You’re alone running in the jungle, out of nowhere you notice a small encampment of pirates. They don’t see you thanks to the benefit of being hidden in the foliage of the jungle. You pick your targets and plan out how to take care of them, but as soon as your about to make your move, you hear a distinct growl behind you causing you to literally freeze out of panic. A moment like this is just one of the many that make Far Cry 3 one of the most fun game experiences of 2012. Far Cry 3 stars Jason Brody, after he and his brothers and their friends take a trip to an island to party out of their parent’s expenses, things go from having a good time to fighting for their lives as they’re all captured by Vass Montenegro (who is by far my favorite villain that I’ve seen in a while) and pirates to be sold off for a profit.
One thing that I liked about the choice of having Jason Brody as a protagonist for this game is that he isn’t the typical knows how to handle himself person or the “supersoldier” protagonist that we’ve all come to know, he’s just a typical somewhat spoiled rich kid (or at least hangs with the spoiled rich kids) who just wants to have fun and “find himself,” like everyone else in life. Far Cry 3 feature an amazing open world (well an island) that gives the players various activities and looks beautiful pretty much all the time. It also helps that Rook Island feels alive with random wildlife encounters (all mostly bad for the player), and the world itself interacts with itself. There were a few times when scoping out an enemy encampment that I noticed a predator animal chasing its dinner across the encampment prompting the pirates to take out the animal. As the game starts, Jason is escaping Vaas’s prison camp where the game does show a nice little scene showing the horror he feels for his first kill.
Far Cry 3 (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Reviewed])
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release: December 4, 2012
MSRP: $59.99 [Buy Now]
Sadly I just wish there had been more scenes in the beginning of the game like that, since the rest of Jason’s transformation from a guy who doesn’t know what it means to kill something to killing without remorse (and sometimes taking pleasure in it), isn’t that much plausible. While the rest of the story is enjoyable and features an interesting cast of characters, there are a few times during the most important parts of it where things just aren’t explained clearly, causing myself to have a few, “Did that really even happen?” moments during my time with the game. Players are given the option to approach situations however they want, giving the game a real sense of freedom and character creation for how Jason is. Jason’s transformation from civilian to predator is mainly monitored through the game’s skill tree system and not only does it give the player new abilities such as chained take down skills and other important things like more health slots, but also players can see the progress of their upgrades via Jason’s arm in the form of a mystical tattoo ( mysticism and drugs play a huge part of the story).
Jason acquires these skills via XP from killing enemies (with much improved A.I from Far Cry 2), and also for doing side activities such as helping out the locals, liberating outposts (these give you your fast travels), hunting and many others. The hunting mechanic in the game is fun and simple, my only complaint is that I wish there was a better indicator for where your kill was. Whenever Jason sees an animal (and Far Cry 3 has a pretty diverse selection of animals ranging from pigs and boars, to tigers and sharks), he can kill it and skin it for upgrades to his ammo capacities and more room for his loot rucksack (think of it as a backpack). While hunting and eliminating enemies is fun, I would have loved to see somewhat better controls for the gun swapping.
While there isn’t anything wrong with Far Cry 3‘s gun play, it does sometimes get cumbersome trying to switch guns during a tight situation since players have to hold down a shoulder button and use one of the analog sticks to do so, taking away any control over Jason for the time being. Another thing about Far Cry 3 that bothered me was that at times there was just way too much menu navigation, for every hour that I played the game, at least 15 minutes of it was spent crafting or micro-managing in the pause menu. Far Cry 3‘s singleplayer offerings give players enough bang for their buck, but Far Cry 3 also features co-op and competitive multiplayer. The co-op campaign stars four different characters and is set six months before the events of Far Cry 3 and while it is enjoyable and offers objectives and upgrades, it is linear and most players might end up just wanted to roam around the island freely with their buddies instead. Competitive multiplayer, however, is pretty open with its maps (almost to just as open as Battlefield 3 on consoles) and features the usual selectable loadouts and simple killstreaks (I mean simple in a good way). The competitive component of Far Cry 3 is fun, its not as deep as some of the other multiplayer shooters out there on the market and while some will be spending alot of time with it, others may only play long enough just to say they tried it out.
Far Cry 3 was a game that surprised me. It wasn’t until a few weeks prior to release that I started to really pay attention to it and keep it on my radar. Even though the co-op and multiplayer are fun, but lacking, the single player portion of Far Cry 3 is where it shines best and even with a very slightly flawed story, offers players a variety of objectives, goals, and means to level up their character anyway they like make me glad I decided to keep this game on my radar.