Far Cry 3 returns to the Pacific isles, but can Ubisoft Montreal recapture the splendour of Crytek's original?
Published on Mar 15, 2012
Far Cry 3 has kept people on their toes so far. Some guessed it would be set in the Antarctic, some assumed sticking in the African savannah, some even thought it would go further into a fantastical future – but no, Far Cry 3 is going back to the island.
Well, that’s not strictly true: it’s going back to some islands, and as far as we know none of them were featured in the original game. Just to clear that up for you. You may have read our thoughts on Far Cry 3 in past months, and you’ve probably picked up an air of trepidation from us.
This stands: the first game was good but went hugely off the rails towards the end and the second – while rich in interesting ideas and officially on the list of ‘games we are glad exist’ – didn’t find its footing with us.
Then there’s the fact that what we had seen of the game so far didn’t do much to inspire, looking as it did to move away from the more thoughtful play of Far Cry 2.
The odds are certainly stacked against you at all times.
But our trepidation is showing signs of being worn down as we become accustomed to the ideas behind Far Cry 3; to what it is Ubisoft Montreal is trying to do with the game. This is an island paradise gone to hell in which a normal man is forced to do things to survive – and to find his girlfriend.
We could spend time here wondering aloud as to how exactly a ‘normal man’ can shoot guns and wield throwing knives effectively, but we won’t. We’ll just put that thought out there for you to mull over.
Anyway, rather than the expansive, almost freeform nature of missions in the last game, Far Cry 3 is home to some more compact, crafted experiences. Take, for example, the mission on a transport ship that’s run aground – you’re closed-in, forced to operate in confined spaces.
It’s a set mission and it plays out like one, but once you’re done with it you’re back out into the open, lush world of the Pacific island(s) the game takes place on.
That’s not to say it’s all corridors and cover shooting, and there will be more than enough opportunities to stalk your enemies from the bushes for 20 minutes before running out and stabbing them in the neck. Far Cry in a nutshell, really.
There’s also the missions that deal more with psychology and matters of the head – missions that look to actually mess with the player in some way.
Teaming up with rebels seems to be a potential plot point.
One, for example, sees the player injected with a ‘cure’ to an ailment and then required to repay the favour by the clearly a-bit-wrong-in-the-head doctor by obtaining some fungus of questionable repute for him. Rather than all-out blasting it turns into a bit of a trip – in more than one sense of the word.
Turns out your ‘cure’ has some interesting side effects, messing with vision and general perception of the area you’re navigating. Basically you have to pick some mushrooms (and not get killed) while high. That’s a bit more interesting than ‘DudeBro Shooter 9’, at least.
Progression through the game is another area of change, offering players a more traditional role-playing style of making you and your weapons stronger as things progress. It also means less jamming AK47s. We still have nightmares about those damn jamming AK47s.
Regardless of our gut feeling on this one it’s still too early to call it. We doubt – we hope Far Cry 3 will not dip its hand too much into the pocket of its contemporary with which it shares a genre.
We don’t want ‘Call Of Cry’. We’ve got our eyes on it and will be watching with great interest, filling you in along the way. For now? For now we wait. Probably in the bushes next to a beautiful beach, or something.