12 December 2012

Far Cry 3 PC review

First of all, sorry for the lack of pictures, but my FRAPS totally refused to work with Far Cry 3 for some reason and I could not work out the problem. You can check out pictures and trailers of the game on the internet by doing a quick search.

Far Cry 3... wow...

Let's start by quickly covering the first two games in the franchise, Far Cry 1 was a shooter set in a rather open island world, at the time that kind of thing was not very common. The graphics were stunning and the gameplay was quite good. The story of the first game was that you were a guy on vacation that accidently ran into this island where genetic experiments were being performed, and soon you found yourself fighting both mercenaries and genetically engineered monster freaks. It was a good game.

Far Cry 2, completely dropped the ball. While expanding the idea of the open world it screwed up badly in many other areas. Among the many problems of  Far Cry 2 there was the uninteresting and uninvolving main story. The game took place in a African country so the developers threw in this game feature mimicking Malaria sickness which pissed people off , as it had the player character take medicine every 20 minutes or else your vision would mess up and in the end die. There were road blocks completely killing the open world completely, making travel with vehicles near impossible because you would drive 100 meters and bump into a roadblock - kill all the guards and they would just respawn mere minutes later with nothing you could do about it. Not only the main story was shit, the side quests which had been tacked on were so uninspired and repetitive that there was no point of doing them since every quest was a carbon copy of the previous one. The few redeeming qualities of Far Cry 2 were that it still had pretty graphics, the African countryside was very good looking and the physics and gunplay were quite OK.

So with that awful game in mind, when Far Cry 3 was announced I was both skeptical and unexcited about it. I also can't name one example where the sequel to a complete turd like Far Cry 2 turned out to be one of the best FPS games I have played in a very long time. Because Far Cry 3 is an  mindblowingly good improvement. FPS games are difficult to make, while they often have good gameplay they are also very often so shallow and boring in their "storymode" to the point where it just feels like an afterthought which had to be included but where the real focus of the developer had been on the multiplayer gameplay (Call of Dut games are a perfect example). This is fortunately not the case in Far Cry 3, which just so happens to have  a really good, and for a FPS rather long, storymode.

The developers of Far Cry 3 have managed to keep all the stuff that always worked, and fixed everything that was either missing in Far Cry 1 or completely messed up Far Cry 2. Having finished the game, I must admit this is a flawless improvement of such magnitude I have never seen before. The team behind Far Cry 3 should get a round of applause. Not only for the improvement of everything, but also their ability to take the players expectations about the characters, villains and the story and provide very nice twists along the way making it all a lot more interesting and unpredictable. I don't want to write too much about the story itself because it would spoil a lot of the good stuff, but the main character and his rich brat friends are on a vacation and end up captured by marauding pirates in the south pacific area. The story of drug and slave trading pirates who have captured you and your friends is really good and plays out well in terms of motivation and emotion from the main character.The writing is actually very good.

The many wonderful characters that you bump into during the story range from slightly crazy undercover CIA agents, to your worried friends, to completely insane villains. It's also great to hear and see how your reputation in the game world grows to the point where enemies shout your name in panic when they come under attack. It's very satisfying.I also loved how the game has added a bit of RPG elements with skill points and experience which is used to upgrade various necessary skills (there are a ton of those), how you can unlock, buy and trade lots of weapons which most of the time also can be modified in various ways. The gunplay is great, there are vehicles aplenty. There is even a crafting system which is interesting and important enough to make you bother, but not so complex as to get you bored or reluctant to use it.

The crafting includes various stim packs made out of plants, and crafted ammo pouches and weapon slings made out of animal skins. Included in the game are a couple of the classical "on rails" moments where you are driving or firing from a vehicle, typical for all FPS games, but even those classic elements which are often boring in other games play out really good in Far Cry 3 due to how they are integrated into the story. There are enemy camps strewn across the island, and once a camp is eliminated the enemies in this part of the island are gone and won’t respawn.  Taking out these camps gets a lot more interesting and experience point awarding if you do it with stealth, destroying the alarms and taking out the enemies without being seen. Captured camps work as quick travel point on the map, and you can always trade your looted items and buy weapons and ammo at these camps.

The side quests are a lot of fun and cover a lot of ground, from hunting animals with specific weapons, to making stealth kills of pirate leaders. Then there are a ton of other challenges and mini games such as driving vehicles from point A to point B on a timer, poker games, sniper rifle challenges where you hunt birds, knife throwing competitions, finding secret treasures, letters from Japanese WW2 soldiers, ancient statues and other stuff which will provide both a naturally integrated extra content which is not related to the main story and which will no doubt prolong the total gameplay with countless hours. The main storyline itself is some 20 hours depending on how fast you play it, and after you beat the main story you can keep playing in this wonderfully crafted island world and finally go out and explore all the caves and ruins or just enjoy the countryside.

Far Cry 3 is one of the best shooters I have ever played, a game that takes the best of FPS games, adds a spoonful of stealth and RPG elements, has a good story, great characters, good writing, fun and very varied gamplay. I'm having a hard time trying to come up with something bad or disappointing which could have been improved, you could argue that the two alternative endings could have been a bit longer and covered more - but that is probably the only thing.

Highly recommended, don't miss out on this one if you are an FPS fan 9.5/10




13 comments:

  1. Interesting review, I may get this game one day but I'll probably wait for some better deals when it's not so popular anymore.

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  2. Dam Anatoli you have almost convinced me to try this. The wife and I both hated Far Cry 2 for most of the reasons you listed at the start of your review, I'm just so skeptical now that the Far Cry product can be fun on the PC and not a crap console type game.

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    1. It's a really good shooter, and as mentioned the various challenges and achievements (which unlock unique weapons) make it worth further time spent on playing it after you beat the main story. Shooting competitions that remind me of Duckhunt and poker games are surprisingly fun as it the simple exploration.

      I saved a couple of bad guy outposts on the second island just for the fun of it as well.

      But yeah, I was very surprised at how this was the complete opposite of Far Cry 2.

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    3. I didn´t hate Far Cry 2, but agree that it could have been better done. Far Cry 3 is a good game. So good that I actually upgraded to a quad core processor (as this game can use 'em all!)

      Unfortunally for you, Anatoli, is that you don´t play console games! If you liked this game, with the mini games and all, you would definitely love Red Dead Redemption! There is nothing like playing poker in Chuparosa, with a drunk mexican zig-zaging forward beside you :D... It´s all about mood!

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  3. Yes it sucks that Red Dead Redemption never got a PC release. I just can't afford a console or console games, and with the next generation consoles around the corner it feels like a daft move if I get a console now. Though I'm a PC gamer at heart I grew up with NES and SNES consoles. My last console was the old Xbox and I was put off by the ugly graphics and blue ray technology of the PS3 and the Red Ring of Death of the Xbox360...

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  4. On the strength of your review, I bought Far Cry 3 and I'm pretty impressed with it so far. So thanks for the review!

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  5. This has quickly become one of my favourite games. I'm making my own miniatures game based on it.

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    1. That sounds really cool! Is there anywhere one could follow the project once you get started, a forum or blog?

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  6. Hey,
    Really like your site dude. Farcry 3 is an awesome game, have clocked it a couple of times. But you really need to check out Farcry 4. I have a leaked copy if you wanna download: http://downloads4freeee.blogspot.com

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