Crysis 3 Multiplayer Hands-on (Xbox360)

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Crysis 3 has been captivating gamers’ attention since it was revealed earlier this year in April. Since then we’ve discussed everything from Prophet’s bow to the crushing gameplay trailers and stunning screenshots of the urban rainforest within the Liberty Dome covering New York.

During EA’s pre-gamescom press conference Crytek showed us our first glimpse of the new Hunter mode, and later that week we got to go hands-on with the Hunter and Crash Site modes in a multiplayer demo of Crysis 3. Based on the time I spent with the game, both now at gamescom (and it was quite a bit since I played the demo three times) and at E3 in June (read my preview here), I can honestly say that Crysis 3 remains one of the most anticipated games of 2013 for me. Let me tell you why.

Crysis 3 multiplayer will support 12 players on console and 16 on PC. According to Mike Reed, executive producer of Crysis 3, a number of “new exciting maps, weapons, attachments and gameplay modes” have been added for us to enjoy. Reed believes that the Nanosuit is the heart of the Crysis series, that it’s “not only a gorgeous piece of technology, but it helps to differentiate Crysis from all the other shooters out there today.”

Crysis 3 Multiplayer Screenshot 1

We tested out the two multiplayer modes on the Museum Map, one of the maps that will be available at launch. The first was Hunter mode, described as a “deadly multiplayer experience and a true test of survival.” It’s an “adrenaline rush that you want to experience over and over again.” I couldn’t agree more, it’s one of the most adrenaline pumping multiplayer modes I have ever played, and left me imagining how much fun it’s going to be to play this with my friends online.

Hunter mode begins with two players in enhanced Nanosuits, permanently cloaked and equipped only with the powerful composite bow, tasked with hunting down ten cell operatives (14 on PC). These troopers must survive a total of five two minutes rounds, however, once a trooper is killed by a Hunter the next respawn will cause the trooper to become a Hunter. This slowly tips the scale in favour of the Hunters, making it more difficult to survive as a trooper, and truly terrifying when you’re the last trooper left.

It’s not all gloom and doom for troopers, however, because troopers are able to use EMP grenades to make the Hunters temporarily visible, giving you a chance to take them out. Be careful to use your ammo sparingly though, because troopers are armed with limited ammo and it’s challenging navigating your way to the resupply ammo crates dotted around the level. As a trooper you’ll also need to listen out for the proximity alarm, a key indicator that the Hunter is nearby…the louder it beeps the more wary you should be!

Crysis 3 Multiplayer Screenshot 2

It’s not all roses for the Hunter either, even though you are cloaked you’re not invisible and the troopers can still spot you lurking in the shadows. When a trooper fires directly at you it will also reveal your location, and in my experience once a trooper sees that shimmering light he will hold nothing back to eliminate you. It will also take you a while to master accuracy with the bow, but fortunately melee action is a viable option for crushing the troopers’ numbers.

As a trooper I found that safety in numbers was definitely a solid option, banding together and using the back-to-back strategy meant the Hunters couldn’t sneak up on us. The only challenge was that if the Hunter got one of us, chances are he took down most of our team mates down as well! Even so, working together seemed to really pay off – not only was I (slightly) less terrified, but using the EMP grenades allowed multiple troopers to see the Hunter and gave us a window of opportunity to take him out. The Kill Cam is also a nice feature (in a cruel, sadistic kind of way), so you can see who killed you and how they did it.

You will also learn that running out of ammo when attempting to defeat a Hunter is very inconvenient, my suggestion would be to run away as fast as you can and move around a lot to avoid being shot. The sound of arrows whistling past my head became more commonplace as the game progressed, but never did that sense of fear of being stalked (mixed with a healthy dose of thrill and adrenaline) let up until the match had ended.

Crysis 3 Multiplayer Screenshot 3

Finding routes through tunnels and trying to keep a low profile when the troopers’ numbers dwindle also proved to be a good survival strategy. Obviously the more you play the maps and the more familiar you become with them, the more adept you will become at doing this. Unfortunately this works both ways and the Hunter will also learn the good places to hide and check those first. What’s great about this is that both roles require totally different strategies, bringing both depth and variety to the gameplay.

Crash Site is a mode that you may recognise from previous Crysis games. Each team has six players per side (eight on PC), with each player having control of a Nanosuit which they will choose between a series of pre-defined loadouts before entering the match. An alien drop ship deploys a pod at a random location when you enter the map, indicated by a marker on your HUD. Pods have a capture zone and players must spend time in this zone to accumulate points for a team capture, points being awarded to any player inside the capture radius and to your team. The team that accumulates the most points in ten minutes, or up to a score of 150 points, wins the round.

Don’t get too comfortable though, because after a period of time the pod will explode and a new pod will be deployed at another random location. In addition to your weapons, you’ll be able to use the two shields that each pod holds, either as defence tools or to inflict damage on enemies by throwing them. The Pinger is new to the mode, and if your team has control of this vehicle you can unleash some serious firepower to subdue the other team, who can fight back by destroying it or jumping on top to remove the Pinger’s pilot. You’ll be able to use both your armour and stealth abilities during Crash Site, and given how fast-paced and close-quarter combat based this mode is you’ll definitely need them!

Crysis 3 Multiplayer Screenshot 4

The New York Feed is another new feature to the multiplayer in Crysis 3. It’s best described as a “dynamically generated feed of New York City that creates an information flow of what you and your friends have been achieving in-game.” This gives you access to three feeds (Social, Chance and Lobby), and also means you can take your friends on in custom generated achievements.

Social challenges are dynamically generated by your friends for achieving a high score of a specific statistic. Chance is a challenge that the development team picks at random, if you achieve it you will be rewarded based on your player rank. Lobby challenges are based on the highest statistic for a random area from someone inside your own lobby – if you beat your friend’s challenge they will receive a re-challenge.

Crysis 3 multiplayer is shaping up to be excellent experience, not only does it feature solid game modes that promise to be both challenging and fun, but the control system is intuitive (especially if you’ve played a first-person shooter before) and responsive, and graphically the game is looking incredible too. Have you ever needed more reasons to buy a game?

Crysis 3 will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in February 2013. Watch the Hunter mode reveal trailer below, and browse through El33tonline’s previous coverage for more trailers and screenshots from the game.