Sunday, 17 February 2013

Far Cry 3 - Review (Xbox 360, PS3)

Due to violent nature, depiction of drug usage and colourful dialogue, this game is not for little gamers.
Late last year Ubisoft came out of nowhere and catapulted Far Cry 3 from a game I was not really interested in to my personal game of the year. This review has been a long delayed one, partly in fact to a platform change from Xbox to PS3 over Christmas. So here goes, lets take a look at my time in the Rook Islands.

Picture by
Take a look at the chart above. Never has someone else been able to depict my exact game-play experience so clearly in a infographic. No matter how hard I try, whenever I load up the game I end up just arseing around on a hang glider / Jet ski / hunting big cats. I mean to do the missions, but there always something to distract me from saving my "friends" from a gruesome fate at the hand of the islands local psychotic slavers.

Far Cry 3 returns to the tropical island setting of the original, after a sequel in Africa that was a mixed bag of good bad. Luckily though, the developers packed all the good things from Far Cry 2 into the bag before heading off to the Rook Islands. A destination popular with thrill-seekers and extreme sports nuts. Enter Jason Brody and his band of hip, young adventure loving idiots companions.

They party hard and act like loud mouth arrogant morons. So it will be no surprise that after skydiving onto the wrong island they are all taken prisoner by the local warlord and his psychotic second in command, Vaas. This is where the game starts, with the introduction of one video gamings greatest bad guys, Vaas. He is the star of the game, with his completely off the wall and insane performance (brought to life by actor, Michael Mando). Jason and his brother, Grant, escape the clutches of Vaas and his pirates. Although, Grant is shot in the neck and dies, leaving Jason to flee into the jungle to escape the chasing pirates. One broken rope bridge and a brush with drowning and Jason wakes up in the home of Dennis, the leader of the local tribe. The villagers also form the resistance against Vaas. So the game begins...

So Jason sets off on a quest to free his loved ones from captivity. My look at it... leave them to it. There is so much else to do. To start off with you need to be able to navigate the island and for that you need a map. To unlock the sections of the island map on your GPS you will need to unscramble the Radio Towers across the island. This involves climbing the rickety metal towers, which are a platform puzzle themselves. Once at the top a quick flick of a switch and your map updates with the geographical data and important locations. Its all very similar to the Assassins Creed series and synchronising viewpoints. 
Then you can set about the business of freeing that territory from the pirates. This is done by taking over their  camps allowing you access to the local notice boards. These boards allow you access to local bounties on pirate leaders and also hunting missions. Wildlife is everywhere on the Rook Islands and not a lot of it likes Humans. From Tigers, Bears and Komodo Dragons on land, to Sharks and Crocodiles in the waters. The whole world is teeming with a constant natural threat. There is nothing worse than carefully planning an assault on a enemy camp, just to be mauled by a panther just before you attack.
Successfully hunting rewards you with the animals skin. These skins then allow you to access the crafting system, which allows you to create larger holsters, ammo pouches and quivers. The crafting system also allows you to make your own potions from collecting different types of plant from around the island as well. These potions range from simple health restoration to enhancements to your hunting or combat skills.
Your skills are also upgradable by earning Experience (XP) by completing missions, capturing bases and killing pirates. The skill trees is depicted by the tribal tattoo you have on your arms. Each tree depicts an animal of the island and offers various paths. The Shark offers assault take-downs and healing, the Spider deals with stealth take-downs and survival and the Heron offers long range take-downs and mobility.

With Rook islands consisting of five separate smaller islands, getting around them could be quite a problem. Luckily there are all manner of transportation options, including Jeeps  quad bikes, jet-skis, boats, hang gliders and even death slides. The hang glider is the vehicle of choice as it allows you to survey the island and also is excellent for stealthy approaches to enemy camps (See below).

As you can see in the video, weapons are also fully customisable with attachments and sights available to buy from local gun stores. Even the paint design can be altered to give your arsenal a cool look. The range of weapons is astounding as well. Handguns, assault rifles, rocket launcher, sniper rifles and even a range of hunting bows. There is something there for every game style whether you fancy yourself as a silenced infiltrator, long range assassin or post modern Rambo.

All of this playground is yours for the taking without even rescuing a loved one. It is a beautifully realised open world experience and one that finally improves on Crytek's original island romp. It is a joy to play and it is rare for me to find a game where I do not feel pressure to playing the main quests and just go off and enjoy the world the developers created. I can see myself playing this game for a long long time to come.

Without a doubt, Far Cry 3 was the best game of 2012. It is everything I look for in a game. Anyone who plays it will have a story of their adventures like the one I experienced on my first night of playing it back in November.

"I was driving along in a Jeep and I came across an abandoned farm house. I stopped and inside I found some crates of loot. On my way out, I took a couple of shots at a passing pig, as I needed the pig hide to craft a new weapon holster. As I skinned the pig, I heard a strange sort of growl from the long grass ahead of me. Almost immediately, I was attacked by a bloody 6 foot Komodo dragon. Panicked  I dashed back and riddled the bastard with a full clip of machine gun fire.

Unfortunately for me, a passing enemy patrol was passing nearby and pulled up to investigate the gunfire. The soldiers opened fire on me, as I took cover behind a rock. They soldiers took cover near the farmhouse, only to be savaged by two more Komodo dragons,hiding in the grass. I shot the giant lizards, skinned them and took the patrol Jeep, just as reinforcements turned up to investigate.

This led to chase through dusty jungle roads, which only ended when I ditched the Jeep in the sea and stole a nearby jet ski. Evading the soldiers, by speeding into a series of underground caverns and emerging the other side into freedom. Jumping off the jet ski, I swam for shore and I as pulled myself up on to the beach...

I was attacked and killed by a passing Crocodile."

I have not yet tried the co-op campaign, the mulitplayer component and the included world editor that ships with the game. If you have not yet tried this amazing game, then what are you waiting for? Go on... now! Quick before the shops shut!

Verdict 10 out of 10

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