Fun, Intense and Disturbing. These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things.

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“Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?

Insanity is doing the exact… same fu***ng thing… over and over again, expecting… sh** to change.”

When these lines are spoken by what may be the best video game villain of this generation, Vaas, you would never guess by the time you get done with Far Cry 3 that he was not only speaking to your character in the game, but he might as well have been speaking to the world of first-person shooters we live in. Yearly Call of Duty’s, Battlefield’s and Medal of Honor’s have deadened us to how special a shooter can be. Lucky for us, Far Cry 3 is here to turn everything you know about shooters on its head by delivering a living, breathing world and story so unpleasant and disturbing that the random killing you do inside of the game may be the least of your worries.

You play as Jason Brody, a kid with too much money and not enough responsibility. After taking a adventure trip around the globe you and your friends find yourself kidnapped on a tropical island after a skydiving trip. You begin the game locked in a cage with your brother and listening to the maddening exposition of Vaas, a pirate who explains that they are going to ransom you off to your parents and then sell you into the slave trade anyway. You escape soon after and after being knocked out awaken to find a man giving you a tattoo on your arm. He is Dennis and he is part of the Rakyat tribe. He explains that his tribe have been under oppression by the pirates of the island and he believes Jason is the one to help them get out from under the harsh rule of the pirate gang. Dennis explains the use of the tattoo on your arm, called the tatau, and how it will give you power to help defeat the pirates and Vaas. Jason agrees to help if Dennis helps him rescue his friends on the island.

When you first begin your adventure it is almost overwhelming the amount of content you have at your disposal. The map stays mostly hidden until you find one of eighteen radio towers that the pirates have cut the power to. Each tower is its own small platforming puzzle which is never difficult and I never found tedious. Imagine them as the perches in Assassin’s Creed, as you restore power to the towers, the more of the map is unveiled. As your map unfolds you will see it begin to fill up with icon upon icon, a plethora of different adventures that the island holds.

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Like Skyrim On Crack

When I compare this game to Skyrim it is with the thought that you can become completely engrossed in learning the island, completing side missions, defeating enemy camps and looting. The enemy camps are  scattered throughout Rook Island and each one poses a different way to approach it. You have to take over these camps for the Rakyat to gain more control of the island and once you do this you push back how many enemies you will encounter in the areas around the camps. Running in full on, guns ablaze sounds like fun but it is more fun (and more worthwhile) to use stealth at first. Each camp has two possible places to turn off the alarm system. Turn off the alarm, no reinforcements will be called in. And believe me, they will quickly call them once you are seen and they will come in force. An added incentive will give you extra XP for clearing a camp with no alarms triggered.

Once these camps are completed you open up optional bounty and hunter missions. The bounty missions are for quick reward money, but come with an exception. You must kill your bounty with a knife in the tradition of the Rakyat. Any other member of the gang may be dispatched as you will but the leader must die by a blade. Hunter missions offer you money for finding certain animals and killing them with a weapon that is chosen for you. A few of the hunts are for rare animals that can be sold off for extra cash or need to be used in creation of special items in your inventory.

For you loot fanatics Far Cry 3 understands your (and my) addiction. Now I am not saying this game is on the level of Borderlands looting (is any game?), but you can loot to your heart’s content in this game. Unlockables litter the landscape. Loot chests abound in shacks, hiding in wreckage on the shore and even in the depths of the ocean that surrounds you. Every enemy carries their own personal stash of money and paraphernalia. It’s an addiction I tell ya! Especially being OCD as I am you can be dang sure that everyone was pick pocketed clean.

Now with a loot system as large as this you have got to have some way to carry these items until you can sell them off and this is where Far Cry 3’s crafting system comes into play. You start off with a meager sized wallet and ruck sack for carrying loot and these must be expanded by crafting new ones. How you say? Well, by hunting of course!! If you want to be able to carry more money, loot, even hold more weapons, ammo, grenades, etc. you have to get your inner Ted Nugent going and head out into the wild and hunt game. Some of which are just fodder for your knife and bow and arrow skills like pigs, deer and goats. If you want to really expand your inventory then you better put on your big boy pants and get ready to go after tigers, leopards, komodo dragons and sharks. The first time you hear a komodo hiss and run at you is a bit unnerving. When you get out on the open waters and take out a shark from a boat knowing you have to now jump into the deep abyss to skin it and get back up before anything else chomps down on you is a rush. Never before in a game (for me) has the wildlife in a game become its own character. These animals are not just an afterthought, but a necessity for survival.

As your inventory capability increases and you sell of your loot, you are open to purchase a host of weapons. From handguns, shotguns, SMG’s. LMG’s, sniper rifles each have four or five variations that can also be attached with silencers, retinal sights and extended clips. Once you begin to power up more and more radio towers weapons will become available to you free of charge. That is not even adding in the ability to carry four seconday items of destruction like grenades and molotov cocktails. You won’t find more weaponry this side of a military shooter.

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 How Dark Is Too Dark?

When you actually take time away from the immense number of side quests and delve into Far Cry 3’s story you are going to find that it will take you places you may not wanna go. Excessive brutal violence, rampant drug use and references, the selling of people into the sex trade and even male rape. This game pulls no punches. It will hit you in the gut with its reality and then kick you while you are down. As you begin to free the island of pirate control and have more than one run in with Vaas you begin to see that a choice will be coming for you as a character and it will not be an easy one. Believing that saving your friends is the end of your journey would be folly because in many respects it is just the beginning. Do you ,as Jason Brody, truly believe you are here to free the Rakyat people and is your place here with them? The plot is paced out so well and seems like a natural progression for Jason.

If there was one aspect of the game that doesn’t live up the greatness of the other parts it wold have to be the boss fights. They basically boil down to quick time events which I would not mind for some bosses but you begin to hate these men with such a passion that a short button mashing kind of takes away from the pleasure of defeating them. It really is a minor complaint considering how amazing the rest of the game is, but it is still there. Can’t deny it.

There is a little frustration in the controls when platforming on the radio towers but otherwise the game feels smooth in almost every aspect. Running and gunning is a breeze and the quick inventory makes weapon swapping second nature even while you are in the dead middle of a firefight. Driving is a big part of the Far Cry 3 experience with Rook Island being so massive, so I can happily say that it is pure joy just to drive around the island no matter if you are taking roads or just seeing how off-road you can go with whatever vehicle you happen to be in at the time. When you get to the coast hop in a boat and take a stroll around the island or hell, even jump on a jet ski and try to ramp off of a shallow swimming shark. You get it yet? There are lots of modes of transportation and all of them are freaking fun. Oh yeah I almost forgot….hang gliders!!!!

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Good Luck Multiplayer

In a game like Far Cry 3 where the story is so memorable it can almost go forgotten that it also comes with the prerequisite multiplayer. Far Cry 3 at least attempts to change up the proceedings by adding a co-op mode also to keep you playing long after the single player is done. It was admirable of the team to try and get a co-op mode into here but it just can’t match up with the rest of the game and is nothing more than a time waster. It does have a story to go along with it that takes place six months before the events on Rook Island but it is nowhere near as deep or even decent compared to the single player. Co-op is way more linear and really breaks down into enemy waves coming at you on the maps, kind of like Horde Mode Lite.

Vs. multiplayer is nothing to write home about, but it is good for some fun and a nice change of pace when you have been playing the games for 30 or 40 hours. You have Team Deathmatch, Transmission, Domination and Firestorm modes. Transmission is basically capture the flag and Firestorm is probably the most fun mode of the mulitplayer. Both teams must find and set fire to two fuel tankers while still defending theirs, all the while the map is catching fire and changing the routes your team can take.

I applaud the developers for taking the time to at least make a halfway decent multiplayer when they simply could have not done one or just half-assed it because games are SUPPOSED to have it.

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 The Difference Between Good And Great

I did not buy Far Cry 3 on release day. Far Cry 2 bored me honestly and I lumped this game into the crowd of holiday games that would probably never get played. Then I read a few reviews and some word of mouth that told me I might want to jump on this crazy train of a game. God am I glad I did! Never has a shooter engrossed me like Far Cry 3. The story is the stuff of nightmares, like the first time you watched Hostel. Wonderfully paced and even though the quick time boss battles are a bit of a downside, there is no way I can see a reason for that to affect the experience any. Vaas will change the way you think about villains in video games. When you think of the Call of Duty’s and Battlefield’s with the “terrorist of the year” bad guy, it goes to show you just how a great villain can truly make a great game. He takes those forgettable wannabe’s and slits their throats.

Rook Island holds so many mysteries and explorable areas it is near impossible to resist spending hours on end driving, running, swimming or gliding around trying to learn every nook of the vast terrain. It is beautiful and deadly all at the same time and that is the appeal. You can be admiring the sheer size of the land and taking in a wonderful view and then get mauled by a tiger. It snaps you back to reality which is exactly what Far Cry 3 does for the shooter genre. It wakes it up from the coma of yearly military FPS games. It shows you that action, adventure, looting, hunting, driving and crafting can all co-exist together in one game. Not only can it co-exist, it can thrive.

I could easily jump back into Far Cry 3 tomorrow and start it all over again. It is that good of an experience. I compare it to when I first played Bioshock or Mass Effect and knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this was the reason why I play video games.

Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?

NERD RATING- 9.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 


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One response to “Review: Far Cry 3”

  1. […] gameplay will remain close to that of Far Cry 3 (our 2012 Game of the Year) including outposts that need liberating. One new feature will be the ability to ride […]

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