by Gregory Squires
previewed on PC
A hero returns
Crysis 3 takes place 20 years after the events of Crysis 2. Despite the optimistic ending of the previous game, the Ceph are all but gone. In fact, they are new and improved and Earth needs a new champion. Or… is it an old champion?
The game heralds the return of Prophet, a long thought dead marine miraculously resurrected by his Nanosuit. Despite having shot himself in Crysis 2, he is looking all perky and eager to take revenge. As part of the early response team in the original game, he ran into the alien Ceph halfcocked and unsure of how to fight them. In the sequel, he was savagely hunted by both the Ceph and a government agency known as CELL. Now the roles are reversed: Prophet is the hunter, taking down anyone who gets in the way of finding out why exactly his squad died and what vital information was withheld from him all this time by his so called employers.
As Prophet, you return to New York City, only to find it a much different place then how you last saw it. City streets have become bogs and swamps, skyscrapers have been reduced to rubble and now serve as massive Petri dishes for the influx of vegetation sweeping the city. In essence, the landscape you once knew is gone and has been replaced by… well… imagine the environments of both previous games having a baby and you know exactly what Crysis 3 is going to look like.
Your human adversaries, CELL, have erected Nano domes across New York City in an attempt to contain the Ceph. The domes are equipped with a cleansing system working against the Ceph but they have an unfortunate side effect: they are highly toxic to humans, leaving most humans no choice but to evacuate the area as a result. Are these domes legitimate attempts at containing the Ceph, or are they borderline stereotypical ‘world domination’ devices in disguise?
Tools of the Trade
While the story has been an important aspect in each of the previous games, Crysis – is – a First-Person Shooter, so let’s face it: nothing is more satisfying than blowing hordes of aliens away with futuristic weaponry while loudly yelling “That’s got to hurt!” Figuring out just which hurt the most is one of my favorite things in any Crysis game.
In Crysis, you were only able to use alien weapons in Act 3. If you are like me and searched every alien body in Crysis 2, desperately hoping for a miraculous alien weapon to pop up, you will be happy to know that alien weapons will be available to you from the get-go. Yet it isn’t the alien weaponry that will steal the show in Crysis 3. The high-tech bow and arrow wielded by Prophet is one of the most eye-catching new weapons. Especially arrows equipped with explosive heads are tremendous fun and can be very effective against groups of enemies. The bow can even be used while staying cloaked, allowing you to really embrace the feeling of a hunter stalking its prey.
Crytek have always claimed featuring better graphics in each of their games. They have always delivered on these claims and every Crysis game has pushed the boundaries forward, setting new standards for the industry as a whole. But what happens when you can supply the graphics but the hardware can’t provide the power? Well, Crytek ain’t happy.
The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 lack the power needed to display the jaw-dropping graphics that their engine can deliver. Coming from any other company this would sound like an excuse not to excel; but coming from Crytek, I’m positive that this is absolutely true. They have never slacked and have always innovated. What does this mean for you? Crytek’s director of creative development Rasmus Højengaard had this to say on the matter (in somewhat broken English): “We want to make sure as much as is humanly possible can translate from a DX11 variant into a DX9 variant, that will work almost as good on an Xbox console to whatever extent we can, because we don’t want the experience to be different between the platforms.”
Essentially, Crytek are going to create the game using the best graphics used for running the game on a powerful engine and then do whatever they can to make them work on less powerful hardware without losing too much fidelity.
Crytek has never let us down and it is clear that they are as dedicated to delivering a fantastic shooter as they have been with their previous games. The story and setting are perhaps the most interesting of the series to date and provide a refreshing new backdrop. And while alien weapons could prove fun, the bow could well turn out to be something of a game changer, nudging players towards a different mix between stealth sessions brawny shootouts.