There's a whole bunch of new Crysis 3 multiplayer on display here at Gamescom 2012, but what has caught our attention most is a new mode called Hunter. Why is this mode interesting? Well, the reason is simple: you can win the match without firing a single bullet.
Odd, right? That's the thing about first-person shooters. You usually win by, you know, shooting at stuff. And that's something you can certainly do in Hunter mode, but in our experience playing it, you can just as easily find success by taking your finger off the trigger and avoiding the action.
See, Hunter is a test of survival. The match begins with two players in ultrapowerful nanosuits who get to enjoy both (A) the benefits of an invisibility cloak and (B) sweet bows and arrows. The rest of the 12- or 16-person roster (depending on whether you're playing on console or PC, respectively) is rounded out by guys called troopers, who are basically run-of-the-mill soldiers with decently powerful gear, but nothing on the order of what the hunters have.
As the two-minute rounds progress--matches last five rounds--any trooper killed by a hunter respawns and becomes a hunter. And, as you would expect, the guy who survives the longest tends to become the victor of the match.
The interesting bit about all this is the way playing as the plain ol' trooper tends to make you avoid conflict at all costs. You're constantly trying to get to where the hunters aren't, using the screams and calls for help from fellow troopers as a road map revealing places best left alone. And because your enemies are cloaked, there's this tension when you see things moving out of the corner of your eye, be they falling leaves or rippling water.
The whole thing feels a bit like the Predator movies. A group of tough guys going at it against much more powerful, much more invisible foes stalking them like prey. It helps that the Manhattan of Crysis 3 shows the city in a state of overgrowth, with vegetation taking over the city like a spiteful jungle invading the city.
All in all, we rather liked this new Hunter mode. The foundation is admittedly the same as various "infection" modes done in zombie games before, but it felt like a nice change of pace for Crysis 3. The tension and conflict avoidance let you appreciate the game's environment that much more, taking in the world around you as you desperately try to avoid taking an arrow to the head.