Taking place at some point during the first third of the game, our hands-on time with Crysis 3 took place in a location that EA describes as an urban rainforest, a place known as Liberty Dome in New York City, a sprawling metropolis with dilapidated buildings surrounding dense swamplands.
The level that we played took us to a wide open, heavily guarded canyon area where lead character Prophet had to navigate against seemingly overwhelming odds to plant bombs and blow up a huge damn.
The demo showed off Crysis' trademark gameplay, combining the power of the Nanosuit with multiple high-tech skills and weapons to experiment with, but it also served as an introduction to the new crossbow weapon.
As we expected, production levels are extremely high, with the kind of jaw-dropping graphics, highly detailed environments and quality audio experience that the Crytek team is renowned for.
Once again, Prophet dons the technologically advanced Nanosuit, which gives him the power to execute special powers, such as advanced armour and invisibility. The tactical visor also made an appearance, allowing players to tag enemies, a move that was extremely important in this particular section of the game due to the sheer amount of enemies you need to get past.
The crossbow is obviously what Crytek really wanted to show us as we were prompted to use it on a number of occasions throughout the level. The crossbow initially feels similar to using a sniper rifle due to its ability to shoot arrows from a long distance and headshot enemies with a perfect one-shot execution; and it works extremely effectively for that particular task.
You can change the type of arrows you use too, which opens up some strategic options. We tested out an electrically-charged arrow that we fired into a puddle of water to electrocute two enemies standing nearby, while an explosive arrow also allowed us to kill a bunch of enemies from a long distance; and could be thrown much further than a standard grenade. The crossbow isn't a game changer by any means, but it's a fun weapon to use and opens up another way to tackle the mission.
That's really want Crysis 3 seems to be all about: giving players choice and multiple ways to tackle a level. Stealth kills, close-up pistol battles and mid-range assault rifle skirmishes can be used to beat the level as can frequent cloaking and long-range stealthy arrow headshots. The amount of strategic options available should give it some replay value too.
Though early signs suggest that Crysis 3 isn't a huge evolution over the last game, we enjoyed the playthrough, scanning the environment and tagging enemies, and then going around hunting them down with short frantic bursts of assault rifle play and predatory-style stealth play. Crysis 3 is shaping up to be another visually impressive game from the Crytek crew and gameplay during this level runs silky smooth on the CryEngine, our only concern is that it may only turn out to be a slightly better looking Crysis 2 with a few tweaks here and there. We'll have to wait and see