“Do you know the definition of…”, ah hell, is it really worth repeating? After countless ads pegging Far Cry 3 for the theme of “insanity”, I’m happy to share it fits the title perfectly, but sadly, I’m not quite sure in the way the developers intended.Meeting the criteria for the franchise (jungles, guns, wild animals), FC3 follows a group of friends during a vacation on an island in the pacific that takes a turn for the worst when crazy pirates kidnap them… and I mean CRAZY. From here is where the player presumes the role of Jason Brody, just the average young man who, like most, has never had to deal with guns and knives taunted in his face. After watching his brother be viciously murdered, Jason escapes, and is harbored by the Rakyat, the island natives who dislike the pirates just as much as he. Jason must now learn the powers of the Rakyat tribe in order to rescue his friends.
ONE HELL OF A TRIP
Living, Breathing, Dangerous Wildlife - Bears, sharks, and tigers are just a couple of the over two-dozen animals in the game. Each has its own territories that can be seen from the map, and each can be hunted, and skinned for upgrades such as the ability to carry more weapons or more money. What makes the animals stand out is they aren’t there to just look cool, and pop up for the player every once in a while, no, they actually interact with the environment in unique realistic ways.
For instance, players might see a tiger chase down a helpless deer, kill it, and then run off without even noticing you, it just adds to the overall realism of the island. But that’s not to say they won’t notice you. Players don’t only have to look out for pirates, they must be ready to mash on their face buttons in the case of a surprise attack from say a tiger, or a snake. It’s those moments that produce genuine scares that in some instances compete with games such as Dead Space and Condemned.
So Much to do, and So Much to See - With hours and hours of content, FC3 is perfect for fans of open-world games. The giant island draws the player to the depths of ancient ruins on the ocean floor to ancient temples. Besides for the 9 to 12 hour campaign, players can take part in side quests, amounting to usually killing a specific breed of an animal, assassinating a pirate leader, taking over an enemy base, or helping townspeople with their problems (trust me, they have some interesting problems). Many secrets are also to be found on the island. Lost World War II remnants and stray memory cards help detail the vast history of the island. Or similar to Assassins Creed, players can climb cell towers, using a first person platform gameplay to synchronize different parts of the island, allowing them to show up on your map.
Immersion - FC3 is a first person shooter, and it never cheats that. Cut scenes, climbing, taking cover, driving, swimming, healing, is all done from Brody’s POV. The game isn’t the most realistic, but little nuances like digging a bullet out of your skin or snapping your wrist back in place, immerses the player. It also doesn’t hurt that the actually shooter mechanics are at the top of its class. The cover system works well in combat and the realistic AI allows for some intense firefights.Sounds of the Jungle - The pounding of dubstep as Brody enters a hallucination, or the jamming of reggae during an assault on a drug field gives the game a unique, and unusual flare, not seen in the genre. I, for one, don’t usually notice music in games, but in certain parts it stuck out and added to the whole atmosphere so perfectly, that it intensified certain parts and made me feel like a badass in others. Even better, the voice acting of the two main villains, Vaas, the insane pirate lord, and Hoyt, his even more insane boss, is incredible. Both pull off the perfection of creepy, scary, and intelligent, yet not too goofy. Just a few lines of theirs will give even the most cynical person the chills.
INSANITY IS NOT A GOOD EXCUSE
Unrealistic Progression of Brody - Within minutes of the games opening, Brody freaks out when he watches a knife be slammed through a soldier's neck producing a spur of blood into the air, yet an hour later, Brody is doing this same maneuver with no problem. While the game does the best it can to show a sort of progression over the course, the initial change to killer from average Joe is not coherent and reasonable. That’s not to say I’d like to spend hours before being able to kill a pirate, but the way the story is set up, that’s how it should be. Instead, Brody becomes a bad ass, pulling off headshots, slitting necks, skinning animals, and much more, within a very short period of time. It never for a minute feels organic and believable.
Characters Need a Little More Flesh - As said previously, the villains in this game, Vaas and Hoyt, are both incredible. Though sadly, neither gets nearly enough time as they should, because of the addition of unnecessary characters that add hardly anything to the overall story. One in particular is there only to give exposition on certain areas, and is very tacked on to the overall story. Plus, both the final battles never feel fulfilling, as they chose to go a weird route, by having them play out in more hallucination-y ways with quick time events. It feels like a cop out to the menacing and realistic approach they are given.
Multiplayer? - Yes, that is a question. Why in the world does a game with a perfectly fine, standalone single player be given a tacked on Call of Duty rip-off multiplayer? Sure, there are a few new modes, but none feel anymore than slapped on, just to say on the box, includes multiplayer. The worst offender is co-op. These are side missions that have a separate story to the single player, but are done so poorly and take away what the game does best, that they feel worthless.
Far Cry 3 is great at giving players the freedom to take on environments and enemies in different ways but the co-op: instead, forces the player down one path and a single play style. The one caveat is the map editor. For people who take the time for the steep learning curve, they’ll find great enjoyment out of the many customization options.
As stated in the opening, insanity is the main theme of Far Cry 3. Instead of it being a present theme throughout the story, it feels as if that is the story, Insane. Unbelievable moments, and an un-gratifying conclusion leave the player wanting a story more cohesive. That said, the gameplay is top notch of the genre, and some of the best of the year. So for players wanting a triple A story that evokes deep emotion, look elsewhere, if they want an overall gameplay experience unlike anything else, Far Cry 3 is the perfect choice.
- Ryan Croft