Review by Big8Ball
"The best first-person shooter that I've ever played."
Before I talk about Far Cry 3, I want to give you a brief summary about my history with first-person shooters in order to establish a context for my review. My love for first-person shooters began with the original Half-Life (1998) and has continued strong ever since. I've played more shooters than I can count over the last 13 years and the most memorable ones for me include but are not limited to: Goldeneye, Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike, Fallout 3, Rainbow 6, Crysis, Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty, Team Fortress, Bioshock, Unreal Tournament, and the list just goes on and on. After all that, I can honestly say that Far Cry 3 is hands down the best first-person shooter that I have ever played.
The graphics in this game are the best I've ever seen. Everything is absolutely beautiful. The graphics on ultra settings for PC are hardcore photo-realistic and blow away every other first-person shooter that I've ever played. This is eye candy at its finest folks and a showcase of the games' high production values. Such an open world with such beauty is a breathtaking achievement. Everything stands out.
The sound is not the best I've ever seen, but it is still fantastic. All of the environment and weapon sounds are flawless. Voice acting is clear, realistic and emotional. There were times that I was simply blown away by the quality of the voice performances. It really adds to the overall immersion which is already sky high due to graphics, game-play, and story. The music piece used for one of the final missions was the most memorable music and gameplay combinations that I have ever experienced.
The first-person shooter gameplay in Far Cry 3 is the best that I've ever seen. There are tons of weapons and each category of weapon (e.g. pistols, rifles, etc.) is strongly represented. You can buy any weapons you want, create any loadout you want, and customize any detail you want down to the silencers, sights and camos. My favorite loadout consisted of a silenced pistol with a reflex and ext. magazine, silenced vector with a optics sight and ext. magazine (jungle camo), re curve bow with reflex sight (including fire & explosive arrows and deep jungle camo), and a silenced M93 sniper rifle with high-powered sight and ext. magazine (chrome). The weapons handling is excellent and a blast to play with because of the sheer variety and power available.
The controls and movement are fluid and crisp. I absolutely love how you are seeing the game through Jason Brody's eyes the entire time and the animations are awesome. The vehicles are fun to drive especially when you consider the high chance of pirate road kill. The main missions are a blast, engaging, and very original. Side missions can be the smallest bit fetchy but it barely detracts from the overall game value because of good voice acting, scenery, and purpose.
The best aspect of the gameplay is the open world playground. You can pretty much access any part of the world. See a mountain? Go climb it. See a massive volcano lagoon? Jump in. See a jungle? Get busy. See a ocean? Time for a dip. You can go anywhere and everywhere and you can approach most missions using any tactic or angle that you wish. Clearing out an enemy outpost using stealth (or loud approach) has never been this open and fun. It's hard to describe how accessible and open everything actually is. Add amazing graphics and sound on top of that and it's the most engaging, immersive environment I've ever seen. Oh by the way, did I mention tigers? Or bears? Or how about a shark or two? The game world is incredible. There's also day/night and weather cycles, safe houses, paragliders, quads, jet skis, you name it. This game could be considered so much more than just a first-person shooter because in addition to shooting and blowing things up it has platforming, racing, hunting and other activities. Far Cry 3 is also the best Texas hold-em simulator that I have ever played.
Let me describe a event that I experienced during my play through in full detail (no spoilers). I decided to clear an outpost in the heart of the jungle. This outpost was located about half-way up a nearby mountain and deep in the thicket. I used a jeep to head up the mountain until I got relatively close to my destination. I ditched the jeep and went into the jungle nestled in the mountainside. Silently creeping through the brush, I made my way closer to the outpost as the morning sunbeams shimmered through the misty jungle canopy. I approached the enemy camp from the west and I found a small rocky overhang on the edge of the jungle that viewed the entire outpost. It was a perfect elevated position with plenty of cover and range of motion.
I scouted the outpost with my camera and marked the enemies as I silently crept along the rocky overhang. I spotted a guard dog near the center of camp. Guard dogs always blow your cover so it's best to take them out with extreme prejudice. I threw a few rocks and lured the dog away from the camp into the brush. I sniped him with my silenced m700 and he fell without a peep, body hidden in the tall grass. The guard closest to me was patrolling below the overhang and would walk behind a small shack that shielded him from view every few seconds. I sat above him on the ledge with a machete waiting to pounce. Right as he approached the shack, I started to move forward and suddenly I heard a faint grrrr grrrr behind me in the brush. I swear to you, I turned around quickly (I didn't even see the tiger) and within a second I was pounced and fighting for my very life. I kicked him off after a short tussle and took him out quickly with my silenced mp5 before he could do any more damage. Luckily, my cover was not blown.
After jumping on the guard with the machete, I crept around the shack and tried to move across camp. I wanted to disable the security alarm so the guards could not set it off if they spotted me. Unfortunately, I was spotted first and an all out firefight commenced. Explosive bows finished them off, the outpost was mine, and the rest is history. This is the first game where I ever got stalked and hunted by a tiger while I was stalking and hunting enemies. It was an incredible moment and I had actually jumped in my seat because I was so surprised by the loud tiger attack out of nowhere! The best part is, I heard the faint growl right before it happened. Such a memorable moment and was just one non-scripted event among many that this game has to offer.
The story is fantastic. It's emotionally engaging, makes sense, and has a definite character arch with excellent pacing. Albeit, there are a few disturbing parts but they are not badly done, just disturbing. There are four story missions that really stick out in my memory and will go down as some of my favorite first-person shooter missions ever. I think it's best not to tell anything about it because it should be experienced without any spoilers beforehand. The only thing I can tell you is that this game (especially the story) is not for the faint of heart or for kids! I must emphasize that if you are a parent trying to judge the game's content for your kids, this is an adult game through and through. This game lives up to the mature rating and I'd say goes a bit past that.
Multiplayer and co-op are both highly polished and fun but neither mode is superb. Don't get me wrong, both modes are executed solidly but they are not the best I've ever seen. Even so, the single player outshines both multiplayer and co-op and is so awesome and polished that the other game modes do not detract from my overall score of the game.
So at the end of the day, Far Cry 3 is the best first-person shooter that I've ever played. It's a pretty bold statement but it's true. This game is a first-person shooter fantasy that tears you out of reality and drops you into the heart of the wilds for an all out epic adventure. It's the most impressive title developed by Ubisoft that I've ever played. It is also a game that represents what happens when game developers listen to their gaming audience and design a game according to what people crave. This game had moments that blew me away, a rare occurrence in a life that is saturated with video games. This game is the type of game that will be a memory after you've finished it and you will never trade it in even after you've played till it's boring. Oh, and did I mention tigers? 10/10.
Thanks for reading my review. Happy gaming! - 8BaLL
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/13
Game Release: Far Cry 3 (US, 12/04/12)
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