Crysis 3 screens and preview

The original Crysis was a game that broke technical boundaries and set the graphical standard for PC. But it lacked a properly coherent gameplay experience. Crysis 2 fixed all this as well as upping the graphical stakes even further. So with Crysis 3 the hype machine is truly flowing.

No one was really expecting Crysis 3, it turned up out of the blue in the form of a leaked screenshot. An image showing the game's protagonist brandishing a crossbow flooded Twitter. Things then went silent -that was until a recent EA event, where we were shown a gameplay demo of the new triple-A title. So how does it look?

Rather unsurprisingly, the game looks incredible. We have no idea how so much power is being squeezed out of consoles but CryEngine 3 appears to be working some sort of black magic.

The game is set in New York, but it's a rather different version of the city in the second game. Twenty years after the battle with the Seth and the C.E.L.L, vast nano domes have been built up around major cities in the world. These domes are designed to keep the general public out and whatever remains of the Seth in. A knock-on effect of the domes is the rapidly speeded up growth of vegetation, which in turn has transformed New York into an urban jungle.

Screens we saw showed massively varied environments, from savannahs populated with town houses to Chinatown set in an overgrown swamp. Helped along by CryEngine 3, it looks incredible.

Prophet returns for Crysis 3 in a souped-up form. Rather than running from the Seth, he has changed tack this time round and gone on the hunt. This is a seriously angry Prophet who is ready to dish out a lot of damage to his enemies. This is done with the same abilities in Crysis 2, albeit more powerful, as well as a new hacking skill which allows you to control enemy technologies.

Prophet has absorbed so much alien DNA by this point that he is now able to use their weapons. This means new guns and lots of them. From the demo we saw, they look incredibly powerful. A mortar-type gun which inflicts huge amounts of damage was particularly impressive, as was the standard Seth rifle which could switch between shotgun and rapid fire modes. A C.E.L.L. sub-machinegun capable of firing 500 rounds a minute was also thrown into the demo, and dished out huge devastation.

From the gameplay we were shown, the usual mix of sneaking, survey and shooting was there. Once the action did kick off, however, Prophet appeared a much more capable fighter than Alcatraz in the second game. This doesn’t mean that it forces you into a more aggressive strategy, that composite bow that appeared in the leaked screen is to add an entirely new gameplay mechanic. With different warhead types and the ability to fire while cloaked, it is a stealthy fan's favourite. It looked particularly cool sneaking around a swampy Chinatown as a cloaked Prophet brandishing a bow and arrow.

Our gameplay demo ended with Prophet making a mad dash up a communications tower after hacking a Ceph turret. Overloaded with enemies, including the giant walker type from the second and some new flamethrower-brandishing bad guys, he makes the aim of the game pretty clear: “One by one you’re next.”

This is about a clean-up, putting an end to the Ceph and wrapping up the Prophet storyline that existed in the first and second games. Not a lot else can be said about Crysis 3 other than it's set for Spring 2013. The look of the overgrown New York alone has us very impressed.

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