One early morning after work, I stood in front of that ominous, red kiosk for what seemed like ages, attempting to determine what game to grab. I finally convinced myself that I would do my friend (an avid fan of the Far Cry series) a favor, and pick up Far Cry 3 for the PS3. I was not a fan of the series before I played 3. I’d tried them a few times, sure, but just couldn’t get into them. This was partially due to the somewhat bland environments, and the inability to clearly make out the enemies ahead of me. “Worse-case scenario is, I’m out $2,” I told myself. Fortunately for me, the best-case scenario happened. They have fixed my lame complaints in FC3, and placed me in my habitat of choice (I’m a sucker for a tropical island-themed game). I now own the game, and still play it to this day.
You play as Jason Brody, a vacationing party-goer, parachuting with your two brothers, your girlfriend, and two friends, when you crash onto an island. You then wake up in a cage next to your brother, and as you gather your wits, you meet one of the antagonists….the villainous Vaas. Once he’s left the scene, your brother breaks you both out of the cell, via his military training, and you attempt an escape from the camp. We now skip through a small tutorial sequence, observe a nicely acted cut scene, and then find ourselves running, sliding, and swimming through the jungle to escape the incoming pirate horde. Once you escape a possible filleting from the pirates, you wake up in a small village, rescued by the Rakyat (local ally tribe).
Far Cry 3 is an open world shooter with some RPG elements. It takes place on the two tropical Rook Islands, which are inhabited by hostile pirates, passive villagers, allied tribes, and animals to skin. Dropped off into the world by Ubisoft with little more than your digital camera, it is up to you to find your friends & family before Vaas and company erase them from existence. Earn guns, money, treasures and items by scaling radio towers, liberating pirate outposts, searching caves, and helping the Rakyat. The latter can be done by completing time trials, bounties and hunting missions.
This game starts out intense, and keeps you motivated the whole way through. I am generally not a 100% completionist of games; however, I found myself many hours in, after I had completed the sixteen-plus-hour main story, still searching for elusive rare animals to hunt & skin so I could craft that last wallet or gun pouch.
Aside from the hallucinogenic trip sequences brilliantly thrown in to give you a break from normal game play, liberating the outposts would have to be my favorite aspect of the game. Using your camera, you can locate and identify your targets. After they’re marked, they’re visible even around corners, so you’re free to plan your attack. Whether you prefer a stealthy invasion from the mountain behind the camp, or an all-in assault with nothing to hide, the choice is up to you.
Controlling Brody is fairly flawlessly carried out, with responsive aim & camera work. The game utilizes the current staple for shooter controls, and features easily aimed iron sights with the Call of Duty-style button layout. L1 and R1 will aim and shoot, clicking R3 will command Brody to sprint, and pressing circle while sprinting will prompt him to slide and crouch.
The island scenery is beautiful, and the gameplay graphics are nice and detailed, minus some minor shading issues. This compliments the game’s sounds nicely, and really makes you feel like you’re wandering around an island, whether on foot, or in a vehicle (car, truck, buggy, hang glider, parachute, or jet ski).
The music in FC 3 is absolutely fantastic. The background tunes intensify when needed, and fit with the action nicely. Want the perfect jam to destroy a drug dealer’s crop with a flamethrower? How about some Reggae?
While sizing up an outpost & calculating my strategy, there were several times that I would look to my left, & discover a tiger striding toward me with the intention of eating the very same eyes that were looking through the scope of my sniper rifle a few seconds before. A similarly tense moment came from sneaking through the weeds, only to hear a low growl, & see a leopard jump over my head to annihilate a boar, casually strolling by. The next sound I heard was my own heart attempting to escape my body through my chest. The tension was beautiful, and encouraged me to proceed with my task. This factor also drove me to always stay aware of my surroundings, as at any moment, I could be the victim of a perilous pounce from my peripherals.
The story was interesting, & the missions, thankfully, varied from one another enough to keep me going. The soundtrack & voice acting were, for the most part, pretty stellar, & didn’t make me tweak the audio, or put on my own music in the background. With so many games out that suffer from terrible acting, FC 3 was a nice distraction (Vaas especially), earning the X Factor for this review.
A nice addition to the shooting gameplay is the skill points that you earn by completing missions & leveling up are put into three different skill trees. These enable you to sneakily take down a baddie from below the ledge he’s inhabiting, pull the pin on another’s grenade, reload while sprinting, or any other number of actions.
The multiplayer fits in well with the CoD-style franchises, so those that enjoy that type of game will most likely enjoy this, as well….just don’t look for anything too original or different. Shoot & kill while you defend & take. It’s not bad, but it isn’t anything to pine & drool over, either. With only a few game options to choose from, all team-based, it can get old fairly quickly, but can still give you a breather from the main game. The two-to-four player co-op, which is completely separate from the main story, is also fun for a while, but despite the fun originally had, it can get a bit repetitive & dull.
A returning feature is the map editor, which lets you create your own custom maps to play on. While most of the aspects are nice, there were some random visual bugs present (cloudy sky underneath water). This is not, however, enough to sway either side of any argument I’ve envisioned, as I mostly used the feature as a distraction from regular gameplay.
Far Cry 3 is a fantastic open world action shooter with an engaging story, on-par acting, good RPG elements, & fun game mechanics. The world is amazingly large, covering two islands, & is full of things to keep you busy. The multiplayer & co-op are fairly stale, but still work if you want to mindlessly kill pirates alone, or with a room full of friends.