Publisher:Electronic Arts Platform:Xbox 360, PC, PS3 Release Date: Spring 2013
Viewed as a whole, it’s hard to see Crytek’s Crysis series as anything more than an attempt to patch holes in a leaking ship – except that the holes in this case are gamer complaints and the ship is a multi-million pound shooter franchise. Yeah, it’s not a great analogy, but the point is that basically Crytek can’t win.
You see, when Far Cry was released in 2004 the immediate reaction that most gamers had was to beg Crytek for more – more jungle, more open areas, more polygons and technical geewhizzery and a more likeable and interesting character than the idiot who thought a Hawaiian shirt was good camouflage. Crytek’s response was Crysis, which precisely ticked all those boxes.
And what did gamers say? That it was too much. There were too many polygons for their computers to handle, too much intricacy required to use the Nanosuit’s options effectively and, at times, almost too much freedom to handle. So, Crytek dialled it back a notch with Crysis 2, offering an engine that worked on consoles, lots more linearity and structure in some areas of the game and a new Nanosuit 2.0.
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And the response was for gamers, never happy and always finding fault, to say that while the original Crysis had too much of what they wanted, Crysis 2 didn’t have enough. Cities were boring to fight in, the graphics not a big enough improvement and so on. Which brings us to Crysis 3.
Crytek has enhanced the engine, adding in new effects and larger areas without jeopardising the performance of the game on current consoles or having to overhaul the entire engine. You’ll get good performance at launch on most cards, but those who reach for the top of the line will be rewarded, says Game Director Rasmus Højengaard. Levels have been fine tuned to offer a better blend of corridors and arenas too by the looks of it, while the settings for the former titles have been effectively merged; the rainforest has literally come to New York.
The reason behind this rampant vegetation is that Crysis 3 picks up years after the last game, in which time the war between the evil CELL Industries and the invading Ceph aliens has escalated to a point that major human cities are now protected by huge biodomes. Under these plexiglass awnings a variety of microcosms have erupted, with New York’s skyscrapers now crumbling under the weight of banyan trees and massive canopies. Chinatown is now a swampland, while other districts have turned into deserts, tundra and rainforest. It’s the best of Crysis’ natural setting mixed with the regularity and containment of a city.
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The rainforest has done more than just impose a change of scenery on the game, however; Crytek has used it to push a tonal change on the game too. Unlike in the earlier Crysis games, where your role as a protagonist was more or less reactive to the threats that appeared, Crysis 3 is all about taking the fight to the enemy. You are the aggressor; you are Rambo; you are the hunter.
Enter: the bow and arrow, Rambo’s signature weapon now passed to you.
While the main advantage of the bow is that it can be fired without losing your Nanosuit’s cloak, Crysis 3’s quiver is also one full of trickshots. There are high explosive arrows for taking down large foes, electro-arrows for stunning enemies and conventional steel tips for perfectly silent kills. Execute from a distance and you’ll get a Max Payne style bullet time effect for added effect.
And that’s just for starters too, as Crysis’ arsenal has been expanded to include more experimental and alien weaponry too. CELL Industries' latest advancements include a machine gun that fires 500 rounds a second, for example, while Ceph weapons range from mortar cannons to laser rifles.