With great power comes great paralysis. This is our guilty secret when it comes to playing Crysis. The suite of options and approaches made possible by the Nanosuit aren’t empowering, they’re calcifying.
When chucking explosive barrels at tanks is as viable an option as quietly stabbing every last enemy in the throat, it can often be a struggle to decide what to do. Crysis 3 can’t solve the problem – which derives from the very freedom Crytek is trying to offer – but it has a valiant go at rendering it irrelevant, introducing scenarios that force you to think on your armour-clad feet alongside objectives that allow for a more deliberate approach.
It’s partially down to the environment, a post-apocalyptic New York that manages to be more organic, surprising and visually stimulating than Crysis 2’s strictly urban jungle, even as it retains the semi-open combat bowl structure. More than just another time-neglected city in need of a good going over with some pesticide and a large pair of shears, the sci-fi backstory of the Liberty Dome allows it to be both a recently abandoned metropolis and vibrant paradise at once. Individually, both settings are tired, but Crysis 3’s unrestrained mixing of the two – Chinatown has turned into thick, partially submerged swampland – still manages to engage, even after 2012 saw Prototype 2 tear up Manhattan again, and Far Cry return to the tropical island setting Crytek first crafted.
It’s Crysis 2 that our demo most recalls, however, with a shootout set in a dilapidated train yard. After we emerge from some astonishingly well-lit and detailed tunnels, causing us to speculate about the contents of the monolithic rig we’re playing the demo on, we find ourselves in a scenario that could have been ripped straight from the second game in the series. Cell mercenaries are prowling between the train tracks and along the catwalks of a hangar, and it’s left entirely to our discretion how they’re going to die.
The Nanosuit’s functionality – a heavy duty armour mode, some active camouflage, visors and super strength – is all but identical to Crysis 2, but a hi-tech bow is here to provide a dash of variation to combat. The ability to fire arrows without breaking cloak makes for a weapon that feels built for stealth rather than direct encounters, but multiple arrow types should mean it’s a flexible tool. On that note, so should the ability to flick between three distinct draw speeds and subsequent shot strengths, a typical example of Crysis offering a potentially intimidating level of customisation.
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