After 2008’s Far Cry 2, Ubisoft went away with their tails between their legs. The series’ second outing was flawed in many ways and the overall moment to moment gameplay suffered because of this. Ubisoft have taken the issues on board and came back 4 years later with one of the best games this generation will witness.
Far Cry 3 is a technical masterpiece set on a luscious tropical archipelago full of wonders and characters. The chaotic story mixed with side activities encourages you to play in your own style at your own pace. You’ll spend many hours on the vast islands adventuring, hunting and most importantly, surviving.
You play as Jason Brody, a (stereo)typical young adult who when on holiday likes to party it up. The introductory sequence quickly shows you that you and your closest friends and family are here to live it up. Happy scenes of partying and skydiving are quickly ripped away from you though as things start to turn sour with the introduction of Vaas. The island you are on is his territory, and he doesn’t play nice.
After escaping Vaas’ reach you soon find yourself meeting the other inhabitants of this wonderful paradise gone awry. Some characters are there to help whilst others you can never be too sure about. You’ll meet some interesting faces in Far Cry 3 and each is as memorable as the last. Fantastic voice acting all round, but especially from Vaas, creates another dimension in which this could all be real. Yet it is not just the story, but the entire island that pulls you in.
Whilst journeying through the world you’ll come across various wildlife, outposts, towns, shacks and even shipwrecks that all add to the incredible immersive experience Far Cry 3 offers. The urge to explore and discover is encouraged and at times even rewarded. However the islands are numerous and some are gigantic, all are dangerous, and you are just one guy. You’re going to need to adapt to survive.
You’ll need to become a hunter, learn to adjust to your surroundings using all your knowledge to survive here. The flora and fauna of the island offer themselves as your ingredients for crafting medicines and gear, hunting is a crucial part of the game and it isn’t always you that is the hunter. Allowing you to craft anything you can get the items for means that you can build your arsenal in the manner you choose most fitting.
Getting the right tools to do the job is also down to you, there are gun shops and self-service vendors dotted throughout the lands. From these you can buy and customise a vast array of weaponry from MP5’s to bow and arrows and even grenade launchers. Most weapons have a suitable amount of customisation for you to choose from with some paint jobs thrown in to encourage you to identify yourself within the game.
Whilst exploring all the island has to offer and fighting to save your captured friends, you’ll be earning experience you can spend of skills to help with your task. You can build from the three different skill trees simultaneously to fit your style of play. Some skills allow for steady aiming or quicker reload times whilst others show the more aggressive side of Jason. There are many different skills that you can acquire to become the ultimate warrior.
Combat is fast and fluid, engagements can be over in moments and you’ll need to be prepared before jumping head first into a large camp of enemies. Whilst enemies are now quicker to die so are you, if you make mistakes things will end badly. There are a few types of enemies present in Far Cry 3 that require you to deal with in a certain way. There are quick, agile chargers that often use Molotov cocktails and machetes to bring about your demise as well some beefier armoured enemies that will simply laugh should you try to take them on with a bow.
This creates a real sense of constant threat when entering camps and going into combat. Running in with one tactic is going to get you killed and constant adaptation is required to come away from the battle alive. Using stealth tactics has great advantages as going unnoticed in Far Cry 3 is much easier than its predecessor. A good mix of both all guns blazing and hiding in the shadows or bushes can be a rewarding experience.
There are also a host of other activities you can partake in should rescuing your friends not take your fancy. Sharpshooting challenges, knife throwing contests, races and Poker make up just a few of the activities you can enjoy whilst taking in the sights. Assassination missions and specific hunting quests also make an appearance as you take control of outposts throughout the archipelago.
The experience you have in Far Cry 3 is your own. Although the story is fixed you can shape how you grow in any way you like and the time you’ll spend in this magnificent game will harbour its own unique stories, ones made by you when you spent ten minutes scoping out an outpost or hunting for bears. The times you encountered a fire fight in the distance and gave your tribal comrades a hand by sneaking up on unsuspecting foes and taking them down.
The holiday may be over for Jason, but for you it has just begun. Each moment in Far Cry is incredibly enjoyable. This amazing, expansive world full of life and opportunities is waiting for you to dive in and adventure through. Whether you are playing this for a fascinating story with great characters or just for a fun, open and exciting island experience, Far Cry 3 will not leave you disappointed. A wealth of activities and exploration will keep you sucked in for many hours. So take a load off, grab your tickets and board the plane, your tropical holiday in paradise awaits.