REVIEW: ‘Far Cry 3’ lacks originality, but satisfies with gameplay
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 14:01
Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over again expecting something to change. That is crazy.
There is already an abundance of first-person shooters on the market, and many of them are mere clones of each other. Unfortunately, this phenomenon has become even more pronounced since the release of the “Modern Warfare” games. Even the newest rendition of Bond a couple of years ago felt like little more than “Call of Duty: 007 Edition.” As such, playing a legitimately great shooter has become more of a crapshoot — pun very much intended — than a surety.
It certainly didn’t stop Ubisoft Montreal from trying to capture greatness with “Far Cry 3,” though. While it’s somewhat lacking in originality and storytelling, it thankfully makes up for these shortcomings in spades with incredibly satisfying gameplay, luscious graphics, and an expansive world map of entertaining and challenging missions. Make no mistake: this game is absolutely huge and can easily provide a 100-hour helping of spoils if you want it.
You play the game as Jason Brody, a rambunctiously reckless young man who is on vacation with his older brother Grant and their friends on a tropical island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Everything begins as a lighthearted affair as the group flaunts their youthful qualities on the beaches and in the bars, and a skydiving trip cements everything in place as the best trip of their lives. Or so they think.
The group is then captured by a large band of pirates. Led by the indomitable, foul-mouthed Vaas, the situation looks utterly bleak. The vicious pirate lord intends to sell these people into slavery on the black market. Jason and Grant manage to escape, but Vaas personally assassinates Grant and then haughtily taunts Jason telling him to run.
After the escape, Jason is pulled ashore by a man named Dennis, a Rakyat tribe native who seeks to wrestle control of the island back from the clutches of Vaas and his gang. Knowing his friends will likely perish without his help, Jason agrees to help Dennis and the Rakyat people restore safety and radio control on the island. Then it will only be a matter of revenge to get Vaas.
There is a vast arsenal of weaponry and tools available for the player to unlock and create in “Far Cry 3.” Weapons can be purchased at liberated pirate forts, or they can be unlocked by activating radio towers in designated areas. Turning on a tower will illuminate that portion of the map where it is located and facilitate safer travel conditions and better strategizing.
The standard set of weapons you would expect such as pistols, assault and sniper rifles and SMGs are all present. Weapons can be upgraded with extended magazines and silencers and they are all fun to use. Gone are the rusting and decaying weapons that plagued “Far Cry 2.” The focus is on the fun factor, a welcome change from the previous game.
Icons on the map designate key areas of interest, plants, missions, and vehicles. You can use the plants and combine them to create different serums that can restore health or improve your hunting capabilities. Also, various animals can be killed and skinned to make wallets for holding money and weapon holsters for inventory expansion. This helps give the game a certain level of challenge when starting out while simultaneously rewarding exploration. The longer you play, the more deadly and functional your character can become.
There are several types of missions available outside of the primary story: “supply drop,” “wanted-dead” and “path of the hunter.” These are excellent ways to shake up the campaign with added variety and extra spending money. Plus, the additional experience you gain for the main character will unlock additional skills, which of course helps add to the fun. When you can reload while sprinting and drop down on enemies with a knife, it adds to the realism.
As for the graphics, it looks and feels like a breathing tropical island. The environments are finely detailed with swaying palm trees and crystal clear blue water — with sharks swimming in them — which overall give a genuine sense of pleasure. Character models are also finely detailed. Even small touches like tattoos and scars are visible. The draw distance, while solid overall, sometimes betrays the deep immersion the game provides, though. It’s a bit weird watching entire fields of grass grow when you zoom in with Jason’s camera.
“Far Cry 3” is no doubt another winner for Ubisoft Montreal. The large number of missions and delicious amount of weaponry will keep most gamers entertained for many nights. Even the less inventive and routine elements in the game don’t bother much because it feels refreshing. And in today’s action game market, that’s enough.
– Sam McConkie is a senior in the technical and professional writing program at USU. He is a keen writer and has been a dedicated gamer for years. Sam can be reached at email@example.com