Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 has been out over fifteen months now which is roughly a millennium in video game years, so it seemed like a good time to actually sit down and play it a bit.

The game got generally very positive reviews, and deservedly so – but also a mixed bag of criticism, also well deserved. I found the open-world sandbox gameplay a bit strange at first – having skipped Far Cry 2 I was used to the purebred shooting experience of the original. Far Cry 1 might have had huge maps with multiple paths and opportunity for varying gameplay styles but it was still a very linear, mission-driven game. Far Cry 3 starts like that but then the tutorial ends the game lets you loose in a frankly massive environment I can only describe as sexy. The CryEngine was always superb at its job and the Dunia Engine 2 derived from it is a marvel. But what really sets the game apart for me is how alive the environment feels. Many games make claims like that but more often that not fall short. Far Cry 3’s world really feels alive. You can move through it and genuinely feel like a stranger dropped into an island that existed before you arrived, has it’s own business and will continue long after you’re dead.

My only complaint is that the story keeps getting in the way of the gameplay. I’ve never said that before and I’m not sure I ever will again. But Far Cry 3 is just so much fun to explore, to play with and to simply exist in, that when the game keeps reminding me to get on with the next mission I just want it to back off and let me get on with having fun. When my wife asks what I’m doing in the game or why I like it so much, it isn’t mechanics or graphics or the plot I respond with. It’s the little stories. The unscripted events. The little scenes that had me laughing or gripping the controller in suspense or swearing wildly at an animal that just jumped me in the middle of an ambush. Few games provide any such moments, never mind as many as Far Cry 3 does, and not one of those moments was part of the game’s plot or mission structure. The entire story could have been left out and the game would have been just as fun, possibly more so. And that feels like a very strange thing to be writing.

But man, fuck Uplay.

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