Did you ever wonder what it would be like to experience a game like Just Cause 2 from a more realistic and immersive perspective? Well here is your chance.
Most people while awaiting the release of Far Cry 3 questioned whether it would live up to the hype, after Far Cry 2 left people underwhelmed, thinking to themselves what could have been, ‘if only they did this or changed that’, it was considered nothing but lost potential. Ubisoft claim to have learnt from their mistakes with 3’s predecessor however, so we decided to put them to the test.
After the first five minutes, we were asking ourselves;
‘Do we understand the true definition of insanity?’
This is arguably the best part of the game, from the satisfying sound of the .50 caliber round exploding from your Z93, to your machete tearing the hide from a slain Crocodile, it is all awe inspiring. Distant gunfire sounds realistic and gives you a feel of the distance, whereas the sound of a high caliber weapon being fired in your vicinity feels viscous and menacing. The eerie snarls of a Tiger hidden in the foliage keep you on your toes, signalling that you may have half a ton of muscle, fangs and claws to worry about should you turn your back to the wrong part of the jungle. The hissing of a poisonous serpent coiled in wait, ready to strike the second you step on the wrong patch of grass. The roars of a nearby Grizzly Bear crushing a local villager, the screams of terror, tearing of the flesh and breaking of bones, all of it reaches out from your speakers and pulls you straight into the world of Far Cry.
The voice acting feels professional and to an impeccable standard, Michael Mando portrays the sociopathic king of the Rook Island Pirates perfectly, he gives you a sense of viciousness you rarely feel from a fictional character. He also manages along with the incredible scripting to give an unstated sense of sorrow around the character of Vaas, a feeling of irredeemable corruption of a once decent, innocent man. The entire psychopathic cast are all portrayed with an equal quality, every character and every enemy feeling like they were pulled straight from a Triple A Film Epic.
Far Cry 3 has set the bar among the Gods themselves in the Heavens above for audio quality that the entire industry should strive for.
Visually the game is packed to the brim with gorgeous vistas, beautiful shorelines and oceans, topped off with hundreds of tribal dungeons that would wow even Harrison Ford. You will occasionally find yourself squinting your eyes to see if you are awake as the game can and will look like a piece of cinema at times, a feeling long forgotten since the emergence of Crysis back in ’07. The technical aspect of Far Cry 3 is impressive even by today’s standards; on the PC platform it comes packed to the brim with High Definition Ambient Occolusion (HDAO; SSAO on Steroids), full 8x MSAA (Multi-Sample Anti Aliasing), support for resolutions above 1440p (2560 x 1440), full DX11 support and much more. The optimization for the PC platform is equally as impressive, running at a constant 40fps and above, maxed out on a humble £1,000 gaming machine, not a single stutter or hiccup to be found.
The cut scenes however occasionally seemed to run at a very low fps count, as low as 10 frames per second at some points. That coupled with a strange over saturation during the day and unnatural overly green coloring of the foliage just held Far Cry back from being complete and total eye candy, just as gorgeous visually as it was on the ears.
The storyline is yet another stunning aspect of this AAA title, while the concept has been used quite a lot by other video games; the quest of a Hero trying to save his captured buddies, the way Ubisoft delivered the whole experience just stood out completely from the rest. Expect to be sent on dangerous quests inside forgotten ruins in the search for mystical artifacts by utterly insane cutthroats. Forced to infiltrate a group of mercenaries, posing as an undercover traitor in order to further infiltrate said mercenaries. Sent by a beautiful tribal leader on a some-what (ridiculously) intoxicated journey to slay a gigantic, undead Demon, and so on…
A story like his would normally seem over the top and inane, but Ubisoft managed to pull it all off nigh-flawlessly, throwing artistic, psychedelic episodes at you which they make you believe were real.
It’s always painful to see such an amazing piece of video game fiction stumble at the most important obstacle; Gameplay. It didn’t exactly fall and break it’s neck, as it isn’t at all bad; it just sours the entire experience slightly of what could of been so much more. With moments that make you throw your pad down, extend out your arms and say to yourself; ”What the f..!’. Your hand is constantly being held the entire way through, when you’re sent into the crumbling tribal ruins you are shown explicitly which ways to go, where to climb (a system that will be scrutinized shortly) and even which ancient switches and dials to manipulate. There were several opportunities within the gameplay to deliver some epic and memorable moments of video gaming history, amazing and intuitive puzzles and heart-pounding fights for your life, but instead they were watered down to over-glorified, interactive cut scenes. They tried to deliver frantic and death-defying moments that actually felt like you were given a safe, guided tour through the Polynesian inspired architecture. Something else they totally failed upon was the climbing system, while it is good, it is far too shallow. You are restricted to only being able to climb what is programmed to be climbed; which isn’t much at all. It can leave you incredibly frustrated when your character cannot scale a 3 foot high rock, when two minutes ago he just leaped across a gigantic chasm or scaled an eight foot wall.
Thankfully though, Ubisoft Montreal managed to redeem themselves with immerse Sandbox gameplay, solid and flexible shooter/stealth mechanics, collectibles that are actually enjoyable to hunt and a decent character-building and experience gaining system. The game at times really does feel like it’s been taken straight out of a Just Cause title, as you are given a gliding ‘wing-suits’ to enhance free falling, an endless supply of parachutes, gigantic mountain ranges to explore and base jump, enemy encampments to raid and pillage and so much more. The Co-Op and multiplayer elements are decent, however the Co-Op felt a little let down as it was very linear and restricted in an otherwise free and gigantic game, the interactions between the players however, redeemed it to be an enjoyable experience. The Multiplayer is also well worth a shot, as the game features beautiful shooting mechanics that are an asset to the genre.
The physical experience you’ll take from Far Cry 3 is a decent one, only falling a few points behind the rest of the ratings, but like it’s predecessor it is still riddled with baffling design choices and moments that may upset you with ‘what could of been’.
Overall Far Cry 3 is a fictional masterpiece of a quality rarely seen today, but is let down by it’s occasional contrived design flaws that rival the characters you meet in terms of insanity. It is well worth a purchase and may not see the inside of a trade-in bin any time soon, but there is a risk of becoming so infuriated at the silly mechanics that it completely blinds you to the beautiful, redeeming qualities the game has to offer.