This year has been riddled with sequels, each one offering what the player expects and hardly anything new. Far Cry 3 however, is definitely not a typical sequel. Its story line is completely new from the previous entries. A new, fresh setting has been implemented and a multitude of great features have been added with almost all of the bad ones being removed. Yet, even with an amazing singleplayer experience, Far Cry 3 manages to supply a multiplayer, an acceptable cooperative mode, and a fulfilling map editor. Witness the insanity of the jungle in Far Cry 3.
Jason Brody is an ordinary guy, with ordinary family, and ordinary friends. Jason, his two brothers, and four of his friends take a vacation to Rook Island. While sky diving, Jason and his friends miss their landing by what seems to be a lot, and are now in the hands of a psychopathic slave trader named Vaas. Once escaped from Vaas’ maniacal clutches, Jason sets out to rescue his friends with the help of a local tribe, succumbing to the insanity of the island around him.
Far Cry 3 is a first-person shooter with RPG elements. Once the player is set loose on the islands, the options are hardly limited in what they can do. At first, the amount of things that are available on the island are a little intimidating. Should I start the main quest or should I hunt these animals to upgrade my equipment? Should I explore this cave in hopes of loot or should I go gamble all of my money away? But once all of these aspects come together, the player realizes that they can do all of these things and doing them is a blast. Many species of animal roam the two massive islands in which the player can hunt. Primarily, the incentive to hunt is due to the crafting system. Crafting new items determines the amount of loot Jason can carry, the amount of money he can hold, the amount of ammunition obtainable, the number of weapons Jason can hold, and much more. Discovering where to hunt these animals, and the general locations of the map, requires climbing radio towers and hacking them. Hacking these towers reveal hidden parts of the map and unlocks weapons for free at vendors. Climbing these towers are very enjoyable for two reasons: the platforming elements aren’t weird like in most FPS games, and each tower is different from the last; no copy-paste feature here.
A big gripe of Far Cry 2 was the lack of a fast-travel system. Getting around this time is much easier, whether paragliding, driving a dune buggy, or water skiing. Thankfully though, a fast-travel system is in this one, but requires a bit of work to get. Scattered around the island are enemy Outposts that Jason can capture. Once captured, a fast-travel blip appears on the map and can now be traveled to at any time. The important part of capturing these Outposts though, is how one goes about it. Far Cry 3 has definitely taken up the ‘play how you want’ style of gameplay. The player can choose to sneak their way into the Outpost, taking down enemies without ever being seen. Or they can go full Rambo and take it by force. They can even sit back on a grassy knoll and snipe their enemies away. Each of these is a viable method of capturing the Outpost; however, stealth is by far the best way because more XP is earned. This is where the RPG elements really take shape. As Jason earns XP, he levels up and earns skill points. These skill points can be spent on any skill in one of three skill trees represented by a tattoo on Jason’s arm: The Heron, The Shark, or The Spider. The Heron focuses on long-range weaponry and mobility. The Shark is focused more on brute strength and health upgrades. While The Spider focuses on stealth and exploration. Upgrading these really determines how the player gets through the game, making the experience feel much more player driven.
Rook Island, albeit deadly and dangerous, is a beautiful, engrossing location. While atop of any one of the radio towers, the player can see the scale of this island and the eminence detail that went into creating it. Each area of the map feels unique. Some of the textures could be more crisp, and some take time to load in. But because of the scale, this hardly detracts from the immersion. Character models are highly detailed and motion appears natural and fluid. Overall, this is one of the most impressive looking games this generation.
Everything in this jungle paradise sounds great. While wandering through the jungle the player might hear the growl of a tiger, the bark of rabid dogs, or the chattering of unseen enemies. The sound of an enemy grunting after being stabbed in the back is always enjoyable. Explosions and gunfire sound like… explosions and gunfire. The voice actors are simply amazing. Vaas’ speaking parts are some of the best villain lines I have heard in a game in a long time. Every supporting character is unique and has some memorable dialogue. Even though this is a FPS, the main character talks, which is somewhat unusual. But it’s nice to have a first-person protagonist with a voice rather than the normal silent hero.
Along with a phenomenal singleplayer, Far Cry 3 also has a multiplayer. The multiplayer has the usual deathmatch modes and team-based modes. The player gains XP and levels up, unlocking weapons as they go. This competitive multiplayer won’t fill Call of Duty or Battlefield players’ fix, but it’s a nice distraction from the main game. The map editor, while it takes a bit to get used to, has the potential to create some pretty interesting maps. A separate cooperative campaign is here, and while it isn’t nearly as fun as the main experience, it’s a good way to cooperatively get friends into the action. All in all, Far Cry 3’s multiplayer isn’t amazing, but it isn’t bad either. It just exists.
Far Cry 3 manages to do so much, so late in the year. Not many games bring so many things to the table as this game does. The main story is absolutely fantastic and has characters that the player comes to care about. The location is vast and beautiful, allowing for hours and hours of exploration and discovery. The gameplay is so smooth and tight, that the player will want to explore and discover these massive islands. The voice actors really give this game a soul, and are some of the best I have seen in quite some time. Even though its multiplayer isn’t anything to rave about, it is there and it doesn’t detract from the singleplayer experience. This might as well be a new IP, because it definitely doesn’t feel like just another sequel. Far Cry 3 is a wonderful, enthralling experience, and someone would have to be insane not to play it.