Far Cry 3 review

Fall to Insanity   

By Adam Sturrock

You shuffle your way towards a smoking outpost, bow in hand; you take out a patrolling sniper that was spying the opposite direction. Using your binoculars you spot two other guards and cleverly you throw a stone to distract them. You crawl on foot surveying the movements of the enemies. Suddenly you hear the roar of an engine coming from the east. Not now! Hiding in the foliage you watch as the truck enters the camp but instead of more reinforcements you see the local warriors (Aminaki soldiers) jump out and open fire. You arrive to pick off the scraps. The base is yours.

As someone who despises what many people call “linear games” (Moving from point A to point B without a chance of deviation from the chosen path) with a passion, playing Far Cry 3 allows me to play the way I want. Do you want to go in like a ninja and stab them up close? Or Shoot them from afar with a sniper rifle? Screw that, just shoot the animal cage nearby and let the bear do the work for you.

 The shackles have mostly come off in what is a beautiful open world game. For those unfamiliar with the Far Cry series, it first started off under the tenure of Crytek who then passed the game onto Ubisoft to carry the game forward. And what a good job they have done!

The game arcs around the lives of a group of spoilt, rich, Californians who (quite literally) landed into the drug and sex slave trade on Rook Island after a sky-dive went wrong. You play as Jason Brody, someone who on paper you would despise but actually warms to you throughout the game as you watch him turn from a gun shy novice to a leader of many amid controversial warriors. Split off from the rest of the crew, and on a mission to avenge his murdered brother, Jason sets out to find and kill the ruthless gangs who enslaved his friends and oppressed the Island with the help of Citra and her warrior army.  

Sounds cliché right? It is the characters that fill the game that make it awesome rather than the storyline. This is not a blind, point and shoot game that many people had expected this to be. Vaas, one of the many antagonists in FC3 is probably hands down, one of the best antagonists I’ve seen in a video game. Yeah, that good. Vaas at the beginning of the game, sadistically shoots at Jason with his M16 while screaming, “Run Forrest, run!”.

The actor who plays him, Canadian, Michael Mando,  fantastically embodies a persona that really makes you dare to wonder what he will do next, his mind is on the brink of insanity and it starts to rub off on Jason as he gleefully stabs a foot-soldier with a tribal knife. Ubisoft Montreal doesn’t take this game seriously and are happy to mess around and keep things fresh for the gamer’s entertainment. A memorable mission that really stood out for me was you (Brody) were asked to annoy a drug lord enough to be lured back to mainland Rook Island. How would you do that? By burning down his weed with a flamethrower and a dub-fueled soundtrack. Awesome.

 You would wonder why I haven’t given this game the perfect 10 score then?

It is because Far Cry is somewhat technically flawed. Even though on the console it is really pretty, the strain of running the game leads to constant texture pop ins and mild glitches. None of them game breakers, but they do hinder Far Cry 3 from greatness. Also, I would like to point out a little niggle of mine that may not put others off but which I find annoying. The saving system is slightly flawed. You can’t save anywhere and respawn at that exact spot, it will only drop you off in a nearby safe-house or a nearby radio tower if you so happen to die. So if you spot a cave that you want to explore later and save so you would return where you left off, don’t be surprised when you spawn inside an abandoned shack instead, a good five minute drive away.

Even though I have previously praised the protagonists for being so well thought out; I have saved exception for the Californian kidnapped supporting cast. To me, I felt that they filled a very cliché role in the story and didn’t really add much to the narrative other than to offer a contrast to the main character. One of the people you have to collect is a typical stoner for example, and at no point did I feel after saving him that I liked him or understood why he was placed in the game. What purpose did he serve?

The console versions inevitably won’t look as good as it will on the PC, but the graphics are still amazing on any platform. The AI also are at times something to admire. What they lack in intelligence, they make up in unfiltered aggression and if they spot you, they will often pursue you far away from their base. Animals are also a very important mechanic in the game as they form a part in the crafting system. Wherever you roam, you may see such things like Komodo Dragons slithering through the jungle hunting nearby goats or in other cases, you or an unfortunate nearby local. If you kill an animal, you can skin, sell or craft it into an expanded gun holster or a new wallet or other such useful items.

To progress through the game, you will have to deactivate radio towers nearby so you can clear the surrounding area to be seen on your map (kind of like the Assassins Creed Synchronization perches). Often this offers a challenge to do so; maybe you have to get past a nearby guarding tiger or the base of the tower is rusted and will make you more likely to fall off. Once the tower is deactivated, it allows you to buy more of the large array of weapons available for free (my favorite by far is the recurve crossbow). The multiplayer and Co-op modes aren’t stand alone gems but they are solid, if not, unoriginal and I still haven’t even mentioned the detailed level creator, the loot and collectables and the solid driving but I don’t need to. If you haven’t noticed already, I am in love with this game, worts and all; I beg you to buy Far Cry 3. This game offers something for everyone and without a doubt, I will be playing this game for a long time.

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