Far Cry 3

10 Overall Score

One of the most fun, compelling experiences I've played

Story doesn't quite live up to the early promise it makes

Written by on December 13, 2012 in [, , , , , , , ]

I was busily skinning a tiger when I heard the approaching roar of a motor. Looking up, I saw a truck loaded with angry pirates barreling down the road, with every intention of filling me with holes. In the span of two seconds my character stood up, drew a lever-action shotgun, blew the driver’s head off, and sidestepped the truck as it sped off the cliff behind him, taking several screaming passengers with it.

There was nothing special about that encounter. No scripted event. No cutscene with quicktime events. It just happened, as fluidly and naturally as moving around and shooting dudes in any other first-person shooter. And that’s why you should be playing Far Cry 3.

This is Vaas. He's probably going to stab you.

This is Vaas. He’s probably going to stab you.

Far Cry 3 made some waves with its trailers. They featured a deeply, terrifyingly insane villain called Vaas, and a whole lot of gratuitous native breasts. Far Cry 3 contains both of these things, verbatim. And while its story ends on a grand ‘meh,’ the first few hours of the game are utter delightful bedlam. But none of that are the game’s strengths. What Far Cry 3 is at its core is an open-world game that places your character in one of the more violent action films of the eighties, with a whole host of very foreign people to mow down and some fantastically coked-up villains. Everything around that is just icing.

Also Bears. Bears are not icing. And this is jut outside mauling range.

Also Bears. Bears are not icing. And this is just outside mauling range.

The game features the same basic mechanics as most shooters; if you’ve played a Call of Duty game you’re pretty much ready to start Far Cry 3. Where things get interesting is how those mechanics work. There are very few (though regrettably some) corridor crawls in Far Cry. Instead you’re able to run around in an open world and choose your angles of attack. Do you go in guns blazing? Snipe everyone from afar? Or stealth in and use the game’s extensive variety of takedown maneuvers to slash your way through the game like a tropical Jason Voorhees? Most of the game leaves all of this up to you, and no particular approach seems like the right choice. Sure, shooting dudes is easier, but noise means guards can summon backup that will quickly surround you. Sniping from the bushes is cake, but it’s hard to spot every single bad guy from a distance, and you wind up with less experience (more on that later) doing it. Getting in close nets the most potential benefits, but also bears the most risk. One wrong move and everything in an outpost is either trying to kill you or calling more guys in to help kill you.

This is how the combat starts

This is how the combat starts

To combat all of that you’ll have a variety of guns (split into a half-dozen categories with two to five options in each, all of which are customizable in their own ways), tricks (flaming arrows, mines, remote bombs) and buffs (in the form of injections made from local plant life that give you immunity to fire, better awareness of bad guys, or other perks). Animal hides give you bigger ammo pouches and holsters that carry more guns, and a skill system provides some passive buffs (faster reloads or movement, longer sprints) as well as some new tricks (a nice slide-to-cover maneuver and a variety of takedown skills). Over the course of the game you’ll gain enough levels to fill out a pretty robust skill tree, which unlocks the above options and provides a tangible reward for doing just about everything in the game. That, coupled with your character’s maneuverability (you’re fast, you can mantle just about everything, and the platforming elements in the game actually feel…good) quickly make you feel powerful. Towards the end of the game your character feels somewhere between a ninja and Rambo, in all the right ways.

And when it all goes right, this is how it ends

And when it all goes right, this is how it ends

Far Cry gives you no shortage of ways to enjoy that power, either. There are dozens of optional sidequests and hunting missions. And while some of the hunting missions are hit or miss (killing three bears with a knife is not fun), the missions that require assassinations or infiltration (to take and command enemy outposts) are amazing. Far Cry 3 could have been nothing but this and I’d have felt fine about it. All of that story stuff? The Vaas character, who’s one of the most fantastically disturbing villains in gaming? Gravy. Which is good, because outside of those elements I’ve already mentioned much of the story is…well, not nearly as good. It covers a couple dozen missions that will display the breadth of the mechanics discussed, but at the end of the game Far Cry 3‘s story is the thing done to unlock more skills and chunks of the map so that you can get back to the sidequests. It isn’t bad in any respect, but the rest of the game far outshines it.

I’ve gotten through all of this and haven’t even touched on the visuals. Far Cry 3 is one of the prettier games you can buy right now. Provided you have a PC. The console version is…well, still quite nice, by 360 standards, but running at a solid frame rate with the visuals cranked this game’s a showcase for your PC hardware. The mere act of climbing up something tall and looking at the landscape around you (no load times unless you choose to fast travel; I didn’t very often) is breathtaking. The gleeful mayhem from unloading a heavy machinegun into an outpost that’s battling both fire and a tiger attack is a glorious addition to all of this.

Yup, Far Cry 3 looks pretty nice.

Yup, Far Cry 3 looks pretty nice.

Far Cry 3 has a (Left 4 Dead style) co-op campaign. It doesn’t need it to be excellent. It also has full online multiplayer. Same deal. Both are still pretty good. The game gives you a ton of toys, a mountain of content, and is completely happy to let you go nuts with all of it. I really enjoyed Far Cry 3. You should probably play it.


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Author: Zach Snell View all posts by
Hi there. If you're reading this you've probably read some material of mine. If you want more go here and read my stories about a guy who punches wizards. http://www.amazon.com/Zachary-Snell/e/B008G0MORI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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