Far Cry 3
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal/ Published by: Ubisoft
Available on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Islands can be dangerous places. While I’m not saying that they always are, as they’re usually hotspots for tourism with crystal-clear beaches and unforgettable exotic nights, they sometimes, on occasion, can be risky. In addition to the always present danger of wildlife you might have never encountered before, there can be some really fishy stuff going on behind the scenes, stuff that your eyes shouldn’t ever see. Stuff that can get you killed.
That’s what Ubisoft Montreal’s Far Cry 3 taught me.
All joking aside, this latest adventure brings us back to a large, sprawling exotic location, full of danger and surprises at every turn. Is this adventure one that you should take, or should you spend your vacation in a much safer place?
Far Cry 3 tells the story of Jason Brody, a young man with an addiction to adrenaline. Searching for extreme thrills all over the world with his two brothers and a couple of friends, the group skydives blind into an island, only to fall prisoner to an overtly aggressive and sadistic warlord named Vaas. When the chance to escape presents itself, Jason and his older brother Grant make a run for the jungle, but only Jason makes it out of the prisoner camp alive. If Brody wants to save the rest of his crew, he’ll have to man up, master nature and its hidden dangers, and take care of the guy who’s made him suffer.
This game starts out with a bang, and maintains the high-octane energy level throughout the lengthy campaign. Simply put, it’s one of the most well written narratives of this year. Jason’s journey is full of non-stop action, and it’s one that’s so well paced and explosive that it’s almost a perfect fit for the big screen. Although at times it may become a bit silly, the writing and crazy scenarios players face throughout the game keep the whole campaign going at a steady, enjoyable pace.
The awesome visuals and fantastic audio also do their part in creating a fully immersive experience. The island, large and full of alternative paths, hidden caverns and secret treasures, is expertly detailed and beautifully realistic. The foliage, from individual blades of grass to trees, is gorgeous and lends to the overall authenticity. The island is also teeming with wildlife, and each animal is faithfully animated. Overall, the island feels alive and is great a character as any found within the game.
The same can be said about the excellent audio. The island sounds very much like an island, with leaves flapping in the wind, the growls of predators here and there, and more. Weapons also sound like they pack a punch, as they sound heavy and powerful. The music is a excellent blend of thumping tribal choruses and Dubstep. And the voice-acting is absolutely phenomenal. Each character is handled with tender love and care, and the actors really capture the essence of their characters. Micheal Mando, the voice of warlord Vaas, is especially the standout role here as he beautifully brings the insane pirate to life.
When it comes to the gameplay, Far Cry 3 plays very similarly to its predecessor. Players must still travel from location to location to complete missions for a number of individuals, drive vehicles, capture safe houses for fast travel, buy weapons through vendors and more. The controls are still very solid, and getting around is as easy as ever, be it on foot, automobile, or hang-glider. Gunplay is expertly handled, and defending yourself from all of your attackers is as simple as aiming and pulling the trigger. Guns no longer jam as they did in Far Cry 2 too, so players don’t have to worry about switching guns or repairing them mid-battle anymore.
There’s also a wealth of new gameplay features in Far Cry 3 that change up the experience quite a bit.
Among the new features is the addition of a skill tree, which is tied to Jason Brody’s Tatau (tattoo). By gaining experience points and levels through the completion of missions, killing enemies, and other secondary objectives, players can assign points into three different skill trees that offer a lot of cool improvements, like a variety of takedowns, improvements to weapon handling and efficiency, health bonuses and more. Once upgraded, these skills make Brody a beast in battle, and really help change the tide in tough encounters or battles.
Another new addition is the ability to hunt game and gather plantlife. Not only is there a wide range of animals to hunt, their skins are also quite useful as they can net additional funds by being sold, or can be used to craft a number of useful items, such as additional ammo bags, weapon holsters, syringe kits, and more. When it comes to plants, players can learn a variety of recipes that temporarily add stat boosts, grant additional abilities or heal the player throughout the campaign, and to use them, syringes must be crafted using specific plants. These new mechanics actually work great and are quite easy to use, and also force the player to explore the surroundings if they want to improve their character.
While the main campaign is nearly perfect, I did have some issues.
One of my biggest gripes was with falling. If players fall for a greater distance than a normal jump, then they’ll take varying degrees of damage. While I understand that falling from a cliff and hitting the floor should automatically kill you, I’ve died quite a few times just because I hopped down the side of a hill, which was a small fall of about 6 feet. It was pretty ridiculous at times when I tried to sneak into safe houses, only to fall to my death.
Another issue I had was with looting enemies and skinning animals. To loot or skin, players will have to find a nice sweet spot on the fallen foe to initiate the action. Sometimes it’s quite hard to find this spot, or in many occasions shares the same input as picking up the foes weapon. I would have preferred a different input for searching/skinning, as it could have made things much easier.
Far Cry 3 also brings co-op to the mix, presenting unique missions and maps to a group of up to four players. Here, players must team up in order to get revenge on a captain who’s screwed them on some cash. Missions in co-op mode are much more linear in comparison to the single-player campaign – as they are mostly of the “get from point A to point B mission types” and offer no open-world exploration – but they’re still quite fun, and feature cutscenes in-between missions that drive the narrative forward in the modes 6 chapters.
Players can either choose from pre-made loadouts in co-op, or can make their own loadout by choosing weapons that are unlocked as you gain experience. Also unique to co-op are Battle Cry’s, abilities that grant stat boosts to all of your teammates when used.
Co-op is pretty enjoyable, but due to chapters just being a string of objectives instead of offering an open-world experience, it tends to get a repetitive quickly. Still, it’s a great option if you want to have some good times with your friends.
Far Cry 3 also features competitive multiplayer, which brings typical gameplay modes to the table, like Domination and Team Deathmatch, and new ones like Transmission, which features players capturing transmitters and holding them for points, and Firestorm, which has players burning locations to win. Multiplayer plays out pretty much as you’d expect it, and it’s a good diversion from the main campaign and co-op. Just don’t expect it to be terribly deep.
Overall, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 is an excellent open-world shooter that’ll have players talking for a good, long time. With excellent gunplay, a nice variety of mission-types, great story and production values, and good multiplayer options, you really can’t afford to miss this one.
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