Published on March 1st, 2013 | by Wez Evans0
REVIEW: Far Cry 3
Summary: Unpredictable and exciting with many, MANY varied enemy encounters.
If there’s one thing Ubisoft does well it’s provide the player with an enormous sandbox where they can kill hapless goons from stealth with gory takedowns in between collecting items from boxes scattered around the map and scaling large structures to get a better view of the land. It works in Assassin’s creed and it work’s damned well in Far Cry 3.
Despite the only real continuity from previous Far Cry instalments being the fact that it’s an FPS set on a tropical island, the story here is one of the game’s main selling points. The central voice actors are solid across the board, antagonist Vaas in particular stands out as memorably psychotic without going over the top with the maniacal laughs. You play Jason Brody, an island-hopping twenty-something who has been captured by slavers along with his friends. Assuming control in a bamboo cage with your ex-military brother your first mission is to escape the encampment. It’s a great opportunity to showcase elder Brody as the super soldier in the family as Jason suppresses squeamish freak outs while his brother buries a knife into the neck of one of your captors. Jason’s everyman character allows the player to see this kind of carnage through his eyes as an outsider; from your first panic induced murder to the first time you hunt, kill, and skin a wild pig (which earns a disgusted groan from Jason every single time). Once you’ve escaped the camp the game starts to unfold and pull you in with a story about rescuing your friends and an enticing need to explore the beautiful and deadly paradise of Rook Island.
And good lord is it beautiful. The lighting and lush forests are pretty enough by themselves but poking around rewards you with ancient tombs along with crashed Japanese fighter planes and moss coated anti-air turrets. The near transparent waters are teaming with small fish and plant life but they’re still deep and dark enough to house gigantic sharks and crocodiles. One of the later side missions tasks you with hunting a massive bull shark. Sniper rifle in hand I managed to take him out from atop some rocks jutting out on the shore. Once his little shark brains were leaking into the Big Blue Wet Thing through a fresh bullet hole I watched the lifeless monster sink to the ocean floor with satisfaction, only to realise I had to swim down there and claim my prize. Down where it was dark, down where there were sharks aplenty, and down where my sniper rifle was absolutely no use. It’s very easy to get sucked into the world of Rook Island and feel like it’s some sort of extreme holiday that’s gone a bit Die Hard.
Far Cry’s combat is incredibly satisfying. Minor weapon tweaks like different sights, silencers, and custom paint jobs allow for personalisation while the perk tree allows you to level up how you want, although you will most likely have everything unlocked by the time the credits roll. The stealth kill perks are by far the most impressive, eventually allowing you to stab an enemy in the back and grab his weapon or knife to dispatch more enemies while using your victim as a meat shield. Additionally, if you’re feeling dramatic you can pull the pin on his grenade and kick him into the fray for a true action hero explosion. There’s a nice blend of all out action and sneaking around, which thankfully includes indicators on your HUD letting you know how visible you are. Both methods can be taught via optional challenge stones scattered around the island. These Trials of The Rakyat contain isolated scenarios where you’re given a weapon and restriction to the manner in which to kill every living thing in sight. Your score is rewarded with either cash or XP and your name is added to a leaderboard of your friends. Whoever’s name is on top gets written on the in-game stone for anyone in your friends list. It’s only a minor addition to the challenges but it’s a nice touch.
The competitive multiplayer here isn’t much to write home about. There’s a token levelling system and Ubisoft’s take on the kill-cam is interesting, showing the exact position of your killer in relation to your death, but it still ends up feeling like a weaker Call of Duty in some sort of Uncharted setting. The level builder is surprisingly large and easy to use but the main draw here is the co-op. There isn’t much to the story but being able to run through some linear action missions with friends adds a few extra hours of life to Far Cry 3.
There’s an excellent single player experience here with some decent co-op to keep you and a buddy interested if that’s your thing. Completionists will have some serious fun collecting the collectables and challenging the challenges as can be expected of an Ubisoft product. And while it’s a shame the multiplayer is so lacking it certainly doesn’t take anything away from the overall package, although it would have been nice to see the time and effort put into making co-op a little stronger instead.