I have rarely done such an extensive review for a game. This is not by design but by happy happenstance. I played through Farcry (lame until modded) and Farcry 2 (quiet except for uber-quick-respawns) before tackling the latest entry. I played Farcry 3 on two different machines — one at the bottom end of performance requirements and the other that exceeded “recommended” requirements. I even managed to put more than 80 hours into the game and do almost every damn quest it offers (or at least tried them as I was appalling at the bow & arrow ones).
So what do I think of Farcry 3? Well the story certainly doesn’t break any ground. It tries to hard to be Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now and fails miserably. “Your friends” were the biggest bunch of wankers on the planet and my final choice in the story arc could not have been easier. The major bad-guys are caricatures — cardboard cutouts of villans who provide little in the way of surprises or pathos. Citra is quite predictable as well, and the final drama is nothing short of a highly visual logical conclusion. Then again Jason Brody, the main character, is a self-centered cretin of the first order who manages (barely) to redeem himself for being such a nitwit.
Are you one of the folks who argue that this is a bloody videogame and what am I expecting, William Gibson? Well that is true, but UbiSoft Montreal has produced some decent plots in the form of Deus Ex Human Revolution (just to name one place). I even prefer the “story” of the Farcry 2 to that of the third installment.
There are frequent visual references to the previous two games, other games and popular culture. Farcry 3 is at its best when it has its tongue firmly in cheek. There are frequent laugh out loud moments, a few surprises, and the pleasure of getting an “in” joke.
However, that all said, I absolutely adore this game. I find the combat to be some of the most satisfying in a shooter for a very long time. Even the driving isn’t that bad especially once you get the requisite skill. The set-pieces never last too long and all but the most dense of players can get through them after several tries. Exploring the island(s) and meeting the natives (and helping them if you so choose) is both fun and rewarding. it evokes the same feeling as wandering round Skyrim doing stuff. I would recommend the “Deluxe” edition with its missions looking into the Japanese past of the island.
I love the fact that you have to find radio towers and climb the wobbly structures to be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. I enjoyed “liberating” pirate bases on the island for the locals and planning my attack so the alarm is not set off. Flying across the island in an island race or supply mission, on a hang-glider or via a flying-suit is fun and rewarding. Curiosity leads you to all sorts of hidden places, most of which are rewarding and interesting, if at times deadly.
Graphically it is quite impressive and the game is more or less stable. I found a few bugs that required me to restart but they are fairly few and far between. The sound assets (and music too) are just spot on. Whether it is islanders wishing a return to peaceful days or privateers complaining about the job, it adds depth to the game. And speaking of depth, there is a whole series of quests which are very Indiana Jones, and considering the setting remind one of a first-person Lara Croft. Traps, triggers, and collapsing ancient temples add to the tension.
Ultimately this is a game that was worth the full price on release and is certainly worth it in any sale. While you might not get as much time out of it as Skyrim, you will come close. This is certainly the best first person shooter solo game I have played in years and a game that is damn near perfect. Let us hope they wheel out a few more DLCs to force me to return to islands. While Crysis is a technical tour de force that doubles as a game, Farcry 3 is the real deal. A 4.5 star game if there every was one.
Farcry 3 is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Xbox 360