Written by Twisted Ideas
Released late last year and one of the Game of the Year nominees Ubisoft’s Far Cry series returns. Far Cry has always raised the bar in terms of graphics, scope and the first person perspective. Far Cry 2 stood out by adding more realism than seen in shooters. Far Cry 3 scaled back realism for convenience but does that make it a better game?
Jason Brody, along with his brothers and friends, go on a skydiving trip and land on what they believed to be a deserted island. Soon after landing they are captured by pirates who are raiding the island for it’s treasures. The pirates are plan to hold Jason and crew for ransom and sell them to slavery. Jason manages to escape and his found by the island natives the Rakyat who give him the mark of the Tatau and will help him find his friends.
Far Cry 3 is a sandbox first person shooter with an emphasis on exploration. There is the main quest you can follow and as you explore the island more sidequests become available to you. There are optional missions dealing with the island natives, animal hunts, bounty hunts, challenges and supply drops that will give you money, experience and can unlock new abilities and gear. You can hack radio towers to reveal more of the map and capture outposts which replaces enemies with allies. Also on the island you can find relics, memory cards, and letters of the lost giving you experience.
On the island you can collect loot and money from enemies and chests to buy weapons, ammo and useful items from stores. Hacking radio towers can unlock new weapons and make some weapons free but you will still have to pay for customization. You can only hold so many items in your loot bag which caries crafting items too so loot should be sold to free up space more more loot or materials.
Smokey the Bear say “Only you can prevent forest fires”
Stealth is recommended whenever possible because it rewards you with more experience than shooting will. Using takedowns and silenced weapons will make your kills unnoticed and if you clear an outpost unnoticed you gain three times the experience. You can tag enemies with your camera to spot them through walls and throw rocks to lure them to away. Outposts may have caged animals. If you shoot their cages, you can free them and they will attack enemies while you remain undetected.
The mark of Tatau is a tribal tattoo that gives you more abilities. When you have gained enough experience you can learn a new ability adding a new mark on you arm. You can gather animal hides and plants to craft consumable items and gear that can increase the amount of money, ammo, etc you can hold. One of the most useful consumables is the medicine syringe which restores several bars of health quickly. If you don’t have any you can still heal yourself manually but it’s much slower.
There are several vehicles that makes travel much easier. You can travel by land and sea as well as in the air with the glider. Later on in the game you have access to a wing suit allowing you to glide after taking a jump off of a cliff. If you don’t deploy your parachute before landing you will crash and probably die.
Graphics and Sound
The game looks amazing, the water, plants and wildlife look great. For a game that is this big it is an accomplishment that should put Fallout to shame. There is emphasis on improving the first person perspective beyond shooting and reloading. Jason will inject himself with needles, manually tend to wounds on his arms and hands and beat out fire. During cutscenes are jarring because the camera keeps moving like a person’s head but you don’t see things like that in reality.
The sound is typical. You’ve heard gunfire and explosions hundreds of times from dozens of games before this. The voice acting stands out. There are several characters from different nationalities with believable accents and capable of delivering their lines with emotion.
I tried playing Far Cry 2 a while ago and hated it. I had no interest in Far Cry 3 until my friend recommended and lent it to me. I was pleasantly surprised to see that got rid some of the realism for convenience. The game autosaves progress, money is easy to come by, stealth is fun and practical and the game never frozen or lagged. The skills are a good addition because it motivates you to do more missions and play stealthier. The only things that bother me are that Jason catches on fire like nobody’s business and traveling is still a chore.
As you get deeper in the game you start to realize that the game has used all their tricks in the first 2 hours. There are no new mission types, things to capture or collect just more of the same. The difficulty plateaus in the same way. All the game manages to do is throw more slightly stronger enemies at you. When you gain the useful takedown abilities and raise your health and healing it evens out the difficulty.
Speaking of story, Jason’s adventure can get unbelievable beyond the one man army cliche. Numerous times Jason’s helpless and easy pickings but miraculously survives and nobody seems to know how to tie a rope properly. Also there are two ascetic choices unrelated to the game. First is the are images of guns mirrored like a Rorschach test to looks like moths and butterflies only seen in loading screens and the saving icon. It is also used to mirror the words in the loading screen and some other places. Second is the out of place Alice in Wonderland quotes that only loosely relate (if at all) to the plot. The plot itself is average but it’s the colorful cast, especially Vaas, that keeps you interested.
Far Cry 3 is a beautiful and fun single player shooter but it can get stale the longer you play. The islands are massive giving you a lot to do and discover. There is online multiplayer but, let’s face it, if you are going to invest in an online shooter then you’ll probably end up getting Call of Duty or Battlefield. If you are in the market for a FPS that’s immersive and gives you freedom to play at your own pace then look nowhere else.