I'm perched atop a crashed aeroplane, weapon at the ready. My eyes dart across the map, searching for a target. No, no. Not just a target. My prey.
They are not my equals, you see. They are CELL operatives with nothing more than laughable guns. Me, I'm a hunter. A predator. I use a bow. It's a sophisticated weapon, difficult to wield. It requires absolute precision and the patience necessary to line up a shot.
Admittedly, my shots miss more than they should — but, no matter. Seeing the operatives freak out and shoot at shadows out of fear — seeing them scramble frantically, thinking that they can hide safely behind corners: this is just as rewarding as destroying them. And even if I miss, even if I fail this time, I know I'm coming back.
The operatives, meanwhile? One arrow: that's all it takes and they go down. Then they become one of us, then the hunt grows stronger. At that point even the converted compete fiercely for the last remaining operatives. None shall be spared.
If it wasn't obvious, I've been playing Crysis 3 lately, which features its own twist on "zombies" mode — only here, it's called Hunter Mode.
It feels different from other similar takes on the concept. In order to understand why, we have to look at the hunter's suit. The rest of Crysis spends a lot of time fetishising the suit and what it allows you to do.
You can, for instance:
- Punch cars at people
- Become invisible
- Activate extra armor
- Launch yourself into the air
- ...which also means that you can climb up high
- Navigate the map at top speeds
To name a few things. It's intoxicating, how powerful that feels — but all of that is gone when you're a CELL operative. Let me tell you, it the tension is crazy playing the mode as an operative. You feel weak. You feel paranoid.
Contrast with, say, Halo when playing on the Flood gametype — you're an effin' Spartan! I'd go up against the Flood like it was nothing, almost treating it like a challenge to go out and seek the Flood out. I basically thought, "I'm gonna show them why they should be afraid of ME, damnit."
I'm an utter coward in Crysis 3 though, spending as much time as possible hiding. And if you watched a replay, you'd probably laugh at all the people crowding up in the corners, shooting at absolutely nothing because they're scared. It's amazing.
The thing is, if you survive, it feels super gratifying.
I'm looking forward to unlocking my bow for the normal multiplayer modes after spending so much time in hunter mode. The compound bow feels natural to the franchise. I think this has to do with the suit, which, though technically the farthest thing from natural, you feel an innate power — as if you're relying on the potential of your own body to play.
With the bow, you're harking back to something more primal, the time of hunter-gatherer. It fits. Guns feel antithetical to all of that; there's something detached about pulling the digital trigger.
So, as much as I suck at the bow now, I'm gonna spend the beta trying to hone my skills there — that way, I'll be ready when Crysis 3 drops later this month.
You can try the Crysis 3 beta here.