Crysis 3 Multiplayer Preview Shines, Even In Alpha

Bring on the Eye Candy

Here, I'm going to unrepentantly geek out over texturing and reflections. One of the most frustrating things about game development's "Console first" approach is the way certain textures and surfaces end up looking like crap on a modern GPU. This is a consequence of the fact that the PS3 and Xbox 360 are roughly 6000 years old in GPU-years, and it often sends PC gamers fleeing to the Internet in search of third-party mod packs that make games look better.

Check tree / water reflections and texturing on bricks and the far bank at some distance.

Crysis 3 looks better, out of the box. Granted, CryEngine 3 faces some stiff competition from the new Unreal engine, but it's refreshing to see games that are pushing the visual boundary instead of slapping some less-blurry textures on 2005-era design. The bricks you see here are either well-tesselated or using high-quality maps.

See the broken poster to the left? That's an example of a detail that current console maps would blur, to conserve processing power for the main game. On a modern PC, that's not necessary.

You can't actually head off to explore in that direction, but it looks as if you could. The open spaces keep the map from feeling claustrophobic, while the broken buildings and ruined sewers provide a much larger playground than you might think at first glance.

We can't say much about actual gameplay at this point, other than to note it's fun. Even in alpha, players have cloaks, melee attacks, and different classes with varying weapon loadouts. Gear and capabilities are unlocked on a scale as you level up and complete objectives. If you've played BF3 or COD:MW2, you'll feel right at home with this.

Obviously great graphics can only carry a game so far, and it'd be premature to draw conclusions about Crysis' multiplayer from a single alpha map, much less its single-player campaign. Still, if the game plays half as good as it looks, it'll be a breakout success.
Preview Hardware: Intel Core i7-2600K, 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 670

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