“FarCry3 offers a dangerous and varied environment to play in, just take some time to stop and smell the flowers.”
FarCry2 had some beautiful moments, wandering the deserted tundra you could hear the insects around you and almost feel the virtual sun on your back. It was a massive play area with plenty to do, but it also harboured a few problems. Weapon degradation was too frequent and hampered the fun, so too did the infamous checkpoints that respawned seconds after being cleared. Otherwise the game was immersive and time consuming, now FarCry3 drops in to settle the score and put those issues to rest.A sandbox first person shooter is about the best description for this tour de force, the narrative is borderline Hollywood nonsense and we will get to that, but the guts of the game offer a wonderfully immersive adventure that often surprises you no matter how far along you are.
Ignoring the cheesy intro and your characters obnoxious friends leaves you kidnapped and imprisoned by the mad, bad and generally deranged Vaas. Cue daring escape and moments of anguish, the opening sequence does well to introduce some basic mechanics and build up the story for your adventure on this beautiful, yet dangerous island.
FarCry3 once again offers and environment to savour, when you compare the game to other mainstream funnelled shooters, the depth of the world around you is plain to see. If you want to hike up that mountain, you can, where you can stand and admire the sunset before getting mauled by a tiger. trudging through the bush is a joy, the ambient sounds picked up through my headset add such life and the random events that just happen can fill you with joy. At one stage I had taken a high spot to watch a camp I was set to attack, when I heard distant barking, shortly after a wild boar broke cover and charged through the camp. The chasing pack of wild dogs, soon lost interest in the boar and set about the pirates I was after, mopping up took two shots at a dog and a wounded pirate. Mission accomplished.
Not only does the world offer deep immersion, but also the point of view never strays from first person, whether creeping through jungle, driving or crashing a car and even when being dragged to the deep by a Great White Shark or rolled by a Crocodile. It helps to keep you focused and the vision shattering effect of rolling a car is so effective it can shake your aim for a while, leaving you disoriented and open.
The irksome issues of FarCry2 are long gone, weapons do not degrade and respawning checkpoints do not haunt you, as the story progresses you build up unlockable experience to enhance your skills and these slowly turn your character into a powerhouse by the endgame. Crafting also plays a big part, gathering herbs to build your own medical supplies and hunting various fauna to enhance your carrying capacity. Although the join between skinning a Cassowary and having a bigger ammo pack may be tenuous it adds some spice and challenge when out hiking the bush.
Overall the game offers so much more than the generic shooters normally filling the shelves, it gives the player options and the ability to tackle objectives differently each time. The character models are incredibly well realised and nicely acted, the environment is top notch and while the narrative strays a little into a drug fuelled wonderland, it holds the game together. There are online options, the co-op being the superior offering, hook up with three others and work through some fixed missions, no free world roaming, but plenty of fun.
Pretty much at the top of my list for 2012, FarCry3 has come in at the end and taken the FPS race.