Ubisoft delivers an intense and action-packed open world first-person-shooter with the recently released Far Cry 3. Straight from the offset you are thrown into a turmoil environment where your survival instincts are tested against a deadly pirate warlord – your goal is primarily just to escape, and then the deeper, more consequential story begins as you pack yourself off on a journey of discovery. Faith, hope and determination combined with a few guns at your disposal ensures your missions are aided by nearby weaponry, but when it’s one man against a whole army, a tactical mind-set with stealthy approaches is a necessity. The hunter becomes the hunted, but you can outsmart the warlords on your trail?
After enjoying the scenic delights in a paradise just off of the Pacific Ocean with your friends and brothers where you are displayed jumping into rock pools, living the high life and enjoying what looks to have been a real holiday adventure, it quickly turns into misery. As the main protagonist named Jason, you witness the murder of your brother (an ex army-soldier) who has just helped you escape and your captor is none too pleased – a villain by the name of Vaas. As you run through the jungle with anticipation of a means to escape, it’s a fast paced chapter of simply making a run for it whilst you are being shot at from every angle. There’s no build up to the action as you are literally placed in the thick of it from the moment you start the game. As an open-world environment that comes alive around you, the choices you make and the path you take are very much a decision of “on your own head, so be it”.
Vaas, had captured you with the evil plan of wanting to secure your release with a heavy ransom. He has inhibited the island for some time with his horde of pirates who came to rape, pillage and steal money. Your journey starts with your escape and then you undertake missions to help free your friends with the help of a cultural tribe by the name of The Rakyat who are native to the island. The Rakyat are the keeper of secrets and very few are allowed into their culture, and even less are invited to join the ranks of their warriors – so your escape from Vaas has hailed you a hero, but they too are on a mission of reclaiming their island. Far Cry 3 is an adventure of many tales – your journey of survival and discovery across the islands; The Rakyat adventure of living in peace, and the lengths you will go to rescuing your friends – it’s certainly no holiday in Paradise and your eventual fate is a tough choice that only you can make as you decide your own outcome.
Despite a plot that is so diverse, yet clinging to the misery associated with being trapped in an environment that forces you into its culture – a world so far away from home complete with its insane lawless lifestyle, it’s very fun to play and gripping. It combines an open world game in a first-person perspective that includes elements of an RPG, a psychological thriller with a mature theme. As the story evolves with mission progression, Jason changes and adapts to a new lifestyle having to make some tough choices, the impact and shock of the lifestyle circumstances would change any man. You get to shape his skills with Skill Points that you earn from missions that applied to the character by tattoos, a nice tribal touch to show how being inked represents power. Skills allow you to have better health regeneration, stay underwater longer, faster reloads and even improved stealth kills amongst many other unlocks broken down into Heron, Shark and Spider. The Heron skill tree contains unlockable skills that will improve long-range takedowns and mobility, Shark skills focus only on improving assault take-downs and the healing process, where-as Spider is all about stealth and survival tactics.
Further going down the RPG route is the ability to craft items collected from your surroundings where plants and animals can grant you extra medicine and equipment. Different leaves you pick can craft you medical syringes, skins from the animals you hunt can craft you holsters and rucksacks to carry more items as well as arrows! For the tougher weapons, such as assault rifles, sniper rifles, LMG’s, SMG, handguns and launchers, there are plenty to be had which can be looted from enemies or purchased from stores with the cash you find by one again – looting! I did say it was a lawless island after all, but you can’t sadly seem to loot from the gun stores you come across on your travels. Some of the weapons you do earn for free by disabling radio signals across the island. This doubles up as not only earning you freebies, but it opens up more areas on your world map to explore which will help you travel around the island better, and more accurately.
Although a lot of Far Cry 3 is about exploration and survival which includes trekking about the different locations, it is also about standing your ground with nearby enemies and also the wildlife too. Varied creatures will want to attack you, but to make those longer journeys less of a chore there are plenty of vehicles around which you can just help yourself to for a faster means of getting from A to B. Once at your destination you will be faced with challenging missions to test your stealth and patience. You cannot simply get out your gun and open fire as you’d be more used to in other first person shooters, but instead you have to think about your actions – because in some cases alerting a nearby enemy can trigger a whole army to come hording your way. It’s not a walk in the park so don’t expect to be able to rush this to completion, you should savor every moment as it is a campaign laden with a mass of story content and mini-games to keep you going for way more than 20 hours at the very least.
It’s just a shame and really unfortunate that the only part that feels lacking in Far Cry 3, is the games multiplayer modes having just a dismal four to choose from. Domination is about capturing and holding command points, regular Team Deathmatch for the team with the most kills declared the winner, Transmission – a form of headquarters where capturing an active transmitter will score points, and then finally Firestorm, a more objective based game type where you must burn enemy supply depots to start a firestorm and then capture the radio. Despite just four modes there is still an awful lot you can do for your online profile by earning awards, weapon mods and taking part in daily and weekly challenges. Additionally you can select your weapon loadout from a wide ranging choice of options – and after you rank up you can also play around with a Tattoo Editor for your character. With the vast choices you have as a player, it’s annoying you can only play in just four game-modes. In a game where almost all of the environments are open with little internal locations, it just doesn’t feel right to play this type of environment in a multiplayer setting to try and match other first person shooters.
Far Cry 3 as a campaign is a story that wants to take you on the journey of your life. Remarkable with interconnected missions that later form part of a much larger, deeper story that is both memorable and extremely enjoyable. Visually Far Cry 3 is a beautiful island, take away everything else and you can stand atop a hill and look over the rivers to see a tropical paradise that appears to be tranquil and filled with lush greenery. You could almost forget about the disturbing woes from the world below and park your car up just to look out into the sunny horizon. There’s not a lot to fault campaign-wise as it’s pretty amazing what has been crammed all onto just the one disc, the sheer depth of exploration and masses of island to explore with an incredible amount to learn and complete that can also be played solo or co-operatively is an absolute joy to behold. It’s rare that I say this, but Far Cry 3 is a game that needn’t have had any multiplayer at all – having just the option of co-operative play online would have sufficed and despite a poor multiplayer setup aside of the campaign you can’t fault the overall gameplay experience. With an open world non-linear campaign as superb as this – you’ll probably not touch the multiplayer modes until you’ve beaten the game anyway.
Fighting to escape a dangerous Paradise has never been so damn good!