There's something a bit depressing about Crysis 3's recently leaked boxart. It isn't the familiar urban setting, or the fact that Nano-Dude still thinks red tinted lenses are in fashion. It's that bow and arrow. We've only just got our heads around the idea of bows in Assassin's Creed 3, for starters, and here's Crysis channelling Legolas.
It's a high tech bow, in fairness, with a recurved frame and all sorts of dangerous-looking steel pageantry. That tech needs to be higher than high, because the Crysis series has already given us energy cannons, silenced shotguns and bio-metal onesies that bond with human flesh, and we're struggling to see where caveman weaponry fits in. It's not so much "reinventing the wheel" as "upgrading the square". Still, we're probably being miserable gits. Put it down to a chronic shortage of Thief 4. We love Crysis, honest.
And we're loving the idea of a threequel. What should Crytek change, and what should they leave the same? Here's the inevitable wishlist - agree with/disagree with/expand it as you please.
1. Leave the city behind
Crysis 2 found plenty of ways to make the idea of exploring post-invasion New York interesting again, taking us from the subway tunnels to the giddy, satellite-dished heights and back. Still, there's only so much dreary glass and concrete a man can stare at without caving his forehead against it in despair. Let's have some more of that tropical forest business, Crytek. It's good for the soul. Or how about the Grand Canyon? Or Mars?
2. Or at least, visit a different city
If a city it must be - and the boxart suggests we'll be visiting at least one - make it a new city. Take us to Dubai, or Tehran, or Cairo. Anywhere featuring buildings that either (a) aren't composed of cubes, or (b) weren't constructed in the past 200 years.
3. A grappling hook
This takes us into Batman territory, admittedly, but then again why not? A man in a Nanosuit's basically Batman without the cape, gun-phobia and billionaire alter ego. And Crysis is nothing if not a game in love with the vertical axis. Some sort of grapple line would allow easier interplay between elevations, for nippier 360 degree combat. You could balance it by making the grapple an equippable item, filling the secondary weapon slot.
4. Co-op with different Nanosuit types
Co-operative play was a definite hole in Crysis 2's arsenal, possibly because a battlefield featuring two Nanotroopers is a battlefield otherwise devoid of living things. They'll need to crank up the difficulty then. And dare we ask for a splash of asymmetrical character design? How about putting one player in charge of the first generation Nanosuit, with its stealth, power and agility buffs, and handing the other a wacky next gen model? Here are some possible new features: on-board MP3 player, elbow katanas, roller boots, thigh-mounted howitzer. Just don't build in anti-used-game software and for the love of Apollo, keep the disc.
5. No helicopter/rocket launcher takedowns
Crysis 2's intricate levels and AI gave it a pleasantly high level of "watercooler anecdote" spontaneity, but every so often, they'd smack you with a by-the-numbers helicopter battle. None of that, please.
6. Better pathfinding
You know the whole intricate level design thing we rambled on about, oh, two sentences ago? Well it had some less pleasant ramifications - to whit, soldiers who jog endlessly into walls because their pathfinding can't cope with the way you're rearranging the furniture. Silly soldiers! Perhaps they're just pretending they're lost in hopes you'll take pity and spare their lives. We didn't.