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Bow hunting season starts next week with debut of Crysis 3 multiplayer beta

Crysis 3

At this point most people’s exposure to Crysis 3 has been largely limited to high-resolution screenshots and periodic gameplay footage vignettes. A scant few have played it at promotional events or other similar gatherings, but come January 29 publisher EA and developer Crytek will offer gamers an opportunity to really take the game for a spin. That’s the day the Crysis 3 multiplayer beta debuts on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC platforms.

As with almost all beta tests, this iteration of Crysis 3 is a far cry from the full retail release that will eventually hit store shelves. Instead, the Crysis 3 beta offers a small glimpse of the game’s online combat. According to the official Crysis website, this includes two different gameplay modes and two of the game’s multiplayer maps. Have a look at EA’s official description:

Hunter Mode: This multiplayer game mode is all about survival of the fittest. There are two teams, initially comprised of two permanently cloaked “Hunters”, and up to fourteen CELL troopers awaiting extraction. Each trooper slain respawns on the Hunter team to prey on their former allies, building to a frenetic climax. If any of the troopers survive the round, the hunters lose. Whichever way you play, Hunter Mode delivers a heart-pounding test of strategy and survival.

Crash Site Mode: This multiplayer game mode is the ultimate King of the Hill type experience. An Alien dropship deploys a pod at random around the map. Players on each team must remain near the dropped pod in order to capture the zone and accumulate points. Each alien pod holds two shields players can utilize defensively as weapons. In addition, each Crash Site map will have a “Pinger”, a CEPH-constructed walking weapon of mass destruction. But be careful, other players can hijack the Pinger while you’re inside of it!

Beta Maps:

Museum – Roam the dark Ruins of Musem in downtown Manhattan and use the verticality to your advantage.
Airport – Close to the financial district, nature has taken over buildings and planes in this open fields area.

Additionally, the Crysis 3 beta marks the debut of a new feature dubbed the “New York Feed.” As the final word of its name suggests, the New York Feed is an in-game social networking element that “will showcase the accomplishments of gamers and their friends while offering dynamic challenges to complete.” We have yet to see this in action, but based on every description we can find it seems similar to the real-time scoreboard and challenge rankings that have become so popular in online-capable games of late, most notably the Xbox Live Arcade title Trials Evolution. In that game it’s a very addictive feature that constantly pits you against your friends in a quest for ever-higher scores and we hope that Crytek can duplicate this functionality.

Assuming you enjoy the multiplayer beta, you won’t have to wait very long to jump back into Crysis 3. The game is scheduled to make its retail debut on February 19, and those of you intrigued by the game can find full details on buying your own copy at the official Crysis 3 website.

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Earnest Cavalli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Earnest Cavalli has been writing about games, tech and digital culture since 2005 for outlets including Wired, Joystiq…
Crysis 3 gets a release date, promotional videos courtesy Albert Hughes
Crysis 3

Excited for Crysis 3? As of this morning, it looks like you'll only have to wait until February of 2013 to own the game. Specifically, EA claims that Crysis 3 will hit North American retail shelves on February 19, with European retailers following suit on February 21.
With the game's release now officially less than three months away, it is time for EA to start rolling out the PR machine to get prospective players properly hyped about this new shooter. To that end the company has commissioned a series of short films "inspired by the upcoming sandbox shooter, Crysis 3." Dubbed "The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3," the series will serve as something of an introduction to the fiction behind Crysis 3, as well as some of its new weapons and inventory items. Think of it as equal parts backstory and promotional effort. Of course, thanks to that latter aspect, the videos will also heavily feature imagery from the game designed to highlight the impressive aesthetics and level design created by Crysis developer Crytek and its cutting edge CryEngine technology.
None of that is all that noteworthy, but we're reporting on this story because it continues a trend of gaming publishers tapping successful Hollywood directors to promote their latest big-budget game releases. You may recall that immediately prior to the release of Halo 4 on November 6, Microsoft hired The Social Network director David Fincher to produce an ad spot for the game that, while far shorter than EA's Crysis-themed video series, served nearly the exact same purpose: It established a conflict, depicted beautiful environments and offered players something thrilling to gawk at. In the case of Crysis 3 however, EA has tapped Menace II Society writer/director Albert Hughes to helm the 7 Wonders of Crysis 3 video series. 
Does this mean we're going to see Crysis promos that double as ahead-of-their-time commentaries on the plight of young men in predominantly African American, lower-class communities? Probably not, but Hughes does seem quite excited about this opportunity. “When EA and Crytek approached me about being involved in creating The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3 video series, I liked the idea of creating emotional stories using only computer generated images,” Hughes stated. “The challenge of producing something intensely human without ever seeing a human on screen was incredibly compelling, and the technology of the CryEngine that Crytek developed enabled me to do that and venture into a completely unique medium of storytelling.”
For developer Crytek however, this series is all about showing off its shiny new game world. "The goal with The 7 Wonders of Crysis 3 video series is to reveal the incredible world we have been building for Crysis 3 and to let CryEngine take center stage to highlight the power of our state-of-the-art game engine,” said Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli. “We’ve worked closely with Albert on this project and think that the 7 Wonders series will show the leaps and bounds that Crysis 3 is making over its predecessors.”
Whether you're interested in the 7 Wonders of Crysis 3 series as a fan of Albert Hughes or as a fan of fancy rendering techniques and huge explosions, the first episode, entitled Hell of a Town, will debut on December 12, 2012. The video embedded below serves as a teaser.

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Pre-order Crysis 3, get a free copy of Crysis
Crysis 3

Crysis 3 is scheduled to debut on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PCs at some point in February of 2013. If you'd already pre-ordered the game you'd know that, but if you haven't EA has an enticing new offer for you: Those who pre-order Crysis 3 will receive a free downloadable copy of the original Crysis.
"The release of Crysis in 2007 was truly a watershed moment for first-person shooters and raised the bar on cutting-edge visuals and gameplay and we could not be more thrilled to include the original game as a pre-order bonus," said CEO Cevat Yerli of Crysis developer Crytek.
So how do you get in on this? Its very simple. Either visit Origin, EA's online game distribution service, or your local gaming retailer and pre-order Crysis 3. Obviously this must occur prior to the game's release, but those who do make it in prior to this deadline will also gain access to the Crysis 3 Hunter Edition, which includes a number of bonuses exclusive to those who pre-order the game. Instead of being an actual special edition release, the Hunter Edition basically just includes a bunch of early-game benefits like boosted experience point gain for the first five levels of the game's online multiplayer component, instant access to Crysis 3's signature Predator bow weapon (see above), and "the Hunter Nanosuit module, which adds additional power and functionality to [the protagonist's] super-suit."
For the most part the Hunter Edition is what we've come to expect from pre-order bonuses for big-budget games, so its nice to see EA truly invested in convincing prospective players to buy their game. While we spent some time with Crysis 3 at E3 2012, this unfinished version of the game did little to convince us that Crytek's latest might be anything more than a particularly gorgeous shooter with a few novel ideas. On the other hand, the original Crysis was quite good, and tossing both games together in a single package is a very canny move.
Alternately, this deal might indicate that EA doesn't have as much faith in the Crysis franchise as it does in, say, the Medal Of Honor franchise. While issuing free copies of Crysis via the Internet isn't a huge expense for EA, it is an effort the company doesn't make very often and it's interesting to see an offer like this pop up so many months prior to the release of Crysis 3. Perhaps the recent failure of Medal Of Honor: Warfighter convinced EA to pull out all the stops for this game, or maybe the company is hedging its bets against the possibility that maybe the general public is finally growing tired of wholly similar first-person shooter titles.
Whatever the reason, there's a free game on offer here. That's nothing to sneeze at, so feel free to rush out and pre-order Crysis 3 at your earliest convenience.

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God Of War: Ascension multiplayer beta arrives this winter
God Of War: Ascension multiplayer

In an announcement made this morning Sony revealed that the multiplayer beta for the upcoming God Of War: Ascension "is coming to PlayStation Plus this winter." That should be seen as good news, not only because it gives devout God Of War fans a chance to play the game early, but also because it indicates that the Ascension development team realizes that it has to get the game's online multiplayer component just right. After all, this is the God Of War series, Sony's flagship action franchise, and with Ascencion being the first God Of War title to feature online multiplayer action there's a lot of pressure to make sure that it performs flawlessly.
Say you don't happen to be subscribed to PlayStation Plus though. What then? Well, according to this post, the company is also making the beta available to those fans dedicated enough to slog through a web-based "quest" on the newly re-launched God Of War website. Dubbed "Rise Of The Warrior," the "game" tells a tale set within the God Of War universe that is driven by choices players make on the website as a collective. If a player's chosen army (you're asked to align yourself with either Spartan or Trojan forces) wins its members could receive a week of early beta access and a month-long PlayStation Plus subscription. Other items on offer through Rise Of The Warrior include "early in-game unlocks for God of War: Ascension multiplayer" as well as exclusive armor and weaponry.
While this is a boon for God Of War fans (and the new Zeus-centric trailer found below is quite pretty), it does lack one crucial feature: Any solid word on when exactly we might see this beta test. Both the post and Sony's PR blast simply state that the beta will open at some point this winter, but given that Ascension isn't scheduled to hit store shelves until March 2013 we're left with a huge window of time in which this beta could possibly go live. We'd hope that Sony would want to roll this thing out as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to give its developers ample time to react to bugs and glitches discovered in the beta, but for all we know this beta could be less of an attempt to test the game's multiplayer functionality and more a simple marketing gimmick, designed to increase hype among prospective buyers months before its expected retail debut.
Regardless of when Sony decides to officially commence the demo, we expect to hear more on this story shortly. As updates roll in, we'll keep you all informed, but if testing the multiplayer component of God Of War: Ascension sounds entertaining to you, this might be a good time to start exploring the new God Of War website. Even if you don't get into the beta, you'll still likely receive a solid primer on God Of War canon and we have to assume that there are at least a few of you who don't play these games exclusively for the over-the-top brutality.

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