A cloaked Hunter stalks his prey from the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to strike without mercy. The Cell Troopers huddle together aware that something lurks nearby, but with no idea of where it is. The Hunter equips an explosive arrow, draws back the bow string and releases. The arrow finds its mark in one of the cell troopers, but the shot doesn’t kill. Unfortunately for the Trooper in question, the explosion does. His comrades scatter, firing wildly into the shadows in desperation. Other Hunters are drawn to the commotion and the remaining Troopers fall, only to be reborn as Hunters with the sole purpose of chasing down their former friends.
The Hunter gamemode was one of two shown off during a multiplayer play session of Crysis 3
. In this mode up to ten Cell Troopers, or fourteen on PC, must survive two minutes with two Hunters intent on killing them. As Cell Troopers fall, they switch sides until time runs out or all Troopers are killed. Hunters are cloaked at all times, but Troopers have some tools to help them survive. First of all, they are alerted that an enemy is nearby by a beeping sound, which gets more urgent as a Hunter gets closer. Unfortunately, Troopers are unable to tell exactly where the enemy is coming from, but a little bit of ingenuity can turn the tide. The environment and structures can be used to great effect; water can give away the position of an enemy, while troopers who stick together often survive together. If all else fails, they can fire off a few shots or unleash an EMP grenade, which removes a Hunter’s cloak briefly. “Why not sit together in a closed corridor with water running through?” you ask. First of all, Troopers have a limited supply of ammo, but can restock in a fairly open area. Secondly, Hunters can equip explosive arrows, which are designed for such a reason. Thirdly, Hunters can strike from distance and don’t need much of a target to register a kill. The game feels fairly balanced and as one strategy was found during the play session, players started developing counters to that strategy. At the same time, balance appears to be a key concept running through the multiplayer.
As a Hunter, there is a great feeling of power. You can stalk players and creep ever closer without them knowing you are there. As the bow often kills in one shot once charged, you can pull off some impressive midair kills that are worthy of any highlight reel. On the other hand, playing as the Cell Trooper feels genuinely intimidating. Hunter has been pegged as a “true test of survival” by Crytek and with good reason. Some players took to the novel tactic of curling up in the fetal position and hoping for the best, but the Hunters usually found them cowering under a stairway somewhere. There will be tactics that will emerge and players will cope with the pressure in different ways. Best hope that players don’t run off at the last minute to leave you fending for yourself.
Crysis 3 looks and feels slick. A few alterations have been made to the multiplayer side, which have made all the difference. The suit’s energy is divided up into stealth and armour energy, while players can sprint around to their hearts’ content. It is amazing the difference this makes as players are more willing to dash around the map performing amazing leaps and slides, or skulk around in the shadows before striking. But either way, if caught, players can still enter a fight on an equal footing. It certainly makes the experience much more accessible, plus there is no greater feeling than free running around a map and taking full advantage of the level design which is geared towards this approach.
As with many other titles released under the EA umbrella, Crysis 3 will be more social and interactive than its predecessors. Its main menu will feature the New York feed, which is a non-interactive map of New York used to show off activity. Players will be able to see challenges set by friends, where friends are playing and what they are unlocking as they go. This map will update as friends complete new challenges and cycles around the various locations. Players can also choose to take on some of these challenges in their own game. Now you don’t even have to be online at the same time to hold bragging rights over friends in Crysis 3.
Challenges are a great way to gain extra XP, but they are not limited to just challenges from friends. Up to three challenges can be accepted at any time, split between friend challenges, dev challenges and lobby challenges. The lobby challenges are the most intriguing as they are designed to keep players in the one game where natural rivalries can develop. At the end of each map, a stat is dynamically chosen and this is the gauntlet laid down to other players for the upcoming map. Challenges can encompass any notable stat from headshots and kills while sliding to dogtags claimed. According to Lead Multiplayer Designer, Adam Duckett
, there are an infinite number of challenges to be completed in-game.
We did say that there were two modes on display and the second is a returning favourite. Crash Site pits two teams against one another in an effort to secure an alien pod that crash lands. The mode will be 8v8 on PC and 6v6 on PC. Players will get personal points for standing in the circle of the crash site, while the team also acquires points as they maintain control of the point. However, each player gets a very clear indication of where the crash site is located so expect things to get a little hairy. If one point is under lockdown, the opposing team will get another chance as the pod destabilises until it eventually explodes. At this point, another pod will crash in another location and chaos breaks loose again. It’s a familiar concept, even if you haven’t played the Crysis multiplayer before. It works well here, especially with the range of weaponry and technology at a player’s fingertips.
When matches are done and dusted, players get shown a highlights reel of their best bits. Unfortunately it lacks the poignant background music, which we’ve become so accustomed to from reality TV shows, but it means that even a bad game can be painted in a good light. This is great for players who may have slumped towards the end of a match or who may not feel good enough to hold their own against others in the lobby. On one or two occasions I was certainly thankful for the pick-me-up that it gave and was then ready for the next round. Plus, if you are one of the elite players it’s a great chance to watch some of your greatest kills back.
The Crysis 3 multiplayer is looking pretty slick already, but the team isn’t resting on its laurels. The game will be tweaked right up to launch, and even beyond. The modes on display so far are good fun, easily accessible and challenging in their own ways. In even better news, there are still six more modes to be revealed. While Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch will make an appearance, there is the promise of at least one that Crytek is keeping quiet for the moment.
Crysis 3 will be released in February 2013 on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. If you’d like to learn more about the multiplayer, check out our interview
with Lead Multiplayer Designer, Adam Duckett.