- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft
- ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Pros: Enormous World, Engaging Environments, Incredible Storytelling, Inventive Mission Design
- Cons: Just a Few Occasional Glitches, Don't Forget to Save
You open "Far Cry 3" in captivity. You have been captured along with one of your friends and you're being held by a complete maniac with a machete. After you escape, you're quickly left on your own and the game truly begins. It's an open-world game in an environment that feels awfully familiar at first. "I know what to do here. Find a vehicle. Go to the spot on the map. Start a mission. Shoot some guys. Repeat." Like so many great games, "Far Cry 3" takes a structure that will be familiar to many gamers but makes it feel completely fresh and new by tweaking the gameplay and presenting a riveting story. With an engaging protagonist, enormous universe, and unique gameplay, "Far Cry 3" sucks you in for hours and very rarely disappoints.
"Far Cry 3" works from a simple story/side mission structure that will be familiar to anyone who has played an open-world game. Although this world is way more open than most. Yes, there are story missions that keep the action moving forward but, like "Skyrim" and "Red Dead Redemption," you will spend an inordinate amount of time just exploring this amazing world that will literally give you the tools you need to stay alive. You will cut leaves to craft syringes for medical or combat needs. You will skin animals to create wallets for the money you find on missions. Want to carry more items? Go kill the animals needed to make a bigger sack to hold your spoils of victory and wide variety of weapon choices (all deeply customizable). You will find a lot in the universe of "Far Cry 3" but you will just as often have to hunt and forage to make what you need. And as you progress through the game, you'll earn XP that turn into skills that are signified by tattoos on your arm. You may have started a tourist. You will end a hardened killer.
Don't worry. "Far Cry 3" is not all about collecting deer pelts and horticulture. It is one of the most action-packed games of the year. Whether you're swimming out of an exploding ship, firing missiles at the trucks chasing you after you've saved a friend, or searching a cave filled with snakes for a rare item, "Far Cry 3" is incredibly paced. It is one of those games that is perfectly balanced in that it gives back what the player brings to it. What I mean is that if you are in the mood to hunt or liberate radio towers (which opens up new sections of map) or even just admire the stunning horizon, you can do that. If you want to compete in time trials, you can do that. Races? They're here. But when you're ready, the game will give you explosions, headshots, and chaotic violence that will stun even "Call of Duty" fans. It may be the most cliched sentiment but it's true -- this game really does have a bit of something for everyone.
What I love most about "Far Cry 3" is its complete sense of on-the-fly, in-the-moment gameplay. I laughed out loud at events that came completely out of nowhere and felt like, more than any game this year, I had to often react quickly to survive. At one point, I was low on ammo and decided to flee a firefight. As I ran down a hill, I spotted a tiger to my right. Yes, an actual tiger. Now, I was being chased by AK-47-wielding enemies AND a man-eating beast and I was badly hurt. The river up ahead could offer me safety from my foes and time to heal my wounds. I jumped in...to the open mouth of a crocodile. "Far Cry 3" is so consistently inventive in its gameplay and design that you don't even care when you die. You just want to jump right back in (although be aware that a lot of island exploration can lead to item creation and map-opening but only missions have checkpoints. Save early, save often.)
It's a word that critics have incorrectly used before but "Far Cry 3" truly is enormous. Not only will you spend days in island exploration and immersed in this remarkable story (one that keeps getting more interesting as it goes along) but there's also co-op, multiplayer, and imminent DLC to keep the game fresh for not just the next few weeks but even months and most of 2013.