Far Cry 3 Review
Luscious jungles, exotic wildlife and golden beaches; Rook islands seems like an euphoric paradise. Yet beneath this fantastical façade lies a vicious web of slavery, violence and exploitation. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Far Cry 3.
2012’s last Triple A title follows Jason Brody and his group of merry men as an idyllic holiday collapses into a battle against insane crime lord Vaas. After a daring escape from Vaas’ camp, players take control of Brody as he ruthlessly scours the island in search for his kidnapped buddies.
Far Cry 3’s story is nothing new, in fact it is a little too cliché in places, yet the classic tropical island narrative discusses mature subjects such as human trafficking and drug rings with great respect and reverence.
Aiding Jason in his quest is pride-swelling Dennis Rogers and the mystical Citra, leader of the islands Rakyat tribe. Citra and her spiritual tribe enable Jason with ‘powers’ in the form of tattoos. Whilst this may act as a superfluous skill tree, the juxtaposition of spiritual and gritty realism works brilliantly and is only accentuated by Vaas’ insanity questioning monologues.
Forefront of Ubisoft’s advertising campaigns, Vaas, voiced by Michael Mando, is hands down one of this generations most engrossing characters. His Colonel Kurtz-esuqe soliloquies inject a certain amount of energy and unpredictability into an otherwise generic script.
Sadly though, the character of Jason Brody falls flat in an otherwise pitch perfect voice-acting ensemble. He tries to come across your everyday man but feels more like your everyday jock. It doesn’t overly damage the script but there are moments of almost comically dull speeches and menial comments.
Anyway, Vaas is the main provider of Far Cry’s ‘insanity’ theme and levels of player confusion, fear and pure enjoyment. An early level sees Jason searching for some psychedelic mushrooms and along with warping backgrounds, luminescent colours and disembodied voices, your mind is truly manipulated, but it is wonderful.
These mind bending levels such as the E3 demo playthrough are the stand out highlights compared to the usual run-of-the-mill boat chases, turret sections and tailing missions that drag the campaign’s creativity down.
However, although the creativity is inconsistent, Far Cry 3 is always enjoyable to play, offering players great freedom. From silent sniper to the destructive flamethrower, nearly all situations can be approached in numerous ways, opening up the entire game’s combat.
This is only aided by the inclusion of your camera which provides a way of tracking enemies and gaining a general overview of the situation. The camera is simply invaluable if players choose to stealth the level yet it is still incredibly helpful for all guns-a-blazing. Partner this with Far Cry’s huge arsenal of customisable weaponry and you have yourself a wide array of military approaches.
There are moments of AI idiocy such as shooting into thin air or completely ignoring you, but your usual encounters are intense and bullet filled, creating heart pounding moments. Rarely are there difficulty spikes but it should be noted that some missions may require patience and on higher difficulties, random deaths and mission failure occasionally interfere.
The soundtrack consists mainly of drum and brass and dubstep which may be distracting for some players but when the action ramps up it complements the adrenaline filled action. A stand out musical moment is with the mission Burn the Hornets’ Nest which requires players to burn a weed farm to the dubreggae (?) beat of Make It Bun Dem by Skrillex and Damian Marley. Simply put, it is a joyous occasion.
The real star of Far Cry 3 though is the island itself; vast yet densely packed. As per your usual open-world affair there is an array of outpost liberation missions, hunting challenges and map synchronisation similar to Ubisoft’s own Assassins Creed series. There is plenty to do in Far Cry 3 and along with the multiplayer, should hold attention for 40+ hours.
The world is impressively expansive and exploring it via handglider or wingsuit introduces strange moments of peace and tranquillity amidst the manic rat race of the island. The jungle does suffer from a lack of landmarks or memorable structures though with many areas blending into a mixture of greenery and brown-ery. A little more distinction in places would be very welcomed.
The ecosystem on the island gives Far Cry a sense if liveliness and realism putting Assassins Creed III and Red Dead Redemption to shame.
Seeing a tiger actively hunting a buffalo herd is something natural and beautiful, especially in game form. The range of animals is brilliant too with many discoveries being simultaneously terrifying and hilarious. There is also the chance to discover and collect a set of relics, memory cards and WW2 letters; all resulting in a plethora of island-scouring activities.
Luckily Far Cry looks consistently beautiful boasting some console-bursting graphics. Colours are vibrant, fire is simply the greatest ever and water is jaw dropping; if water could ever be jaw dropping! It shows how flawless the graphics are when you find yourself commenting on the water! Faces are also very well animated, not LA Noire standards but certainly worthy of credit.
Nevertheless, Far Cry 3 runs at 30FPS and it occasionally shows when the screen becomes busy, it’s not a game breaker but certainly a distraction during large battles. The game still suffers from the occasional pop-in or textural collapse but these are mere open-world niggles only intensify our need for the next generation of consoles.
Far Cry 3 stands as the crowning achievement of Ubisoft’s greatest year ever and it does so in unparalleled style. Vaas has become gaming’s equivalent of Heath Ledger’s Joker and its ecosystem will be the benchmark for open world games until the next cycle of console arrives. On top of that though is the combat which is just as solid and refined as any solely-shooter based game available.
For all its narrative inconsistencies, Far Cry 3 is a spectacle to behold. The world is deep, the combat smooth and intense and the graphics jaw dropping. It is a growing rarity for a Triple A game to not only live up to the hype but to provide players with constant surprises. Far Cry 3 is 2012’s final bow and what a show it’s been.