Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta Report: Speed Thrills
If there’s one thing that defines Crysis 3 multiplayer, it’s speed. Other games have used sci-fi settings and musclebound super-soldiers to free their players from the confining influence of gravity, but you’ll have to look back to old favorites like Quake and Unreal Tournament to find a game with this much zip. Pressing the shift key causes your character to eat up ground like a heavily armed kick returner with the end zone in sight.
Players can also perform incredible leaps and slides, clambering up to high ground or crushing opponents from above with well-timed stomp attacks. Most crucial, however, are the franchise’s distinctive nanosuit abilities. Armor boost and invisibility are mapped conveniently to the “Q” and “E” keys, and limited only by a finite supply of energy. To survive and succeed, players will have to learn to deploy these powers at exactly the right moment; the tactical possibilities are endless. After several hours of early experience with the game’s multiplayer beta, I was only scratching the surface.
Crytek is rightly praised for the quality of its level design, which is rich in detail and full of all the latest tech. The beta’s two maps, Airport and Museum, offer different takes on the game’s decaying, post-apocalyptic setting. Airport, which I described after a hands-on preview a few weeks ago, is full of lush, green vegetation that is slowly devouring the buildings and crashed planes. Museum is a darker, grimmer affair, muddy and swampy, with roots and gnarled limbs offering alternate routes between structures.
From a gameplay perspective, the maps complement the abilities of Crysis’ nanosuited combatants perfectly. Players can move around at high speeds, so the levels are made extremely large. They can jump long distances, so the levels are full of gaps just perfect for a well-timed flanking leap. Most impressively, they are diverse, offering a great combination of wide-open areas, narrow corridors, shortcuts, half-submerged tunnels, and two-tiered galleries. You never get the feeling that you’ve had this firefight before.
This is partly a result of the beta’s “Crash Site” game type, akin to King of the Hill. A hovering alien spaceship drops a pod somewhere in the level, triggering a mad rush to find and defend it. After a certain time has elapsed, the pod becomes unstable and explodes, and everyone hies off after the next one. Teams gain points for standing near the pod, and once they gain a certain number, it’s game over. Enlisting the help of Crysis 3′s three-legged “Pinger” mechs can be very useful in this pursuit; the Airport level also features a hovering gunship that can be commandeered and used to rain death on opponents.
More unique is the “Hunter” game type, an asymmetrical mode which casts players either as Hunters — fast, invisible super-soldiers armed with bows — or as C.E.L.L. operatives — conventional soldiers. When a round begins, most players are C.E.L.L.; as they get picked off, they join the ranks of the Hunters. Points are scored for kills, but also for simply surviving. It’s an exciting, tense mode of play that makes good use of Crysis 3′s bow weapon. The scary, mechanical noise emitted by the C.E.L.L. motion detectors as the Hunters close in also adds to the nail-biting atmosphere.
As befits a modern, AAA title, the game’s interface is polished within an inch of its life. Crysis 3 also offers the expected array of gear unlocks, which make an immediate impact — some of the starting weapons have the stopping power of a wet fart. The four classes are familiar archetypes: assault, sniper, close-combat, and heavy. More interesting variations can be found in the game’s armor module system. Players can customize nanosuit abilities to suit their personal playstyles, emphasizing stealth, heavy armor, or situational abilities like decoy holograms. The game also offers toggleable challenges that can be set before a match and then pursued — kill X number of players with gun Y, etc.
Crysis 3 might not be reinventing the wheel with its tale of heroic super-soldiers with big guns, but what it lacks in concept it makes up in execution. Level design, moment-to-moment gameplay, and game type design work together in well-oiled synergy, and my experience with the beta involved a lot of compulsive “just one more round” behavior. Hopefully the finished product delivers on the high expectations this early experience inspires.
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Learn how to navigate the urban jungle with Game Front’s Crysis 3 walkthrough and get our tips for mastering the Nanosuit. If you’re looking for secrets, easter eggs and extras, check out our Crysis 3 cheats.