by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on X360
It’s a jungle out there
Spawning into the jungle that once used to be New York is a bit of a cold shower. One moment you’re fiddling with your character’s weapons loadout, the next you’re standing in a puddle of water trying to figure out where the enemy is. As it was, they found me before I even took a step out of the puddle and pumped me full of lead. Thank God for virtual warfare, I’d suck at the real thing.
I re-spawned on the ground floor of what appeared to be a ruined skyscraper and decided to be a little more careful this time around. Being last in a multiplayer-session in a room filled with members of the gaming press was never on my bucket list so I had to shape up and do some killing of my own. I walked through the gap of the concrete wall that came out on what would turn out to be the main street of the level. I turned around… and stopped dead in my tracks as a Ceph Pinger - a huge metal monstrosity not unlike a Star Wars Walker - was looming over me. Deciding that the best hiding place would be underneath it, I took a few steps forward and realized that it wasn’t moving. I looked up and was surprised that it wasn’t taken and that I could get in. I climbed up and gained control of the big tin can and started moving towards the location of the current mission goal, which was to hold the area and keep it from falling into enemy hands.
Confident that I could make real a contribution in my giant battle pod, I closed in on the target and saw my teammates engaged in a battle with two enemy soldiers. Turning to face one of the enemies, I noticed that the minimap showed a red dot right on top of me. Before I realized what was happening, an enemy soldier pulled me out from a hatch in the pod’s roof, and knocked me off of my ride. Bugger.
It seems as if the map was designed with the goal of multiplayer in mind, and the battle pod design was thrown in as an afterthought. To get into a manned battle pod, you need to jump on top of it to get to the hatch in the roof. To facilitate this, the map has a number of choke points where the pod has to maneuver close to overgrown buildings where other players - walking up ramps and stairs – can get to the same height as the pod’s roof and jump on from there. It’s possible to hang on to the pod for a while, but if you want to be effective, you’ll have to move around and that makes you vulnerable to being pulled out.
Hunter or hunted?
We also had a chance to play the newly announced Hunter mode which seemed to suit me better. In Hunter mode, players are divided into two groups. The first group is comprised of two nanosuit hunters that are permanently cloaked and equipped with composite bows. Their job is to hunt down the second team, made up entirely of up to 14 CELL Troopers, before the evacuation timer runs out. But here is the twist: Every time a CELL Trooper is taken out, he re-spawns as a Hunter, quickly reducing the survival chances of the remaining Troopers.
In the match we played, it became clear that the Troopers have little to no chance to make it until the timer runs out. The Hunter mode really is about the last man standing, about surviving longer than the others. These matches are short and frantic, regardless of the side that you are on. Becoming the hunter after having been the hunted feels a little strange at first but as your shifted loyalties sink in, you’ll be all the more motivated to take down the remaining Troopers.
The new Hunter mode is a lot of fun but I’m not sure if it has the same longevity as other multiplayer modes with less shifty team dynamics and stronger loyalties or modes where you rely on yourself and get a bigger sense of personal achievement. Fortunately it is but one of several multiplayer modes available in Crysis 3. With a release date set for February 2013, gamers can look forward to honing their hunting skills on their online friends - adrenaline induced fun guaranteed.