Picture yourself on holiday in an exotic location with a select group of your closest friends. There are so many things to see and do including wild parties, relaxing on the calmest beaches and pushing your body to the limit by skydiving above beautiful islands. It seems as though you have the world at your feet. However, these activities are merely hiding a brutal war on Rook Island. You soon find yourself in the middle of this war as protagonist Jason Brody and having to adapt to unfamiliar territories with survivor skills such as hunting, knowing your surroundings and being able to handle weapons. Welcome to Far Cry 3.
As you gain control of the protagonist, Jason Brody, you realise that you are a young man who is barely surviving and afraid of what the future holds. The tone of the game is set as soon as you experience your first encounter with the sick and twisted VAAS, who is as unpredictable as he is crazy. The action from the beginning is ‘on the edge of your seat’ exciting and constantly has your heart beating at almost insane levels as you become immersed in the colourful and beautiful green landscape of Rook Island, which is displayed perfectly in Far Cry 3. One of the best features of Far Cry 3 is the game’s tone. Whether it is creeping through the vast plant-life or infiltrating the enemy’s base, the sense that you are never safe makes every mission or task different. At the same time however, each task you complete is met with relief and a feeling of accomplishment rather than missions that leave you disappointed and without satisfaction.
Throughout the game, there are several kinds of missions and activities which help you to develop survivor skills and get you one step closer to your ultimate goal. These missions include being unnoticed while killing a group of enemies and infiltrating their bases. This happens throughout the story missions and also with the enemy outpost missions which gives you and your clan more territory. This leads to new missions outside of the story. Additional missions include driving into targets on a quad bike in an allotted time, destroying a certain number of enemies with specific weapons as a sort of mini game, tracking down and killing someone who is wanted for criminal behaviour or hunting down some of the rarest and dangerous animals in the wild. The missions in the game are so varied and different, yet offer the same sense of satisfaction whenever you complete one.
As the playground of Rook Island is so immensely huge, there are several different ways to move from A to B in the game’s setting. Car may seem like the most useful option for most when moving across land, but you often find yourself being spotted by enemies or driving through a shootout between your clan and the opposition. Due to the high peaks of the island, there are hang-gliders on some of the highest points which offer stunning views and the ability to land wherever you wish in a certain area. Boats are a great alternative way to travel, jet skis in particular. Jet skis allow you to go at high speeds and are very mobile in the water. But if you are in control of one in dangerous waters, be aware of sharks!
As large as the playing area is, you will no doubt have a lot of interaction with the wildlife. The animals vary from the tamest of pigs to the deadliest predators on earth, sharks. Each of these animals add value to your efforts though. Once you hunt an animal, you can harvest their skin or fur in order to sell them for money or use them to your advantage by crafting them into items you can use such as wallets to carry more money, holsters to hold more weapons or create arrows to help with your silent hunting tactics. As well as helping your inventory, animals can also be useful when taking on enemies. If an animal is locked up in a cage, you can free the animal and let it bring pain and misery to those who have put it in confinement… Or it will aim to hunt and kill you. It is a win or lose situation if you release captured animals, there is no middle ground. Flowers and plants are also a useful source of objects as collecting several types of plants can create medicine to aid Jason in his time of need. All of these survival options are there to ensure that you are always aware of your surroundings and to also keep you alive in a severely dangerous location.
How you use the environment will reflect upon how successful you are in the game. Of course you can merely run into an enemy’s location all guns blazing but this would have you killed quickly as the enemies are tough at times and you often find yourself outnumbered, mostly because you are, almost, all by yourself. Fans of stealth games will feel at home in Far Cry 3. In most missions, you will have to make use of the surrounding bushes, trees and plants to fool your foes into looking for you and then you follow that up with a close-quarter kill. A neat feature to help with this is the ability to throw rocks to create noise. This is a simple yet important feature as it allows the player to tactically plan attacks. One slight downside to the stealth aspect of the game is the ability to hide bodies. You can only hide bodies after you kill them at close range with a knife and even this ability to drag the bodies is only available after you unlock the skill via the skill points menu. The shooting mechanics of Far Cry 3 are also very solid. The aiming feels authentic as well as the reloading and amount of guns you can carry. Nothing about the weapons seem farfetched.
As well as an enthralling single player campaign, Far Cry 3 also offers a separate co-op campaign and online multiplayer. The co-op campaign involves a campaign for up to 4 players which can be played online or offline via split screen. While I have been able to play some of the co-op campaign, I was unable to play the online as of yet due to the number of players online (the game isn’t released until next week). The multiplayer game modes include the typical online game modes such as team deathmatch, single player deathmatch and modes such as capture the flag. Continuing on from Far Cry 2’s online mode is the ability to create your own map and play it online via multiplayer. Developers of the game may be involved as to which community designed maps are possibly implemented into the multiplayer modes.
With the strength and depth which the Far Cry 3 campaign offers, I believe that the saying ‘leaving the best till last’ applies in this instance. This is definitely one of the best games of the year, if not the best. The tone of the game is one of its greatest features, as it always leaves the player wanting more, but leaving the player with the sense that they have accomplished something after they survive an ordeal. With superb graphics and authentic sounds, it is possible to think that you are actually on Rook Island. Everything about this game is spectacular with how many things there are to do, how you can complete missions and how breathtaking and unbelievable the campaign is. With an entertaining co-op campaign as well, Far Cry 3 offers more than anyone could imagine.