The first two Crysis games weren’t exactly known for their multiplayer. If anything, the multiplayer felt tacked on, as if just to sell more copies to the CoD crowd. The latest game in the series is right around the corner and EA has been kind enough to give us a shot at the multiplayer in beta form this time around.
Despite being in beta, it feels solid. It’d be difficult for anyone to tell if it’s a beta if Crytek hadn’t put in a big red text overlay on the screen saying that, well, it’s a beta. Other than that, though, it’s a very barebones game. The multiplayer beta has two game modes and two maps: Crash Site and Hunter.
CryENGINE 3 is beautiful
Crash Site is Crytek's take on Team Fortress Classic's Control Point mode, which essentially involves opposing teams battling for dominion over key areas on the map. It’s a lot like Dominion mode from Call of Duty games or Control Point maps from Team Fortress 2. The mode feels interesting, though, because every couple of minutes, the control point shifts from one location to another, which invariably leads to a race between the teams to get there. The team with the most points wins.
While it sounds pretty generic, there’s a great deal of team-work needed and will probably end up being the second-most played game mode once Crysis 3 is out, with the first being the very obvious Team Deathmatch.
Hunter is one of the more unique game modes you’ll find in a multiplayer FPS. Two players take on the role of the Hunter—think Predator—while others are survivors. The aim of the Hunters is to take out the survivors one-by-one in a 2-minute time limit.
Crash Site is bound to be one of the more popular game modes
The hunters have permanent cloaking and use the Hunter Bow. The survivors just have to survive the 2-minutes. The twist is that when a hunter takes out a survivor, the survivor respawns as a hunter and has to aid the other hunters.
Hunter mode is undoubtedly one of the best things about the game. Playing as a hunter feels empowering, as you stalk your prey through the swamps and line up the perfect shot while at the same time racing against the clock to kill everyone. Playing as a survivor feels genuinely terrifying, and it is best to use a headset when doing so, as teamwork becomes extremely important to your wellbeing.
The maps in the beta are Airport and Museum. Don’t let the names fool you, though; both maps have plenty of outdoors to let you stretch your legs. While both maps are covered with lush greenery, Airport looks more colourful owing to the generally brighter lighting. Museum is almost like fighting in a swamp around some treehouses. Both maps have excellent use of elevation and have a couple of chokepoints that let epic gunfights happen.
Hunter is like this, except you're cloaked
Like every other multiplayer shooter these days, Crysis 3 has a leveling and loadout system as well. The game starts you off with four pre-set loadouts – Assault, Scout, Sniper and Heavy. You level up by gaining XP, which you get by playing the objective or killing or assisting in killing. Leveling up to 4 gives you the ability to make up to five of your own custom loadouts.
You can deck out your character with a main weapon (typically an assault rifle or a machinegun of some description), a secondary weapon (a pistol or a revolver) and a bunch of suit modules. You can also customise your weapons with things like new sights, a foregrip for better accuracy or some other modules. You also get armour modules that give you bonuses like increased cloaking speed.
Speaking of armour modules, the nanosuit makes a comeback and has been executed beautifully in the multiplayer. Among other things, you can sprint, lift heavy weapons and cloak. The nanosuit is mostly what turns a very generic FPS with slight sci-fi elements into a fun and chaotic battlefield.
Have I mentioned that this game has flamethrowers? No? This game has flamethrowers.
The gunplay of the game feels great. Action is fast with superpowered people jumping all over the place and using weird alien weaponry. Maps aren’t as tight and packed as you would find in Call of Duty. Instead, the designers have opted for a much more open map, making use of the CryENGINE’s well-known capabilities for open worlds; don’t expect a map on the scale of a Battlefield or Arma map, though.
With all the good out of the way, we’ll move on to the parts of the game that don’t seem so well executed. The netcode of the game seems to need more work. Even though matches are quick to get into and games load up fast, there are still some network problems, like lag or disconnects. Though considering this is still a beta, it can be assumed that the final release will be much better with regards to stability.
Matches are generally chaotic and really fun
Another major problem of the game is one that is unlikely to be solved. While it’s fine to have guns locked away with a level-requirement, Crytek seems to have made the same strange decision as other developers to have weapon attachment be unlockables too. While it makes sense to lock something that can potentially make your weapon more powerful, like a new barrel that boosts damage or a silencer, a lot of the unlockables are things like sights.
Which sight to use on your gun always comes down to personal preference. While some prefer reflex red dot sights, others prefer scopes, and some even prefer to play without sights. It comes off as strange and sometimes infuriating when you can’t use the scope you want because you need to level the weapon up by killing more enemies. Though, rather than Crytek, this is more of an issue with current multiplayer FPSes in general.
Other issues with the game are typical beta-related things, but we hope that Crytek fixes these. Things like falling off the texture (where you fall through the cracks between the game's textures and the wiremesh and fall into an infinite abyss) while playing is very annoying, especially since you don’t die and there’s no suicide option, and the only option left to you is to quit the match and look for another one.
Don't waste too much time posing like this, you'll die quickly
Wrapping things up, Crysis 3 seems to be coming along nicely. The multiplayer is fast-paced, weapons are fun to use, and maps are open and give you multiple ways to get from point A to point B. The latest iteration of the CryENGINE crafts some truly stunning environments, even if the only things you can explore are two maps right now.
While it may not be the main focus of the game, Crytek has definitely done multiplayer right. While unlocking the weapon mods could’ve been done better, and it’d be great to see more games adopting the Pick 10 system from Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Crysis 3’s multiplayer is shaping up very nicely.
Platform: PlayStation 3