This article has been archived and may have some errors due to a previous design of MGL. None of the review has been altered however.
One of the best descriptions of Farcry 3 I’ve seen is “Skyrim, but with guns” it’s a big comparison to make and while it’s not quite right its as good as I can come up with. The premise is given to you in a very clever way, you’re on a holiday with friends and are all take captive by pirates on an island somewhere near china. You awake as Jason Brody and are stuck in a cage with your older brother Grant, your younger brother is being held elsewhere as you all await to be sold as slaves. You escape after being introduced and chased by the game’s – clearly insane – villain Vaas. After being rescued by the local people following your run through the forest you are in an open land that is inhabited by pirates and you are the one to bring them down and ultimately find your friends & brother, Riley.
Look and Feel
The game starts out very dark and atmospheric as you are held hostage and the first thing I noticed was the detail on the faces of the main characters. There is a distinct look to the graphics of the game, almost like they have been drawn by hand in a gritty comic book style. It has a similar feel to Dishonored when you are talking to one of the characters and the expressions and emotions really stand out. This helps set the very ominous scene early on but stays consistent throughout your experience.
Soon you are free and out in the open of a lush and quite stunning island full of life and dangers. Water, sky, grass, trees and the wild animals are amazingly well designed and animated with constantly changing weather and times of day.
You are very much sucked in by all this and will find yourself quite amazed at some of the details on the relics and places around the island. Some of the games many set pieces also get you really feeling anxious and worried for your character and his friends.
Regardless of boundary pushing games recently, this game is still utterly stunning.
As stated you are an escaped prisoner wanted for the slave trade but, unusually your character is connected to the island somehow as Dennis, your savior explains. You are given the Tattoo (pronounced tat-taw for some reason) representing a legendary warrior of the island and it starts to influence you and give you strange visions about your past and your future. You gain experience in the usual way: killing enemies and taking over the pirate bases across the island. You use this to select different Tattoo’s which develop your abilities, a nice touch that gives you a different experience depending on your play-style.
You meet with various twisted and corrupted characters on the island and ultimately go on missions to save your friends, being thwarted by Vaas along the way but also getting away with it on others! That is until the final showdown with Vass and his malevolent boss.
Vaas is quite possibly the best villain in a game I have ever seen in his characterisation, every time he speaks to Jason, it feels like he’s talking to you, really immersing yourself in the narrative and, I won’t lie, I had a major desire to get him in the end. This is where the first person nature of the game works exceptionally well, when he gets in your face and does his despicable acts it feels personal and when bad things happen, like being tossed into a pit with a big rock tied to your ankle, it really gets the adrenaline pumping.
There is also the side of the story revolving around you and the island not just limited to Tatoo’s! This develops as you take on quests for Citra, the island inhabitants tribe leader with odd spiritual powers that connect to Jason in a very powerful way. The story ark gets very surreal at times and really is a bit weird, yet it works. It changes the psychology of the game from being a normal FPS experience into something that explores mystical and spiritual powers which really adds depth that otherwise may have left the game lacking.
In the end everything becomes pivotal to your characters ending, you have a choice of what to do and it all gets very interesting depending on what you do. In short, this is one of the best stories out there and needs to be experienced.
I played this game knowing that I would have my usual worries about FPS genre which I am not particularly fond of as readers will already know. This however was the second game, after playing the outstanding Dishonored, I picked to play from the FPS Genre that really got me to appreciate how good it could be. I enjoy a slower, more stealth paced game rather than the usual COD experience of all out explosions and nonsensical story-line leading onto more explosions.
Farcry 3 is somewhere in-between, you can approach your tasks however you choose either stealthy or all guns blazing, its up to you. You can even be clever in how you approach the attack in some cases by using the animals of the forest to your aid.
Mainly you are moving across the island doing one of three things to move the story along: 1. Climbing radio towers to unlock areas of the map that are scrambled from your GPS receiver (very much like Assassins Creed’s Synchronize). 2. Clearing pirate bases to turn the red sections safe again, making your movement across those areas easier/possible. 3. Moving to the next story mission. There are also side quests to keep you distracted and involved in the island such as collecting relics and lost letters in addition to wild animal hunts and capturing rogue pirates not located at bases all of which are done very well.
Everything just works here, the shooting, the stealth mechanics (which are outstanding for an FPS), the driving of the vehicles and the missions are really well done with some almost Uncharted like set-pieces that are brilliant such as the (standard) burning building escape that is one of my favourite moments of the game.
It’s beautiful, fun with some of the best characters in a game you will find. My only issue with the game is the animals can be a bit overly viscous as you are walking around and don’t stop attacking you despite a shotgun blast to the face which is a bit unrealistic. Other than that, one of the best games of last year and you would be MAD to not play it… even Vaas would think you’re crazy!