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FAR CRY 3 (X360)
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Far Cry 2 was an ambitious title that never really managed to capture all of the brilliance of the first game. Can Ubisoft ever bring back the brilliance of the first game without Crytek?

Posted by Staff on Nov 30, 2012 14:37 (Nov 30, 2012 14:37)

Written by: Ian
A Crying shame?
Far Cry 2 was an ambitious title that never really managed to capture all of the brilliance of the first game. Can Ubisoft ever bring back the brilliance of the first game without Crytek? This third game, "Far Cry 3" unrelated to either previous game, now has us back in a tropical ‘paradise’, but is the game just trying to give the player a cheap nostalgia hit?
Certainly, judging by the story, Ubisoft aren’t afraid of pulling punches or steering away from doing anything new, controversial, or emotionally intense. The first five minutes of the game, even though it’s highly scripted, is some of the most intense and best-acted gameplay I’ve ever seen as you are captured and tortured by your insane nemesis, Vaas, and then escape from his clutches. Anyway, I won’t spoil the game, but as the missions unfold you go under a huge personal transformation.
In the beginning, you rely on your big brother- a strong Army guy, but soon you’re forced to become a killer in order to rescue your friends, and it’s really interesting to see how this changes you over the course of the generous campaign.
Far Cry 2 tried its best to try and introduce us to the idea of an FPS RPG that wasn’t as unwieldy as say Fallout 3. However, with mediocre gunplay, and elements seemingly designed to annoy the hell out of the player, such as hyper-aggressive AI and respawning checkpoints, coupled with a harsh saving system led to a game that was polarising to the extreme. Thankfully, Ubisoft have resolved all of these problems for Far Cry 3, and then thrown in additional mechanics borrowed from Assassin’s Creed, and then plonked in some meaty (and excellent) stealth mechanics as well on top of it all.
Far Cry 3 screenshot #1
The most important new addition is the radio towers, of which there are 18 to climb up, each of which are different, a la the towers in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Getting to the top will reveal more of your map, which brings up new missions and waypoints. The same goes for taking over one of the many strongholds. These allow you to take on a number of side-quests such as murdering local warlords, indulging in a little photography, or going on some unique hunts. And talking of hunting, the jungle isn’t always a friendly place, and it really feels alive thanks to the animal AI. You can go out hunting, and this is essential to your success, as it will allow you to carry more guns and ammo, and more loot to sell, which means better weapon upgrades. You can even try to use them in combat, often with hilarious (and fatal) consequences.
At the start of the game, you feel very disempowered, both from a story and gameplay perspective. However, skin a few animals, and suddenly you’re toting 4 weapons and a metric tonne of grenades, and the odds are more stacked in your favour.
And you need them to be. The gunplay is far, far better than previous games, but you’re a lone gunman against many, and so you need your skills about you. Thankfully the stealth mechanic normally seems fair, and you’ll earn XP for completing missions and for kills, which allows you to focus your skills down one of three paths. These roughly equate to survival skills, stealth, and guns, but all have very useful trees which are worth investing in. Exploring the world is more fun than it
Far Cry 3 screenshot #2
There’s realism here aplenty, but never at the expense of making the game fun, unlike in Far Cry 2. And despite the game’s excellent story, I was drawn to the exploration- I wanted the upgrades, there was a tantalising mission unveiled right by a new radio tower, or some smoke rising in the distance. Far Cry makes exploration fun but giving you these hints, and it makes the exploration fun and easy by getting the driving handling just right. Some of the missions with big weapons and big vehicles, often with some great music playing over them, are real highlights of this entire generation. But even bombing about on a quad-bike is just great fun, and well worth your while, because you’ll no doubt stumble across a temple, a new outpost to be liberated, or some long-lost treasure. Or maybe just be eaten by a bear or tiger. Or a boar. That was pretty embarrassing when that happened early on. Thankfully the game is decently generous with checkpoints, even if the load times can be pretty horrendous when you do die.
There’s just a huge amount to do, notwithstanding the story missions. Exploring Rook Island to a decent degree will take you over 20 hours as a bare minimum, and when you consider there is co-op, multiplayer and a level editor on top of this, Ubisoft seem to be bordering on the obscenely generous given the paucity of most shooters today.
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