The Far Cry series has been one of the most popular shooters on the market. Whether it is because of the wacky characters that populate the franchise, or just the sheer amount of open-world fun that is in the offering, it has definitely raised the gaming stakes. And Ubisoft’s latest, Far Cry 3, is no different.
The game revolves around Jason Brody, a tourist and adventure-seeker, who came to Rook Island in search of excitement with a group of friends. In a strange twist of fate, they end up being captured by Vaas, a psychotic pirate and island–dweller, who aims to sell them into slavery.
As Jason escapes with his brother Grant, events unfold that see Grant killed and Jason making a dash for freedom. After Jason’s escape, the game play surrounds Jason trying to free his friends from captivity, while seeking out Vaas with the aim of taking revenge.
It turns out that Vaas is taking orders from a man named Hoyt, and through all the turmoil and trouble, Jason sets his sights on Hoyt to rid Rook Island of his criminal activity for good.
Naturally things do not always go according to plan, but Jason has a funny way of getting out of sticky situations.
The game mechanic involves a number of elements, but the main points are gaining enough XP through missions and enemy kills, and upgrading equipment. As players gain more XP, they will be able to learn new skills that will help them in battle. These can range from silent walking, to taking down enemies from a height.
Upgrading equipment is a bit trickier, and is not for those with a weak stomach or vegetarians. The only way that player can upgrade their equipment is by hunting animals that populate Rook Island. These are a colourful bunch, as range from domestic animals such as pigs and goats, and go up the food chain to tigers, bears and jaguars.
Once an animal has been killed, Jason will have to skin it in order to make use of the animal parts. The skinning sequence cannot be skipped (as was possible in Assassin’s Creed 3), so squeamish gamers might want to look away every time an animal is killed.
To upgrade equipment, the game will tell gamers how many of each animal’s skin is needed for the chosen upgrade. While some animals are fairly easy to track and kill, others present a bit of challenge. And that is also a slight annoyance of the title – it will take half a machine gun’s magazine to take down a tiger or a bear, while in reality a well-placed sniper shot should do the trick.
It sounds like more work than what it actually is, and it is completely possible for players to hunt all the animals need to upgrade all the equipment before taking on the main quests, leaving them to never worry about skinning another animal again.
But that is neither here nor there, and once players get into the swing of things, it becomes easier to be prepared for hunting any animal. Players will also be able to loot dead enemies, and sell the loot at the stores for cash.
Two other aspects that make the game a bit easier is taking down outposts and radio towers as quickly as possible. Outposts are enemy strongholds in an area, and taking those over will provide the player with more missions, unlocked weapons (which become free once unlocked), create quick travel locations and rid the area of enemy patrols. Climbing to the top of a radio tower will open that area on the map, and it will become easier for the players to navigate around.
While the game was also developed by Ubisoft, the similarities to the Assassin’s Creed franchise could be seen as a bit much – the radio towers serve the same purpose as the viewpoints in AC, and the outposts are essentially the same as the Borgia towers from the previous games. IT leaves the game with a lot of borrowed elements from AC, and while the title in a whole is very good, it creates an almost fake identity.
The graphics, on the other hand, is much prettier than Assassin’s Creed and gamers will find it full of detail while walking, driving and running through the rich environments. The lip-synching could have been a bit better, but pay close attention, and small facial animations will be noticed.
Sound also plays a huge part in Far Cry 3, and it is evident that player need to use it to their advantage. While tracking animals, they will be startled by moving bushes or footsteps, and enemies will also investigate any rustlings.
Far Cry 3 is definitely one of the most engaging titles to be released this year, as it creates an intriguing story with many twists and turns. The most important part is the ‘enjoyability’ factor for the player, and in this regard it certainly delivers.
If players go through the game methodically it should take them well over 15 hours to complete, and with excellent graphics, great sound and an uncomplicated control scheme, it is worth a buy. There are a number of small annoyances, such as having to literally stand on an animal’s head before the skin-trigger will kick in, or not being able to (once again) change the view when driving, but those are by no means deal-breakers.
If gamers are looking for a long, engaging and exciting shooter with a small amount of skills management and puzzle solving, then Far Cry 3 will be the game.
Our score: 9.1/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor