Published on January 16th, 2013 | by Hubert McReed0
Far Cry 3 – Review
Summary: The perfect getaway! Far Cry 3 is an benchmark for open-world shooters
Nothing beats the smug satisfaction of holidaying on a tropical island during the winter months. Lying on the beach, baking under the sun while you know somewhere your co-worker is shivering their morning commutes away on public transport. We suppose that’s the silver lining to Far Cry 3.
Originally set to launch at the end of the summer, Ubisoft’s decision to delay this summery shooter to the winter was a questionable one but sitting down with the finished product, we can’t think of a better getaway as the cold sets in.
You play Jason Brody, a young naive holiday goer who’s landed himself in dangerous waters. His girlfriend, brother, and friends kidnapped, Brody escapes the clutches of the unhinged Vaas Montenegro and is freed into jungle.
Brody’s a much more likable character than he lets on. Having little to no experience in surviving jungle life, you’re both taught the basics but it’s not until you’re unleashed on the Rook Islands where the hand-holding stops and the growing really starts.
Much more an RPG than a shooter, most of your time will be spent running, driving, and swimming around the digital paradise and soaking in as much information rather than gunning down the locals.
It’s a jungle out there and though guns aren’t a struggle to find, you’re encouraged to be resourceful. Skinning the wildlife will allow you to expand your inventories and combining flowers you pick can be crafted into health items with temporary perks.
An XP system nets you points for actions and encourages you to veer off into the game’s side quests. A three-tiered skill tree allows you to nurture Jason’s abilities as you wish with the result being tattooed onto his body for all to see.
Scale radio towers and you’ll locate all the surrounding landmarks much like Assassin’s Creed. You’ll work hard to liberate enemy outposts, although they’re a damn sight more obtainable than they were in Far Cry 2. Spying using the camera will highlight enemies as well as animals you can potentially free to do all the hard work for you. Once cleared out, the outpost becomes a safe haven protected by a like-minded militia where guns are sold, fast travel is available and side quests are located on the noticeboard. Sound familiar? Far Cry 2 made all these activities like this risky with jamming guns and that constant malaria pill fix that was hanging over your head.
Fast travel has been better implemented but compared to the African landscape, Rook Island begs to be explored whether its behind the wheel of a car, on the back of a jet ski or from the handlebar of a hang-glider.
It should please those who endured the African sequel that almost every criticism has been addressed here. Rather than pit you in the middle of a war, Jason Brody’s holiday-turned-revenge trip takes you to some rather dark places as you begin to lock and load your way into the story missions and become more accustomed to his violent actions.
Vaas isn’t the only peculiar chap on the island either. Along the game’s generous 30-hour campaign Jason comes into contact with a host of deranged islanders.
Slave trafficker Hoyt Volker who rules over the southern island delivers a performance that’ll make you’ll want to applaud and the rants of misleading Buck are worth listening to.
The island itself is brimming with detail but it’s by no means avoided the usual pitfalls of ambitious open-worlds. Small immersion-breaking bugs and glitches should be taken for what they are and more than often the results are funnier than they are aggravating.
Far Cry 3’s biggest strength is its sense of freedom and unpredictability. Shootouts to secure Outposts can take a drastic turn when your gunfire draws the attention of the local wildlife. You can approach every encounter by driving in and blowing everything to kingdom come or sneaking in, identifying your prey and picking them off one by one without even pulling a trigger once. It’s so successful in this that it’s actually what makes the co-op and multiplayer feel so flat.
Co-op takes the form of a four-player prequel in which four vexed criminals visit Rook Island shortly before Brody’s arrival to seek revenge on a seedy cruise ship captain. There’s some fun to be had here if you’ve got the friends to see it through all six chapters but that free-form nature is swapped out for unrelenting shootouts. Similarly, the multiplayer feels a little tacked on. Sure it’s got levelling, unlocks, and even a map editor but as competent as it is, Black Ops 2 or Halo 4 won’t exactly be quaking in their futuristic boots
But we’re hardly going to mark Far Cry 3 down for ticking boxes. The single-player campaign alone is one of the best we’ve played all year, patching up the weaknesses that crippled its predecessor and telling its story profoundly. To put it simply, Far Cry 3 is one of the best examples of an open-world shooter done well that this generation has to offer.
It may have fallen off your radar with the slew of shooters that have filled the void since its delay but if you only play one shooter this winter, kick back and spend some time on Rook island. Be thrilled, be adventurous, be unsettled, be scared, but most importantly of all be entertained (and perhaps a little insane, too).