Since its inception, Crysis has been both a great free-form action shooter and a tech benchmark for graphics and PC performance. When it wasn't bringing your machine to its knees, the game would show off beautiful jungles while letting you approach objectives with a pure frontal assault, stealth, or a combination of both. The sequel carried on that tradition but shifted to a more urban environment that decayed over time. At E3 2012, we saw what Crytek has up its sleeve for next year with Crysis 3, the final installment in the franchise.
The plot is both straightforward and surprising. You play the role of Prophet, the main character of the first game who had supposedly bit the dust by the start of the second title. Living up to his name, he has visions of a world where the alien forces won and humanity is all but wiped out. Fearing that this future would come true, he goes on a crusade to stop the aliens and prevent human organizations from trying to harness alien technology for their own gains.
The game retains the same level of choice as the two prior titles. The demo level gave us objectives to follow but let you approach them in any way you wanted. At the start, we were shown stealth gameplay as we listened in on enemy conversations and surveyed the area to see what we were up against. Once the initial recon was done and a few groups had been taken out, the demo went for a more action-oriented stance with plentiful gunfire and the expected environmental damage throughout.
The demo build showed off a few changes and tweaks. Your character can now pick up alien weaponry, as the demo showed off a plasma grenade launcher that left behind patches of purple fire. The crossbow is now in your arsenal, and it's only available weapon that lets you attack while in stealth mode. Ammo types can also be changed. In the demo, we saw regular bolts being shot, but we also saw explosive bolts, electrical ones, and smoke bolts being used against enemy forces. You can also modify human weapons on the fly, adding in scopes and recoil buffers whenever you want.
The series has always represented a pinnacle in graphics, and the tradition remains true with this installment. The particle effects like smoke and sparks look realistic and remain abundant. During the demo, there was rarely a situation where sparks weren't flying everywhere or water wasn't trickling down your visor. Character animations and designs remained the same, but the environment was more impressive this time around. Going for a blend of urban decay that's been taken over by vegetation, the designs took the sensibilities of the previous Crysis games and blended it into something that looks both unique and gorgeous. While we only saw one level running on a top-of-the-line PC, we can't wait to see how the rest of the game looks.
So far, Crysis 3 looks like it'll have more of the same action. The modifications might seem small on paper, but in practice, they definitely make a difference in your approach to each mission. Look for more details on this highly anticipated title as we approach its February 2013 release date.
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