Imagine yourself, crouching along a hillside and looking down over a valley in the tropical sunset. A would be beautiful setting if it weren’t for the situation. The sights of your sniper rifle are placed directly onto the head of a pirate, your grip tightens as you take one last deep breath before preparing to blow his face off. You are one finger twitch away from alerting the outpost that you are single handedly hunting them down for revenge. A growl pierces your right ear, as you turn to look, you are suddenly staring into the jaws of death. There is no white light at the end of this tunnel. The last thing you see is a pair of fangs as you’re about to become a meaty appetizer. Death by tiger.
This ladies and germs, is Far Cry 3.
At the beginning of the game you find yourself in the shoes of a character named Jason Brody. He and his “bros” go off on a skydiving vacation, only too late to realize that they have dove onto the wrong island. Jason and his friends are captured by the local pirates and get to look forward to a life of slavery. Jason, however successfully manages to escape captivity and being in Jason’s shoes it’s up to you, with the help of the local tribe called the Rakyat, to save your friends and get off the island. The story quickly introduces you to the types of characters you’ll be dealing with. On one end is Jason and his group of typical douche bags. The type that spends most of their waking hours being drunk or high and wasting mommy and daddy‘s money to do so. On the other hand is a great handful of insane villains that are amongst the best in recent memory. With these two sides of the playing field it’s very hard to actually care about the people you are supposed to save, let alone the very character you are playing.
After being saved by the local tribal people, Jason is given a tattoo, or tatau as they call it, which “magically” gives him the ability to defeat his foes. It’s very easy to get drawn out of what would be an interesting survival story, when you have the natives saying you are a powerful warrior and your new tattoos will reveal your new power. The protagonists are very disappointing to say the least but the villains make up for it greatly and they make the story worth playing through. The cover star himself, Vaas, is as crazy as he is deadly. Instead of just outright killing you, he makes elaborate plans and gives great thought provoking speeches, making him an outstanding character. His famous “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?” speech originally seen at E3 2011 still amazes, even after hearing it for the 10th time. Alongside Vaas are characters such as Hoyt and Buck who are just as crazy in their own way. Each of them bring something interesting to the table and make the cut scenes noteworthy.
The story itself isn’t outstanding by a long shot. It gets bonus points based on the fact that it’s not another military shooter where you kill anyone that isn’t from ‘Merica, but it certainly wouldn’t stand out without a memorable cast.
While Far Cry 3 may look like just another shooter from a distance, outside of the story the amount of depth and player autonomy easily puts this title head and shoulders above its competition. What Far Cry 3 excels at is freedom. Although, the main narrative itself might have the same linear, hand holding experience as most other modern games in the genre, outside of the story there is an entire tropical island waiting to be seen. The unique setting sets it apart from the war torn settings of other games: everything from the sandy beaches to the jungles of the island have a great artistic spark to them and the vibrant colors make it look like a desktop background with plenty of caves and old ruins ripe for exploring. 30+ pirate outposts are waiting to liberated with your own style and leisure.
Let’s say there is a pirate outpost in the distance. It’s up to you, the player, to decide how you are going to infiltrate the area. Use a sniper rifle and take out each pirate from a safe distance. Sneak into the camp and use your knife to stab everyone with a stealthy takedown. Put on a piece of body armor and run in with your favorite assault rifle, placing a red dot on everything that moves. Maybe you notice an animal cage housing a bear. Shoot the door open and let him do most of the work for you. On top of it all is a great RPG system where you gain experience for each kill.
Leveling up gives you a skill point which you can place into a skill of your choice, ranging from becoming better at using sniper rifles or bows, to chaining together knife takedowns, to even allowing you to swim and run faster. It’s a small touch but goes a great distance to show slight character development as Jason goes from a newly captured prisoner to a strong fighter. Far Cry 3 puts choice to great use in its open world, and unlike its predecessor, it’s filled with a variety of things to do.
If that doesn‘t sound interesting enough, there are plenty of other side missions and activities to take part in. Different hunting challenges put you up against nature with a strict weapon choice that you may or may not be familiar with. There is nothing quite like the thrill of trying to take down a panther, armed with nothing but a bow. Assassination missions are special challenges that teach the traditional Rakyat ways of killing your enemies strictly with a knife. These involve sneaking into an encampment and stealthily taking out specific targets and it is very refreshing to see a great stealth system in a shooter.
Various racing challenges have you going up against the clock or taking health kits to their destination, the well designed driving mechanics make these or just driving around the open world very fun activities to do. Opening up the map involves climbing radio towers to their peak, not unlike the synchronization system used in Assassin’s Creed. These are great ways to break up the monotony of shooting as they play like mini first person plat forming challenges where you have to jump and climb your way to the top. Other than that, there’s poker games, darts, sharp shooting challenges, separate story missions that aren’t related to the main storyline. Still if none of that floats your boat, you can spend hours running around and picking flowers and hunting animals, all of which can be used in the crafting system to make different medicine syringes or to upgrade your ammo and gun capacity. All of that is just the single player.
Head to page 2 for the verdict on multiplayer, as well as our overall scoring for Far Cry 3…
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This article was first posted on December 12, 2012