Far Cry 3 PC Review

(INTRO)
Far Cry 2 was, while commercially successful, divisive
game by Ubisoft that failed to recapture the magic of the original PC
exclusive Far Cry (not the various console spin-offs), while Crytek, the
developers of Far Cry, moved on to Crysis that revived and improved
upon the spirit of Far Cry under EA (Of course Crytek later ran into a
similar dismay with Crysis 2).

After several botched attempts to
rekindle the popularity of their old franchises such as Silent Hunter,
Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell, alongside the annual milking-fest of
Assassin’s Creed and huge backlash of ‘Always-Online’ DRM fiasco, the
name Ubisoft is not exactly synonymous with creative change and
progress.

Far Cry 2 was far cry from ‘Far Cry’ not because the
setting was changed from tropical jungle to African jungle, but because
the game was a drag to play and never maintained the consistent flow
with tension and excitement from gameplay. The color palette was washed
out and heinously brown, the world felt lukewarm and monotonous. And
realistic but ultimately tedious chores that emulated the real life like
far drive travel methods, cars breaking down for maintenance, guns
jamming, malaria and it was a good FPS but a disappointing game at the
same time that forgot how to be a fun game.

Is Far Cry 3 any
different from ‘business as usual’ approach by the developers slash
publishers who’s been doing just that for better part of the past 10
years? Let me just say it out loud; Far Cry 3 is exactly the kind of
the first person shooter for people who enjoyed the original Far Cry and
Crysis.

(THE GAME)

The game starts with action right
away just like the first one instead of puking and passing out over and
over like the second one. You are an ordinary every man, a young
college kid named Jason Brody and you are stranded in the
pirates-infested remote Rook Islands with your brothers and friends
after skydiving gone wrong and captured by a despicable psychotic pirate
leader named Vaas. With no formal combat training, you narrowly
escaped with your life and healed by a local named Dennis Rogers, and
you slowly learn to be an efficient killer and take down all the pirates
and Vaas and slowly reveal the politics of the Rook Islands that
harbors a few intriguing plots that involve the handful of colorful
characters and endless humanoids to kill.

The setting is moved
back to the tropics, but this time, you are given the whole islands
without any barrier instead of the sectioned off areas like the first
one. And the game world is a huge open world consisted of two big
islands and the vicinity with diverse topography and some unique
landmarks and set pieces crowded with enemies and wild animals
everywhere. There are also many indoor, underground and underwater
actions, and plenty of intense scripted big set piece moments.

How
refreshing is that there is a FPS that you cannot always go Rambo on?
While the gunplay is rock solid and action is just as intense, you
cannot always run and gun in Far Cry 3. Don’t get me wrong, there are
plenty of gun-toting action. But you must learn to be stealthy. In
fact, running and gunning straight up would very often ends with your
death. Stealth has to be your preferred Modus Opperandi if you want to
survive for long. Luckily, the stealth approach is just as competent
and rewarding as all out gunning approach. Each encounter with enemies
is fight for your survival. You must learn how to use everything at
your disposal to plan your route, something that was severely lacking in
Far Cry 2. You need to survey your surrounding using your camera and
methodically plan your course of action sneaking using your knife and
bow or sniper rifle to shave off the enemy number, then with the
perfectly timing all out shooting to maximize the damage. There can be
many different methods of killing enemies using environment and wild
animals. Enemy A.I. is very relentless. You wouldn’t know how many
times I wishfully uttered ‘Cloak engaged, maximum armor’ repeatedly.
All in all, the gameplay feels much more tight and the main story is
focused and scripted as if in linear corridor shooters, and that is a
good thing.

Unlike the second game, it makes so much more sense
to go around killing bad guys and cause mayhem and destruction precisely
because you are stuck in isolated islands from the rest of civilization
with those bad guys, and you gotta do what you gotta do to survive and
escape from this hellhole. No more convoluted inter-factions politics,
just actions, and no more monsters / aliens / zombies twist in the
second half, thank you so much for that. You have several travel modes
such as hang-glider, para-wings and parachute, many different vehicles
and boats available.

The story is interesting, if nothing
special, but it’s also grittier, more violent and serious than the
tongue in cheek campy first Far Cry. You will encounter several surreal
drug-induced hallucination and psychological trips throughout the main
story mission like Max Payne dream sequences or Arkham Asylum Scarecrow
sequences. They wisely focus on the pure unadulterated FPS action with
breakneck pace using much restricted and guided linear progress within
the main storyline. Between each mission, you are free to roam around
the open world. You can liberate the entire islands section by section
by climbing up the radio towers in the world and survey each area, doing
so opens up your map to reveal key locations in the given area, a la
Assassin’s Creed. Once you take down the area strongholds and clean up
the bandits, the area become friendly. Opening up the map also makes
many different weapons and equipments available and new side activities.
Then you can engage in side quests and activities such as hunting,
wanted reward, assassination, gambling, racing, etc. What stands out
with all the side activities is that they all directly reward you with
leveling up.

The robust crafting system lets you expand the
various inventory capacities by hunting various wild animals scattered
throughout the world. Weapons customizations are very diverse and deep.
You gain XP points by killing hostiles and completing objectives, then
you allocate those points to open up different skill perks and level up
your abilities in form of ancient tribal tattoos. Action and
maneuvering vehicles are very realistic and intense. The game world is
bigger (10 times) than Far Cry 2, which was already huge, but it’s also
so much easier and fun to explore, thanks to many moving vehicles and
fast travel system at all the safe houses you unlock.

The
graphics are very impressive, among the best with Crysis series and Just
Cause 2 on PC, with DirectX 11 compatibility and all the bells and
whistles of PC specific options. Far Cry 3 Looks majestic on PC when
you max all the possible options. Unfortunately there’s no destructible
environment, a minor letdown. The game also comes with a very
competent map editor, just like the previous two and the first Crysis.

(DRM)
One time online activation via UPLAY, another proprietary DRM like STEAM and EA ORIGIN.

(OUTRO)

Ubisoft
rectified all the shortcomings of Far Cry 2 by bringing back the core
elements of Far Cry 1, infusing the things that worked in Far Cry 2 into
Far Cry 3, and came out as a winner. It’s now EA and Crytek’s turn to
correct the course with Crysis 3 to recapture the essence of Crysis 1
and Far Cry 1.

If you are a shooter fans but are looking for
something different from the annual slugfest between Call of Duty and
its wannabes and are more keen to first person action games like System
Shock 2, Deus Ex, No One Lives Forever, Far Cry 1 and Crysis 1, look no
further; this is the game you want to play. In my opinion, Far Cry 3 is
not only better than Far Cry 2, but also better than Far Cry 1 and up
there with Crysis, minus destructible environment and the nano-suit (oh,
how I miss the suit), but Far Cry 3 does many things Crysis doesn’t.

With
a long, focused story progress and single player story campaign that
last 20 to 30 hours, huge open world environment with bunch of side
activities, intense and smart first person shooting action, nice
stand-alone co-op story campaign that lasts 4-5 hours and fun
multiplayer modes, Far Cry 3 redeems the franchise and Ubisoft from the
past sins, if briefly until the next ‘all-too-familiar’ fiasco that will
surely happen unless Ubisoft goes through the fundamental changes. But
I am feeling very forgiving and immensely enjoying Far Cry 3 to think
ahead that far for the moment. Far Cry 3 is the most impressive first
step toward the redemption, and a great sign for things to come.
Terrific job, Ubisoft!    

Verdict: 90/100

Details:
Genre: Shooter
Style: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment

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