Far Cry 3 Review – Unparalleled Freedom
Joining the party a little late launching on December 4th, Far Cry 3 seemed to have all the ingredients to be a first class, open world first-person shooter. Ubisoft already had a huge winner in the form of Assassins Creed III but were they able to pull it out of the bag twice in the same year?
You take on the role of protagonist Jason Brody; enjoying an action packed vacation with friends after successfully passing his aviation license test. However things take a turn for the worse after the group decide to take a stab at sky diving. The Malay Archipelago is a sight to behold from the skies but the friends soon find that the area holds a sinister secret as they’re separated during flight before landing and being captured by the islands main inhabitants, pirates.
Far Cry 3 Trailer
Far Cry 3 Review
The story begins with Jason and his brother captives in a cell, where the player is introduced to the slightly eccentric beginning antagonist, Vaas. The story continues once Jason escapes and he begins to learn the secrets of the island while trying to save his friends. We always try to avoid spoilers wherever possible and as Far Cry 3 features quite a plethora of twists and turns in the plot; as well as multiple antagonists through various stages of the game, but I’ll avoid ruining the experience with spoilers. The story is compelling and there are some really emotional moments during cut-scenes and such but the missions themselves felt lackluster when compared to the rest of the game.
Free roam is obviously one of the games biggest selling points but the story missions totally remove that aspect from the game. A few of the missions offer freedom in terms of the choices a player makes when approaching an enemy compound, but others restrict any imaginative approach as players are fenced in with an invisible wall that threatens to end the mission if breached. For a game that offers so much freedom and choice across the board; it seem really counterproductive to limit that in what should have been one of the best aspects of the game. The main story arch really is a double-edged sword; one moment I found myself enthralled enough to want to continue the story, while the next I found myself wanting more excitement and turning to side quests and other missions.
However; where the story mode lacks freedom the rest of the game does the opposite. Complete freedom to explore, destroy, hunt, progress and unlock. After completing the first few story missions I was introduced to other aspects of the game such as Radio Towers, Outposts, Hunting/Crafting and Collectibles. This is where the Elder Scrolls fan in me emerged, why bother with a linear story path when I have the entire world at my feet?
I immediately began exploring the island, interacting with the friendly villagers and disrupting the pirates at every opportunity; this is where I feel the game truly excels. Whilst exploring the wonderfully detailed island I came across a variety of dynamic events that can be completely ignored or completed, totally at the players discretion. I quite often found myself saving villagers from execution or attacking a convoy of pirate vehicles, while never feeling like the events were too common or similar. Villagers and pirates aren’t the only thing inhabiting the dense jungles of this tropical paradise, the wildlife can be just as deadly as a group of armed mercenaries.
There’s a great variety of animals that inhabit the island; from friendly Deer and Rabbits to ferocious Bears and Tigers, all of which can be slaughtered and harvested. Once an animal has been killed, whether that be using a sneaky approach with a bow and arrow or launching C4 into a herd of Deer; they can be harvested for rare skins. These skins can then be sold to various traders across the island or used in crafting. Players can craft a limited number of items; each of which works in a very basic and progressive manner. For example you can craft a Simple Wallet, then a more advanced one and so forth. The variety of items available in crafting isn’t huge and once you’ve got the ability to carry more cash and guns, it does become a bit more of a chore than anything else. Hunting also loses its appeal very quickly due to a poor UI design. There’s no “sell all” feature so if you’ve collected 40 pelts; you’re going to have to sell them one by one.
The crafting and hunting is good fun at the beginning of the game but it soon becomes a necessary but boring distraction. The excitement of hunting the animals lessens as you complete all of the crafting recipes and that excitement drops even further when you have no use for the money; or you can’t be bothered to click 40 times.
Moving on to something that never gets dull; the Outposts. There are dozens of Outposts that occupy both the Northern and Southern Island, each filled with a heavy population of enemy units. Conquering an Outpost unlocks new side missions in the form of timed races, unique hunting quests and bounty hunter missions. Each Outpost is unique in design, layout and the enemy types that inhabit it; giving the player a new challenge every step of the way. My personal favorite was approaching via a Hang Glider that was rigged with C4, dropping it into the Outpost; and watching the sparks fly. Or you can approach using stealth techniques and silenced weapons to avoid detection for greater rewards; the freedom is unparalleled.
The freedom approach continues into character progression as Far Cry 3 offers 3 distinct areas of character advancement. There’s options for stealth players; players that enjoy full frontal, weapon-fueled devastation and everything in between. I found myself heavily investing into the stealth aspects of character customization but even still, I was just as capable in a full out assault. You don’t hinder yourself with certain choices, you’re forced to take nothing; and you’re given every ability you desire.
There’s options for stealth players; players that enjoy full frontal, weapon-fueled devastation and everything in between
Without a 20,000 word review I really don’t feel I could even touch on the depth offered in Far Cry 3. Whether I was stalking the underbrush for my next victim, soaring the skies in a Hang Glider or hurtling down a dirt track at 40mph in a Jeep, I enjoyed every second of my experience. If it wasn’t for the late 2012 launch I would easily have pegged Far Cry 3 as Game of the Year.