Matching Vaas’ believability is the world that he inhabits. The Rook Islands offer an insane attention to detail, with vibrant colors and sprouting foliage decorating the vast landscape. Graphically, Far Cry 3 is a masterpiece providing some of the best lighting effects seen to date. The draw distance and clarity of the game’s serene vistas will leave players awestruck.
But, Far Cry 3 is more than just a pretty face. The sound effects in Far Cry 3 are fantastic and help augment the already visually gripping setting. The jungle in particular benefits from the game’s sound work; as the amalgamation of wildlife and natural sound effects imbue the jungle with a sense of life, making hte jungle itself one of the most poignant entities within the game.
Perhaps more welcomed than all of that, though, is the exceptional map design. Every quest and item is placed to create a free flowing network of objectives that cascade throughout the entire map. Level design and game mechanics collide in a system that effortlessly flows together, as completing one task will usually present players with a few more. Activating a radio tower, for example, adds additional details to the map, depicting the wildlife that inhabits the area along with escort missions and quests.
With the side quests naturally melding together, players can easily find themselves traversing the entirety of the map without even realizing it. Besides being accessible, the side quests feel substantive, often yielding worthwhile experiences while serving to further reveal the richly detailed world. Crafting adds another dimension to the gameplay, as players can create medicine to buff their stats from the surrounding plant life or ammunition packs from various animal hides.
Normally adverse to crafting mechanics, I found myself enamored with the hunting. Tracking and killing prey in Far Cry 3 is strangely addicting, and as players progress to bigger game, the hunting begins to offer an interesting challenge. The final tier of each hunting upgrade culminates in a quest where players have to track and kill (often using a specific weapon) a rare species for an exceptional piece of gear.
While hunting Far Cry 3’s wildlife is alluring, it pales in comparison to the title’s most dangerous game, man. Far Cry 3’s combat spurs the imagination, allowing players to use a variety of tools and tactics, all of which are freely interchangeable at any given instance. Thus, whether you opt for subterfuge, deadly explosives, or raw firepower, there are a multitude of solutions for every encounter you’ll face.
Part of the reason Far Cry 3 feels so flexible is the game’s interesting stealth mechanics. The stealth system on its surface works like many other games. Loud noises and clear lines of vision with your enemies will alert them of your presence. However, unlike other games, Far Cry 3’s stealth mechanics are far more forgiving. Players can easily return to stealth by simply breaking the line of sight and creating distance from their pursuers.
While enemies will still have a general idea of your location and search the surrounding area for you, the flexible stealth system allows players to seamlessly mix stealth and gun gameplay. One of my favorite tactics so far has been to run into a stronghold and killing an enemy in plain sight, drawing the rest to follow me into the jungle. There, I’m easily able to silently dispatch my foes, taking out one after another with my trusty machete.
However, with multiple enemy types such as heavily armored gunners and fearless shotgun rushers, not to mention the proverbial wildcard that is the surrounding wildlife, players will often have to adjust their tactics on the fly to suit their situations. Even when you feel like you’ve positioned all of the guards for that perfect stealth assault, there is always the chance that a snipers gaze will stray slightly left, catching you in the act, or a pack of stray dogs will wander onto the scene releasing all hell.
Luckily with so many variables in play, Far Cry 3 offers players the tools needed to combat its unpredictable environment. As players continue to kill, Jason earns experience gainning access to new abilities and passives. It starts out simple with players unlocking the ability to perform stealth kills or cook grenades, but the abilities quickly become far more powerful allowing Jason to chain together vicious machete kills or reduce incoming explosive damage by 50 percent.
At first, players will have to pick and choose which perks and abilities they want defining their character. However, as the game progresses, players will be afforded enough points to acquire almost every perk within the game. While some might argue that this dilutes the strategic element of the game, it actually plays a crucial role. Far Cry 3 makes an important connection between Jason’s degrading mental psyche and his prowess as a warrior. While the end result can be disheartening for Jason as a character, the progression is rewarding for players as he is transformed into a finely tuned killing machine. The game still manages to offer surprises and challenges along the way, but players become confident in their ability to handle them.
No matter how chaotic Far Cry 3 gets, players always feel in control.
Being a AAA first person shooter, it should come as no surprise that Far Cry 3 offers the obligatory slew of multiplayer features. With both online competitive and cooperative modes available, Far Cry 3 is reminiscent of other major FPS titles.
While players may be excited to bring the creative and visceral combat of Far Cry 3 online, the experience feels far more tailored and constrained than the single player campaign. In reality, Far Cry 3’s online mode handles far more like a watered down version of Call of Duty, complete with its own system of kill streaks, weapon loadouts and perks, than its single player counterpart.
Ultimately there is nothing really wrong with Far Cry 3’s multiplayer as it provides a serviceable experience for those who are interested – but it’s just standard fare. It fails to really bring anything unique to the table and what it does do, other online FPS titles do better. The creative and unpredictable elements are what make Far Cry 3 such an addicting experience, and those are all but absent from online play.
Far Cry 3 isn’t a worse game for having multiplayer, but its real appeal lies in its gripping single-player experience.
Far Cry 3’s narrative is undoubtedly plagued with cliches and tropes, but the flaws only serve to cast a shadow on an otherwise pristine experience. Even when the story falters in some areas, it shines in others – such as its colorful depiction of the game’s antagonist Vaas.
Far Cry 3 propels players to explore and experiment with the game’s vast and flexible landscape. Centering on player reactions instead of using tried and tested strategies, the combat manages to stay fresh and exciting all throughout this 20-hour epic.
Far Cry 3 isn’t perfect, but it’s easily one of the best single player FPS experiences of 2012, and it’s the most fun I’ve had with a single player shooter in years.