Published on November 30th, 2012 | by Ben Hedworth0
Far Cry 3 Review
Rook island is alive and kicking…
I notice a faded poster mounted on the wall of the outpost I just risked my life to take. I stroll over, Magnum still in hand, the poster read ‘WANTED’. On closer inspection I learn that a violent pirate had liberated a farm and was now using the land to grow drugs, I could earn a couple of hundred dollars for taking the gang leader out…but it wasn’t about the money.
I replenish the ammo in my trusty magnum, stock up on medical syringes in case the assassination went sour, and loaded up into my dented 4×4. The Rakyat tradition insists I slay the leader with a knife, I must comply. As I draw closer to the pirate ridden farm I pull my 4×4 over, swapping it’s clamorous engine for a more subtle approach.
“A group of local rebels threw themselves out of the 4×4 and launched a full assault onto the startled pirates.”
I crawl through the thick grass and bushes, silently working my way behind a group of chattering pirates, I reach for my DSLR to get a closer look. I zoom in and identify the leader, I slip my camera back into it’s holster and take a commanding grip over my sturdy magnum.
I emerge from the bush, gripping my my gun tighter as I draw closer to my target. But the sound of an engine comes rumbling around the corner; reinforcements? I definitely couldn’t take on that many pirates from this position, I crept back into the thicket as the bustling noise of a 4×4 grew closer. Suddenly the area was overwhelmed with gunfire. A group of local rebels threw themselves out of the 4×4 and launched a full assault onto the startled pirates.
This was my chance, I composed myself and swiftly snuck behind the pirate leader, I then lunged and penetrated my rusted machete through his loathsome torso. It wasn’t over yet, two pirates took cover behind there own battered 4×4, I leap round vigorously pulling out my magnum and take two forceful shots. I watch both pirates slump to the floor, my deed was done and the farm was returned.
This was one of the many moments of my Far Cry adventure so far, and even though Jason Brody has lost all his friends and family to crazed pirates, I was having a whale of a time slaughtering the local wildlife and becoming a fashion designer. Far Cry 3 offers a beautiful and truly open world that is Rook Island, a peaceful place in the south pacific that was invaded by those horrendous pirates.
“Far Cry 3′s Rook Island is littered with optional content that’s enticing enough to make you drive a quad bike for miles”
I love open world games, (who doesn’t?) but my usual *grab-a-vehicle-im-going-exploring-motherducker* approach to the genre didn’t occur this time around. That’s because Far Cry 3′s Rook Island is littered with optional content that’s enticing enough to make you drive a quad bike for miles to reach, rather than setting a random way point on the map and going some sort of tropical pilgrimage.
The highlight of this optional content is capturing outposts, these missions are worth your time and effort for a number of different reasons; the main one being there down right fun. Each outpost is guarded by a considerable amount of pirates who when pissed off can also access an alarm, this will then send a truck full of even more pissed of pirates racing to the outpost, which isn’t advised. Far Cry 3 let’s you to take pretty much any angle you like into an outpost, allowing for varied levels of stealth and trickery.
Painting targets with your DSLR camera is a big part of planning a strategic attack, it allows you to track the pirate’s movement in real time. Once you’ve tactically laid out your route you can distract pirates by throwing rocks, giving you the chance to creep up and kill using the upgradable take down system. The AI is pretty intelligent and they primarily hunt with sound, so they can be distracted or drawn by explosions, gun shots and pebbles.
“locations and buildings are aesthetically natural”
Another great element about outposts are how they are all inherently similar, but the locations and buildings are aesthetically natural. They’ve done a fantastic job of including a shed load of outposts without them feeling forced, whether it’s a rusty shack complete with a BBQ and a bonfire, or a beach side camp tucked beneath a cliff each one is a treat to assault. Upon defeating the pirates you will receive extra hunting missions, a self service weapon shop and a safe house.
Sound really brings Rook Island to life. When you hear the grunt of a pig, a screaming villager or a splutter of a machine gun fire it’s not just ambient background noise, it’s something that’s actually going on, and if you follow your ears you can join the fun. That’s if you count a fisherman getting mauled by wild dogs fun.
The island’s large array of animals will keep you on your toes, but also looking fresh and hip with the newest hides. Animal skins are an integral part of Far Cry 3′s crafting system, mostly when creating bags, wallets and weapon holsters. This adds a level of frustration when items can only be upgraded by a certain animal skin, why would I need a wild dog hide to make my boar hide bag already bigger?
“The island’s large array of animals will keep you on your toes, but also looking fresh and hip with the newest hides”
But once you go on your travels you soon realise that your thankful as you’ve been sent off deeper into the nooks and crannies of Rook island. Plants are also apart of the on the fly crafting system, allowing you to create different types of medicine that will aid you on your adventures.
Okay you got me, I haven’t played that much of the story. I got distracted alright? But the story missions are certainly a quality drop in comparison to the open world island antics. You will soon become, be it not happily, acustomed to the restart screen. Missions swap the sandbox freedoms for a more linear approach in which straying off the path leaves the sigh inducing restart screen. It’s not that missions are awful, it’s actually far from that, it’s just picking flowers and shooting bears with shotguns in vastly more fun, and free.
“Jason is more than comfortable firing a hunting bow, using a flame thrower or hip spraying a negligent family of goats with an LMG.”
I also feel as if Jason Brody takes some questionable speedy steps from ‘guy on holiday’ to ‘mass pirate murderer’. While I was discovering flower
arranging picking and fashion designing animal skinning my character hopped in no problemo, there wasn’t a struggle to learn or adjust to the situation.
This also rings true for the weapons, the shop opens and every single item in the game is unveiled, and as long as you have the cash moneys, or unlock enough radio towers you can use anything. Jason is more than comfortable firing a hunting bow, using a flame thrower or hip spraying a negligent family of goats with an LMG.
Ubisoft could have played on this area, maybe showing how detached Brody is becoming from his day to day self, but like other functions in the game they have taken the fun over realism approach and to be honest, I don’t have that much of a problem with it. I just wanted my character to show weakness rather than leap out the gate as a gun wielding, fashion and nature expert who can take on a couple of thousand pirates at a time.
“I just wanted my character to show weakness”
As you expect certain elements are tied to the storyline, while you can drive around the island all day long activating radio towers and completing side missions you won’t gain any of those oh-so-lovely skill points. For the most part you can avoid the main story and still have copious amounts of fun exploring, hang gliding, jet skiing and setting pet tigers on there owners.
I didn’t get to check out co-op because I have no friends, jokes! There all hipsters and play oldschool consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360! What I did check out was the arbitrary multiplayer mode, and while the single player was a pleasant surprise the multiplayer was a foreseeable flop.
“skill really doesn’t find its way into the Far Cry 3 multiplayer”
The lack of innovation came through in the trailer and shows even further within the game. It’s an extremely recognisable romp with capture-the-thingymabob game modes, an awful spawn system and badly designed maps. It essentially comes down to who can pull the trigger first or man the spawns the best, skill really doesn’t find its way into the Far Cry 3 multiplayer.
So while Far Cry 3 has some questionable areas, which can only been called clumsy by it’s developers, it is an almost perfect take on the sandbox genre has made it one of the best games this year. Ubisoft’s approach to what may seem like subtle mechanics creates a great sense of immersion, the solid open world coupled with the beautiful setting, randomized events and the fun over reality approach have really made Far Cry 3 the best sandbox of this year.
Summary: Far Cry 3 has a rich open world that is visually astounding. It's at its best letting you be as creative and free as possible. Though the story missions are forceful and the multiplayer is worth a miss Far Cry 3 is by far the best sandbox of this year!