Far Cry 3 was released by Ubisoft on December 4 in North America, and a few days earlier in Europe and Australia for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. The game features not only a massive player map but also an online Co Op mode and multiplayer, although the Single Player Campaign is the true gem here.
At its heart, Far Cry 3 is a first person shooter, revolving around the story of Jason Brody, as he, two brothers and friends are on vacation somewhere in the South Pacific. The group decides to go on a skydiving excursion, and run afoul of modern day pirates and drug smugglers that control a group of islands, enslaving the population.
Far Cry 3 is by no means a game for the kiddies. As Brody wakes to find himself and his eldest brother captive, they begin to learn first hand of the horrors of modern day slavery. Brody and his brother escape, and the game takes this opportunity to familiarize you with the controls. But, tragedy soon starts to set in as the eldest brother is killed during the escape, and Brody nearly dies himself.
From there, the story takes you on a wild ride of drugs, hallucinations, sex, mysticism, and violence as Brody fights not only to free his captive friends and surviving brother, but struggles with the realities of what he is facing, and doing in response while finding himself embroiled in an undercover CIA operation to topple a human and drug trafficking warlord.
In the original concept, the creator of the game sought to explore violence and the toll it takes on humanity. Personally, I think the message is rather lost in the jumble of third world drug empires, depravity, and the sheer fun of blowing shit up; moral choices come into play only at the very end but still, it’s a game.
The original Far Cry was a child of Crytek and featured the original CryEngine. This latest installment features the Dunia 2 with Havok Physics. Dunia is something of an offshoot of CryEngine, with the designer originally working for CryTek, and you can definitely see some parallels here.
The graphics detail is friggin nice, with all the beauty that I remembered when I first looked at a CryEngine game, but less of the glitches, although still not entirely free of them. Certain points, like sun rays and the effect of water where especially appealing. It’s important to note that there are some points where the graphics might seem to glitch a bit, but by and large it was not as much as some titles I have seen.
The music score is nice, and the voice acting pretty decent too. For the most part, the sound effects sounded spot on, but I noticed that a lot of the weapon sounds seemed repetitive. There was very little sound difference between AK model assault rifles, and other models for instance. While the look, and even the “feel” of the weapons seemed reasonable, it was the sound that stuck out in my mind the most.
Shoot and Loot. That is what it is all about. As you move from location to location on the map, certain points reveal hidden treasures, money, first aid kits or craftable items. Crafting is a major point of the game, as you will only be able to carry more gear, weapons and ammo by crafting the appropriate item. You need a wallet to carry cash, and the better the material, the more stuff you can put in it. Same thing with ammo pouches, slings, ruck sacks and everything else. You need to craft it, and then continuously upgrade it. You do that by hunting.
Hunting is not as simple as it seems. Sure, you can run over a feral pig with a car rather easily, but as you start to skin that bastard you might find yourself getting bitch slapped by a tiger, leopard, rabid dog or a damn bear. Swimming is no walk in the park as a crocodile can jump out at you any minute or you find yourself a chew toy for a shark. Komodo Dragons, wild boars, stinging jellyfish and snakes all conspire with every damn thing else on the island to kill you. Not only do you have to contend with pirates trying to hunt you down and kill you, but you have to make certain that the area of cover you dive into does not have a frigging snake in it.
Besides crafting, there are a number of side missions and mini games to take part in. Trials of the Rakyat involve going to one of several locations on the player map, and competing in a single player challenge for score. The top score in those challenges finds their name on the landmark for the challenge. These challenges involve killing as many pirates with grenades as possible, running them down with a car, shooting them or facing ever increasing waves of enemies. But you can also play poker, toss knives, race for time, and various others.
There is so much in the Single Player campaign that you simply cannot cover all of it adequetely in a review. Besides freeing areas from pirate control, you also work to restore communications to the island by deactivating pirate control scramblers (thereby gaining the ability to see the region on the map), and sell recovered items to replenish or upgrade your stock of ammunition and weapons.
You will literally spend hours upon hours in the Single Player Campaign. With all the side missions, it is easy to get lost in simply trying to liberate the island, while the Trials offers each of us with a competitive edge a chance to get their name up for others to see. Hunting challenges yield better crafting items, and these are all outside the main story.
Far Cry 3 takes you on one hell of a trip down the rabbit hole, and once you are there, you will want to stay.
As far as the other aspects, Co Op is an interesting twist on the story, featuring 4 characters outside the main storyline, each with goals of their own. In Co Op you compete alongside the other players against varying waves of pirates, in an attempt to gain revenge on a mutual acquaintance who sold you all upriver. Co Op achievements, scores and unlocks also carry over into Multiplayer.
Multiplayer is something of a disappointment for me. Finding a game is a pain in the butt, and you are stuck with multiplayer lobbies and host migration. The scheme is one of classic Red vs Blue, with Rakyat warriors on one side and Pirates on the other. The one game I was able to connect to consisted of you classic Conquest type game, with each team competing for control of several key points. The maps were cramped, and offered very little gameplay beyond shoot and scoot. I would have liked to see different factions or characters, perhaps drawing from the mercenaries found later in the game.
All in all, Single Player will keep you busy for quite some time, with the Co Op offering up more content once you have completed it. Multiplayer feels unnecessary and honestly takes away from this otherwise awesome game.
Far Cry 3 offered me well in excess of 80 hours of play before I completed the Single Player mission and delved into the Co Op. I hope there is some DLC in the future, but would honestly love the see the Multiplayer tweaked more. The game is challenging and fun, so I would have to say you get your money’s worth here.
While not necessarily a home run, Ubisoft hit one deep in the field and put a man on every base with this title. Far Cry 3 is addictive, fun, fast paced and evolves as you develop the characters abilities. It is damn fun to put an explosive round through an engine block of a technical and watch it blow straight to hell with all the bad guys on it, or go knife only against a target. The mini games and side missions keep you on your toes, and always looking for more to do.