Getting sneaky in Crysis 3's Hunter mode

Getting sneaky in Crysis 3 multiplayer
I should clarify that headline a bit. At very few points would I say that I managed to get sneaky in Crysis 3 mutiplayer. Sneakiness, however, was certainly the point. EA had two multiplayer modes on display at Gamescom this year, Crash Site and Hunter.

Crash Site was also featured in Crysis 2 and, for all intents and purposes, is king of the hill. Two teams – 6v6 on console, 8v8 on PC – chase down and defend "pods," accruing points for standing near one. After a certain amount of time, the pod explodes, another is deployed elsewhere on the map and the cycle repeats. The pods themselves house two portable shields that aid in defense, and there's also the Pinger, a massive controllable mech that can help in either assaulting or defending the pod. Beyond that, however, the mode is pretty standard.

Far more interesting is the Hunter mode, which should be familiar to any FPS player that has ever played a game of "zombies."%Gallery-155520% Initially, Hunter mode pits two "hunters" against ten CELL operatives (14 on PC). Two-on-ten sounds like tough odds, but the hunters have a few advantages in their favor. For one, each is equipped with a Nanosuit that provides permanent invisibility. Each also carries a compound bow capable of silently taking down a CELL operative in a single shot. Hunters also carry a single explosive arrow (and believe me, it's terrifying when you get stuck by one).

CELL operatives meanwhile, can choose from several different equipment loadouts. The loadouts available for my demo included basic assault, sniper and demolition builds (i.e. assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles or explosives). Each CELL soldier also packs a special grenade that will deactivate the cloak of any nearby hunter.

The goals are pretty clear: hunters try to kill all the CELL operatives while the CELL operatives try to survive for two minutes, earning points every few seconds. The player with the highest score at the end of five two-minute rounds is the winner. There is a catch, however, in that any CELL member killed by a hunter will become a hunter himself.

What results is a slowly-tipping balance of power as the mission progresses. CELL operatives start dropping like flies, their numbers dwindling and the odds of success steadily declining. I imagine it feels pretty great to survive for the entire two minutes, though all I can do is imagine, because the hunters took me down every time.

Getting sneaky in Crysis 3 multiplayer
Being a hunter is no picnic though. The bow takes quite a bit of time to fire, and movement speed is very slow when you have an arrow drawn, making hunters an easy target if their position is given away. Landing shots with the bow takes a bit of patience, but rounds only last two minutes, so time is of the essence. Still, that just makes each kill that much more satisfying, from the split-second headshot to the crafty melee takedown from behind.

While Hunter was easily the most interesting of the two modes I played, neither mode really felt like they had much of an original hook. As I mentioned above, Hunter will be familiar to anyone who has played a zombies match before (in Halo, for example). It's worth noting, however, that the build I played was pre-alpha, and plenty is subject to change before Crysis 3 launches in February. I also wasn't able to try out Crysis 3's progression system at all. There are plenty of customizable options, including equipment, weapons and lots of attachments, none of which I was able to futz with during the demo.

Another multiplayer feature I couldn't try was the New York Feed, a social component very similar to Need for Speed's Autolog feature. The New York Feed helps players keep track of their friends' accomplishments and generates dynamic in-game challenges. These are divided into three categories: social, chance and lobby. Social challenges are based on your friends activities, chance challenges are chosen by the developers at Crytek, and lobby challenges are based on a random statistic of another player in your multiplayer lobby.

Should you win a given challenge – break your friend's high score, for example – the person who set the challenge will receive a notification and be invited to beat your new benchmark. As Autolog has proven, these kinds of challenges are bound to be addictive, and should provide plenty of competition among friends.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.