Genre: First Person Shooter
Unique Elements: Customizable weapons, Upgradeable skills, and crafting elements.
Series: Far Cry
Systems: X-Box 360, PS3, PC (Windows).
Release Date: 2013
Estimated Length: 22 hours
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Issue: #14 (07/13)
Reviewed by: Stu Ruckus
Final Score: 4.0 Moons (out of 5)
If you’ve somehow played the other games in this franchise and not enjoyed them, then you may have already decided against this game. Wait! This is not your standard Far Cry fare.
It has multiple redemptive qualities, and, might I say, it even has it’s own little moments of awesome shininess. It has elements of game-play that make you yearn to pick up your controller and go roaming through the jungles of the island, shooting and knifing people and animals as you go. It also has some really cool gameplay mechanics and it makes being sneaky fun, which is a huge plus, as far as I’m concerned.
Your protagonist is Jason Brody, a spoiled rich kid who decides to go sky-diving with his friends, brothers, and girlfriend over a remote island somewhere near Bangkok. When things go awry, you end up on a pirate infested island -no not “Arrrrr, where’s the rum?” peg-leg pirates, but “Oh God, oh God, they’ve got guns and drugs!” Somali-style pirates- and will have to escape the villainous clutches of the island’s leaders while saving your friends. You do this by buying and upgrading weapons, leveling your skill tree, and hunting animals for their skins; which you use to upgrade your weapon and ammo stores.
This game has some beautiful scenery, awesome weapons, and some really cool animations. Beyond this, the story line is pretty good, although a tad contrived at times. It has a bit of a crazy learning curve as far as your character is concerned, going from a spoiled rich kid to a gun toting warrior/savior in about twenty minutes of gameplay. Overlooking this, you will soon find yourself roaming the open world, hunting wild animals, and reeking havoc on the local oppressors.
The developers did a fine job of making the island feel very open and explorable, without making it so much so that you never feel like you can finish the game. You can spend hours looking for collectables, helping the locals and doing various side quests and then you can jump right back into the story line seamlessly. There are very few times that you’ll feel rushed in between main story arc missions, but, when you do, it’s for a good reason.
The look of this game is very clean with great graphics and a well thought out environment. It definitely doesn’t let you down. While it may not be able to rival the look or story of games like BioShock: Infinite, but it will provide you with hours of entertainment.
The gameplay is where this game really grabbed me, as it gives you plenty of options for creatively completing missions. These vary from stealthy â€œtakedownsâ€ to full frontal assaults with flame-throwers and rocket launchers. If you’ve ever wanted to be Rambo, this game makes that happen for you, complete with bow and exploding arrows. The only issue I have with the stealth versus frontal assault tactics is that on the mid to lower difficulties, there doesn’t seem to be much of a benefit to using stealth. Since a couple well placed Molotov cocktails and a rocket followed by a machine gun barrage usually does the trick just fine.
With that being said the game does pull off its stealth aspects really well, which I found to be easily the most entertaining aspect of the game. The way that they’ve made being a sneaky little bastard fun is with the aforementioned “takedowns”–some pretty awesomely animated moves that incorporate your knife, the enemies weapons, and occasionally the surrounding terrain. For instance, let’s say you are in the water next to a pier and on that pier, is an enemy. A takedown in this situation involves sliding quietly out of the water, pulling the enemy in with you, silencing him with your knife, and disposing of the body in one smooth motion. The sheer variety of takedowns, combined with their ease of execution, really makes this game stand out from its peers.
When it comes to exploration, this games does a great job of explaining why certain area aren’t viewable on your map right away, as you have to climb precarious radio towers and hijack them to reveal sections of the map. To top it off, you get weapons for free at shops whenever you successfully convert one of the towers. One note, if you have an issue with heights, even in a video game, don’t look down. The developers did a great job of making these towers feel like they are going to fall out from under you at any moment while you are climbing them. With creaking sound effects and a sway at the moment you are about to grab a ledge, it really does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat.
The weapons are definitely well done in their own right; from the pistol to the sniper rifle they all feel fairly realistic and have their own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, most assault rifles cannot be equipped with a silencer, while many pistols can never have a very large magazine, forcing you to trade-off between ammo or stealth. I also have to say there is something fairly invigorating about using a bow to take down a platoon of mercenaries from the cover of the jungle; watching while the NPCs search frantically for their assailant and then mowing them down from the cover of the jungle brings joy to my heart.
Multiplayer, oh the multiplayer. With games like Borderlands 2 on the market, the bar for multiplayer is really high for FPS games. Unfortunately, Far Cry 3’s mutliplayer is underpar, with a few standard game modes. It’s got some cool power ups, but it’s not going to blow you away. The online learning curve really ruined this for me, since you level your character up by playing PVP and winning and it takes forever to catch up if you didn’t jump into the servers day one. Although some of the options and power ups are really cool, I really didn’t have a good time online with this game. It just seemed very imbalanced and no matter how good you are at the game, the edge always seems to be with the players with the upgraded weapons and power-ups. You may have a different experience but luckily the single player made this game very worth the price. It’s no Call of Duty or Halo when you break down the online play, but offline it’s much better than the aforementioned games.
This game has its dark elements at times and, just like all of us, it also has its shining moments. It allows you to seek revenge, while at the same time seeking redemption for a life you wish you could change. Despite its lackluster story line, Far Cry 3 has the ability to let you feel like you are the character in a way that’s more reminiscent of RPGs. That makes up for any lackluster story elements, because you become invested in Jason and you want him to succeed, no matter the cost. It may not have the stereotypical Gothic protagonist that popular culture believes we require to “get” a game, but it has a far more representative element of the Gothic subculture: a very human protagonist and some very difficult choices that any of us would be hard pressed to make in real life. All in all, it fits very well into the sub-culture and shouldn’t be written off as just another meat-head shooter.
Despite some story and plot issues, Far Cry 3’s solid mechanics and extremely fun play style make it well worth the price. Now I’m not saying break the bank for it, but if you are having trouble finding something to burn time while providing enjoyment, this is the game for you.
I enjoyed playing through it, and will probably play it a couple more times before I take it to trade it in for the next game on my wish list. I won’t be getting back into the multiplayer, of course, but that’s okay; it has plenty of re-play value on it’s own. Far Cry 3 is a game that has its high points and its low points but is altogether a fun gaming experience.
Presentation: 3.5 Moons (out of 5)
Gameplay: 4.5 Moons (out of 5)
Gothic Fit: 4.0 Moons (out of 5)
Final Score (not an average): 4.0 Moons (out of 5)