Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: 12/4/2012
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The Good: Fantastic visuals, huge island to explore, memorable characters, amazing voice acting and animations, fun campaign
The Bad: Hunting and crafting feels forced and under developed, side missions get boring after a while, multiplayer is so-so
Skyrim with guns. That was Ubisoft's description for Far Cry 3. While it isn't quite Skyrim with guns, that's okay because no one really wanted that. Far Cry 3 is still a huge open world game, and is exactly what Far Cry 2 should have been. After Far Cry 2 left a bitter taste in my mouth with its boring empty world and mediocre story and missions, I just didn't have much hope for Far Cry 3. Thankfully I was wrong because this game is truly great with memorable characters and a great story. The whole world feels more lively this time around and less empty.
Far Cry 3 has an awesome opening and really shows that this is already the best game in the series. You play as Jason Brody, just a regular guy who vacations to an island with his girlfriend and a few friends. Of course things go wrong and you are captured by some local pirates. The story has a lot of torture scenes spread throughout, but the beginning jail break with your brother really shows off the amazing voice acting and animations. You immediately get attached to these characters, and you are introduced to one of the most memorable game characters in recent history, Vaas. This guy is a sick and twisted psychopath and is truly demented. His relationship with Jason reminds me of Joker and Batman a lot. Jason makes Vaas question his own sanity and he is NOT comfortable with that. Jason seems to always come back from the dead, and this infuriates Vaas all the time. Every time Vaas comes on to screen you can't help but get excited for what thing he's going to do next. Truly, a well-developed character.
Once you get past the first scene you are dumped into this huge luscious jungle and start getting introduced to various gameplay elements. Hunting is introduced as well as crafting. This includes crafting with animal skins to hold more things like ammo, weapons, and syringes. You can gather plants to craft syringes for health, enhance perception, hunting, steadier aim, and various other things. While these two new elements are fun, they seem a bit disconnected from the formula of Far Cry. The hunting is a bit under developed because stalking these animals isn't anything like in Assassin's Creed III. You can try sneaking up on them, but most are hidden in grass forcing you to use hunting syringes. When you fire off a shot all animals scatter and some take quite a few hits to take down. If you don't get them down in one shot you have to chase them down and eventually you lose them. The crafting requires different animal skins for each set, but I really felt it a hassle to do this.
The same goes for plant gathering. Certain plants are required for certain syringes, but early on these fill up your lootsack forcing you to hunt for the skins for a bigger one. You also get a small wallet and have to craft a larger one for more money. Not exactly economical game wise, but this is to the taste of the player. I didn't mind it, but never really pursued hunting specific animals. I just gathered whatever got in my way. There just isn't a huge incentive on hunting and gathering this game.
There are a few side quests such as hunting specific animals with certain weapons, killing marked targets, racing, Trial of the Rakyat which requires you to complete certain goals such as killing everyone in the area with headshots. These are fun and can break up the main story. The map is actually completely blacked out until you find radio towers and take them offline. This involves climbing the towers and figuring out how to scale them. Feels a bit like Assassin's Creed actually. There are also loot containers and relics spread throughout the island, but I honestly didn't bother. I really hate item gathering in games because it is a lazy way to extend the play time, but some people out there like it.
My favorite part of the game was the main story. Missions vary greatly, but I looked forward to the new characters and the ever evolving story of Jason, Vaas, and Hoyt (the main bad guy). The whole idea of going from a city slicker to a powerful tribal warrior is really interesting. There are some fantasy elements thrown in when you go through trials to become the most powerful Rakyat warrior on the island. You have to defeat a giant boss at one point with a bow and arrow. Pretty exciting and fun. This is probably one of the more interesting FPS campaigns I have played in a long time, in fact most FPS games seem to bore me these days. Far Cry 3 was a nice change of pace.
When it comes to visuals Far Cry 3 pushes PC's yet once again like it did back when it first came out. The game has amazing DirectX 11 features such as SSAO and HBAO as well as anti-aliasing, high-resolution textures, high quality shadows, and some amazing lighting effects as well as some great shaders thrown in to make this game look like a lush jungle. You will need the latest PC gaming hardware to run it like this though, even my rig couldn't run it 100% maxed out. The PC version is definitely the best. When it comes to multiplayer I really can't say much other than you won't be coming back too often. Nothing really exciting there.
Overall, Far Cry 3 sports amazing visuals, a great story and memorable characters, the huge open world is fun to explore, but the hunting and crafting mechanics feel a bit forced and under developed. Multiplayer isn't as interesting you think, but the co-op campaign is where it's at. If FPS games have been boring you lately take this for a spin.
(Review based on PC version)