Far Cry 3 – The Verdict

Stop what you’re doing, and go purchase Far Cry 3 right now.  Go on.  You won’t regret it.

Developed by Ubisoft, Far Cry 3 is the recent instalment in the survival action series, this time focusing on a group of rich vacationists who have been kidnapped by pirates.  Held ransom by the threatening group of knife-wielding, gun-toting villains, it is up to you – Jason Brody – to free your friends and escape the dangerous island unscathed.

The Far Cry franchise has always attempted to revolutionise the way first-person-shooters are made, by immersing the player in an open world, as gamers are required to rely on survival tactics to reach a specific goal.  They have always been fairly entertaining games and Far Cry 2 was positively received by critics, but it’s the third instalment that finally perfects the Far Cry formula.

Whilst the storyline is deliciously simple and littered with unnecessary supernatural elements, the gameplay is enjoyable and more importantly, unpredictable.  A vital ingredient to sandbox games in unpredictability, where almost anything can happen.  It keeps it fresh and appealing, and allows the player to come back for more (similar to fan-favourite Red Dead Redemption, which was lauded for its spontaneity).

Jason is essentially a clone of most modern FPS leading characters, meaning his appearance is quite generic and dull – but that doesn’t necessarily matter.  He may not be the most interesting character gamers will come across this year, but Ubisoft make up for that with the other inhabitants on the island, who have their own little quirks and cool characteristics, and thankfully Jason’s journey throughout the story actually makes sense.

The game’s key strength is immersion, as it actually feels like you’re fending for your life in the dangerous jungle; rife with pirates, tigers and even sharks.  This is thanks to Ubisoft’s valiant effort in providing a landscape which is vibrant, colourful and ultimately deadly.  The game’s map is huge, and is rich with various activities, such as hunting challenges, acquiring enemy bases and accessing dilapidated radio towers.

The variety of weapons and their customisation is a step-up from the previous instalments, allowing players to truly dispose of enemies in any manner necessary.  If you prefer the silent and deadly approach, attach silencers and equip a bow, or if you fancy yourself a louder, explosive fare, go for the shotguns and rocket launchers.  Scouting an enemy base isn’t without its dangers though, as players will soon realise they’re not the only predators keeping a watchful eye.

Also, the soundtrack is perfectly fitted.  Armed with Skrillex, MIA and Brian Tyler’s score, it further places you into the heart of the jungle.  Players will find themselves unknowingly rocking along to Skrillex’s ‘Make it Bun Dem’, as Jason finally has the opportunity to wield a flamethrower for the first time.  The sounds heard throughout the jungle even sound genuine, and there’s never a quiet moment in the game.

New healing methods also come into play with Far Cry 3, which will undoubtedly make players cringe whenever Jason snaps his broken thumb back into place just to receive some extra health.  Along with some engaging hunting to benefit your backpack capabilities and impressive takedown sequences, the game truly attempts to bring a fresh approach to the genre.

Far Cry 3 delivers on almost all levels, purely thanks to its immersive gameplay.  The storyline isn’t necessarily compelling or memorable, but it’s substantial.  This is something that most single-player games are without nowadays, a lengthy and pleasing campaign mode.  For too long now gamers have been bogged down by lacklustre campaigns and unimpressive sandbox titles, but Far Cry 3 perfects its past attempts and produces a truly remarkable game.  It’s an experience, and there’s no denying that.

Now go skin some sharks and kill pirates.

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