Far Cry 3 literally throws you straight into the action, the storyline is simple and it’s all about the gaming experience. But that’s not to say that there is no storyline, because there is and its one hell of a rollercoaster journey. You and your close friends go on a holiday of a lifetime on a paradise island, it’s a holiday of your dreams or so it seemed as it quickly becomes a holiday in hell! Pirates on the island (not the Arrrrgh types, the more modern-day versions) see the group of friends and see them as a brutal, yet profitable business opportunity, led by who is possibly the best video game villain in recent memory; ‘Vaas’. You are ‘Jason Brody’ and he is stuck on an island full of the world’s most deadly predators, both man and beast, Jason must transform from your run of the mill rich boy, to the meanest, most twisted predator on the island and rescue his friends from this living nightmare!
‘Far Cry 3’ is full of life in more ways than one, there is always something happening on the Island, whether you can see it or not. The visuals are bright, beautiful and scream out to you “come and explore me”. There have been a lot of stunning looking games this year; in fact we’ve been spoilt with choice. ‘Far Cry 3’ may not be to the dizzy heights of ‘Halo 4’ or ‘Mass Effect 3’, but in all fairness, it’s not that far behind. ‘Far Cry 3’ comes from the same Ubisoft studio that brought us the awesome ‘Assassins Creed 3’ and there are times that I can see some similarities, but I’ll go into them later. Though I’d have to say that ‘Far Cry 3’ is arguably their best looking game yet and ‘Assassins Creed 3’ was dam impressive, especially with its worldly environments, just one of the similarities that this year’s Ubisoft’s big guns share.
The character animations won’t blow you away, some of the lesser known characters look like they’re been competing with Simon Cowell with a Botox war, but the more known characters such as ‘Vaas’, your friends and crazy doctor that you will meet soon into the campaign, act and move with almost as much character as the Island itself; explosions are also a treat for your eyes and you will see plenty on them during the campaign. All in all ‘Far Cry 3’ is a stunning looking game, it’s arguably the biggest, brightest and baddest island that you are going to come across in the video gaming world, it even gives Dead Islands in-game location ‘Banoi’ a run for its money and then some. Just don’t spend too much time enjoying the scenery, because you are likely to be mauled by Tigers!
As you already know, ‘Far Cry 3’ is a First Person Shooter, but it brings so much more to the table. It plays in principle like many other games out there, but with its expansive open world and character and weapon upgrades, it has a huge amount of possibilities. Let me start with the game’s biggest star, the island. The open world island is huge and literally full with life, life that will want to run away from you, shoot you and even eat you. The island is full of deadly predators, but to survive Far Cry 3’s campaign, you must become the apex predator (not Randy Orton, he wouldn’t last long in Far Cry 3). Other deadly animals that will want to chase and kill you, but your biggest foe will be with your fellow human. You will come across them a lot on the island, sometime’s randomly, but in most cases when you come across an ‘Outpost’. An Outpost is basically a den full of bad goes ready to shoot you on sight, but you can take over these Outpost’s for yourself and this will be key during your campaign. You can approach taking over an Outpost in a number of ways, one going all Rambo on their candy ass (go on, click on Rambo!), which unless you take them all out very quickly, back up will be called and things can get very ‘Lionel Messi’ from there on out. For me the best and most effective approach was with good old stealth tactics, this will result in surprise one by one kills, no alerts being made and no wasting precious ammo and health. One very handy tool for using stealth tactics will be with your in-game digital camera, with your camera you can zoom in and out, getting a good scope of the Outpost, once an enemy is spotted with your camera, they will then be tagged (even when you come out of the camera view). Then by watching their movement patterns, creep up to your unsuspecting victim and take them down with a stealth melee kill and then move on to your next victim until everyone is dead and the Outpost is yours. Once you have claim the Outpost, your allies will move into the location and it will forever remain your safe haven.
Far Cry 3 has many great moments, but non from a personal stand point of which I am about to share with you. During my one of many times scoping an Outpost, I was taking my time, locating every enemy and tagging them with my camera. I wanted to make sure that my area was covered and I would move in better than Solid Snake and Sam Fisher combined, this was to be my perfect Outpost execution that was until some uninvited guests gate crashed my party! I was just about to execute my first victim; the Sniper (which is a handy tip, by the way) and then I heard a random scream and gunshots being fired into the air. So I quickly looked around to see what was causing all this commotion and then to my surprised I saw an enemy being mauled by two Tigers (one being a rare white Tiger), they then charged into the camp killing everyone and everything that moved, while I stood idly by in safe high ground as they did the job for me and so much better by the way. Once everyone was mauled to death by the Tigers I was congratulated on taking over the Outpost! I’d being lying if I said that I didn’t feel like a spare part in what was one of the greatest, random gaming moment that I have seen in a long time.
Another very vital tool in surviving the campaign, other than random Tiger attacks and claiming Outposts will be activating communication towers. This works in a very similar way to how the ‘Viewpoints’ work in ‘Assassins Creed’. Activating a communication tower will unlock visible areas on your map, which will then show you any extra side quests and other areas that maybe within its radius. These towers will also unlock extra items that can be purchased within the in-game shop, such as weapons and a load more other goodies. So if you see a communication tower, activate it before you get side tracked as it will make things a little more easy. As I just mentioned, Far Cry 3 features its own little in-game shop. From this shop and with activated communication towers, using in-game currency, you can purchase weapons, attachments, ammo, medicines, boosts and more. Various vending machines will also be located through the game, mainly with Outposts that you have acquired; here you can purchase new weapons, extra ammo and so forth.
Having the ability to upgrade your weapons is not the only enchantments that can be made within Far Cry 3, using a leveling up XP system; you can also upgrade your characters skills and abilities. Every time you kill an enemy, hunt down and kill a creature or of course by completing main and side quests, you will earn additional XP, which will then be converted into ‘Skill Points’. These Skill Points can then be spent on upgrading elements such as health, damage given and taken, stamina, firearm and melee skills and so on. This is not only a method to help improve your character and make him even more bad ass as the game progresses, but it makes Far Cry 3 just that little more addictive, especially when you are so close to leveling up and you have that urge to play “just five more minutes”. Hunting and killing animals also has more purpose then helping you to level up, each time you kill and skin an animal, you can use what you take to craft additional tools, such as pouches for ammo, cash, weapons and health, again very similar to how hunting and crafting works in ‘Assassins Creed 3’. You will also be required to harvest certain plants; these can then be crafted into extra health and various performance enhancers, which will be vital as you approach each mission and quest. I know it’s an old cliché, but there really is so many possibilities within Far Cry 3 and so many surprises along the way, so many in fact that I could write about them seemingly forever. I’ve told you many of the basics of Far Cry 3’s immersive gameplay, the rest I’ll leave for you to enjoy and discover for yourself.
Even though Far Cry has a strong story, it’s not revealed like most games at the beginning, plots of the story are slowly unravelled as you progress through the campaign as your thrown straight into the action from the offset and it’s certainly one of those games that lets the action do all the talking. The lead character Jason is strong and you feel the strong urge to help him survive his torment, save his friends and seek revenge for the crimes against him and his group. But even though Jason is the lead playable character, you may have already know that he’s not necessarily the strongest character (other than the island itself), the super villain of the game ‘Vaas’ completely steals the show. An actor named Robert Crooks superbly voices Vaas and if there was a best ‘Voice Actor’ award to give out from the ‘Golden Joystick Awards’, then he would win my vote for best Voice Actor of the year hands down.
As I’ve mentioned, the island within Far Cry 3 is full of life and character and the sound effects are no exception. The voice acting as a whole is very well done and very believable from the games lead characters, though some of the support characters sound like they’re reading very poorly from an ‘Auto Queue’ after a half a bottle of ‘Jack Daniels’, but that’s a very minor gripe and doesn’t affect the highly enjoyable experience that is Far Cry 3’. The weapons and explosions have the generic sounds that you would come to expect (which is not a pop by the way) and they do their jobs suitably.
But again I come back to the island, the island is buzzing with life and some life that wants to end yours. What I mean by this are the other predators on the island like the tigers or komodo dragons. You could be minding your own business scoping out an Outpost and then suddenly you will hear the sound of soft footprints or even a hiss coming from around you, but you can’t pinpoint where this sound is coming from. Suddenly you are on high alert like a meerkat and the paranoia starts to kick in, so you run for high ground as fast as you can. Then the noise will stop, you have one more quick scope of your surroundings to see if any other predators are about. They seemed to have disappeared, so you come back down to the ground to continue scoping the Outpost before you were so rudely interrupted and then BAM!!! You’re being mauled by a Tiger! That’s how things work in Far Cry 3, keep your guard down for one second and you’re a gonna get it!. The story and voice acting may be very well done in Far Cry 3, but for me it’s the sounds of the tropical island that once again really steals the show.
The campaign of Far Cry 3 will perhaps last you around eight to ten hours depending on your chosen difficulty setting and how fast you like to fly through games. For me, I always like to take my time with games and explore them as often as I can, which makes Far Cry 3 ideal for that purpose. But then during your campaign there are tons of extra activities to get involved in, such as hunting down a wanted individual with certain pre-set conditions, ‘Trials of Raktat’ which will have you complete an objective whilst trying to beat a friends time and score, missions that involve you to transfer meds from one location to another, side quest missions that might involve you completing an objective for a fellow villager and there are also tons of hidden items and relics to find too. There are literally loads for you to do in ‘Far Cry 3’ and that’s just within the single player campaign.
Then of course you have your more traditional online match types, the extra co-op campaign and the return of the hugely popular level editor, which is now more in-depth than ever and if your create a great level that becomes popular with other fellow Far Cry 3 gamers online, then you may even get to see your level alongside the developers! How cool would that be? With all these possibilities bundled up into one awesome packaged game, I can see Far Cry 3 staying in many fellow gamers collection for a long time to come.
I have to admit, I liked the original Far Cry back in 2004 (really can’t believe it’s been that long), but I could never really get on with Far Cry 2 for whatever reason, it just never clicked with me personally. Then when I saw the footage at E3 I was taken aback of how impressive Far Cry 3 looked, the co-op features certainly intrigued me more than anything at the time, but with so many other amazing games being announced, it fell a little off my radar. Then came the busy release schedule as we build up to Christmas, which made it tough for many games to stand out from the crowd, but the more I began to see and read of Far Cry 3, it slowly started crawling its way back onto my radar. The super villain ‘Vaas’ caught my eye straight away as he was a very interesting character, but I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own. More was being spoken about the Island; all the possibilities and exploring, the extra co-op campaign and the level editor really got me reeled in on the hook.
Then due to me trading in an excessive amount of my games so that I could keep up with the busy release schedule, I just so happened to have £40 remaining as store credit and then with it burning a hole in my pocket, I saw Far Cry 3 staring right at me on the shelf, I swear I could hear the voice of Vaas luring me in. So I took the plunge and made the purchase and I’m so glad that I did. For people that automatically knock the First Person genre without a second thought, think twice before you knock Far Cry 3, because there is so much to this game then being a FPS, in fact there’s so much to it than most games in any genre. It was a clever move by Ubisoft to delay the release of Far Cry 3 away from the likes of Halo 4 and Black Ops 2, because it may have unfairly got lost in a very competitive crowd. But Far Cry 3 more than holds its own and stands way above from the crowd, Far Cry 3 is an amazing and immersive experience that you wont forget in a hurry and is a more than worthy bow out for 2012.