Review by igor140
"Definitely the best in the series; a great FPS"
Crytek may be beating the same dead horse, but at least they're learning how to do it better. Brief history lesson: the original Far Cry was a revolutionary game in its time because it was almost completely open ended and had amazing graphics. It suffered from being excruciatingly difficult and being TOO open ended; there was no structure or direction to the game at all. Far Cry 2 kept most of the good aspects and improved on some of the flaws of its predecessor, adding a waypoint system and actual missions. But enemies respawned so quickly that on more than one occasion, I was fighting a group of enemies only to have them respawn during the fight. This wouldn't have been a huge deal, except that you end up going through the same areas six or seven times, so it got extremely tedious after a while.
Which leads us to Far Cry 3.
To rectify the problem of the endless spawns (from FC2), you can now conquer territory that will then be controlled by the good guys. In practice, this means that you have to deal with enemy checkpoints and patrols until you take out an enemy base, and then they all go away. It's a quick and easy solution to the annoying checkpoints of FC2, but it actually makes the game a bit too easy. Still, better that than too tedious. Far Cry 3 also focuses very heavily on exploration. There are lots of things to collect, so if you're an achievement/ artifact hunter, this will be right up your alley. Note that if foul language bothers you a lot, I would highly recommend avoiding this game.
Anyway, down to brass tacks (I have no idea what that saying means):
Well, it's not quite Xenogears or FFT, but in terms of first person shooters, the story is pretty awesome. Basically, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, which puts it miles ahead of most of the shooters out there. The plot is engaging, with some comical parts as well as some very heavy parts. It flows well, is well written, the characters are developed fairly well, and the dialogue comes across as natural and thought out. So many video game stories come across as if told by Strongbad ("There was a man. No! It was a dragon! No! It was a DRAGON-MAN!!"), that Far Cry 3 ends up being a very strong success where others have failed so miserably. I would like to have seen more development of your friends (btw, you're trying to save your friends) via flashbacks or something, but I suppose you can't have everything. The only real knock against the plot is the fact that the game is so long, and has so many side-quests, that I often forgot why I was running such-and-such a quest or for whom. While this isn't directly a problem with the plot, it is a hiccup with the pacing due to the open ended nature of the game.
The sound in this game is extremely important. Stealth is strongly emphasized-- and at times necessary-- and sound is a key element of knowing where, what, and how many your enemies are. The sounds are clear, precise, and definitive; you can tell what kind of animal you are hunting (or what is hunting you!) based upon the sounds. The only problem with the sounds is that at time they seem to be too scripted. This is much more noticeable while hunting animals because all aggressive animals ALWAYS growl when they are near. Now, I've never been a leopard, but I probably wouldn't growl before attacking my prey. Also, it seems that easily 3/5 of the guards on the island "got the clap from that whore" because it "burns like a mother when they pee"; obviously they "should have worn a rubber". (Those are all in quotations because you will hear them verbatim no less than 100 times.)
Take this one with a grain of salt. My computer is a few years old, and while it was top of the line then, it's the upper end of medium now. It defaulted me to Medium graphical settings, and while I played around with it some, it didn't make much of a difference. What I got were extremely pixilated trees and shapeless rocks. On more than one occasion, I almost shot a bucket because it looked like en enemy's head. Now, I've seen videos and pics (though I never trust those; too easy to doctor) that look AMAZING, so if you're got a monster rig, your mileage may very greatly on this one. To put this in perspective, though, I can run Skyrim on almost max settings (draw distance for grass and second-to-highest water setting), and it looks amazing. So I was actually a bit disappointed considering that Crytek has always prided itself on having the best graphics available in a game.
I suppose at this point weapon modifications are standard fare in video games, but I still like them. There's a good variety of weapons in Far Cry 3, with multiple weapons for each weapon type. But the way they're balanced, there is not (until near the end of the game) single BEST sniper rifle, for example. One is more geared towards range, another accuracy, another damage, and so on. And that's before you get into the modifications. Don't worry if there aren't many options at the beginning of the game; you get more later. Again, though, the weapons are perfect. You get weapons "for free" by unlocking radio towers... which functionally means that you never need to buy a single weapon until the end of the game. It's not crippling by any means, but it's another element that makes this game MUCH easier than the first two.
The gameplay is really where this game shines. All of the other elements build into this one, and this one really ties it all together. One moment you will be hunting a tiger with a bow and arrow, and the next you will be laying land mines to create choke points as you assault an enemy base. The stealth system is integrated MUCH better in this game than in the previous two... basically, it's a viable option now. More than simply hiding, there is a lot of strategy to how to take out enemies. For instance, I found several times that it was easier to leave a dead body in plain sight in order to distract enemies while I stalked or sniped them one by one. Conversely, if you want to drive up in a Jeep with a turret and just lay into the enemy, you can do that too.
It seems that Crytek has finally found a happy median in creating an open ended FPS that isn't horribly tedious. The plot is much better developed and thought out than that most of most FPSs, and it really adds a lot to the game. At the same time, a well developed arsenal, and diversified yet seamless gameplay elements come together for an enjoyable gaming experience. The graphics were somewhat lackluster on my machine, but you may find very different results. I would highly recommend this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/07/13
Game Release: Far Cry 3 (US, 12/04/12)
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