Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: December 4th, 2012
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
ESRB Rating: M
Far Cry 3 is the last major release of 2012, and it looks to end the year on a high. I wasn't the biggest fan of Far Cry 2, but luckily, the sequel is better in every way.
Story and Presentation:
One of my biggest gripes with Far Cry 2 had to be with the game's narrative, I just couldn't get connected with any of the characters, including the protagonist. Far Cry 3 manages to create a deeper and darker story that will stick with you long after you've finished the game. As Jason Brody, you and your friends have been kidnapped by a human trafficking ring, and your initial goals are to escape and rescue your friends from their captors. Over the course of the 25 hour campaign, your objectives become obscured as you come across shady and dishonorable characters. Drugs and a new spiritual route encourages you not to worry about your friends, and takes it ultimately takes you down a completely different path. The many characters you come across and interact with are so much more memorable than before. The number of personalities the game has is something to appreciate, especially in a genre that has become over saturated with commonality and cliches. This has to be one of the most intriguing stories found in a first person shooter, a lot of twists and turns will keep you engaged throughout. Another reason the narrative is better, has to be the voice acting. Far Cry 2 had a weird problem with a run on sentences that made the dialogue seem odd and out-a-wack. That problem is no where to be found in the sequel, and some strong voice work help bring the game to life. The game's visuals look really good, but they can be pretty rough at times. The PS3 version looks great, but when I got some hands on time with the PC version, it looked like a new game. I knew this going in, the developers have always said that the PC version was the far superior version, but you can't read too much into this. The console versions still look good, but some of the textures can be muddy, and a few of the dense jungle areas can look a little rough. At the end, the game still looks gorgeous, the wide open island has a lot of diversity to explore. The music in the game is okay, but it can really feel out of place in few spots. The best example is when you're being stealthy, and there's upbeat techno music playing in the background. It doesn't hurt the game, I just had to bring it up.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer:
At its core, FC 3 is what you would expect from a open ended first person shooter. Tight controls and a heavy focus on stealth is what this game is all about. The map is enormous, similar to the size of Just Cause 2, there are lot of activities and missions to partake in. Enemy outposts make a return, but they are no where near as annoying as they were in Far Cry 2. In the previous game, once you got within a certain range of an outpost, they would automatically start shooting at you. That became really annoying as you tried to get to your next waypoint. This isn't the case in FC 3, the enemy soldiers have to clear line of sight to you, and then they will attack. You can take out an entire outpost stealthily if you wish, or you can go in guns blazing. The game will reward you more if you take the stealthy approach. Once you complete an outpost, it gets converted to safehouse where you can fast travel to. This could've erased the number of hours I spent driving in FC 2, but I'm glad that its in the sequel. This is only a small portion of the game, like I previously said, there are a bevy of activities to complete. Hunting, completing wanted ads, exploring lost caverns, races, or if you wanna just go through the main story missions, you can. If you choose to go straight through, you would be taking a number of hours away from your experience. As you complete missions and side missions, you gain experience which allows you to upgrade Brody's abilities. Unlocking new takedowns and more health will be a necessity as the game's challenge increases as you progress through the story. Looting various chests and treasures helps you buy more ammo or weapon upgrades. you can also collect plant life, which allows you to create meds and different concoctions that will help you. There are a lot of guns to buy, and each of them brings something different to the table. There is no co-op in the single player story, but you can play with three other players that involve four different characters. The co-op missions are fun to play with three other players, and a pain to play with only one partner. It can become a challenge to try and complete objectives with just two players, in a mission that was clearly designed for 4. The competitive multiplayer is your standard fare, featuring the same modes you love in other FPS games.
Far Cry 3's gigantic open island has a ton a things to do, and will have you playing it for hours on end. The multiplayer has a couple of issues, but the co-op is still a good time to be had. With some great visuals and addicting gameplay, Far Cry 3 is one of the best shooters this year.
S&S Rating: 8.75/10