Monday, April 27, 2015

Far Cry 3 Review

Before Far Cry 3 was announced back in 2011, I knew little to nothing about the series.  Yet, I became interested in this game after seeing footage of it at Ubisoft's E3 Press Conference in 2011.  Having finally played the game, I can safely say that this is a great game.
The story follows Jason Brody, the son of wealthy parents who, one day, him and his friends travel to an island in Southeast Asia known as Rook Island.  However, after skydiving out of a plane and landing there, they discover that the island is run by pirates who capture Jason and his friends, with the intent of selling them into slavery.  After being interrogated by Vaas, the leader's right hand man, Jason and his older brother Grant escape their cell only for Grant to get killed by Vaas while they try to escape.  Then, Jason finds himself running for his life and barely escaping the prison alive.  After being saved by a man named Dennis, Jason realizes he has to find his friends and escape the island, less he wants to be stuck here, as well as put a stop to the pirates' operations on the island.
Several themes encompass Far Cry 3's story, with one of them being the idea of learning to take responsibility for your actions, and becoming a strong, independent person.  Jason Brody firsts starts off confused and wondering what he's going to do, but before long he realizes it's time for him to become strong and confident if he wants to survive and save his friends.  In addition, most of the people you meet on this island are slightly mental in their own ways, from Citra, the leader of the natives of Rook Island who thinks Jason is destined to save the island, to Vaas.  While he isn't the main bad guy in the grand scheme of things, he is still a dangerous and intimidating threat, and everytime he was onscreen I always felt uneasy, given how mentally unstable he is.  The one problem I do have with the story, however, is that certain characters suffer from a lack of appropriate screentime, especially Vaas and Hoyt, the leader of the pirates.
The game is an open world FPS, with some RPG elements, and it's also the strongest point of the game.  There are a number of different things to do on Rook Island, including hunting animals, liberating outposts scattered all over the island, and climbing radio towers to turn them on, making that particular section of the land viewable on your map.  Each of these activities is rewarding in their own way.  There's a crafting system in the game that allows you to create different things including more weapon holsters, a larger wallet, or more space to carry ammo.  This is where hunting comes into play, by killing animals and skinning them, you can create these items that are necessary if you want to survive on the island, or rather islands.  By the time I reached the second island in the game, I had all four weapon holsters, each one held an assault rifle, a silenced sniper rifle, an SMG, and a grenade launcher.
The outposts scattered around the island give you freedom of choice in how you confront the enemies that occupy an outpost.  You can take the silent route, sneaking in, disabling the alarms so the pirates can't call in reinforcements, and then stealthily eliminating the enemies.  Alternatively, you can just charge in, guns a blazing, and mow them all down.  Either way, once the outpost is liberated, new side missions become available and it decreases the amount of control the pirates have over that particular part of the island where the outpost was located.  Finally, when you climb radio towers and turn them on, certain weapons will become available for free in stores, meaning you don't have to worry about saving up money in order to purchase them.
Whenever you kill enemies, complete main or side missions, or any of the side activities in the game, you earn XP and earning enough will allow you to level up and earn a skill point to unlock a skill from one of three skill trees.  These skills include more health, taking less damage from bullets or falling, or being able to perform different advanced takedowns like chaining together multiple takedowns, or stabbing a guy and then using his knife to kill a nearby enemy by throwing it at him.  Besides that, cash can be earned from completing missions or looting containers and then selling the items at a nearby store.  There is a wide selection of firearms to choose from, most of which have attachments you can add to them like different kinds of scopes, extended magazines, or silencers.
Simply put, everything you do in Far Cry 3 is fun and engaging, in fact, at certain points in the story, before the start of a story mission, the game will encourage you to explore the island before starting the next story mission.  Speaking of which, the story missions are filled with tons of memorable moments.  From burning drug crops with a flamethrower to exploring abandoned tombs to find pieces of a compass that will lead you to a mystical dagger, the story missions are as enjoyable and entertaining as all of the other things you'll be doing on Rook Island.
The only problem I have with the gameplay is that by the time I reached the second island I didn't have much of an incentive to explore it when compared to when I was on the first island.  This probably has to do with the fact that I had a lot of the important stuff needed to survive crafted and therefore, I felt there wasn't much of a purpose to explore the second island.
Visually, the game looks great; everything from the islands to the character models looked really good.  The fire effects, in particular, are some of the most impressive I have seen in a game to date, enemies and animals alike will try to evade any flames that happen to spread out.  Even with some pop-in present, the overall visuals looked great.  The voice acting is really good, and solid writing supports it.  The highlight, however, is Michael Mando's performance as Vaas, who does a great job in his performance.
Far Cry 3 is an excellent game from start to end; with a solid story and gameplay that is entertaining and engaging, this game is definitely worth your time.
Final Score: 9/10

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