OXCGN’s EA Showcase Snapshot: Crysis 3, SimCity, and The Devil’s Cartel
A showcase of EA’s Q1 2013 lineup
by Arthur Kotsopoulos
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos
It’s astounding to think that all the games at EA Australia’s Showcase will be released in Q1 of 2013. These range from the beautiful title Crysis 3, to Insomniac‘s first multiplatform title and new IP known as FUSE.
The line up is disappointingly filled with shooters, which I have to admit is starting to make this last stretch of current generation consoles over-crowded. With that being said though, EA do have Maxis‘s SimCity, my highlight of the showcase.
With FUSE and Dead Space 3 being the bigger titles of the line up, we’ve decided to bring back the snapshot format OXCGN utilized during previous events of this year.
This way, you’re able to digest more important information that we feel would interest you.
Crysis 3 Single Player
The game is set in the year 2047, a whopping 24 years after the events of Crysis 2. Equipped with the Nanosuit 2.0 and an amazingly detailed composite bow, Crysis 3 seems to invoke more of an emphasis on stealth, and that’s not a bad thing.
In the level we played, we were tasked with entering a train yard warehouse, with CELL troops scattered all around the ground floor and railings above. With no knowledge of Prophet’s presence, players can silently eliminate all enemies with just the bow.
This definitely requires skill and patience, as one mistake will alert every CELL soldier, and they will hunt you down until you’re taken out.
After making haste with the CELL troops, I ended up in an open field with Ceph on the prowl. Visibility was extremely low when traversing through the tall blades of grass, so taking point on a top of run down buses was the best strategy possible.
They are relentless in their attack and jump up at you when they’ve got the chance; they’re fast and fierce so drawing them out one by one is a great way to take them out, minimizing the need to waste ammo.
Unfortunately, due to so many other journalists in attendance, my time was cut short. From what I played, however, the game is looking stunning. For maximum enjoyment (pun intended), it’s definitely best played on PC, as you just cannot appreciate it when playing on a console due to the level of detail in the environment being a sight to behold.
The addition of the bow works well with stealth, and players who love to play quietly will enjoy this style of gameplay. Now, I enjoyed Crysis 2. Even though it was filled with some annoying bugs and graphical glitches, I think it perfectly balanced small open sandbox areas quite well.
Crysis 3 seems to take on this concept, and expands on it on a much grander scale this time around, as I know players hated how trapped they felt in the levels of Crysis 2. However, I feel as if those quarrels will be squashed when Crysis 3 is released on 21st of February 2013.
Whilst the game isn’t exactly known for its amazing storytelling or gripping characters, it definitely is another shooter among the crowd, and one that I feel has struggled to make a name for itself, apart from being a tech demo for who has the better and more powerful PC.
The 7 Wonders in Crysis 3 will make great use of the technology behind CryEngine 3, as each area is different in terms of look and feel. Any gamer will appreciate this level of detail throughout the game.
Crysis 3 Multiplayer
Anyone who has played or heard of Infected, a multiplayer game mode featured in the Halo franchise, will know exactly how Hunter plays out in Crysis. This game type consists of five rounds, each with a two minute time limit. Two players are assigned the role of a player in a Nanosuit, complete with unlimited energy, permanently cloaked and equipped with nothing but the bow.
The rest are assigned the role of a CELL trooper, with the option to choose a sniper, or a close range or soldier-based character, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s an enjoyable game mode and one that doesn’t require any real skill apart from using the bow.
One round saw me take out the entire opposing team with the bow which brought an extreme amount of satisfaction. There is no better way to showcase skill and finesse then using a bow with quick reflexes.
This mode has been done already, and as I said before, it seems to show me that Crysis suffers from an identify crisis (no pun intended this time, no seriously!). This game mode has been included only because of the inclusion of the bow; it’s not really showing me any creative genius from Crytek.
It’s not something that they themselves have come up with and said, “This game mode is totally unique to Crysis and really captures this game’s essence.”
As far as I know, external parties were brought in to make multiplayer stand out, but with the likes of Halo 4 and Black Ops 2 which will be going strong until their next iterations are released, I don’t think multiplayer is an area which should require such a great amount of focus.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel
Deep down, Army of Two has never been a franchise that interested me. I played and finished the original, and I felt that even though it was a thoroughly enjoyable game, it did not warrant the sequel The 40th Day and now a third.
The code on show was Pre-Alpha, so certain animations weren’t finished, and objects such as weapons during cinematics had not been included, so it would not be fair to give you an analysis of the hands-off demo provided. It just wouldn’t be fair to the game in its entirety.
What I did see, though, was a game that played much better than its predecessors thanks to the Frostbite 2 engine. Environments look much more alive and are now destructible, and everything from movement to shooting is much smoother.
The main gripe I had with Army of Two was that it felt like everything was stuck in tar.
Input lag was present when moving, aiming and shooting, and while it wasn’t a game-breaker, it was definitely noticeable and hindered the enjoyment I could have had with it. That doesn’t seem to be the case with The Devil’s Cartel.
Customization is back, and introduced in The Devil’s Cartel is a new feature entitled Overkill. Essentially players fill up their Overkill meter, activate it, and then receive unlimited ammo, health, and explosive-tipped bullets for a short period of time.
It’s a typical feature in the average third person shooter, and it’s nothing that hasn’t already been done before. Touching up on the co-op aspect of the game, players will, much like in Call of Duty and Medal of Honor: Warfighter, partake in a plethora of co-op based actions.
Breaching a door will activate a slow motion scene where you take out as many enemies before time returns to normal. I’ve seen this in plenty of games over the years, so again this doesn’t exactly sell the game to me.
It will have its audience that will enjoy it for what it is, but then it will have those who simply aren’t interested in what it has to offer come the 28th of March, when it is eventually released in Australia.
I need to see code that is closer to completion before making a final judgement call on The Devil’s Cartel, but based off the Pre-Alpha code it’s definitely the Army of Two we’ve come to know in gameplay and looks.
My highlight of the showcase by far, mainly due to the fact that it’s not a first or third person shooter, was SimCity. There aren’t dozens of enemies you have to shoot, and no checkpoints you have to reach to progress through the story.
Instead, you’re tasked with building and managing entire cities. Yes, you heard correctly: you are managing multiple cities at any given time.
Multi-city play for me is the game’s biggest draw, where players will be responsible for managing cities that will be interconnected and have various impacts on one another.
You want to have a separate city solely for sewage and garbage disposal? Absolutely. Don’t want crime to be in your lovely, happy utopia? Build a city full of casinos and tourist attractions.
It’s all possible in SimCity, and thanks to the GlassBox Engine which powers the game, it is a truly living and breathing world that players can interact with on various levels. By various levels, I literally mean various levels.
Players can strip away data layers on the map and see which areas are rich in water, coal, or oil, and then build specific buildings on top to garner the best possible return in resources.
You can follow any Sim in your city across what they do on a daily basis, and if a Sim isn’t happy they’ll let you know. If there’s a problem that needs to be fixed the city will alert you. It’s a title which will consume many hours of your life and it is a refreshing experience to be able to have.
The experience doesn’t stop there, however.
SimCity features seasonal change from Autumn to Winter, visible through the environment. It features an accurate data management system in terms of how far Sims are willing to walk to bus stops and stations, to travel to and from work.
Various areas will show you in colour the level of influence different aspects have on your city.
Red means Sims are unhappy, green means they’re happy. Red faces will show you the current amount of criminals present in your city due to a lack of a police force or overcrowded prisons, whereas brown spots will show your current sewage status.
Maxis have spent time and effort to build a world where players can truly build their own living, breathing city, and their attention to detail is very evident.
It’s a very long wait until the 7th of March 2013, but SimCity is one guest that I will welcome with open arms when it eventually arrives.
Hey, a SimCity game isn’t a SimCity game without natural disasters, right? [Ed.: Or without hippies complaining about the destruction of the forest. Progress, people!]
We at OXCGN would like to thank all those involved in bringing the Asian Pacific gaming industry this splendid day of games, food, photobooths, massages, and love sacs.
Whilst there were a few unforeseen hiccups which are always present at major events, the day was a success. EA Australia put in the hours and time to bring this to us, so it is much appreciated.
We’ll be bringing you a preview on both the single player and cooperative aspects of FUSE once embargo lifts, plus an interview with the titles Creative Director, Brian Allgeier. On top of that we’ll also have some more information on Crysis 3 courtesy of an interview with Michael Elliot Read, a producer on the game.
Last but not least, we’ll tackle Dead Space 3, the final chapter in Isaac Clarke’s journey, where we’ll finally discover the true nature of the Necromorphs. We’ll be bringing you a single player preview and hopefully resolve any quarrels you might have about its strange departure from what made the original Dead Space so good.
Until then, my friends, try to distract yourself from how incredible the first three months of 2013 will be.