As the current gaming technologies evolve, open world games get more and more popular, and their advantages over dull linear games get more and more obvious. I guess Far Cry 3 is a perfect example of this: it combines the best elements of the previous two episodes (the console-only “Instincts” spin-off series doesn’t count, since it’s terrible, I think!), so no wonder it has managed to win so many hearts of shooter fans.
Far Cry 3 is an open world shooter, and it was expected to be released much earlier, in September. However, because of some unknown problems, it was delayed until the end of November. Australia saw the game on November 29, on the next day it came to Europe, and the fans from the US managed to get their hands on it only three days ago, on December 4. However, these few days were enough for me to manage to play it, even though I am not a big fan of shooters. So let me share my first impressions with you.
Just like in case of the first game, Far Cry 3’s story takes place on a tropical archipelago, but instead of different mutants and mercenaries we now have to kill the pirates who have kidnapped the relatives and friends of the protagonist, Jason. By the way, it’s strange that the creators of the game have made Jason not a former soldier, but an ordinary tourist who just came to the islands to have some rest or something. It can seem to be an original idea, but I don’t think this was the smartest decision of the developers, since the miraculous transformation of an ordinary tourist into a ruthless killer does not look convincing. And the “magical” mushrooms don’t explain anything, no. Even the African story of Far Cry 2 looked more realistic, I think – at least the protagonist was a military man and killing was his job, if I can say so.
Besides, Jason’s friends and relatives weren’t convincing enough, too – I think the creators needed to devote more time and attention to them to make the player really want to save them. On the other hand, Ubisoft’s guys managed to create really nice and memorable antagonists – psychopath Vaas was quite an interesting character (and with a good voice actor, too!), and some other pirates were rather convincing, too. They don’t make the story more interesting, of course, but without them it would be much worse.
Well, anyway, an interesting storyline has never been the strongest thing in shooter games in general and in the Far Cry series in particular, but interesting gameplay has always compensated for this shortcoming.
Most quests you’ll find in Far Cry 3 are “kill-and-collect” ones typical to shooters, instead of “find-and-fetch” ones we see in RPGs, but still, there are many other elements of RPGs in this game: you can “loot” the corpses of killed enemies, trade and even craft – the local flora provides ingredients for first-aid kits and a number of useful potions, and some fauna representatives can be used to create bags (Oops, I hope Greenpeace hasn’t seen this game yet!) and bandoliers that help you carry a bigger number of arms and ammunition with you.
In the open world around you can find different collectible items (like artifacts and letters) scattered everywhere, and that’s one of the main reasons to explore it, sometimes forgetting about the main storyline. Besides, the area is covered with a big network of radio towers that open certain parts of the map, and at recaptured pirate outposts you’ll be able to get hunting or assassinating quests, and sometimes even racing ones (these ones are especially fun). You can also find some special quests by approaching the sacred stones of the local tribe.
In addition, different areas of the huge island don’t look like copy-pastes of each other – they’re all designed thoughtfully, which is a big advantage.
Ubisoft also enriched the gameplay mechanics with a new stealth system – the enemies will go to the place where you threw a stone and risk a stab in the back. Besides, stealth has another function, too – you can hide from others when you need to. In Far Cry 2 it was much more difficult to hide from anyone, and here there is a visibility indicator that lets you know when anyone pays attention to the place you’re hiding, so can hide better or think what to do if you’re discovered.
So, wherever you go in the huge world of the game, you’ll always find an interesting thing to do – all quests are logical and well-thought, and that’s a big plus.
A well designed world makes any game better, but let’s not forget that Far Cry 3 is a shooter, and it does have everything a good shooter should have. First of all, it offers a huge range of tactical choices, and I’m not talking about the newly introduced choice between a loud firefight and dealing with someone silently thanks to the stealth more; you’ll also be given a huge arsenal of different guns and perfectly made physics of movement, so fights and shooting will also be interesting in the game.
Unlike the single player game, its multiplayer isn’t really well-made. Competition modes look very standard and dull, and killing pirates with a group of other players on small maps isn’t interesting at all, especially when compared to the huge world created for single players.
So what do we have here? Far Cry 3 is overall a well-made shooter game, and even I, RPG fan, have to admit it. I don’t think it has many competitors at the moment – at least I haven’t seen any other shooter that offers something as visually interesting and global as Far Cry 3. Ubisoft made many changes and introduced many new things compared to Far Cry 2, and all these changes were good (the tourist-protagonist doesn’t count!) and made the game even more interesting and addictive. I think it deserves 8 points out of 10, and of course it’s worth playing – if you like shooters!