Jason Brody is the middle kid from an upper middle class family in Santa Monica, California. He’s got an actress girlfriend and a tight circle of friends that includes his brothers. While the brothers lost their father and the oldest of them serves in the military, Jason is pretty soft. When the group’s skydiving expedition results in being captured by pirates in South Pacific, Jason is in shock. Luckily his older brother has a plan for the two of them to escape. As they run through the camp, his brother is killed and you, playing as Jason, are left to survive on your own and save your remaining brother and friends.
I normally don’t start reviews with the premise of a game but, for an open world game, Far Cry 3 has a pretty compelling narrative. It’s not that the story is ever present and that there’s a cut scene every 10 minutes, it’s that the acting there is, is really good. From talking with your group of friends to the drug induced psychotic ravings of Vaas, the animation and voicing is better than 99 percent of what you’ve ever seen. Only the sexy priestess Citra can come off a little over the top but, she is an island priestess after all.
Far Cry 3 is genre-bending if nothing else. You might imagine it as a shooter as the interface and control scheme suggest. It can appear a little Grand Theft Auto-ish as you speed around the dirt roads or jet around in a variety of watercraft. It is also very much an RPG. If you want a bigger backpack or a healing serum, you need to go kill the appropriate animal or find the right herbs to craft one. If you want to be able to jump down and take out baddies Assassin’s Creed style, you need to learn that skill. Even your weapon upgrades require purchases. The money to do that can be found chests, on your victims’ corpses, or buy selling stuff you find.
Far Cry 3’s controls are very much like a first person shooter’s. The triggers serve to aim and shoot and the R1 throws grenades or the like. The L1 works kind of like the Mass Effect weapon wheel and lets you choose your instrument of death. Jason can also crouch, jump and slash with his knife. Stealth will make your life a lot easier in Far Cry 3 and pressing the right analog stick will let you execute a stealth kill. If you’re seen killing someone or the bodies are discovered you’ll need to think fast. In enemy camps, once your presence is known, someone will run for the alarm to get reinforcements. Of course you can disable it beforehand.
Before you get into a fight, you’ll want to bust out your camera and tag your enemies. Once they are tagged, you will be able to keep track of their movements. Another useful tool is your hearing — wild predators on the island make plenty of noise. You could use a tiger or bear to cause a distraction so you can disable the alarm box. While these animals might take out a bad guy or two, they disrupt the guard patterns and you might then have trouble anticipating guard movements. This brings up one of the flaws in the game. The enemy AI can be awful. Guards will get stuck in a stutter movement at times or just run back and forth kind of crazily.
Enemy AI isn’t the only technical glitch in Far Cry 3. There are actually a handful of them which is kind of disappointing. Sometimes the audio will drop, the screen will tear, and sometimes you can watch the system draw in the environment when you zoom in with your camera. The sound issue is probably the biggest problem as it typically happens during some really compelling dialogue. Without these issues, Far Cry 3 would be a perfect game. There isn’t anything deal breaking though and hopefully these problems will get patched soon.
Far Cry 3 does offer multiple endings to the single player campaign and a separate story-driven co-op mode. The standard multiplayer option, which removes many of the best aspects of the campaign, is unlikely to win away many fans from the big boys. The technical issues can be pretty severe but Far Cry 3 is still surprisingly fun. Not since the original Bioshock, have I been so surprised by how much fun a shooter can be. This game would easily be my pick for game of the year if it weren’t for the glitches. As it is, it’s still hard to not recommend this game as one the best ones out there.
Far Cry 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: PC, and Xbox 360.