Where do i even begin with this game? First of all Far Cry 3 is by far the coolest game of 2012. It may not be the best, that’s up for debate, but I found every second more enjoyable than the last.
Far Cry 3 is a best of hybrid of the first two games. Far Cry 1 was an explosive story driven linear shoot ‘em up. Far Cry 2 was a more adventurous sandbox style free roamer that was probably far too adventurous for its own good. Far Cry 3 is the best bits of both combined to make a huge, open world with story missions, side quests, collectibles, zip-lining and, most importantly, wild animals.
Here’s the set up. Far Cry 3 is based on a tropical island, somewhere between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It’s hard to pin point since there are so many varied accents from the games characters. You play as Jason Brody who has arrived on the island for a holiday with his friends. Soon you are jet skiing and sky driving and it all looks a right laugh until you wake up, bound, inside a bamboo cage.
You and your friends have been kidnapped by pirates and are going to be held to ransom. The pirates are led by one of the most vicious, sadistic and wonderfully portrayed video game villains ever to grace the small screen. His name is Vas, you’ll probably recognise him from the box art.
Luckily you escape and are taken in by the friendly island natives, the Rakyat. They look after you, feed you, bathe you and provide you with your very first Tattoo. The Tattoo is the mark of the warrior in their culture and they see you as their saviour, come to save them from the nasty Vas.
This is when the game really begins.
You head out into the island with nothing on you but a gun and a smile but where do you go? There are loads of things to do on the Island. Firstly there are many blocked radio towers scattered all over the island. By finding them, climbing to the summit and fixing the receiver you unlock a portion of the map showing objectives and wild animal locations. You also unlock free guns at the shop (the attachments and the paint jobs cost though).
As with Far Cry 2 there are loads of hostiles about the island at the beginning of the game. Getting from point A to point B can turn into a real chore when you are constantly getting attacked by pirates who are just driving around. Situated around the Island are enemy outposts. Clear out one of these outposts and a small portion of the map becomes safe. Clear out every outpost, no more enemies. You get extra XP for clearing out a camp undetected and lose XP for alarms that get triggered.
As you progress through the game you need to upgrade your stuff. Your wallet, ammo pouch, arrow quiver, munitions pouch…..everything needs upgrading. You do this by crafting. Take, for example, your wallet. At the beginning of the game it holds $1,000. The next step up is a wallet that holds $2,000 but in order to make one you need two goat skins. Look on you map, find some goats and go hunting! There is nothing more pleasing than heading out into the bush with your bow and your quiver and hunting animals through the jungle. It’s addictive.
As you level up you gain skill points that can be used in three different skill trees, one for tank like abilities (health, stamina), one for rogue like abilities (stealth, silence) and one for hunter like abilities (move quicker, hold your breath longer etc). By the end of the game, depending how much you play, you can fill every spot in all three trees. As you spend skill points your new tattoo grows up your arm, signifying, not only, how awesome you are becoming but also your descent into madness.
The story is huge, around 38 missions in total. You meet some crazy characters that help you along the way, each of which is as beautifully rendered as the Island herself. Each mission is varied and no two are similar. They get crazier as the game progresses; a stand out one sees you with a flamethrower setting fire to fields and fields of marijuana, with Skrillex and Damien Marley providing the soundtrack. So much fun.
The game has a co-op mode but it’s pretty thin. Set with different characters than the main story, it feels like a poor man’s Left 4 Dead and plays like one too. A buddy and I blitzed through it in less than four hours. One to miss really but if you have your friends round just play Left 4 Dead instead.
Overall I was delighted by this finely crafted and executed game. It feels good to play, it gives you loads of options depending on your personal play style and it looks lush!
Just don’t buy it for the multiplayer.