Now, the title of this review might make you think that Ubisoft Montreal's latest game has been poorly received. False. You might also think that the combination of dubstep and giant guns designed to shoot flames at pirates is the right combination for fun. True, but also add in a pretty strong driving narrative, fantastic voice work and character design, as well as a beautiful, vast location to explore, hunt and blow up. It might sound too good to be true but "Far Cry 3" has proven itself to be a fantastically engaging romp on a jungle island.
It should be noted that "Far Cry 3" shares nothing with its first installment and although you can draw parallels to "Far Cry 2" in terms of gameplay, "Far Cry 3" surpasses it in nearly every way. Nearly every "Far Cry" game featured the problem of enemies being able to snipe you one handed with a pistol from hundreds of feet away. This also happened a lot in "Far Cry 2", no matter how stealthy you tried to be the enemy would find you and kill you with extreme prejudice. It made it too difficult to be fun. "Far Cry 3" does stealth correctly, not only can you hide easily but if you take out enemies that saw you before alerting the others, you can slip back into the shadows.
There was also a strong lacking of story and character in the second installment. "Far Cry 3" features one of the best casts of the past year, the playable character of Jason Brody is endearing without being annoying and it is interesting to watch him turn from rich white jock type to killing machine, while the villians Vaas and Hoyt Volker are terrifying and constant deadly presences.
As Jason and the player progress you get the opportunity to gain skills in three different skill trees. This lets you choose how you want to transform into a warrior, whether you're stealthy, a gun toting terminator, or a balance between the two. It lets you find a unique way to deal with every situation you can find on the island.
It's actually not even a chore to explore either, you'll find yourself veering off the path and exploring ancient ruins, sunken caves and hunting animals. This will be the first game where you're on your way to an enemy camp when you hear a tiger stalking you. The giant predator will be hunting you as you try to struggle against the pirates. You'll find the animals of the island act just like their real life counter parts. Fight soldiers and pirates and free the natives, but all the while the island itself will be your enemy.
"Far Cry 3" is awesome. You'll start with nothing and then slowly grow into a killing machine, the amount of satisfaction you receive when you finally take an enemy position without alerting guards or kill a shark with your bare hands for the first time, it feels real. It looks beautiful, it tells a great story.
There are a couple hunting missions that feel weird though, like hunting down a pack of dogs with a flame thrower? It seems like a forced mission for content and you'll hate yourself for doing it but anything for more ammo capacity, right?
That's the other thing, even though it's a fantastic game and does tell a great story at times it felt like a joke. A rich white guy finds an island of natives in danger of being killed and becomes the lost warrior of their tribe? Instead of the ground being pulled from under him like it was at the beginning you get rewarded for the violent acts you commit. It does serve better as an awesome game than it would on some anti-violence commentary but an opportunity feels missed because the main character questions aloud so many times, "What have I done?"
Despite the hatred of dogs and other animals and the lack of self awareness this truly is a great game with a huge amount of extras to grab and replay value to test out and even a separate co-op campaign. This is the "Far Cry" you've been waiting for even if you didn't know it.