Review: Far Cry 3 (PS3)
Title: Far Cry 3
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (5.7 GB)
Release Date: November 30, 2012 (EU), December 4, 2012 (NA)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Price: £39.99 (EU), $59.99 (NA)
ESRB Rating: M
Far Cry 3 is also available on PlayStation Network, Xbox 360 and PC.
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.
When I first saw the reveal trailer for Far Cry 3 during E3 I was excited, memories of the series came flooding back from 2004.
Crytek Studios developed the first game, full of lush beaches and dense rainforests, I lost many hours replaying the first part of that game over & over again. Then Ubisoft Montreal took over the series turning Far Cry 2 into an almost unrecognizable sequel, the wide open plains of Africa became the setting and all of the weapons kept breaking. Okay, I’m being too harsh, I did enjoy Far Cry 2, just not enough to see it through to the end.
4 years later Ubisoft releases Far Cry 3, and I nervously begin to play.
You play as Jason Brody, on holiday with your friends on some tropical islands in the area of Malay Archipelago. Everything is going great and you are all having a nice time. But then your group are captured by pirates and things go from bad to worse. This is where the game begins and the opening ten minutes is the best tutorial I’ve played in years, simply because I forgot it was one. It’s a very tense and action packed start to a game and really got me interested.
If you have played any first person shooters in the last few years then you’ll be used to the controls, the only differences are pressing the right directional button to throw stones – to distract guards, and the other directions to use a syringe or equip a different arrow. When your exploring the massive islands you can harvest animal skins and plants, the latter for crafting syringes which can be used for a large variety of things from health boosts, increased hunting abilities or even protection against fire.
It’s not just the deranged human inhabitants you have to worry about in this game, there are also many types of animals to watch out for and hunt, mostly for upgrading your gear. If you want to get a bigger grenade pouch then you might want to go hunting for a rare Komodo Dragon or maybe you’re in need of a bigger wallet, well then some sharks should be on your list. I must say, I quickly learnt to upgrade the gear and spent the first part of the game doing just that. I then found out that there are some radio towers scattered on the islands, and those annoying pirates have put jamming equipment on each of them. If you enable them again, you’ll get free weaponry in the village stores!
Some people have compared this game to Just Cause 2, I believe it’s quite a good comparison as I really ‘Joshed’ this game, trying to find all of the collectibles and taking over the enemy radio towers and settlements became very addictive and fun. I must of spent around twenty hours doing everything else except the story missions. Every minute of which I had a blast.
You’ll do a lot of shooting and melee combat in this game and it works great. There are lots of different types of upgradable weaponry from standard pistols and assault rifles, to a silent bow & arrow or the destructive flame thrower. Just like Far Cry 2 you can set things on fire which can devastate large areas and if you are lucky, engulf an enemy camp before they have a chance to run. Just like the wildlife in this game your enemies are scared of fire.
To get around the large islands is fun and easy thanks to a wide variety of vehicles, from jeeps and trucks to hand gliders and patrol boats. But once you have taken over an area you can fast travel around map very quickly. Although I enjoyed using the vehicles more than expected I surprisingly chose to ignore the fast travel unless the distance was massive.
As mentioned above, you’ll need to clear enemy camps in order to make life easier for you and the locals. Fire is one option, stealth was mainly my choice but you can do whatever you want to rid the area of pirates. On one occasion, I was scouting a camp from high ground, using my binoculars to tag the enemies, when they started going crazy, shouting and firing their guns. For an instant I panicked but then noticed a tiger had wondered into the camp and proceeded to take out all but one. It was brilliant.
The story is good and well paced. It wouldn’t win any Oscars but had enough depth to keep me entertained. I’m not going to spoil any of it, but I will say the leader of the pirates, Vaas is an excellent villain and utterly insane. One of the best things, is that I never felt pressured into doing the story missions & you can do it all at your own pace.
The Dunia 2 game engine has been used for this game and it looks fantastic. The first Dunia game engine was used for Far Cry and its sequel and they looked great, the team at Montreal added new water technology so when you’re swimming the world around you is distorted and the light refracted realistically, just swim under the water and look up at an enemy stood on a pier, you’ll be amazed too.
A very nice new weather system and global illumination physics, so when you drive under some trees the light pierces the foliage, and hits the bonnet and windscreen correctly.
When you crash your vehicle into something the camera lunges forward and your hands attempt to brace for the impact. All of that and more is thanks to a massive new animation set. Which makes you feel more connected with your character in the game.
All of these additions complement the beautiful islands and sea the game is based on. I actually found myself stopping to enjoy the sunset, in a game! Now before you start thinking this sounds like the greatest visual experience to ever grace the PlayStation 3, it’s not. There is some occasional screen tearing but nothing that detracts from the enjoyment whilst playing. As per usual in 90% of games, when you get up close to something, like some bushes or long grass the quality drops. I didn’t mind or really notice that much.
The crack of a sniper rifle shot echoing around the landscape as the charging bear in your sights drops to the floor, is a very satisfying sound. I mostly listened using headphones and apart from some random drops in sound the DTS Digital Surround was very good. Music kicks in when your getting close to an enemy or being hunted by some wildlife, its subtle and effective.
There is a normal multiplayer selection and co-op as well as a map editor to create your own surprisingly detailed maps. After I finished the single player story I jumped straight into the multiplayer and had a good time, that is, when it eventually loaded a game after hanging twice.
I am reminded of a few other games when playing this multiplayer, a lot seems borrowed, nothing is new. It’s not a bad thing, I had fun and would play it more. When you get killed the camera swoops and pans around ghost outlines of you & your killer together with the fatal bullet trails. You can perform melee take downs on the other players just like in the story campaign but it doesn’t always look right.
I am glad they included a multiplayer but it’s not up to the quality of many others yet. However, Ubisoft threw in a co-op mode as well, on & offline, it is the closest I’ve come to playing Left 4 Dead on a PS3, albeit without the zombies. It’s got a small intro video showing the four characters which is quite good, but the actual gameplay is brilliant. Each time I played, the other people didn’t have mics but we had a blast regardless.
Now I was just about to post the review when I realized I had forgotten to properly mention the map editor. I was very apprehensive when trying this, as editors of this kind on a console don’t work, the lack of a keyboard & mouse mean it can be an almost painful experience. However, after a few minutes of getting used to the controls, I had actually made a simple map. It is far from perfect but it works.
With a highly addictive and fun world, Ubisoft Montreal have restored my love for this series. I only ever had minor issues with the sound and getting into some multiplayer matches. I spent around twenty six hours in the single player – the story could of been completed a lot quicker but I was having too much fun upgrading things, hunting, killing and basically turning my character into an almost unstoppable force.
After finishing this review I’ll be jumping back into the co-op mode and maybe even playing the story once more, for the other ending. I just hope we don’t have to wait another 4 years for the inevitable sequel.