Monday, April 13, 2015

Far Cry 3 gets beaten; I end up wanting more

At first, I didn't really want to play Far Cry 3.  I was scared away by how long it would take to complete - ain't nobody got time for dat!  Upwards of forty hours for most people means I get about seven hours in, get tired of it, and rush through the rest.  In the back of my mind there are WAY too many games, not only in existence but on my shelf and in my backlog to enjoy one for too long.  But this game was like Pringles and black tar heroine, once you pop you just can't stop, or so they say (about heroine, that is).  The game DID take me several months of my daily gaming allowance to beat but man... it was awesome.

This is Vaas, a villain in the game.  He's a real cocksucker.
The game has so much good packed into it.  There are a few flaws but it truly does deliver action and adventure on a thrilling and often terrifying platter.  Let's talk about the look...

GRAPHICS

See that mountain?  You can go there.  See that other mountain?  You can go there too.  [Image: Giantbomb.com]

I'm not a graphics snob.  I play games that are two, five, ten, and twenty years old all the time.  A game can be dated or bad graphically and still be fun.  But that's really nothing to worry about in Far Cry 3, it looks pretty.  Everything from trees, burning trees, the deep sea, the tall radio towers, and the scope and feel of the environment feels real.  Not to mention the attack animations of animals, those could be downright horrifying.  Story time...

Without spoiling much, early in the game you encounter a snake.  Hell, I didn't even know the game had snakes.  Pro tip:  I might have a serious phobia of snakes worth documenting.  If an ad popped up on my screen right now with a snake on it, I'd most likely react by punching my monitor and shitting my pants until I passed out.  Anyway, I'm oblivious to the snake and snake attacks me complete with terrifying animation of it biting me and writhing as I rip it off.  Afterward, the snake was likely dead but I went ahead and unloaded all of my bullets into the area from which it came, ya know, in case there's more.  After that moment, I crept through the game slowly analyzing every inch of my television for potential snake threats.  It was not until much later in the game I realized that if a snake is nearby, you can actually hear it's pissed hissing noise - allowing me to relax and travel through the game's map without the fear of snakes raining out of trees and murdering my character as well as my couch.

Graphics are good.  If you're into that kind of thing.

STORY

This is Buck.  He's a bit of a twat.  [Image: pixshark.com]

For a game that lasts as long as Far Cry 3, the the story has to be engaging and for the most part this one is.  The villains feel real and psychotic.  Playfully psychotic like something from a European horror film.  I was really only put-off by the main character and his friends who seem real enough but they are a collection of bro-fiving, thrill-types who seem to hail from the upperclass and surf all day without real jobs.  I couldn't relate to them and felt no real ambition to save them other than the fact that my character wanted to.  

In short, and without spoilers, you and some friends end up on an island full of pirates.  The pirates snag up you and your friends and you try to escape, overthrow the pirates, and save your friends.  It all takes place on a group of gorgeous tropical islands overflowing with murderous animals and people.  There are some twists and turns along the way but saving your friends somehow takes a backseat to conquering the pirates - I felt disengaged from the idea of saving people and instead was more into killing people.  Maybe that's the point?  I'm not sure.

GAMEPLAY

Shooting some flame arrows into a cluster of bad guys surrounded by combustible vehicles is as satisfying as it sounds.
[Image: arstechnica.com]

At it's heart, the game is a first person shooter.  You can stab dudes too if you want and eventually you can unlock a bevy of different ways to murder unsuspecting pirates as you play, but you'll mainly be shooting bullets and arrows or tossing molotovs and grenades like you're used to.  You also have the ability to drive jeeps, trucks, cars, jetski's, and boats.  There are some miniquests for hunting animals or racing to checkpoints in a vehicle.  You can even play poker if you want.  There's plenty of fun to be had on the sprawling map especially when you encounter something that wants to murder you.

I felt the game had just the right amount of difficulty.  Encountering more than a handful of enemies at once often resulted in death unless I had the upperhand in some other way either by my weapon of choice or positioning.  The game, while willing to give you high grade artillery, still pushes you to be a little stealthy.  Partly because the storyline pegs you as a somewhat scared young man who is outnumbered 1,000 to 1 on an island.  You'll feel the need to be stealthy and that's a fun way to play.  Liberating the nearly forty outposts will give you the opportunity to try to Rambo in a multitude of ways.

OVERALL

Animals are mean.  [Image: imgkid.com]

Ultimately, the game was solid.  Real solid.  I sunk a lot of time in it and even felt compelled to do some of the extra collectible stuff just for the hell of it.  If you haven't played any game in the series, it's okay, the stories don't overlap.  If you have forty hours to spare, do it in Far Cry 3.  When the credits rolled for me, I was kinda sad to see it go.  Fortunately Far Cry 4 is getting good reviews on next-gen platforms... maybe I'll bite one day.

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