Far Cry 3 PS3 Review
Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Genre: Stealth, FPS Players: 1-14
Age Rating: 18+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox 360
Despite some nasty bugs, I had a lot of love for Far Cry 2. Saying that, I can certainly understand why some didn’t take to its very dangerous Africa environment, with constant enemy attacks and little pause for breath. As sequels should, Far Cry 3 addresses many of the second games issues, and it can also be considered a return to the roots of the series.
Far Cry 3’s storytelling is of a very high standard, and the narrative opens up with protagonist Jason Brody holidaying on a tropical island with his friends and siblings, although they all end up captured. There’s a well rounded cast of characters here, with everything from likeable every men to some truly deranged individuals, and the well acted story is one of the major driving points behind the game. As Brody it’s up to you to rescue all those captured from your party.
Like Far Cry 2, the third game in the series is a first person game which blends action and stealth, although it has an obvious leaning towards you being stealthy. It once again all takes place in a sizeable open world environment, this time being the paradise that is Rook Island. With its lush greenery, blue skies, and warm sea, the island has many wonderful sights to be discovered, and just wandering or driving around it is a joy in itself, even if you are being attacked by some rather hungry animals or being shot at from time to time.
Far Cry 3 is more linear than the second game in the sense that there’s only one story mission available to you at any one time. But there are plenty of other things to get yourself involved in on Rook Island. There are side missions with their own brief storylines to be tackled. There are also radio towers to be climbed, of which reveal more areas of the large map in the same vein that the viewpoints do in Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed series. The towers are all different, and it may take you awhile to reach the top of some of them, although I always found them a joy to climb and relished the challenge that some presented. There’s also enemy outposts which have you clearing out all the opposition and hopefully disabling any alarms in case you are spotted, as said alarms brings a whole army down on top of you, and your objective is obviously to take the outposts for yourself. Hunting missions on the other hand have you being equipped with weapons and then finding and killing specific animals, while the Wanted missions have you taking out people with knives or takedowns. There’s more, although I’ll leave that for you to discover for yourself.
I mentioned earlier about the game having a leaning towards stealth play, and that’s simply because to be caught in a fire fight with a lot of enemies can be truly punishing. Health diminishes quickly (yes, you’ll still witness such grisly animations as taking bullets out of your arm and cracking bones back into place during healing), although you’ll no longer suffer from jamming or degrading weapons in the same manner that you did in Far Cry 2. To play it stealthily can feel very tactical in the sense that you are able to use your camera to mark enemies in order to track their movements at all times, and when you’re looking to take over outposts, it’s even possible to sometimes release dangerous animals from their cages, which can prove to be a very helpful thing, and quite a spectacle when you see, say, a rather large tiger causing chaos and taking out all the panicking enemies in the outpost.
Far Cry 3 also has a brilliant upgrade system. Through many of your actions on Rook Island, you’ll earn XP, and when you level up you earn a skill point which you can then use to learn a new ability from one of three skill trees (spider, heron and shark). The spider skill tree represents survival and crafting abilities, the heron is related to the motion of Brody, and, finally, the shark is all about surviving and throwing yourself into the assault. There’s a lot of skills that you are able to learn throughout the game, with examples being cooking grenades, chaining takedowns, surviving longer under water, bolstering the amount of health that you have, faster weapon reloads and more. You’ll definitely feel like a completely different guy by the end of the game due to the manner in which Brody can be evolved, and it certainly gives you the sense that the time that the protagonist spends on the island changes him from an everyman to a proficient killer.
In the above paragraph I mentioned crafting, which is another new feature to the series. Crafting allows you to skin dead animals (a lovely sight!) and gather plants in order to craft various things to help you out. You are able to craft everything from health and ammo, weapon holsters to bolster the amount of weapons you can can carry, whilst bigger rucksacks and wallets store more equipment and money respectively, and crafted syringes assist you in everything from combat and hunting, and more besides. Crafting is yet another welcome new feature.
So, all in all, Far Cry 3 has an excellent campaign with moments that will unsettle and surprise you, although it’s also full of many memorable moments. But, I’m not finished yet as the game also has a range of multiplayer options, which includes everything from cooperative to competitive play.
There’s a separate cooperative campaign in the game which is set six months before the story of the single player campaign. The co-op can be played by up to four players, and while not offering the openness of the single player campaign, it’s definitely well worth a play, and, in a nice touch, if you level up it will carry over to the competitive multiplayer modes.
The competitive multiplayer options largely aren’t anything all that unique, although they’re more than competent enough. There’s the usual Deathmatch and Domination options, although the Firestorm mode is sure to prove a favourite. The mode has you setting fire to the opposing teams two fuel dumps, while protecting your own. With lots of surrounding fire, it’s then up to you and your team to get hold of a radio, so plenty of fiery chaos can certainly be expected in this mode.
Far Cry 3 also has a powerful yet rather user friendly map creation tool, which is the icing on the top of the cake for what is a package that seems to want to keep giving to you (the single player campaign itself could last you upwards of 30 hours). As games go, this is one that gives you a lot back in exchange for your money.
With all the above said, Far Cry 3 is pure gaming brilliance. The very well voiced storyline is consistently likeable, and there’s some truly detestable characters to be found on Rook Island, with their actions most likely causing many to want to hunt them down. The island itself is full of gorgeous scenery and much to do, and the multiplayer modes, while not offering much new or being as strong as the single player campaign, are competent enough. Far Cry 3’s island may not be as much of a perfect holiday destination as such a part of the world may suggest, but it certainly makes for a wonderful game.