Far Cry 3 Review: Violence begets violence.

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THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW. Not big ones, BUT STILL SPOILERS. SO STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED. Allrighty then, now that that’s taken care of, let us continue on to the review…

Let’s get one thing out of the way from the start… if you’ve played Far Cry 2, you’ve essentially played Far Cry 3. There’s definite improvements over the older game, but at its very basic structure the games are the same. Which, frankly, is a good thing, because FC2 was a good game, and the new game is more than a couple steps up over it.

As any open world game, you get out of it what you put into it. Exploring the countryside is usually worth the effort as you’ll find something you didn’t expect. That first time I stumbled on a hang glider in FC3 I thought to myself “Wait, this is something I don’t have to unlock? I can just fly this now?” and happily threw my character into the great void beyond the cliff’s edge, fabric wings strapped to my back. But what makes Far Cry 3 special is that the story that accompanies the game is actually very solid.

Your character, Jason Brody, wakes up in a cage with his friends, after a skydiving trip landed them smack in the middle of an island’s pirate leader’s clutches.  Your character is just a normal guy, but his brother is ex-military, and he manages to break you two free. Unfortunately, that last bit was the best news for those characters, as things quickly devolve into terrible bloody chaos for them, leaving young Jason alone on an island, chased by pirates, with his friends and family still imprisoned by the pirates.

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These are not good people to have chasing after you. And I’m pretty sure they’re not going to do nice things to the woman.

From that point, the story centers around Jason’s rise from bumbling playboy, to murdering sociopath, as he works to free his friends and escape the island, descending into darkness along the way.  When early on the thought of even using a pistol is hard for him, he later takes gleeful pleasure in burning people alive with a flamethrower. And the game rewards the player with extra experience the more creatively you murder off your foes.

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Did I hear someone mention burning people alive with a flamethrower? Don’t mind if I do!

Throughout this journey, you have access to one of the most gorgeous settings in games out there. The jungle island feels complete, not just with the landscape, and the humans, but also the wildlife. I once abandoned a mission early on in my playthrough because I noticed off to my left a leopard hunting a wild boar, and I wanted to see how it played out (in the end, the boar was toast). Views from up high seem to stretch forever, and there’s nothing quite like a nighttime view from up high, watching a lone jeep’s headlights as it drives up a jungle road.

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Having your enemies attacked by wildlife was also always a lot of fun to watch unfold as well.

Weapon selection is good, though by the end I found I had just a small set of weapons I went to every single time I walked out into the jungle. I probably would have had a little more fun had I taken the time to use the other weapons more frequently. But that’s a hard choice to make when you know for a fact that the weapon selection you have outfitted Jason with will get you out of 99% of any situation you’ll find yourself it.  

Syringes are another aspect of the game that you unlock as you progress through the missions, and frankly they’re also the main fault in the game. With powerful enough weapons Jason becomes a one man army unto himself, but he’s still not invulnerable and needs to be careful about just running into a firefight like some 15 year old wanker playing COD. But with syringes? He becomes unkillable. Literally. Various syringes give him different powers for a limited time, but the strongest of them make him bulletproof, bombproof, deathproof. And that makes the game not nearly as fun. I found myself in the very end missions avoiding using these syringes specifically because they did help me so much.

That said, there’s one thing, throughout the game that always, always made me quake in my digital boots. Fucking Tigers. Seriously, one of those things catches you off guard, and you are royally fucked. You won’t have enough time to use one of your invincibility syringes, you won’t have enough time to run away, and guns do practically nothing to them. No, you will end up as tiger food. Plain and simple. Yummy, tattoo covered tiger food. No, that guy with the .50 caliber machine gun isn’t that threatening, you can always duck and cover from him. But tigers? Scourge of the freaking jungle.

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That’s my body that tiger is lunching on.

But the game’s difficulty isn’t what makes the game special. And the game truly is special. Far Cry 3 makes you reconsider, as a player, your enjoyment of violence and violent video games. As Jason makes the transition from kid to killer, you the player start to realize that as much fun as Jason is having, and as much fun as you are having as the player, what you are enjoying is really kind of horrible. I know, I’m not the first person to have mentioned this in a review, but it’s still worth mentioning again. As much fun as I had playing the game, in the end I did spend a little time thinking about how much I enjoyed mowing down dozens of pirates. And then, right after that, I grabbed my guns, and headed back out into the wilderness to hunt tigers. Because seriously, fuck those things.  

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Wait, where the fuck did you come from?

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Hold on a second, can’t we talk this out? Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

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Motherfuckergoddamnit. Not again.

Rating: 7.5 (45/60)

Gameplay:            8

Little to complain about; the controls are well placed and the mission structure is evenly paced. The open-world aspect works very well, with lots to explore.

Difficulty:            5

It’s hard at first, but quickly becomes easy. Too easy… as you quickly improve your skills, weapons, and most notably your special ability syringes, it gets to the point where it becomes almost impossible to die. Except for the tigers.

Tech:                        8

I didn’t run into any major glitches in my run through. And it’s gorgeous. And the use of music during certain missions was well picked. That said the load screen every time I died was annoyingly long, and the map interface always took longer to pull up than I would have liked. For something that you need to access on a very frequent basis, that should pull up a lot faster.

Story:                        9

An interesting story, trippy in parts, and very interesting main character development.

Characters:            7

There are some decent supporting characters, and the first Big Bad is a great character. The main character is arguably the best aspect of the game. But overall most characters felt underdeveloped and underutilized.

Fun:                        8

You can make of this game whatever you want, like any open-world game. It does get repetitive after some time however, and the lack of difficulty really hurt the fun factor by the end. That said, the most fun I’ve had playing any game in recent memory was a certain flamethrower mission in this game.

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