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When a game combines Electronic Arts and competitive shooter in one, it’s almost certain to get some wide-eyed gazes. Crysis 3 whips up even more frenzy as it is the latest iteration in Crytek’s paragon title. Ambition needs to match the expectation for what this combination must represent and so the current open Beta of online multiplayer builds mostly upon positive qualities, some more than others. It’s not an all-out declaration of war just yet, but fans can look forward to more distinctive traits that make Crysis a game of its own with exhilarating gameplay to be had.
Once more, the first person shooter holds back nothing to create a pristine game world, rich in detailed textures, subtle and realistic color tones and various lighting effects. Though it’s not the leap away from other titles as would be expected from its legacy, it’s still without a doubt a visually impressive presentation, certainly when all explosions, lasers and displays start whirling around. Some shading might improve from providing slightly more contrast in monochrome locales, but that is a minor point when compared to all the lively branches, broken windows and other details each level holds. There are more than enough structures to keep players entertained with level designs, both in small corridors as larger open plains and multiple building levels. It’s a shame that audio, in particular when looking at gunplay, doesn’t uphold the same high standard, as it sounds more like popcorn bursting. It’s not hugely disappointing, but it fails to pack as much of a punch as its visible counterpart.
However, it’s the actual game content that is the show stopper in this feature, as graphics will soon blur together in one chaotic mess anyway. Through the use of a nanosuit that enhances military capabilities, players can temporarily cloak themselves, set up a defensive armor and jump to higher levels. In order to sniff out stealthy opponents, it’s possible to turn on heat vision and there’s even a possibility to stomp enemies from above with enough momentum. These are the elements that surpass the otherwise adequate or slightly above par gunplay.
Standard classes provide a machine gun, heavy rifle, sniper and shotgun class, each with slight enhancements possibilities through level progression. Playing matches unlock more ranks, which hand out more capabilities and so on. Moreover, a great renewal system lets players reboot their suit in order to receive better weapons at the cost of having to start over from scratch. Specifically this means that players can unlock enhancements until a certain level cap, after which no new experience is earned until they reboot and go to a higher tier that yields improved weaponry, traits and so on.
Additionally, each class has certain perks such as automated defense, faster reload or even a handy enemy detection system that resonates a jarring clanking noise as foes come closer. A final enhancing trait for matches are sporadic spawn points for alien weaponry that rip through enemies, but only possess limited ammunition and slow players down. There are even special types of events that spawn huge robots, gunships and so on. If all that becomes boring, levels provide loose elements that can be ripped out of place and thrown at enemies. There are toys aplenty to work with in this game.
Currently, there are only 2 game modes in the open Beta and 2 maps, which are available for both modes. We’ll try to detail all below:
The dark, abandoned complex provides an expansive level filled with smaller nooks and crannies from decrepit buildings caked with natural overgrowth. With corridors, rooms, stairs, balconies and treetops, there are plenty of gameplay possibilities that are only stumped by the overly brown textures filling the screen. Gaps that separate hot zones from each other provide a perfect playing ground for longer ranged shooters, which forces close range characters to stay inside of winding halls. A clever mixture of nature and construction offers shortcut paths between otherwise open sections, usable by running over tree branches and leaping at the appropriate time to grasp the ledges on the other side. Alien weapons are well concealed in the brownish smear, for better or worse. It’s definitely a favored map for stealthy players that lurk and strike with precision, such as fans of the predator bow or sniper rifle.
Here, gameplay is more confined with a lot of inside spaces, corridors and multi-tier fights within the walled structures of a crumbling airport site. Even a plane set as a centerpiece provides multiple entry points and levels for claustrophobic shootouts, with its roof servicing as an overhead position. There is more color variety in this level than in the museum, as there are distinct differences in areas such as sewers, buildings, glass casings and nature sections. The smaller space between hot zones provides for tense gameplay situations with tons of winding corridors and levels that can house enemies. Points are well connected with each other, which offer a swift transition between shootout areas. Alien weapons are mostly well concealed, though a pair of rifles positioned right atop 2 hot zones could do with a replacement. With less open spaces, it’s best to stick to close range weapons such as the shotgun or machine gun class.
Crash sites provide a dynamic alternative to standard control point rules. Each time, a pod lands in a specific area, after which both teams need to hold the pod’s ground in order to score points. After a brief period, the site detonates and this cycle renews until time is up or a side has held off an area long enough to complete the objective. With just a singular point of interest, shootouts are driven to a central point, which creates frequent tense moments in battles. Through the use of alien weaponry, balance can be momentarily suppressed for one side of the coin, but never in an unfair balance. Rounds are rarely one-sided as the random factor of drop points keeps teams guessing, even when grouped together. A few key strikes can turn the tide for the opposing side.
Airport is the better map for this game mode, as the smaller spaces and quicker transitions between areas ensure that there is always a looming threat of the pod being overrun. Museum still offers several drop sites with tense moments, but some higher placed objectives can be tough to breach in the short time before detonation.
This mode will be favored for cautious or precise players. A team of 2 hunters start the round versus a much larger group of operatives. To provide a fair balance, operatives only have standard loadouts without nano enhancements and each hunter comes equipped with a predator bow that can instantly kill, along with a cloaked setting that rarely falters. Each operative that is killed joins the hunter forces, while killing a predator will only make them respawn moments later. A match is won when either all regular troops have been killed or at least one of them survives the assault. Due to the scattered nature of each team member being critical for success and paired with the survival focus, this gameplay mode doesn’t provide the same adrenaline rush. Rounds often consist of finding a good hiding spot and waiting out the clock without being spotted, while hunters look for prey.
Both maps are equally valid, as both provide plenty of hiding spaces within their structures, though there is a slight favor for the Museum map, due to its larger scope. Airport is less boring to play, as its many linked corridors can spawn a hunter at any second.