Far Cry 3 review
Far Cry 3 stands slightly apart from FPS big-hitters such as Battlefield 3 and COD: MW3 it's the third in a series of games that share almost nothing apart from an ideal; to place the player in a game environment where for the first time, they feel like they could lose.
This latest instalment is arguably the most accomplished of the three games to put across that ideal. Indeed with lead script writer Jeff Yohalem citing the likes of Apocolypse Now as an influence, this was always going to be a game that would question what it really means to be sane.
In fact, from what we've seen, this game goes much further, with a villain like Vaas in charge of the show, you'll be questioning your own character along with every single inhabitant in Far Cry's twisted world.
Far Cry 3 Storyline and Characters
On the surface the premise is relatively simple. You play Jason, a young 20 something who's travelled with his friends to a tropical island.
Sadly what they don't realise is that running this island is Vaas; a man with a passion for amateur filmmaking and a rather unhealthy addiction to mass genocide.
While Vaas may sound like your run-of-the-mill villain Ubisoft have made it their personal mission to have his manic stammer and erratic ruthlessness burned into the back of your brain, and from what we've seen so far they're going to fulfil that remit on all counts.
Far Cry 3 Gameplay
The first thing you’ll notice is the resemblance to the original Far Cry, not in the sense that you’re on a tropical island, but that you have to take a moment to appreciate the sheer beauty of the world they’ve created.
Boasting graphical detail that must surely be pushing the Xbox 360 and the PS3 to its upper limits Far Cry 3 is an achingly pretty world juxtaposing perfectly with the carnage it contains.
Covering pretty much all the bases the E3 2012 demo takes place around two weeks into Jason's holiday from hell, his friends are gone and Vaas has already managed to push your character to the limit forcing you to take the fight to him.
Gone is the Malaria, rusty weapons and cars that constantly needed attention (Far Cry 2 we’re looking at you). Instead Far Cry 3 offers a world that can be interacted with and attacked from 360-degrees.
In fact just a few minutes into the demo we’re given our first choice, having swam to the shore we’re presented with the option of brutally pulling our victim from a pier into the water, or landing further up the beach and sniping him from a distance.
We went for the brutal melee option being greeted with a suitably efficient animation which then cleared the way for us to get ashore.
Further up the beach we’re greeted by two enemies, again giving us two options: Do we use our bow and arrow and take them out from afar or try out Ubisoft’s stringed melee attack?
Yup, we went for the melee again. Working in a very similar fashion to the stringed attacks on Assassin’s Creed you simply attack the first target and then when prompted move the stick in the direction of your next foe instigating a beautifully seamless barrage of blows.
Once dealt with we’re able to try out another melee attack, this time by jumping down on the target. Other moves include kicks and silent takedowns while our personal favourite consists of removing a grenade pin from the villain’s jacket and then firmly kicking them in the direction of more foes.
Vehicles still play a big part in the game with jeeps, boats and jet skis all available.
Far Cry 3 Multiplayer
In our hands-on with the game we played across two maps: Sub-Pen and Temple. The former was a sun-kissed beach village stationed near a rusting submarine pen, with a dilapidated building separating the two.
Temple, for its part, was set in and around ancient temple ruins, pock-marked with jungle overgrowth. It looked like the sort of thing one would find in Uncharted, or a postcard from Mexico.
Aside from their weapons, players are able earn Team Support Points (TSP) by reviving teammates, scoring kills and tagging opponents.
Once they’ve racked up enough TPS, they’re able to activate certain powers ranging from the low-level Battle Cry, which buffs the armour of any teammates in earshot, all the way to Psyche Gas, which blurs the enemy team’s vision making every single target on their HUDs (both friend and foe) a shadowy figure.
Far Cry 3 availability: September 2012
Far Cry 3 review
Far Cry 3 reviewT3
Far Cry 3 feels like the culmination of the best elements of the series, merging the open world of Far Cry 2 with frenetic shooter action
Far Cry 3 review
- Layered narrative
- Great characters
- Fantastic campaign
- Fiddly driving
- Auto-fail stealth missions
Far Cry 3 harkens back to an older, and some would argue better, aesthetic in shooters, which goes against the trend justifying an anorexic story mode by packaging it with a robust multiplayer. In Far Cry 3, the online modes may be competent, sure, but the reason to pick up this game is for its superb single player campaign, which boasts one of the best narratives in any game all year.
Far Cry 3: Characters and Plot
The game kicks off with its protagonist, a blue-eyed American boy called Jason, being shown having the time off his life with his mates and his two brothers on holiday in an island paradise. In montage the player sees them doing shots, leaping into rock pools and skydiving.
The camera then pans back to show this montage is being shown on a camera phone that’s being held by the group’s captor, a twitchy, erudite psycho called Vaas Montenegro, who has a smile similar to that of a boa constrictor before it swallows its prey.
Vaas, by the way, is one of the best villains created in gaming in the last few years. Intelligent, charming and utterly insane, he’s as likely to casually stab a helpless captive through the heart as he is to wax philosophical on the nature of madness.
Vaas heads up a colourful list of slavers, pirates, criminals, perverts and nutcases who Jason finds himself ranged against in his search for his friends, once he escapes Montenegro’s clutches in the early stages of the game.
As Jason explores the tropical island environments, racking up an impressive number of corpses, he transforms from scared First World brat into an unhinged killing machine, tossing vestiges of his humanity to the four winds in his quest for alpha male supremacy. In short, he starts to resemble Vaas…
Far Cry 3: Gameplay
Ubisoft toys with the player in this way to an extent. Naturally, in order to progress, players need to earn XP to open up new skills and craft new equipment – and the only way to do this is to blow away human adversaries and hack up the local fauna and flora. In other words, the more they tackle the hostile wilds that Jason finds himself in, the more lethal they’re likely to become.
A large portion of the player’s activities will be taken up exploring the game’s huge open-world map, which is a virtual treasure trove of side-quests, mini-games and time challenges, to say nothing of the resources it proffers.
Players can craft perk boosts and equipment from plants and wildlife. They can open up new guns and map locales by scaling giant radar towers. They can plonk themselves on in-game leaderboards by beating the score of their friends in mini-games. They can even open up fast-travel points by taking out enemy bases.
Everything they do feeds into Jason’s XP meter, which allows them to unlock perks and skills, turning him – and by extension, the player – into a more affective adversary for Vaas and the rest of the island’s psychos.
Far Cry 3: Multiplayer
While the main campaign is most certainly the draw in Far Cry 3, the game’s online modes are competent and quite enjoyable. Co-op allows up to four players to take on the role of four criminals in search of some payback, and they shoot through a series of missions in which they have to achieve certain objectives.
Teamwork is hinted at, but not actively encouraged, although players can buff each other with Battle Cries while on mission. The competitive online mode is decent, offering up some interesting spins on familiar templates. Top among them is Firestorm, which is a desperate battle for survival in which the winning team is the one that isn’t burned to a cinder by the end.
Far Cry 3: Verdict
But in the end, the online modes are distractions – albeit worthwhile ones – from the game’s main narrative, which asks some disturbing and distinctly un-PC questions of the player. In the world of Far Cry 3, violence isn’t just a necessary tool, it’s an intoxicating high and a means to social advancement.
You could argue that this is rather repugnant, but then, you’ve never had to fight for survival on an island populated by thugs and madmen. You know the old saying; if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em….
Far Cry 3 Release Date: 30 November 2012
Far Cry 3 Price: From £27.99 on PC
When Ubisoft introduced Far Cry 3's utterly insane Vaas to our world we wanted to see just how far down the rabbit hole we could really go
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