Crysis 3 hands-on preview Becoming the predator

If you’re the kind of shooter player who likes to rush into battle with guns blazin’, beware: Crysis 3 rewards stealth over suicidal charges. If our time with the game at E3 proved anything, it’s that you should always look before you leap and/or fire, lest you attract a swarm of intelligent guards to flank your position.

The Liberty Dome in futuristic NYC looks amazing – vegetation has overrun any and all concrete structures, and nothing has been left untouched by roots, vines, and foliage. It’s not all for show, either: when a frond sways in the breeze, it can be genuinely suspenseful to discern if an enemy is hiding behind it, or if it was just the wind. Luckily, you’re got the Nanosuit – and believe us, you’ll be using it often.

The segment we played had us infiltrating a dam to shut it down; the Crytek devs mentioned that there would be 8 “wonders of the world” inside the dome, which we imagine means “8 awesome set pieces to kill people in.” Armed with the Rambo-esque bow and arrow, we thought we could take down anything that came our way, and carelessly shot CELL guards with abandon. Turns out, that doesn’t work too well.

The enemies are highly intelligent – seeing their comrade drop from a distance will alert everyone around you, and they excel at flushing you out of cover with a surrounding advance. We admit to the shame of dying repeatedly during the demo – trying to head-arrow a moving target can be awfully challenging when your back is absorbing bullets by the dozen. Luckily, the checkpoints are generously spaced to prevent maximum frustration.

We also got intimately familiar with the Nanosuit’s hacking capabilities – with a special visor, Prophet can scope out enemy tech and take it over or disable it. Best of all, you can do all this while cloaked; we had a funny moment of disabling a powerful turret while a guard stood next to us, oblivious to the stealth blur behind him. You’ll also need to disable trip wires that alert the entire compound to your intrusion.

The game’s graphics are gorgeous – but you already knew that. We’re looking forward to playing more of the game (and maybe do some run-and-gunning) as the game nears its February 2013 release date.

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