Crysis 3 First Look

Developer: Crytek / Publisher: EA / Platform: Xbox 360/PS3/PC / Release Date: 2013 / ESRB: RP

PROPHET AND LOSSES UNDER THE DOME

The Post Alien-Invasion Apocalypse ™ all too often tends to have something of a familiar form and palette: Crumbled and rusted industrial urban environs—maybe some visual green—tinted hint of long-term natural reclamation if you’re lucky. Last night in San Francisco, we got a serious (albeit still hands-off) look at what developer Crytek’s forthcoming Crysis 3 has in store courtesy of senior creative director Rasmus Hojengaard—and it’s not your run-of-the-mill End of The World.

It’s 2047. Prophet has returned to New York…and things are not looking good; while seemingly pretty much wiped out at the conclusion of Crysis 2—because everybody totally believed that—the Ceph are alive and, in fact, thriving under Gotham’s newest questionable urban addition. That’s a giant, city-encasing ‘Nanodome’ (brought to you by the Cell Corporation). Among other things, this “Liberty Dome” has had the effect of turning the entire (human-) depopulated Big Apple into a massive ‘urban rainforest.’ Under the dome, seven unique, unnaturally-accelerated environs—“The Seven Wonders”—give the Crytek designers a chance to show off their affinity for graphically illustrating nature’s urban reclamation (and for developing hitherto-undiscovered types of lens-flares, about which the Crytek folks do seem inordinately proud).

The fine humans at Cell have given the line that the nanodomes exist for the purpose of containing and ultimately eradicating the last vestiges of the Ceph threat for the good of all mankind which, again, everybody totally believes. So yeah, the ‘contained zones’ such as New York’s Liberty Dome—presumably there are others—are still crawling with Ceph, and Prophet is back to mete out some damage, vengeance, etc. in the new urban jungle.

And it’s a damned impressive urban jungle, too: Hojengaard frames the accelerated urban-forestation process as Crytek’s vision of what could take as long as 500 years…compressed into about 20 game-timeline years, and is careful to point out that the each of the environs were crafted to reflect nature, as opposed to merely grafting some foliage-palette visuals onto urban structure-models. 2047’s Chinatown is, indeed, a living, overgrown swamp (note the waves of tiny hopping frogs scattering before you as you slog onward), and even the subway has never been quite this muggy and damp before. Likewise, the other distinct biohabitats under the Liberty Dome follow suit: Central Park is now more properly classified as a veldt, the towering office block confines of the Financial District serve a ‘mountainous region’ function, etc. (Alphabet City is at least three orders of magnitude closer to Alphabet Soup by this point, but no screenshot confirmation, here).

Meanwhile, Prophet’s damage-dealing ability is more impressive than ever; that’s what game developers always say, and it usually doesn’t mean very much—but in this case, his arsenal seems particularly rewarding. His simultaneously low-tech/high-tech compound bow fighting solution—with arrow-tips serving basic piercing, electronic-jamming, and of course, explosive functions—is ideal for use with his nanosuits’s cloaked state, as the bow is the only ranged weapon he can use while remaining cloaked (to keep this from being either an easy or even dictated ‘way out’, the Liberty Dome is also populated with hovering Ceph patrol-bots specifically engineered to sweep their vicinity with beams that disrupt the cloaking function). One of Prophet’s high-ammo-consumption assault rifles, specced to fire 500 rounds a second, makes a particularly satisfying hum as it chews through ammo at a decadent, deadly rate. And now, Prophet’s nanosuit can interface (with limited degrees of success, from some of the UI info we’ve seen) with new and purely alien weaponry, including a type of Ceph mortar-launcher.

Finally, at least for U.S. market buyers, Crysis 3 will offer four special pre-order Mission Packs: The bow-centric ‘Hunter’ pack, the ‘Stalker’ pack with early semi-auto shotgun access, the assault-weapon inclusive ‘Overkill’ pack, and the ‘Predator’ pack, featuring the Feline sub-machine gun.

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