All these new tricks and guns do come with a caveat, however, as Ceph weaponry can only be wielded by those in heavily modified Nanosuits – like Psycho and returning protagonist Prophet. CELL Industries is hunting the pair for this very reason, hoping to use the Nanosuits for their own evil purposes, though Crytek refuses to offer any further details than that for the moment.
In fact, there’s still a lot that Crytek refuses to talk about, unsurprisingly. How multiplayer will fit into Crysis 3, what Prophet’s overall aim is in opposing both CELL and Ceph or how come Psycho has finally re-materialised to help you – these are all topics that made Rasmus clam up when we pushed for details.
What Rasmus, whose previous titles include the excellent Hitman: Blood Money, would say though was that the enhancements built into Crysis 3’s engine will definitely justify pushing the game to the limits of what your hardware can manage. Not only has there been a whole load of new effects built into this latest version of the CryEngine 2, but a lot of performance tweaking has taken place too – if you’re rocking the best hardware then you’ll get a noticeably smoother and better view of the game.
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How the game itself will fare still remains to be seen at this point, especially since the only demonstration that Crytek was willing to give was strictly hands-off, but early impressions are certainly positive. The area we saw in Chinatown, which had Prophet battling to reach a distant radio tower for purposes unknown, was broken up by regular swamps and gullies that seemed ideally suited to Crysis 3’s style of guerrilla warfare. Violence flared up quickly and spectacularly, with Prophet dashing across the area and making full use of new Nanosuit abilities, such as being able to remotely hack Ceph technology. In the instance we saw, this allowed him to take control of a distant mortar turret.
The fight against the Ceph is still by no means easy however, as the aliens have adapted in their own way with several new types of soldier. As if in reaction to Prophet’s stealth approach, we saw new Scorcher tanks called in to raze the area with napalm, for example, though the fire itself looked sadly underwhelming, perishing quickly and neither propagating far nor leaving permanent damage.
Potentially the biggest new threat though is a new Ceph drone which sweeps in to patrol areas where cloaked Nanosuits are suspected. Looking similar to the Scanners from Half-Life 2, these floating robots silently creep through the maps, shining a flashlight that destroys your cloak and alerts enemies on contact. Though they’re easily spotted from afar, these drones are deceptively quick and can sneak up on you, ruining your attack plan.
That said, one of the few areas we found ourselves definitely disproving of Crysis 3 is in the noisiness of Prophet himself, who’s constant wittering would seem to make any attempt at stealth impossible in reality. It’s not just that Prophet talks to himself though, but that he never really says anything of any worth either; just constant threats and statings of the obvious.
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“Reducing my profile,” says Prophet while slipping into cloaked mode, leaving us undecided as to say “Well, d’uh” or just shhhh at him angrily.
Of course, the fact that we can walk away from the demonstration and only be definitely annoyed at the talkativeness of the main character should speak volumes about the rest of the game and what our first impressions are. We’re not yet ready to say that Crysis 3 may be the perfect blend of Crytek’s previous games, or even that it’s a game we’re yet desperate to play. We’ve only seen a little of it, after all, and experience has taught us caution.
But…we are very, very cautiously looking forward to seeing it more of it in the future, we’ll admit.
Crysis 3 is being developed by Crytek for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. It will be published by Electronic Arts and released in Spring 2013.