Far Cry 3 Review
developer: Ubisoft Montreal
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Dec 04, 12
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Far Cry caught the gaming world by storm when it arrived back in March 2004, completely blowing away its competition. At the time, Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 were in the making and, wouldn't you know it, Far Cry beat them to it. Not only did it hit the market first, but it effectively demonstrated impressive and completely new FPS technology, while both Valve and id Software kept pushing back the releases of their highly anticipated sequels. Meanwhile, Far Cry became a success, launching development studio Crytek into gaming stardom. In 2008, Crytek handed over the franchise to Ubisoft Montreal and Far Cry 2 quickly came about, featuring a newly developed engine called the Dunia and utilizing only a small percent of the old Far Cry tech. The results were pretty good. Ubisoft made a compelling open-world shooter, although never quite matching the success of the Crytek-made predecessor. Despite the game's appealing gameplay, which rested on simple free-roam shooter-style mechanics, many aspects remained to be ironed out, especially in terms of overall design. There was a sense of repetition in the whole experience, on top of numerous rather irritating technical mishaps, but Far Cry 3 strives to address those issues. At least that's what we were told. So, let's find out if the devs stayed true to their words.
Story wise, well, that's where this game gets a bit mystifying. Players find themselves in the role of one Jason Brody, who goes on a vacation accompanied by his friends. Their destination - a gorgeous-looking tropical island in the Pacific. Trouble ensues the moment they arrive. It turns out that pirates, or rather mercenaries of sorts, dominate the island. The group gets caught by the pirates lead by a clearly insane dude named Vaas. To make matters worse, Vaas intends to hold Brody and his friends and demand ransom money from their parents, after that he means to kill them all. Jason manages to break free and winds up in the company of island natives who call themselves the Rakyat. Luckily, the Rakyat oppose the pirates and invite Jason to contribute to their cause and assist them in their fight against Vaas and his forces. Jason agrees, in the hope that he can save his friends too.
Bagheera's distant cousin... twice removed?
There's nothing essentially wrong with the story per se, although the more you progress in the campaign, the more you get confused by what's actually happening. We did appreciate some utterly fun and weird moments such as Jason consuming mushrooms and weird-looking pills that affect his mind, as he wrestles with his inner self. However, even these unique story segments don't make up for the generally feeble plot. For one thing, you always expect more explanations, more details. There's also nothing satisfying or alluring about the protagonist or the corny characters around him.
On the gameplay front, things are a lot better. It may take a few hours of proper shooting and exploration to get into the spirit of this game. Its simplicity may discourage you at first, but as you improve your character and unlock more skills, things will get increasingly entertaining. Overall, the mechanics are the same as in Far Cry 2, only Ubisoft Montreal made an obvious effort to polish this one by fixing any issues and disadvantages from the previous game.
Clearing out the map, conquering opposing camps and completing various challenging and side-missions are all routines, but routines that get more and more fun, thanks to a wide choice of tasks and pretty tough enemies. There's also a lot to do in this game, a variety of missions to choose from, locations to visit, hidden treasures to discover and animals to hunt. Seriously, this game gives you the chance to pursue and kill an impressive array of exotic animal species. While you may hunt these animals using more traditional weapons such as the bow and arrow, there's also the option to take them out using a rocket launcher or a machine gun. It's your choice really. The important thing about Far Cry 3 is that it's just fun and it definitely doesn't take itself too seriously.
On the other hand, everything you might hope to find in a shooter seems to be included in the experience. The game is well-stocked with an assortment of vehicles and weapons; basically, everything from sniper rifles and assault rifles, to heavier stuff like RPGs and plastic explosive. Upgrading your character means you can use additional skills, such as carrying out stealth kills from about or from below, performing multiple takedowns, stabbing one opponent with a knife and then taking out the nearest enemy by throwing the same knife. In short, this is a game that has it all. If you're keen on shooters, that is.
Another thing that impressed us was the relentless AI, which doesn't waver throughout each mission and in random spots on the map. The fun really starts to kick in when you find yourself caught in a firefight between two opposing factions. AI-controlled foes do their best to put a stop to enemies and if they see you, they will do their best to stop you. Each soldier reacts according to his skills set and the weapons he wields. All in all, it turns out that enemy intelligence paints a very clear picture for Far Cry 3. Much of the gameplay depends on a well-polished AI and as far as this game is concerned, the devs couldn't have done a better job.
Taking a pause from the single-player mode, leaves you with the competitive multiplayer option, which may not seem as fun as other multiplayer-oriented shooters. However, the entire multiplayer segment is crammed with a sufficient amount of content should you wish to stick around. Ubisoft even threw in some interesting elements with cool weapons such as using poison gas against your foes (which can lead to some pretty exciting moments). Standard deathmatch-style modes were tossed into the mix for good measure, so you can expect all the usual ingredients much in the spirit of games like CoD, which becomes obvious as you gather experience system and start collecting all sorts of rewards and unlocks.
8.4 Very Good
An altogether better and more polished game than Far Cry 2, addictive shooter mechanics, solid AI makes for a challenging experience, rich content;
Nothing seems to alter the fact that it gets as repetitive as its predecessor.