While I enjoyed the first two entires in the Far Cry series, they had little in common outside of their love for jungle environments, so I didn’t know what to expect from Far Cry 3. The trailer knocked my socks off, but I wasn’t sure whether its beauty or intensity could transition into an actual playable game. That question has been answered in an explosively direct way.
That Escalated Quickly
Far Cry 3 tells the tale of a bunch of dudes and dudettes who’ve been having a wild vacation in a very sexy tropical region of the world. That vacation is cut short, however, when a session of sky diving goes awry and the group finds themselves in the custody of some good for nothing pirates (that’s not true, as evidenced by the chaos on the island they are really good at pirate related activities). Your character, Jason Brody, manages to escape from these sadistic poopy faces and finds himself neck-deep in the dangers that swashbuckler infested jungles happen to produce. Fortunately for Jason, a helpful local named Denis finds him near death, gives him a magical tribal tattoo while he’s unconscious, then easily convinces him that he’s a mystical warrior as well as the island’s only hope. Jason is confused but is apparently a go-getter and goes about the task of stomping mudholes in pirate butts.
The story feels very muck like an 80s action movie and I love it for that. I don’t need to have a video game developer make sense of some random Joe kicking ass if the act of kicking ass is really really fun and it absolutely is. The characters in Far Cry 3 are very well done though, and I actually cared about what was happening to them to the point that when bad things happened to them, bad things happened inside my heart muscle. I didn’t cry per say, but I did get a lump in my throat and that’s saying something.
The appeal of Far Cry 3 will not be in its narrative though, this is a game about justice, friendship and the unique ways the player guarantees those are preserved. Jason Brody may not start off like a super soldier, but the numerous weapons at his fingertips and upgradeable skills eventually turn him into the type of dude anyone would want watching their back.
Bigger, Faster, More Inked Up
That tattoo I mentioned earlier actually has some sort of mystical connection to the warrior tribe that’s desperately trying to rid the island of pirates, which means that it gives you the ability to put points into three different skill trees. These skills range from physical upgrades, such as more health or quicker hip shots, to unlocking certain moves that allow you to take enemies out silently and eventually follow that kill up with a variety of really impressive looking combinations that can leave a pile of dead enemies without you needing to fire a single bullet. For example, Jason can kill an enemy with a standard knife take down then pull that enemies knife out and throw it at someone nearby. There are a bunch of really cool little actions that Jason is capable of and they make combat look absolutely stunning without the need for scripted events. The variety of guns and gun modifications doesn’t hurt the situation either. Who knew an open world game could have such unbelievable combat.
There is a crafting system in place, which allows you to create either bags/holsters for ammo, loot, weapons,and also mix herbs to make a variety of beneficial medications that either restore health or provide a physical enhancement such as better perception or fire proof skin. You have to hunt animals to get the supplies you need for the bags, and plants are strewn about and color coded for ease of identification. It’s relatively easy to find what you need in terms of crafting supplies and pushes you to go outside the main storyline in order to better equip yourself (trust me, only being able to carry 1 gun and a tiny bit of ammo isn’t helpful at all).
Great On or Off Rails
I guess I could continue on with a point by point synopsis of the game and why, from a critical perspective, it is as good as I’m claiming, but what I really want to tell you about is all the chaotic fun that’s just waiting for you to stumble upon it. The game provides enough preconceived entertainment for you with the main story, base takeovers, the well designed radio tower segments (that feel very jumping puzzle like but in a good way) and the many different challenge missions placed around the map. The real fun is the random things that will occur throughout the course of your time with Far Cry 3. Your character exists in a living, breathing world full of animals and people that go about their business regardless of whether or not you’re around. I found myself smiling from ear to ear every time something unexpected happened, like the time I’d just finished a base takeover only to have the NPC allies that arrived shortly after get ambushed by some komodo dragons.
It only helps matters that the game looks and sounds great (playing it on the PC is highly recommended if you’re able to do so). The tropical setting is perfectly realized and extremely enjoyable to explore whether on a mission or just roaming the countryside. There’s a lot to see here and for those that like to dig around, your efforts will be rewarded, though sometimes that reward is a savage bear mauling.
In terms of criticism, there are a few weird little problems that pop up. First, the menu system is a bit hard to navigate and requires double clicks to get to certain places. The menu also feels rather cumbersome due to the amount of content that it contains. There are also a couple graphical hiccups and what not that occur, though that’s to be expected with a game of this magnitude. Controls are usually really smooth but there are times that certain functions, like healing and silent takedowns don’t trigger like you’d want. Another gripe I have is the whole Uplay set up (which consoles players don’t have to worry about). While it’s cool that my in-game points can translate to unlockables for the game, I don’t need or want another gate to step through when playing my games.
I’m still shocked that a game can feel this complete and that’s without me trying out either of the multiplayer modes (though I was a lot more interested in the single player to start with). To say Far Cry 3 surprised me is an understatement, I’m floored.
I realized I can’t possible do this game justice with mere words and sentences, so I pulled together a little video that highlights exactly why I am going to make out with this game forever!