Far Cry 3 review
Good, but not great


What's this? A Hiiggy review of a game that ISN'T a decade old? Well well well, let's get right in to it!

Far Cry 3: A FPS game where you take on the role of an American tourist named Jason Brody, trapped on an island where you became captive by a band of pirates and human-trafficking whack-jobs, and must find a way to save your friends and escape. One of the better games I have played over my many years as a gamer, and one I feel is worth taking the time to make a review on. So what makes this a good game?

Let's start off with the most important aspect of gaming (in my opinion): The storyline. Now it's a little hard for me to explain why I thought the storyline was good, without spoiling anything, but I can definitely say that it is great to see a storyline that hasn't been stamped out from a template that has been used in games countless times. I'm not 100% sure if this is a unique storyline, but I am quite confident that it is. The fact that it isn't entirely linear is also a major plus. While the backbone of the story only has one direction for the most part, the side missions do exist, as a way to do something else and reward you with better items.

Further analysing the main storyline, I have to admit that when I first decided to try this game, I expected much less than I thought. I thought this was going to be entirely about some guy held captive, and must rescue his friends, but halfway through the game, you end up traveling in to the freaky voodoo unknown. Call it drugs, magic, insanity, or whatever else, this is a significant turning point where the story dives deeper in to the realms of interesting and exciting. However, with all that said, I must question the ending. Again, I will try not to spoil anything, but right at the end, you are faced with two choices. I honestly thought this was completely unnecessary. You have the main storyline being linear for the most part, and then it forks in to two paths at the very end, offering you nothing more than a different ending cutscene. While this isn't a bad thing, it just didn't feel like it was well executed. It would have made more sense to offer this storyline split somewhere further back in the story, so that you have more replay value in the game. Regardless, my issue with the story isn't from this, but rather the lackluster ending. There was a (dare I say it?) rather epic fighting scene a little bit before the end, and afterwards, a buildup to the ending, but then when it came, I just felt like it didn't live up to expectations.

Now while I did say the storyline was linear, it still had the option to be continued whenever you felt you were ready, therefore allowing you the chance to explore, and take part in side missions, go hunting, or what have you. This is always a positive point. It gives the game more depth, and allows you to enjoy playing for a longer time, than games that lock you in to a story without any way of deviating from it. However, the side missions themselves were admittedly repetitive. Missions where you are tasked with hunting dangerous animals with a specific weapon, missions where you hunt specific people, removing scramblers from radio towers, and missions where you raid unfriendly outposts, and make them yours, to unlock new fast travel routes (I'll get to that later). Now hunting and killing specific animals/enemies are there for the sake of making money and having the funds to buy more weapons. Hunting is also there to allow you to craft new items with the skins of animals found only in hunting missions. However, I found that before long, I didn't have any need to do this, because my financial situation was just fine, the way it was from going along with the story, so I felt that at least the 'wanted dead' missions (killing specific people) were unnecessary. Of course, it might just be adding variety to the game, but what's the point if there is no need to use the feature? In any case, the other missions do have uses to them. Radio tower descrambling reveals information on the nearby area on your map, and outpost raiding allows you access to a safe house where you can purchase guns, resupply on ammo and explosives, and have access to vehicles for faster travel in the area. However, like the other missions, this outpost raiding gets repetitive after a while. You go in, kill the men, and the outpost is yours. Rinse and repeat. At the very least, it does offer you incentives to be sneaky and take out everyone without raising alarms, or even alerting others to your presence by taking the stealthier methods. I have always been a fan of games where you achieve objectives through stealth, rather than the traditional COD method of going in all guns blazing. Spray 'n pray is mindless. Stealthy requires strategy, and I think when it came to providing players with that option, it was done well.

This eases me in to the point of gameplay. Overall a positive aspect to this game, with lots, and lots of features available to the player, but without the overly complex and confusing methods of utilising them, as many games seem to do. Far Cry 3 seems to tie in all its features well. You need to craft things to improve yourself. To do that, you need to explore. To help you explore, you need to descramble radio towers that tell you where certain plants or animals are located. Your reward is in new weapons, more ammo, and more items that help you accomplish side missions, or the main story better. One thing that I really appreciated was the fact that even though the world you play in is massive, you can still quickly travel to general areas, to eliminate the monotony of walking or driving there, yourself. A kilometer long trek is no fun at all, regardless of whether or not you find yourself in a firefight along the way, or get attacked by a predator. This is where liberating outposts comes in to play. You secure one, and that outpost becomes another fast travel location. Fast travel is a feature from your map that allows you to instantly arrive at a secured outpost, so you dont have to bore yourself with long distance travels. A feature greatly appreciated.

I don't know where to mention this, but this is as good a place as any: Several times in the game, you end up in a sort of drugged, or tranced out mode, where you appear to be hallucinating. Grants you insight in to the mind of the main character, and the subtle mental battle that rages on. At the very least, it detracts from the whole 'explore a jungle and shoot stuff' experience you are normally partaking in.

If I had to say one bad thing about the gameplay, it's that the features aren't always fully explained properly. For instance, I never knew I had C4 and mines selectable with the keys 5 and 6, or for that matter, the 1-4 keys being how I cycle between equipped weapons. I had to figure those out for myself. I found myself constantly forgetting what medicinal items were equipped to numbers 7 and 8 as well, because nothing on the HUD was indicative of what was equipped to those slots.

Moving on now to the characters, this was a truly interesting part of the game. I like the little backstories each character is given in the menu, but ignoring that, I love the personalities. The first antagonist you see when you begin the game, Vaas, has an especially vivid, insane and explosive personality, and I am not surprised that he is one of the favourite characters of the players, despite being one of the bad guys. It is yet another bit of the game that I absolutely love. I really wish I could go in to each character, but to prevent spoilers...

One issue with your character (Jason) is the actual character building. It was clear that the developers were going for some kind of character building here, where Jason starts out as this cowardly guy who is afraid to kill, and is scared out of his mind when he sees one of the hostile men get killed. By the end, he is a warrior out for blood (for reasons I won't say). Now that transition is fine and all, and this transformation brings to mind novels such as Lord of the Flies, but I felt that the beginning of the story felt completely rushed with this transition, and despite such a rapid change in being able to kill another man, throughout the entire game, you hear him exclaim disgust in skinning an animal. It just seems rather inconsistent.

One general aspect that I did find as an overall negative was the realism. It seemed inconsistent, with certain things being perfectly realistic, such as making fall damage realistic (ever fallen on something not your feet from three meters high? It hurts), and being unable to jump to ridiculous heights. Your vision is altered from drugs, or getting hit, and nearby explosions leave a ringing noise in your ears. However, despite that, I have to question the carrying ability of your character. Ammunition and explosives are heavy, and guns are heavier still. How does someone carry up to 4 weapons, and a vast assortment and quantity of grenades, molotovs, mines, C4, flamethrower fuel, and rockets, and still retain the ability to sprint over long distances (or at all)? Marking targets as well seems quite unrealistic as well. It's a nice little feature of course, but seeing the outline of your enemy while he is behind a wall and several buildings? I doubt you could ascertain someones location without a visual, or at least be close enough to hear footsteps or a voice. But I'm getting picky now.

One thing that bugged me (or rather, was a disappointment) was that the replay value of this game is next to nothing. It can certainly keep you busy while you finish the game, get all the items, etc, but once you are done, you are faced with one question...What now? You have seen everything that the game has to offer, so what point is there in playing again? No random scenarios, no extra variety...It was a major letdown for what would have been an otherwise enjoyable game. This here is where the game lost most of its score for me. What I think would have better would be to have something similar to GTA:SA, where nearby captured outposts may occasionally fall under attack, and you have the choice of dropping whatever you are doing, and saving it from attack, or ignoring it, and letting it get captured.

I will conclude with the final two points of graphics and music. Far Cry 3 on maximum settings is Crysis-level stunning. Perhaps even moreso. The vegetation, the skies, explosions, fire, and water...All amazing. This game really excelled in the visual aspect of things. The detail was most certainly there, and I cannot think of anything negative to say about this. As for music? Perfect choice of music that was executed well and at the right time, be it the more tribal-sounding music, the dubstep (and believe me, I normally hate dubstep with a passion, but it worked so well), or any of the others, including the theme music itself in certain special parts in the main story. In fact, I was listening to the theme music as I typed this. A lot of the music in this game was quite enjoyable on their own.

So that leads me to the conclusion of this review. What can I say? This is a game I would certainly recommend to people. It is most definitely a good game. Not great, but good. The reason for this is that normally in a great game, I would get drawn in emotionally as well. I just didn't feel that extra-special bit to this game, that I wish I felt. Regardless, I believe Far Cry 3 deserves a solid 7 out of 10 from me.

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My-R-sole Apr 7, 13
This is a great review. I love the fact that you can go atound and not know what comes round the next bend. A car probably. I am halfway through at moment. Great game.
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