Crysis 3: Stand up and take a bow
If you were the guy in charge of creating Crysis' signature Nanosuit, an ulta-expensive prototype mega-garment that allows its wearer to jump impossible heights, run as fast as a car and (for some reason) make bullets fire out of guns with more force, you might feel pretty insulted when the supersuit's owner decides to forsake the fanciness of the future for a simple bow.
A bow? A bow? A bow is the most rustic of all the ranged weapons! Nobody ever wants to go back to bows after they're researched guns in Civilization, do they? Even if it is a really fancy modern composite bow that looks like it's made out of things I don't understand, like lightweight polymers and and aluminium, wouldn't Prophet just rather use a nice new-fashioned gun? Obviously not.
The bow, then, is now so important to the game it's been promoted to Crysis 3's cover star. It's designed to give the game a sneakier feel: it takes out your standard everyday Ceph in a single hit and, for the first time in a Crysis game, can be fired when cloaked. The pitch, as delivered during EA's Spring Showcase in London, is that the hunted is now the hunter.
If there's any doubt, Prophet delivers a similar line himself seconds into the demo. But will this really change Crysis? I felt like a pretty efficient hunter before, after all - though I won't pretend like I'm not tempted by the idea of multiple ammo types and long range bow headshots. Even if it's not the be-all and end-all of the game, the new bow adds yet another prong onto Crytek's Swiss army knife school of FPS design.
Crytek is also looking to give the player more variety by changing their approach to level design, straddling a middle-ground between the first game's wide-open expanse and the sequel's claustrophobic but ornate corridors. You're still in New York city, but it's been two decades since the second game and the Big Apple has turned into some kind of giant megadome (which never goes badly in science fiction) and transformed into what Crytek likes to call the "urban rainforest".
What this means for the purposes of EA's demo is that Chinatown is a bit of a gnarly swampland, with vines twisting around crumbling walls and collapsed architecture. It all looks beautiful on the tricked-out PC running the demo, as you might expect, and Crytek also promises a more optimised console experience than Crysis 2.
During the demo, Prophet spends much of his time communicating with Psycho – the cockney-talking geezer from the original Crysis, and star of spin-off Warhead, who took a backseat in the sequel. There's a lot more radio chatter now, and Prophet tends to regurgitate the lay of the land back to the player, which provides feedback and should help us work out the specifics of the tactical/stealthy options at any given time.
Prophet is also up against the Ceph during the demo, which suggests the third game won't play the same tune as the first two – humans for the first half, aliens for the second. Crytek's efforts have had a tendency to come apart a little once the aliens (or monsters, in the case of Far Cry) show up, so it's interesting to see them used so quickly in the third outing; this demo level is set right near the beginning on the game. At first glance the Ceph don't appear to be the overpowered bullet-sponges they were in the past, so perhaps that'll make fighting them slightly less of a burden when Crysis 3 is released next year.
Crysis 3 will be released on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in Spring 2013.