Before getting our hands on time with the game, we were given a closed doors look at just how CryEngine 3 works.
Sufficed to say, the engine looks phenomenal, pushing the limits of visual capabilities without stressing hardware too much, as was the case with the last CryEngine (I ran Crysis 2 on high settings with only an 8800 GT). Crytek’s animator repeatedly mentioned how they like to let the work speak for itself, and for good reason. Between the superb lighting and dynamic tessellation, the engine truly is a work of art. Here’s the one thing that stood out to me most of all: the engine is able to recognize where the game’s camera is located and adjusts accordingly. For example, if the camera is too far away to notice fine details on a wall, it’s not going to render all the details, but when the camera moves in, the tessellation will increase. It’s a perfect marriage of performance and power that works really well together when you put it in Crysis 3.
Also behind closed doors, we were able to get our hands on with the PC version of the game, though I found myself routinely switching back and forth between the keyboard/mouse and the controller (I loathed the mice they had for use. Loathed.) The level available involved us blowing up a damn that helped power CELL’s operations within the Liberty Dome of New York City. Therefore, we’d be fighting human opponents, not aliens, and therefore no access to alien weaponry. Still, I was quite pleased with what Crytek had to offer.
From the demo available, I can’t fully say that the sandbox is back, but things are shaping up quite nicely. Compared to the run, gun, and cover style I enjoyed in Crysis 2, I found myself using more stealth and tactics in Crysis 3, using the power of the bow to shoot while in stealth mode. In comparison, if I quietly walk up to an enemy, they do have a chance to hear me, and, especially on harder difficulties, I can’t just simply stealth up, throw enemies, and wreck havoc; I need to be careful.
Crysis 3 is shaping up to be everything I was hoping from it. I’m anxious to see just how much of a sandbox we’re given to play with, as well as how meaty the game’s campaign will be and how it’ll set the tone for the future of the franchise, but chances are we’ll have to wait a bit to learn more as the game launches early next year for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.