• Review: Far Cry 3

    Posted by Mike Yawney on December 2nd, 2012 View Comments

    Every fall, video game journalists are inundated with copies of games from developers looking for press leading into the holiday season. As someone who reviews not only games, but a wide variety of electronics for a living, it’s important for me to limit the amount of time I spend with each title to ensure I can get to as many as possible. I’m not saying I rush through them, as I still tend to complete the majority, however I may not go after every weapon upgrade or achievement. Then a title like Far Cry 3 comes out and completely ruins my routine.

    You know you play a game too much when you spend almost every waking moment sitting in front of it — when it finds its way into your dreams at night, preventing you from getting a good night sleep. Yes, Far Cry 3 is that game, and it’s easily one of the best of the year.

    It’s hard not to be drawn into Far Cry 3 right from the start. A captivating intro cinematic sets the scene. A group of rich twenty-something year-olds partying it up on a remote tropical island. After a few minutes it’s revealed that all the footage you are seeing is actually recorded video being played on a camcorder, in the hands of drug lord. You and your friends have been captured and will be sold into slavery if your parents don’t cough up some serious cash. This is where we first meet Vaas, the leader of the drug/slave ring, probably one of the most believable antagonists in a video game.

    What follows is a game of cat and mouse across a vast series of islands, hunting down not only your friends, but Vaas and his cronies. Thankfully you’ll receive the help of the locals who also hate Vaas, and will supply you with a wide variety of weapons if you help them reclaim the islands. Hand guns, shotguns, molotov cocktails and rocket launchers are all at your disposal, and you’ll need them all if you want to survive the harsh landscape.

    The open-world is absolutely huge. Exploring it is half the fun of Far Cry 3. Ubisoft keeps most of what lies ahead a secret by blacking out portions until you restore the functionality to communications towers scattered across the land. Once they are lit up you’ll stumble upon numerous side quests and and exploration missions to retrieve dozens of lost relics and WWII letters which reveal the history of the area. If you choose to take these on, the game length is easily extended by 10 plus hours. Sure you can ignore them, but you’ll miss out on half the fun exploring the beautiful, living landscape.

    I found myself always on edge while playing Far Cry 3, especially in the early stages of the adventure. Vaas’ men are always on the move, hunting you down. But they aren’t the only ones to fear. The island is filled with everything from wild boars to komodo dragons and leopards. They prey on anything that moves, and that includes you. You may be lining up one of Vaas’ men in your sights, only to hear a growl behind you. The next thing you know you’re trying to save your arm by prying open the mouth of a feral dog. I literally jumped from my chair the first time a crocodile grabbed my as I swam through a shallow pool on the interior of one of the islands. However, you can use the local wildlife to your advantage. If you can hunt them down and skin them, you can use their hides to craft items such as backpacks and fuel slings. I spent many an hour stalking down various species to ensure I was fully equipped.

    The beauty of Far Cry 3 really is the fact there is so much to do. You can ignore the main story and simply hunt for hours, or pick wild plants to create concoctions to not only heal your wounds, but give yourself new abilities. When yo get bored of that you can sit down with the locals to play a hand or two of poker, or take on timed racing challenges. It’s easy to get distracted by everything Far Cry 3 has to offer. 20 hours into the game I realized I was only half done the main story.

    The overall package is exceptional. The graphics in Far Cry 3 are stunning, with exceptional attention to detail. You really feel like you’re exploring a tropical paradise with hundreds of species or plants and animals. Just dip your head under the water and you’ll see dozens of fish, sea turtles, jellyfish, even sharks. It’s truly remarkable.

    But what really shines are the characters. Ubisoft has set a new bar in character development by hiring brilliant voice actors, most notably Michael Mando who plays Vaas. It’s as if you are watching the man on the set of a Hollywood picture. You never know what he’s going to say next, and his performance is so believable you actually begin to fear him.

    I admit, I spent way too much time with Far Cry 3, but it kept pulling me in for more. The game brings a welcome blend of action and adventure which will keep you entertained for hours. Far Cry 3 is smart, fun, and easily one of the best games of 2012. A must buy!

    The Good
    huge map to explore
    amazing voice acting
    endless supply of side quests

    The Bad
    co-op is completely different experience than single player (would be fun to play single player campaign with a friend)

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