I remember hearing all about Far Cry 3 when it came out last year and thinking it sounded pretty good, but never got around to playing it. After playing and loving the hell out of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, I again thought I should give Far Cry 3 a shot, but put it off some more. I’ve finally got around to it and, as expected, I’m a big fan.
- TL;DR: An open world set on a beautiful, living island
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Score: 9.0
- Hours Played: 30
- What I Played: Main Campaign
- Recommended: Yes
Far Cry 3 starts off like a spring break movie — a montage of you and your friends partying, drinking, skydiving, etc. All of a sudden, you (Jason Brody) and your brother Garret are tied up in a cage a la Jamie Lannister with the above-pictured man, Vaas, and his tribesmen spouting off about black markets and slave trading. The two of you work your way out of the cage and Vaas gives you 30 seconds to get into the jungle of Rook Island. He’s confident the jungle will kill you, but it’s on you to make sure that it instead makes you tough enough to get revenge and rescue the rest of your friends.
Jason Brody is far from Joe Everyhero. In fact, at the start of the game Jason wants nothing to do with being an action star. He doesn’t want to touch guns, he doesn’t want to skin animals (he can be heard grimacing and saying “Ew, gross”), but he has no choice. Jason meets up with a rival tribe, the Rakyat, who are also out to get Vaas and decide to help Jason. Your strength manifests itself as a growing tattoo on your forearm. To gain this strength, you must truly become one with the jungle — skinning animals to craft gear, picking plants to make medicine, etc. The animals range from docile deer and boar to downright terrifying bear and sharks. There are a multitude of plants but, thankfully, they are dumbed down into a few categories by color: white, green, yellow, red, and blue. The island is truly a living thing. You’ll see enemies fighting the Rakyat and tigers chasing buffalo throughout the game.
The map is absolutely littered with things to do. Scaling old radio towers will remove the “fog of war” on the map (think of towers in Assassin’s Creed) and infiltrating outposts will net you fast-travel points and side missions. You can collect tribal relics, letters of war from dead soldiers, and memory cards with drug recipes. There are even some just-for-fun contests, such as poker, knife throwing, racing, and sharpshooting. It’s impossible to be bored in this game.
Aside from all the activities, the story is pretty good. Jason really feels like a different sort of main character, evolving from a scared, timid 20-something into a warrior as the game goes along. There are a few named NPCs in Far Cry 3. but Jason and the island are always squarely in the spotlight. You hardly ever have to go full-on Rambo on any mission, but you certainly can. When done right, you can do almost every mission without ever being seen, not to mention you’ll get more experience for it.
Rook Island is an amazing place. Day and night can change the island’s aesthetics like … well, day and night. Some of the super close-up textures are a little lacking, but that’s to be expected in such an expansive world. Climbing anything vertically can be a bit glitchy, but the game is pretty smooth for the most part.
Far Cry 3 is an open-world game that blends action and stealth in incredible ways. The first person shaky-cam is the best I’ve seen in any game. Vehicles and buildings aren’t afraid to burn and explode. Death can grip you from a variety of angles, but Jason Brody and Rook Island are true all-stars. If sandbox-type games are your thing, dig into Far Cry 3.