Far Cry 3 or Fun, Choices and Insanity

Expect some crazy spoilers here.

Okay, ending rage (2012’s motto it seems) aside, Far Cry 3 is definitely a solid shooter where the fun and gun parts are a big plus. The insanity however, is only partly voluntary …

The first thing you should know if you want to have fun with Far Cry 3 – it’s not an ordinary shooter in the veins of Corridors of Duty, it is primarily an open world game. So please don’t expect a story-driven, linear experience – instead, be prepared the real protagonist of Far Cry 3 is its open and vivid world. With that in mind, Ubisoft itself is to blame for high expectations in storytelling – don’t advertise a game as a drama to explore depths of human minds, etc. etc. when it’s all about exploration and funny ways of killing after all.

That in mind, Far Cry 3 succeeds on a gameplay level. The story missions and side missions are varied, hunting down animals with specific weapons is sometimes challenging, sometimes pure chaos, and finding all relics and letters of the lost (which tell the story of Japanese forces in WW II; spoilers: it did not end too well) require you to explore caves, to fly on hilltops with ruins or to dive into the shark-inhabited seas. You have to finish off enemy “bosses” with a knife in assassination missions, which ranges from cool (if they battle with your allies) to boring (most of the time). Furthermore, there are your usual mini-games such as poker, sharpshooting and throwing knives. That’s all good. Not that good are the completely misplaced racing challenges with no story basis and the pointless online challenges (some are alright, some are boring as hell). While you can do a lot of stuff or ignore it, you’ll tend to ignore it since the connections to anything else are thinner than any golden thread.

But hey, fuck missions, the open world is where the fun in Far Cry 3 is: If you want to take on an enemy patrol or an outpost, there are many options to choose from: Do you feel like playing Rambo, shooting them up with RPGs, machine gun fire and grenades? Do you want to rush in there with a jeep and its machine gun or do you prefer to attack from the sea? Do you want to set fire to the surrounding woods to roast them? Do you want to eliminate them from afar with your sniper or your awesome bow (easily the best weapon of the game)? Do you want to take them down via brutal melee takedowns (which can later be combined)? or, if you’re special, what about leading a tiger or a bear to the enemy? All of the above is possible in Far Cry 3, and it’s all fun. Above all – stealth actually works great. If you hide in bushes, enemies won’t easily spot you as long as you don’t do something like, well, shooting them. Be aware of dogs though. If you get spotted, you can easily run away and hide somewhere else. Enemies know your general location, but you can outsmart them easily.

As seen, choice is an elemental aspect of Far Cry 3’s open world, which also comes into play if you upgrade your arsenal: By “repairing” radio towers, you get almost all guns for free (you could also buy them, but why would you?), you can buy weapon upgrades, and after hunting animals, you get upgrades for your wallet, more weapons slots, more ammunition, and so on. Sadly, that’s where the pacing of Far Cry 3 is off: If there are two islands, why are we allowed to unlock everything but a few weapons on the first island? This makes no sense whatsoever. Exploration on the second island is rather pointless unless you’re a completionist.

Now, let’s talk about insanity: As Rabidgames mentioned, don’t expect a serious, down-to-earth drama from Far Cry 3. But still, a spoilt, annyoing, useless brat turns into Rambo within mere minutes? Just because of some magical tattoos? Dear Ubisoft, try to find the middle between your rushed characater development in Far Cry 3 (good for gameplay’s sake, bad for immersion) and the looooooong tutorial in Assassin’s Creed 3 (bad for the gameplay, good for immersion and that nice twist). It can’t be that hard.
Then, Far Cry 3 is another victim of the villain-dies-early disease: Just as in Saints Row The Third, trailers, the beginning and the plot are focussed on the one main villain … who dies halfway through. Seriously, what the holy fuck? This is insane!

The story … well, it seems as if important chunks are missing here and there: Abduction, liberation, boy-becomes-warrior-and-finds-his-meaning-in-life-or-so-he-thinks, Vaas, something else, Hoyt, and then the most insane twist ever … the ending is simply insane. But let’s put the story into a fair perspective here: First, it’s well done for most parts (let’s forget heavily scripted scenes and QTE boss battles for a minute). But second, it could have been done ten times better. Yes, it is an open world game, and yes, Just Cause 2 is fun despite having virtually no story at all, but that doesn’t always work. With Far Cry 3, Jason’s decisive moments are not fleshed out, his friends remain spoilt douche bags who should have been sold to slavers or killed and no one would have given a tiger’s left ball, and Vaas, Becker and Hoyt should have been featured more in the game. Don’t get Rabidgames wrong, the story is okay, but it’s not great, it’s a tale of wasted potential.

Now, let’s talk about scripted scenes: Remember the open world and choices? Well, forget about them in one third of the story missions of Far Cry 3. It’s either sneaking or run ‘n’ gun. Worse, many levels are strictly linear: one way in, one way out. Even worse, some are scripted – granted if you like Uncharted and timers ticking down, you won’t have a problem with it but if you don’t … you’re sometimes fucked.

And then, let’s rage: That ending. First of all, it’s insane. Well, choose if you think it’s insanely awesome or insanely awful, but it only makes sense in a mind full of drugs. So, after you are the hero of the islands and a worthy Rakyat leader, your allies abduct your friends and gently ask you to sacrifice them in order to literally sever your ties to the past. Alright, yeah … But that’s not even worth the ending rage. That one starts when you choose the bad ending, which tells you why the French associate orgasm and death. But hold on, Jason is Jesus! After the credits, Jason is alive again! Halleluja. Seriously, Ubisoft, first you dictate which ending is supposed to be good and which one is deemed bad by treating us like naughty boys, and then you resurrect a dead protagonist? Fuck off! Oh, and if you want to see what happens when you choose the other ending – bad luck, mate. Just play the last couple of missions again, which are a collection of long interactive cutscenes, a ridiculous QTE fight, one shoot-out, an airborne rails mission and some more interactive cutscenes, culminating in you making your choice. Yes, the only available auto-save is AFTER all this stuff. Oh, and forget about manual saving. Goddamn it, that fucking ending!

By the way, Rabidgames might be a bit harsh on Far Cry 3. After all, Yahtzee likes it. And is it insane if someone thinks he’s a banana?

A banana. Seriously?

Rabidgames draws his bow: For once, Ubisoft listened to the fans: Virtually all negative points of Far Cry 2 have been eliminated. That’s a good thing, of course. Plus, Far Cry 3 IS fun. Hunting pirates with your bow and explosive arrows is basically the definition of fun! And yet, what could have been great is just good once more. Sometimes, fun is a good thing, but you know, sometimes there’s more to life than a hedonistic life style … which ironically is also one of Far Cry 3’s lessons.

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One Response to “Far Cry 3 or Fun, Choices and Insanity”

  1. Nice post…

    I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information….

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