'Far Cry 3' - review

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 08:37 PM Written by 

Ad·ven·ture [ad-ven-cher] noun, verb: an exciting or very unusual experience.

That sounds about right, but they forgot about the part where you outrun a pack of wild animals on a jeep, swing on a vine over river rapids and then get caught up in a third-world slave-trading ring.

Ubisoft Montreal didn’t forget. Or maybe they just use a different dictionary.

“Far Cry 3,” their most recent release, takes adventure to whole new level. You’re dropped on a tropical island in the midst of violent conflict and drug trafficking, where human life is regarded as nothing more than currency. And if the natives don’t gut you, the apex predators of the jungle will gladly finish the job. Good luck.

Jason Brody is a prisoner-turned-protagonist on a journey of exploration and self-discovery. He tags along with his wealthy Los Angeles friends on a tropical vacation of thrills like skydiving and binge drinking. All is well until he and the rest of his group are captured by the island natives and thrown into slave trade. Jason and his brother manage to escape their cell, but his brother is shot and killed, leaving Jason alone. A band of rebels takes him into their care, and guide him as he transforms into an unlikely hero.

“Far Cry 3” can best be categorized as an RPG, but can’t be contained by one genre. It ventures into the action/adventure and platforming categories at times. Its tight gunplay controls even rival today’s best first-person shooters. This game wears many hats and wears them well.

 

 

There are loads of production value, and not just from the vibrant graphics. The voice acting is top notch, most notably the villainous Vaas, who gives a particularly haunting performance. The game’s pacing is among the best of any game this year. It remains gripping from beginning to end, although the ending is a little questionable. But I’ll let you decide that one.

The developers at Ubisoft Montreal succeeded in making the world feel like a living, breathing place. It’s massive, and exploring is half the fun. You can travel the forest on foot, truck, ATV, or take to the seas on a boat or Jet Ski. You can even hike to the top of the mountains and hang glide to your destination giving you an incredible view of the beaches and hills.

When not exploring, Jason is in rebel mode, taking out pirates one camp at a time. This is where “Far Cry 3’s” stellar FPS mechanics come into play. It feels as tight as any triple-A military shooter. Progression grants upgrades that turn Jason into a finely-tuned killer. When I started my journey, I felt like Arnold in “Predator.” I was new in a strange land, where everything I encountered wanted me dead. But as Jason evolved, I felt more like the Predator. I became the danger in the jungle.

 

 

Problems did arise when I needed to complete the all-important action of looting. The game was never quite sure if I was trying to loot an enemy or pick up a gun. Plus, looting always goes through an animation, which can take a while when trying to wade your way through an entire camp of fallen pirates.

There’s so much more to do than what the core story has to offer. You can go off the beaten path and hunt dangerous game. Animals like bears and leopards can be skinned for their pelts, which can be crafted into larger inventory bags, wallets or ammo slings. Jumping into shark infested waters in order to lure the beasts closer to your boat to skin them provided one of the scariest moments in gaming this year. This is realistic terror. There’s a hefty selection of side missions as well, just in case the 15-hour main storyline isn’t enough for the $60 price tag.

 

 

“Far Cry 3” features competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes, but neither matches the ambition of the single player campaign. The cooperative mode has a different set of missions that feel linear and forced. Competitive mode seems to abandon all incentives to play stealthily, and favors a run-and-gun play style, which seems out of character for the game. These modes are easy to ignore, The game’s single player is the main course.

“Far Cry 3” offered one of the most engaging gaming experiences of the year and it easily has a place on my top ten list. I couldn’t put it down. Due to its late release, it wasn’t eligible for the recent VGA nominations, but it deserves to be in that company. This is the last must-play of 2012.

 

9.5 out of 10

 

 

Pros:

Satisfying exploration

Tight FPS gunplay

Engaging story

Gorgeous environments

 

 

Cons:

Monotonous looting system

Release Date 12/4/12
Platform PC (reviewed), PS3, Xbox 360
Rating M for Mature
Price $59.99

 

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