Real talk: Do you want to know the definition of insanity? Google Far Cry 3 reviews and see how many mention insanity in the opening statement. Yes, I am aware I just did as well. Now, do you want to know the definition of a good fucking game? Well, we’ve had quite a few this year but if you were looking for an awesome first person sandbox romp, your options have been quite limited this year. Fortunately, Ubisoft came through with the final AAA title of the year, Far Cry 3 and it is easy to say right off the bat that this game is quite different than it’s predecessors. Fortunately, Gamersgate let us take their system out for a spin to get a chance to play the game and fortunately, we didn’t have to deal with Steam’s DRM along with Ubisoft’s one-time online DRM. In other words, I liked this option, it allowed me to play such a massive game without jumping through hoops if I wanted to play offline or on my laptop.
Far Cry 3 is absolutely a cerebral and gritty game. You play the role of Jason Brody, a generic late 20s/early 30s bro-dude that finds his friends and brothers kidnapped after an ill advised skydive onto the Rook Islands. This lovely and scenic island is the home to pirates, drug traffickers, cannibal-rapists and a handful of indigenous natives that are fighting to survive against the unsavory elements of the island and it’s even deadlier fauna. After escaping the deadly and unpredictable pirate-lord Vaas, Jason suffers a tragedy that slowly changes him from a whiny, sniveling punk into a person that is as twisted as the denizens of the island. As the insanity that is the Rook Islands slowly taints Jason’s mind, he must work together with a cast of unpredictable, unreliable and untrustworthy characters that will do what they can to use Jason’s hatred for Vaas to achieve their own personal agendas while furthering Jason’s own.
Jason is quite unlikable, he isn’t what is expected as the typical protagonist in a first person action adventure. I like to think that he was created to be rather unlikable as a majority of things he does within the first half of the game seem to be very reluctant. Jason Brody isn’t a killer and as his reaction shows at the beginning of the game, he isn’t prepared to take a life under any means. As the player, it almost feels like you control the darker aspects of Jason’s personality and as the game progresses, his overall madness continues to the point where he becomes a willing partner in the death and destruction that you cause. This is huge, because Far Cry 3 is more than “go to point A and shoot X guys, then drive to point B and deliver an item”. Instead you will hunt to survive, forage for supplies, infiltrate and capture enemy camps and do things like occasionally hang glide across the island. There is quite a bit to do on the island, classifying the game as a “Shooter” almost seems to be a crime.
Combat in Far Cry 3 is generally reserved for ranged weapons but with a large collection of weapons available, I found myself mixing it up often and getting creative with my killing tools. I almost always carried around the bow, a small firearm and a rifle as it is much easier to deal with enemies at a distance but if things started to get rough, I had options to fall back on. Far Cry 3 also takes notes from fellow Ubisoft title Assassin’s Creed with a bunch of stealth kills and multi-takedowns that would make an assassin blush. Killing quickly and with creativity is awarded in this game but also gets super interesting when you can do things like eliminate an entire pirate camp without ever making a single noise. While a majority of combat was with human enemies, there is always the threat of the wildlife on the island. Once, running along the shore of a river or wading through the shallows is an easy way to get snatched up by an alligator and instantly be thrown in a fight for survival. Oceans are even more dangerous with opportunistic sharks always looking to get a jump on you. To survive on the Rook Islands, you have to always be watching your back or you will find a bullet in it or a bite taken out of it.
I hate to say this at risk of sounding overly cliche but Far Cry 3 is something special indeed. At the time of this review, it has only been out for a few weeks at most and is already in the same echelon as games like Skyrim, Fallout 3 and Red Dead Redemption. It’s not a matter of overreaction either, there is so much to do than just running side quests and advancing the main story. There are caves and treasures to be found, easter eggs scattered across the entire island and even creative and entertaining challenges that can be attempted. Hell, a few times I found myself just wandering around the island and checking out the scenery while trying to avoid the deadly animals that were waiting for me in the brush. As much as Far Cry 3 is about the insanity of the island, it’s equally about survival and adventure, I did quite a bit of both in my time with the game. I took every option I could to explore caves, abandoned ruins and even tiny islands as there were opportunities to find all sorts of collectibles everywhere.
Graphically, at least on PC, Far Cry 3 is one of the most beautiful games I’ve had the opportunity to spent some time with. Environments outside are usually lush and bright. Water reflects the sun early in the morning and breath taking vistas can be used to chart your next adventure (or plan an attack on a camp). The game is simply one piece of eye candy after another and I was constantly looking forward to visiting a new location to take in new sights and sounds. Speaking of sound, there is a wonderful level of ambiance that is superb! Nature provides a majority of the games soundtrack, while any actual background music isn’t overpowering, it does support any situation you find yourself in.
I played the Far Cry 3 on PC and although I loved the game, there were some crazy things that kept happening on my PC version. First off, there was a bug within the game that stopped me from traversing through certain doorways and small walkways by any normal means. In fact, in order to get into the initial weapon and gear shop, I couldn’t walk through the front door. I had to turn around, crouch and hop to actually squeeze through the doorway. On a few radio towers, there were a few areas that actually required me to jump and hop over invisible obstacles to get to a certain point. Now, in complete fairness, I am sure these issues will be absolutely fixed and I actually expected some bugs after playing enough of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. Two other issues I encountered were an occasional issue when aiming that caused me to spin after trigger was pulled and an issue that stopped me from ever changing the volume from over 15%. Both of these issues were actually patched literally as I write this review, but both are equally worth noting.
Interestingly, Far Cry 3 doesn’t stop with just a superb single player experience either. There is a sizable multiplayer experience to be had outside of trying to escape the island. The more exciting element of this is the amazing co-op campaign, while not as well written as the single player, co-op has enough story and killing that I found myself hopping online often to get some time in with it. I do have to say that the gameplay in the co-op feels a little like Left 4 Dead with a tiny splash of Uncharted 3 co-op. both of which are awesome so that is obviously a good thing! The multiplayer mode itself was a bit more like a traditional multiplayer shooter and I found the similarities to other popular shooters to be rather uncanny. In other words, if you plan on jumping into the multiplayer solution, expect for the common 12 year old to be bragging about his sexcapades with your mom. The good thing here is that the mode itself isn’t bad and does nothing to take away from the game. To be fair, it was a welcome escape after spending a considerable amount of time in both co-op and single player campaigns.
There is always that game that comes out every year. You know, the one that critics can’t stop talking about and fanboys fill forums and message boards to sing it’s praise? Well, Far Cry 3 is absolutely that game this year. It’s simply fucking amazing.
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- Everything! Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. This. Game. Is. Amazing.
- PC version had a few bugs, they’ve been patched.
This game was provided to us by Gamersgate.com for review purposes. While reviewing this game, we also took their service for a spin as well. It was an awesomely pleasurable experience overall!