Far Cry 3 was a late addition to many gamers' libraries in 2012, but it arrived with plenty of hype. The first two games in the franchise are highly regard by critics and players alike, so the third installment had some pretty big shoes to fill. What makes Far Cry 3 Game of the Year material? Read on to find out.
Far Cry 3 chronicles the quest of well-to-do entitled rich kid Jason Brody, as he and his friends are kidnapped on a remote island. Jason and his brother are the first to attempt escape, though his brother dies in the process, leaving poor Jason to fend for himself. Though he quickly is brought under the wing of a local man named Dennis, Jason is still very much out for himself and his friends, despite the increasingly dire situation on the island.
What follows is a fairly long game by shooter standards in which you will find yourself starting to sympathize with the initially unlikeable group of friends - most important, Jason - while also aiding the current group of a long lineage of island warriors defend their turf from a pair of insane warmongers. You'll meat the hypnotic warrior leader Citra, who is the sister of initial baddie Vaas. Eventually, the game spirals into something that's too complicated for its own good, but it is never boring, and often the story missions are the best parts of the game, even if the ending leaves a bit to be desired.
The story shines because of Vaas. This crazy, yet engrossing villain is the best villain of the year, without a doubt, and the few moments where the game slows down and focuses on Vaas will have you questioning if Jason is losing it, or if the island is truly a mystical place. Unfortunately, the story never pans out the way your expecting it to, leading to the aforementioned disappointing ending, but the ride is one of the most enjoyable stories of the year, and one that will hopefully continue in shooters in 2013.
Far Cry 3 is much bigger than its lore, though. As an open world game, Far Cry 3 goes above and beyond what most games in that category attempted last year. There's an unreasonable amount of things to do in the game, and they almost all lead to rewards that improve Jason as a character. Most importantly, though, they are all fun. From hunting down certain animals with specific weapons to clearing enemy strongholds throughout the map, thus making it a safer place to travel, you will find hours of entertainment by simply exploring. Couple this with the intelligent and aggressive human A.I. and the deadly animals and you have an island playground that is at once ridiculously fun and horrifying.
The game shines as a single player vehicle, and as an open world game, but it also excels at being a shooter. The guns all feel great and each is as useful as the last, though there are clearly more powerful upgrades as the game progresses. Your loadout will boil down to your playing preference, and Far Cry 3 allows you any number of ways to tackle any given situation. Will you unleash a caged animal on a stronghold and watch as it takes revenge on your enemies? Will you snipe from the tall grass, causing panic and confusion amongst your foes, or will you rush in guns blazing, burning buildings and people alike, and enjoy the amazing fire effects? The choice is truly yours; there is no wrong way to play this game.
In reality, Far Cry 3 does very little wrong. It is perhaps the most perfect big budget game of the year, and in a year that was full of slightly above average appearances by most companies, Ubisoft can hold their heads high at their accomplishment here, which earned them a Game of the Year nomination.