Jason Brody, his two brothers and friends are on the Rook Islands in the Pacific when their holiday goes extremely wrong. Brody needs to focus his inner strengths and go to extremes to save his captured friends and brothers from being sold to slave trade. Far Cry 3 is an open-world shooter with RPG traits that takes you on Brody’s extraordinary ride through the main narrative. There are also plenty of mini-games to compliment the exploring of the island and multiplayer modes including a four-man co-operative mode.
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
For fans of: Open-world shooters
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: Playstation 3, PC
If we had to give it a numerical score: 8.5/10
What I loved
- Visual quality
- Fun story
Not so much
- Questionable AI
- Jason Brody’s an unlikely hero
- Game-save system
- Some visual imprfections
Gameplay and Features
Where Far Cry 2 suffered was that it was a little on the monotonous side, drawn out and boring because of it. Far Cry 3 is the opposite; the main quests are diversified and interesting. And while there is nothing really ground-breaking in the gameplay, it is well executed and, well, fun. Besides the main objectives, the map is filled with side-quests or mini-games which are short enough to not feel laborious. The mini-games have you complete various objectives; from shooting foes with the given weapons, to making drops on a route within a certain time.
Far Cry 3 progression system is as satisfying and interesting as you are going to find in a shooter. The map is huge, and similar to that with the Assassin’s Creed series, where you need to find satellite towers to open up the map. Once you find the towers, that portion of the map is detailed with points of interest and collectables. You will also need to ‘liberate’ enemy controlled areas to make the map a safer place – liberated areas become a safer passage to pass by. This is particularly important as at times the islands do feel totally inhospitable by the opposition and by the wild animals. Before I concentrated on liberating some areas, and after a fair amount of hours into the campaign, it was starting to get a little on the hectic side – I was barely able to move a few metres without getting attacked.
The RPG element in the design compliments the pace of the narrative. The narrative opens up or pieces together quite slowly, so the fairly deep progression system kept me interested and wanting. You need to unlock a range of abilities that will aid you in various ways – from different attacking methods, to sensory abilities. This aspect is deep, progressed at a nice pace, and is wonderfully rewarding. At the starting hours your abilities are fairly standard or familiar to shooters, but as you progress you unlock great new attacking abilities – ‘death from above’ which allows you to dive onto foes, or ‘death from below’ which does the opposite – there are plenty of abilities to unlock, and offer great diversity to your gameplay.
To compliment your abilities, you will need to hunt animals and pick up plants to craft various remedies to either gain improved physical abilities, to healing. The picking up of various coloured plants or hunting for skins to craft did get a bit tedious for me. At first I was quite taken by the array of collectables needed and what I could craft with them, but then I was ten hours into the game and I still hadn’t “naturally” come across a Boar, so I could use its skin to carry a second weapon holster. So this aspect did start to annoy me. You need to open up the map to find hot spots for animal hunting, and finding a specific animal was a little annoying for me. While I found it annoying, it does give the game more hours, and therefore more value.
As you unlock areas and complete objectives, you do get the ability to ‘fast-travel’. This is a must as the map really is huge. Before you unlock the fast-travel ability in areas, or if you just want to cruise around looking for mini-games, there are plenty of vehicles. From Jeep type vehicles to basic sedans made in South Africa from scrap metal. There off-road quad-bikes, water-crafts and I was pleased to see the hand-glider made a return.
The Multiplayer modes are pretty traditional in their offerings and if you have played a few shooters, they will seem familiar – from team versus team modes to capturing areas. The design here uses the peer-to-peer system, so lag was random for me. I either experienced a bit or not much at all. I don’t exactly want to cancel my Halo or Call of Duty nights for the multiplayer mode, but they are enjoyable and don’t feel forced. With that said, the campaign eclipses the multiplayer mode for me and I am not surprised to find my friends-list going at it alone night after night. There is also a four-player co-op mode, but is somewhat linear compared to the singleplayer campaign.
Sound and Visuals
The narrative is interesting, humorous, and while it is a fairly simple story, you progress through it at a nice pace, rewarding and unfolding in a timely manner to keep you interested. The narrative is also complimented by some real interesting characters.
It’s not every day the antagonist steals the show. For me personally I can only think of The Joker in Batman Arkham Asylum. His script and execution gave “Bat Boy” a good go. Far Cry 3’s antagonist, the sociopathic Vaas played by Michael Mando, absolutely steals the show. From his opening speech, he absolutely crept me out, but had me in absolute awe too. So much so that the protagonist Jason Brody, who does a competent job, could never quite match Mando’s Vaas for entertainment value. Brody’s character was a bit ‘whiney’ for me in the beginning, but he did grow on me as the story went on and he became a little more tainted. Brody hardens up as he learns new skills and traverses through the extreme situations that he needs to go through to save his brother and friends. The character’s animations further the brilliant dialogue and script. Vaas’ alpha-male, troubled persona is perfectly complimented by the realistic-looking animations, with the facial-animations being the absolute highlight.
The overall visual production quality is of a high standard for the most part. Far Cry 3’s world is a well textured, vivid and well detailed. And as I said, the animations were just about flawless, natural-looking and smooth. I did however notice some isolated frame-rate issues, and I also managed to get a character stuck in the background – a character I was protecting and following who got stuck in a tight corner. I needed to reload to progress further – it was a small glitch though, and none of the mentioned imperfections were enough to warrant more than a paragraph, and certainly not detracting of the experience. Other than the few visual imperfections, my only other complaint was the questionable AI here and there.
Far Cry 3 corrects what the previous game did wrong. Where the previous game seemed to drag on, this one fly’s by. The narrative isn’t exactly enthralling, but fun nonetheless and well paced. The mini-games are enjoyable and while the map is huge, exploration never seems drawn out. Far Cry 3 isn’t ground-breaking and it doesn’t really do anything too differently, but what it does it does well. While I have seen more interesting, prettier or even more impressive games this year, few were as much fun.
Read about our ratings here.