As one of the last ambitious games of 2012, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 arrived just in time to say “hey, don’t forget there’s one more bitchin’ game to play this year!”
And bitchin’ it is!
Taking on the role of Jason Brody, you find yourself on a gorgeous island that looks like the perfect destination for relaxation, that unfortunately proves to be anything but. Shortly after your arrival, you, your brother and friends, end up in the clutches of pirates being led by a sociopath named Vaas. It is in captivity where your adventure begins, as you flee in hopes of survival and slowly go from being a scared young man, to someone much colder and braver.
The early parts of the game however slow things down for good reason. You’ll spend some time learning how to survive on Rook Island, as you figure out how to craft items, skin animals , harvest plans and more. At first, it feels like you’re killing time unnecessarily, until you realize that everything you’re learning will pay off as you progress; be it to create methods for healing yourself, making a bigger wallets, pouches and more. Jason also begins getting better at killing which is both uncomfortable (given his nature and backgroun), and also satisfying. You can get stealthier, brutal and knowledgeable, in using weapons or simply using blunt force – whatever gets the job done.
Soon after you get a hang for how you’ll stay alive, you’ll be exploring the island alongside the Rakyat tribe, who have been overrun by Vaas and his thugs. You’ll help them expand their foothold on the island, as you take over outposts anyway you can. In fact, taking over these outposts was pretty entertaining as you could find a myriad of ways. Sometimes it made sense to be a little stealthy and snipe pirates from a distance, or perhaps letting out tigers that were in cages, which ended up taking care of the enemy for you…I mean, who likes being caged right? I think however, what’s most impressive about the game is how you progress as a character throughout the adventure. Your personality and your acceptance of what’s wrong and what’s right changes as you determine what you’re willing to do to save your friends. Characters are believable both in their backstories and also in the way they carry themselves. The voice acting is by far some of the best I’ve seen this year and certainly gets you to invest your feelings into what you’re doing.
Aside from the main story, exploring Rook Island is just as fun, whether you’re diving into the ocean, going deep into caves, gliding through the air, driving around or simply causing destruction. For those who take the time to actually see everything the island has to offer, you’ll come across ancient ruins, and learn more about the history of the island from letters, artifacts or by talking to the locals. It’s obviously not necessary to do any of this but you’ll have a greater appreciation for the island if you do so; after all, Far Cry is all about the open world you’re put in.
As for the game’s co-op and multiplayer modes, it left a little to be desired as neither really lived up to the promise laid out by the campaign. They’re both predictable and just plain cookie-cutter, not really offering up anything of note. To be perfectly honest, I could have done without any sort of multiplayer and been happy with how enjoyable the single-player is.
All in all, Far Cry 3 is a fantastic adventure that gets better as you spend more and more time taking it all in. Gamers need not forget that with all the great titles that came out in 2012, Far Cry 3 is one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5