I’ve been looking forward to Far Cry 3 for quite a while, ever since they first showed it off at E3 2011 with the very awesome Vaas “definition of insanity” clip. As more information poured out over the next year, my excitement only grew even through a 3 month delay. It was a mix of the freedom of an open world, interesting personalities, character progression, and basically gorgeous visuals that really struck my interest. After finally getting my hands on it, I can fully say, it hasn’t disappointed so far.
Full impressions after the jump…
Far Cry 3 begins with a bombshell. You’re a bunch of rich, entitled young adults, seeking the thrill of adventure and the unknown who go on a skydiving trip over an archipelago in the Pacific known as Rook Island. Unfortunately for them, the island is home to pirates under the leadership of a man named Vaas. After capturing the group, Vaas plans to extort ransom money from their parents and then sell them into slavery. You play Jason Brody, initially a timid character who manages to escape the pirate camp with his older brother Grant. While Grant is killed during the escape, Jason is rescued by the island’s native group, the Rakyat who oppose Vaas and his pirates. As the game progresses, you take Jason from a relatively weak character and see him mature into an experienced and confident fighter. A major element during the game seems to revolve around Jason’s mindset during his transformation from average suburban guy to warrior and killer.
The biggest thing that impresses me about Far Cry 3 is that the world is huge and yet, I don’t feel overwhelmed by it like I sometimes feel with open world games. A game like Skyrim for example, while I enjoyed that game, it just became too much for me. I look at the map, see all sorts of icons, and I get a feeling of being suffocated and overwhelmed by it all. Granted, I know some of you may really enjoy that but as someone who isn’t able to spend a ton of hours at a time on games, it was too much for me. Far Cry 3 is another game with a ton of things to do outside of the core story. Strangely enough, even seeing the icons and items on the map, I don’t have that feeling of being overwhelmed. I can’t explain it but I’m glad.
Just about everything on the island grants experience as well which allows Jason to learn a new ability or improve his survivability in some way. This isn’t an RPG so don’t expect huge customization options or anything, but I really did enjoy being able to acquire new skills and felt empowered when I gained experience. Gaining additional skills also really opens up options for your play style. If you want to take things slower and go stealth, sure, that’s possible. On the other end of the spectrum, if you want to go in guns blazing, you can do that as well. I’m really surprised at how much freedom that the game gives you in combat situations. Also, it never gets old causing a fire to break out and watching it engulf the surrounding land and panic among your enemies.
Another thing I love about this game is just how alive it feels. Part of that comes from the beautiful visuals which really manage to sell you on being in a hostile tropical island. Not only that, seeing the wildlife dynamic enter in naturally is a real treat. One time, as I approached an outpost controlled by Vaas’ pirates, I heard a low growling noise coming close by. I looked back behind me and a large black bear was standing there. Worried that I was about to be attacked, I managed to sneak into the base through a hole in the fence. As I turned back, I saw the bear walk past heading towards the base entrance. Well, at this point, all hell broke loose as the pirates began shooting at the bear which really only served to enrage it even more. I sat back laughing as the bear managed to clear the entire base for me. It’s dynamic and unplanned events like this which really help make the game shine.
The voice acting and animation work is top-notch. Each character you come across exhibits such a detailed level of animation that takes them beyond the realm of being a video game character. While many of them are unpredictable and a bit off their rockers, each character feels like an actual person due to the fantastic voice actors powering these characters. Obviously, a major standout is the guy on the cover art, Vaas. While he is one of the villains in the game, he’s one of my favorite’s so far due to his irrational and chaotic personality. He certainly has some fantastic lines in this game but you never feel comfortable around him due to the fact that he’s just so unstable. I haven’t found the lead character, Jason Brody, to be all that likable, but he serves as a great protagonist for the simple fact that he’s relatable and has normal human flaws. Interestingly enough, I kind of wish the number of characters were cut down a little only because I would have liked to spend more time with certain individuals. I almost feel like there are so many interesting and diverse personalities, that there’s just not enough time devoted to them in order to keep the game humming along.
The game also comes with a co-op mode, very powerful map editor, and a competitive multiplayer side. To be honest, I’ve put a few matches into the competitive multiplayer and it doesn’t do too much differently from the other shooters out there. It’s not bad or anything, it’s just not terribly memorable. If you like faster paced online shooters, you’ll feel right at home here. The co-op missions are fairly linear and unlike the single player game, you go from point A to point B and so on. There’s no exploring, hunting, collection, etc, etc. I had the good fortune to play through them with friends which makes the experience actually very fun. I can’t comment too much on just playing it with strangers but it’s a solid addition either way. Certainly not something you’d by the game solely on but it’s welcomed.
Even though Far Cry 3 released so late in the year, it’s really a game you shouldn’t miss. Going into the fall season, if you told me I’d enjoy Far Cry 3 way more than Assassin’s Creed 3, I’d have probably called you crazy. Turns out, that’s exactly what happened. Far Cry 3 has so much going for it, it’s worth checking out and the single player campaign is definitely worth the price of admission.