have no cloak and are armed with standard weapons plus a single EMP grenade. Hunters are armed with a crossbow and are permanently cloaked, unless hit by a grenade. The Operatives have to survive for a certain amount of time and the Hunters have to take them down – the twist being that every time someone on the Operative side dies they respawn as a Hunter, making it harder and harder for the Operatives to win.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, but after playing I’m not sold on the execution. Everything is clearly biased in favour of the Hunters and I honestly can’t see how the Operatives are expected to win, especially with the “zombification” into Hunters after death. The crossbows are incredibly powerful too and it’s very easy to take anyone down with a single bolt. Lots of polishing has to go on in the next few months to make this mode fair, but I can see Crytek pulling it off since I saw a lot of potential for fun here. Well, if it wasn’t just as confusing as Crash Site in terms of being randomly killed.
|Someone beats me to the alien tripod yet again.
I have to say, for 70% of the matches I had no idea what was going on. I died from many unknown angles never seeing who killed me (even if they weren’t cloaked), and plenty of times I’d fire my assault rifle point blank at someone and not only wouldn’t they die but they’d just casually turn around and shoot me down with the same gun. I’d accuse them of cheating or playing too much but it’s a closed demo and the damn game isn’t out for five months
! I can’t even blame the controls since I played on both PC and 360. I’m no slouch when it comes to FPS multiplayer, but normally online games are fun at the start when everyone’s new to the game – Crysis 3
’s multiplayer has managed to be stocked with veterans ten minutes into a preview build half a year before release date. How exactly are beginners supposed to be having fun? Crytek really have to pull out all the stops to tweak and balance Crysis 3’s multiplayer before release, but there’s no reason they can’t succeed. The game already looks gorgeous, the map was interesting and well-designed, and both the modes and Nanosuit gives the game a unique feel which is desperately needed in the genre. All Crytek have to do now is make it fun.
Most Anticipated Feature: Getting to stomp around in one of those alien mechs.