After loving the original Far Cry, and eagerly awaiting Far Cry 2 only to find out it was more buggy than the forest it was set in, I hoped Far Cry 3 would improve upon the dismal FC2. Fortunately, I am pleased to say that Far Cry 3 is a huge improvement over FC2 and makes for a very enjoyable game. The open world environment is massive and highly detailed, with lots of lush green foliage and various animals populating areas of the world. Molotovs and Flamethrowers have been kept from FC2, allowing you to have great fun burning large areas and watching it spread and consume enemies.
There are a number of things you can do around the island when you want to take a break from the main story line. There’s a number of little side quests, most of which are quite easy. There are also hunter and assassination quests available from safehouses, the former tasks you to kill a specific animal at a specified location, the latter requires you to kill an enemy. This may sound easy, but you have to kill them with the knife, meaning you have to quietly deal with any sentries and then sneak up on the target. Outposts and communications towers are spread around the island, the outpost require you to eliminate all enemies to take the outpost. If you can do this without raising the alarm or being spotted, you’ll get a nice XP reward and it’ll save you some bullets. The comms towers you must climb up and remove the scrambler from the box at the top (basically just keep hitting space, don’t fall off, then press ‘e’ in front of the box). Doing this reveals a sector on your map and will also unlock a weapon, so you no longer have to pay for it at a shop or safehouse.
There is a reasonable selection of weapons, including pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, LMGs and sniper rifles, which gets expanded later on in the game with a few more added to each class. Weapons are bought using cash at the gun shops or safehouses, some have various upgrades available too like extended magazines, scopes and silencers.
The AI no longer has radar and x-ray vision like in Far Cry 2, so you’re safe hiding in a bush when a patrol drives by on the road a mile away. This is a good thing too, as the amount of ammunition you can carry at the start of the game is quite small, so if you were getting chased by every patrol you’d probably be out after the second.
The various types of animals around the island can be hunted, you then use their skins to craft upgrades for your various bags, like your loot sack, ammo pouch, weapon holsters and so on. It’s a nice touch, and once you’ve got the bow, it’s great sneaking through the jungle hunting boars or komodo dragons. However, once again, it feels rather easy, and once you’ve crafted most of the upgrades, which again can be done pretty early on in the game, the hunting aspect becomes rather redundant.
The diamonds from FC2 have been scrapped, and upgrades are now chosen via a skill point system. The various skills affect the max health you’ve got, weapon accuracy, stealth and gives you access to various takedown moves. These takedown moves are quite satisfying, as you have to sneak up behind an enemy or charge an enemy from the front, and then hit a key, and you’ll perform some sort of silent knife kill. With the skill upgrades, you can also then steal the enemies knife and throw it at another enemy, or use their pistol and shoot others. Again, it’s just “hit this button when we tell you to” set pieces, but they work nicely and add another element to the way you can play.
One thing caught my attention as I was playing through, at a certain point, you’re captured by Vaas, tied to a chair and left to die. This is all part of a cut scene and once you’ve escaped using some more key presses, and you get full control back, you still have all the weapons you had before you were captured. So it seems Vaas certainly is insane, if he’s willing to tie you up and leave you without taking your guns away. Whether this was a glitch or not I’m not sure, as the next time I got captured but escaped, I had no equipment at all and had to scavenge from enemies.
This is the only real hole I’ve found so far in the story line/event sequence. The story isn’t the most riveting, it’s enough to give you a direction through the game, rather than just being a huge sandbox. At some points, you’ll know what’s coming before it happens, and you’ll be thinking “Why the hell did he just do that”.
Overall, I think Far Cry 3 redeems the series from the poor show Far Cry 2 was. The game is so much more enjoyable to play, it looks great, runs smoothly and has a few little touches to make it a bit different from your average open world exploration game, although now I come to think about it, it’s quite similar to the Tomb Raider reboot in a way, not that that’s a bad thing. Some people will undoubtedly say that all the button mashing is just console port rubbish, but I think it works well, and it involves the player in what would otherwise just be a cut scene.