Always threading on the cusp of remarkable, Far Cry’s previous instalments have always been beautiful if somewhat uneven experiences. Far Cry 3 is the robust monster that part 2 should have been: a callous, unforgiving and brutally beautiful open world shooter that reinvigorates a first person shooter zeitgeist defined by brown brand linear military shooters. Welcome to the world of Far Cry 3.
You play as Jason, a seemingly wimpy spring-break, beer-bong playing undergraduate-cum-relentless killer. His transformation from the former extreme seems altogether total and unanimously far-fetched, but given the omnipresent atmosphere of cut throat tension and organic fear that this world creates, Jason has to adapt or he will almost certainly die.
The tropical island setting defines the experience and Ubisoft Montreal has created an open world with almost infinite layers of interaction and discovery. Like all good open world experiences, you are not tethered to a single objective solution to a problem. You approach everything in this world as you see fit. While pirates almost certainly represent the island’s most ominous threat to Jason, its wildlife, be it tigers in the long grass or sharks in the water, won’t be afraid to spill your blood either. The wildlife, much like the greater scenery, should always be approached with caution.
The freedom granted by Far Cry 3’s world is gloriously refreshing, not least because the game retains that core FPS feeling without ever really flirting with any other sub-genre. It’s an incredibly accessible world. You can drive vehicles, mount jet skis, whisk through the air on hand gliders or simply trudge through the overgrowth on foot.
The presentation is immense, from the rich and luscious Uncharted style visuals to the stylish urban meets jungle audio cues. It’s one of the best looking games of 2012. In addition, the storyline, coupled with some truly unique and memorable characters, really makes this a world worth sticking with for the duration of the campaign. It also resolves itself quite nicely too. Its plot is suitably satisfying, avoiding taboo clichés and taking narrative risks that really enhance the grittiness of the island experience.
In addition to the impressive single-player campaign, Far Cry 3 also comes bundled with a standalone four player co-op mode complete with its very own story. You and three others will be tasked with hunting down a cruise ship now overrun by pirates. It’s not as freeform or as open world as the single player, but it’s a satisfying distraction from the solo campaign and certainly worthy of a couple of playthroughs. There’s also a more traditional multiplayer mode.
Far Cry 3 is a must for shooter fans, a brutal adrenaline fuelled kill-ride through the depths of tropical insanity. Avoid it at your peril.
By Shane Willoughby