The Average Gamer

Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta Hands-On Preview

The public multiplayer beta for Crysis 3 starts tomorrow. I got hands-on with the two modes that will be available, Hunter and Crash Site. Here’s a video from Crytek in which Producer Mike Read explains what they are.

In Hunter mode, the video doesn’t quite make it clear that the CELL troopers are also players. The mode supports 16 players on PC or 12 on console and we played with 14 players on PCs. Two of us started as perma-stealthed hunters wielding the Predator Bow while the remaining 12 were CELL, wielding machine guns and trying to survive long enough for our extraction ship to arrive. Well, really just waiting for the timer to run out – there’s no need to run to the extraction zone at the end of a round or anything.

Crysis 3 HunterEach match lasted 5 rounds with rounds lasting for two minutes each. As a CELL player, you gain more points the longer you last, with a bonus for surviving the entire round and another if you’re the last man standing. As well as the machine gun, you’re equipped with a hologram decoy version of yourself. If you die, you’re reincarnated as a hunter and can continue to rack up points by killing CELL members. Suiciding on the environment to become a hunter will give you a 20 second penalty where you’re suspended in spectator mode, not earning any points. However, I didn’t see a good reason not to stand out in the open shouting for a hunter to kill you early on.

In fact, it might be the best way to earn points right now. I often found myself as the second or third last to die, mostly in the last 15 seconds of the round. I spent my time finding dark hidey-holes with a single entrance to guard and then sat back twiddling my thumbs until someone found me. Dying late in a round meant that I lost the survival bonus, yet as a hunter I only had 10 seconds to kill one or two remaining survivors, while competing with 11 or 12 others. It was frustrating and I think the balance of points might benefit from some tweaking there.

That said, we were all new to the maps and the hidey-hole tactic likely won’t work for long when people learn their way around. Perhaps the most horrifying thing to learn was that CELL players show up on a hunter’s mini-map anyway. I’d imagine CELL players will get more aggressive, working in teams and using the hologram to lead hunters into traps but showing up on the map puts them at a significant disadvantage. This could be a really interesting mode, with a few tweaks.

Crash Site

The other mode is much more traditional and players may already be familiar with Crash Site from Crysis 2. As a King-of-the-Hill style capture points mode, it’s much more run-and-gun than Hunter, racing to capture the crashed pod in its latest randomly-generated location. We played on the Museum map featured in the video and this mode really shows off the power of the air stomp. Using the stealth mode to creep along a nearby branch or platform and crashing down into a crowd of opponents around the crash site is immensely satisfying.

Standing in the zone around the pod earns points for your team but also points for yourself. This almost forces you to stand out in the open instead of properly defending entrances as a team.

There are shields on the pod to protect yourself but you can’t actually shoot while using them, so you’re left standing there or circling the pod as a useless lump waiting to be knocked out by well-placed grenade or air stomp. Sure, you can throw the shield if people get too close, but it’s hardly the most sophisticated of battle tactics, is it?

There’s also the alien tripod Pinger to contend with, a massive mech that absorbs a lot of damage. This has some excellent explosive weaponry, perfect for taking out clusters of enemies at once, if they’re foolish enough to stand. together around some kind of map objective. Gee, why would anyone do that? I didn’t have the chance to play it myself but you should be able to check it out during the beta.

My favourite section was probably the post-match highlights. Every time you die, you get that little killcam video showing exactly how noobish you were and how effortlessly you were killed from the other player’s perspective. After each match in Crysis 3, you get a highlight reel showing four of your own kills. It was very gratifying to see that my panicked flailing about sometimes looked like a proper bad-ass kill. Clearly it was my killer instinct driving my aim and not the lucky headshot that it felt like at the time.

The Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta runs from 29th January to 12th February on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. PC users will have to get access through EA’s Origin client. Xbox 360 and PS3 users will find it in the demo section of their respective online stores.

Get more info from the Crysis 3 website and check out PC Gamer for other Crysis 3 multiplayer perspectives.