Far Cry 3 Review for Xbox 360

Far Cry 3 Review for Xbox 360

Like A Butterfly, But With More Killing And Nudity.

A few hours into the Far Cry 3 campaign, we’re introduced to a side character named Agent Huntley, an ex-CIA operative who is secretly investigating the illegal activities on Rook Island. Huntley is holed up inside of a secret room underneath his tropical hut, and refuses to do any investigation on his own, relying instead on external operatives to report back. But even though Huntley’s miserly disposition characterizes him as a bit of a screwball, his fears are irrefutable. “This Island will change you,” he warns, and he’s right on the money.

See, Far Cry 3 isn’t just another first-person shooter; it’s an investigation into the process of natural selection and a study on psychological transformation. As grandiose as this may sound for a video game, it’s the truth. Ubisoft has managed to create a game that forces players to evaluate their own ethical boundaries, and then break them.

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

The campaign starts like so many terrible teenage horror movies: with a group of young, attractive coeds on an extravagant vacation to some tropical island. Predictably, the picturesque location soon becomes a backdrop for something far more sinister, and one of the coeds is tasked with leading the group out.

But that’s where the similarities end. The movie version would quickly descend into a mindless horror-porn slasher-fest, but Far Cry 3 becomes something much more terrifying.

When we’re introduced to our protagonist, Jason Brody, he is trapped inside of a bamboo cell with his brother Grant. The two, along with the rest of their group, have been taken captive by a gang of privateers who plan to ransom them back to their families.

Grant is an all-American pretty boy, whose military training quickly comes in handy. He’s the type of character that you’d expect to see in the starring role of any first-person shooter. Jason, on the other hand, winces when Grant makes the first kill of the game and becomes queasy at the thought of any more killing. In fact, as I was playing through the opening sequence, I turned to my wife, who likes to eat giant salads and watch me play video games, and said “Why can’t I play as Grant?”

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

But that’s the beauty of Far Cry 3. Jason Brody is the perfect protagonist, and it’s because he’s a weakling.

As the story unfolds, Jason is forced to make a series of difficult decisions that fundamentally change his psychology. After you’ve known Jason for a few short hours, he’s already become something much more deranged than he was in that bamboo cell. And it all crescendos to a scene where Jason must decide who he wants to be: the person he was, or the person he has become.

Like I said, grandiose.

Now, I’ve already heard people referring to Far Cry 3 an “FPS Role Playing Game.” And even though it does have some RPG elements, Far Cry 3 is a shooter at heart. Sure, there’s a crafting tree, and a skill tree, and the campaign often feels like a quest line, but it has a linearity to it that no open-world RPG could ever dream of. The campaign is articulate and compelling, and contains very few unrelated side quests.

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

However, even with its linear feel, Far Cry 3 still plays like an open world shooter. The single-player campaign itself contains about 35 hours of gameplay, depending on how many times you fail a quest or run off in search of a wild animal to turn into a wallet. There are a handful of side quests and minigames, but you’ll get your money’s worth even if you stay on the main path.

The crafting tree is pretty self-explanatory if you’ve ever played an RPG. Hunting animals and gathering plants nets you the resources to craft bags, holsters, syringes and a number of other things. The syringes deliver a potion-like effect that wears off after a short time.

Skills are gained by spending the experience points that you’ve acquired throughout your various travels/battles. As you learn each skill, a new tattoo is etched into your left arm—a physical representation of the psychological transformation that Jason Brody is undergoing.

But, and it pains me to say this, Far Cry 3 is not without its drawbacks. The controls, for instance, have a natural, responsive feel, but the built-in auto-aim function, like most auto-aims, is often handicapping. On occasion, like when trying to hit a long-distance shot, auto-aim is just what the doctor ordered. But in a massive firefight, it’s best to put that Call of Duty skill set to good use.

There’s also the strange problem of over-binding on the gamepad. For some reason, the quick switch button also activates the healing function. So, it’s not unusual to accidentally perform one when you’re trying to trigger the other. What’s worse is that there are multiple healing functions and they’re all operated by the same button, but they follow a set hierarchy. So, for example, if I’ve wandered into a fire and I need to put the flames out, I would normally hold down the heal button. But if wanted to perform an emergency heal before I put the flames out in order to stave off death for a few seconds, it’s impossible.

Far Cry 3 Screenshot

I would love to spend the next few lines luxuriating about Far Cry 3’s multiplayer experience, but I just can’t do it. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s certainly not good either. The maps are awkward and lacking in chokepoints, which means that the tactics that make the campaign interesting are completely absent from the multiplayer. Aside from the graphics and the weaponry, it acts like an entirely different game and often feels tacked on.

However, multiplayer components are made and broken in the community. So, if the fan base can find a way to turn the multiplayer into something interesting, perhaps using the included multiplayer map editor, I’m happy to be wrong.

Ubisoft has also included a co-op campaign, which is a pretty impressive little perk. It’s built for a four-player crew, and follows a new cast of characters. The campaign steps out of Far Cry 3’s overly serious single-player effort and shoots for a more comedic delivery.

Co-op mode also does away with the open world, adopting a semi-strict linear path. Like I said, this mode was designed for four people, and it’s pretty difficult if you try to slide by with fewer players. But it’s a decent experience when you get a whole crew together.

One of the things that makes Far Cry brilliant is the ambiance that Ubisoft has created. This is not a game for children, and we’re reminded of this fact repeatedly. There’s a semi-constant stream of profanity, the violence is not toned down, and the game itself contains a nude scene. Without these things, it would be hard to take Far Cry 3 seriously, and it deserves to be taken seriously.

Far Cry 3 is by far one of the most impressive games of this console generation. It’s an ambitious effort on Ubisoft’s part and puts a big fat exclamation point on the 2012 gaming year.

The sporadic graphical artifact and texture problem is the only thing keeping this from a perfect score. 4.0 Control
Intuitive and responsive, but not without a few quirks. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound design is practically the only thing keeping you alive in the jungle. Luckily, Komodo Dragons are noisy. 4.5 Play Value
With a 35-hour campaign, multiplayer, and co-op, you have a large suite of options. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Create your own FPS adventure. Customize your weapons, your skills, and your approach to each mission, whether you favor intense run-and-gun action, stealthy close-up takedowns, or long-range sniping.
  • Explore a diverse island playground, from mountain ranges and swampy grasslands to white sandy beaches. Discover relics, hunt exotic animals, play minigames, and travel quickly by land, sea, or air. Fight your way through the island’s towns, temples, river ports, and more!
  • Encounter an engaging and disturbed cast of characters as you take a gritty journey to the dark side of humanity, written by a Writers Guild Award winner.
  • Play online or splitscreen and team up in a four-player campaign that challenges you to be your best and work together to prevail. Experience the island through the eyes of a wayward crew in their own quest to survive against the odds.
  • Innovative multiplayer rewards skill and team play. To level up, players must support each other by boosting with battle cries, reviving teammates, and calling in support weapons. After each match, players have the choice to punish or show mercy for their foes in fun and twisted ways, choreographed with interactive cutscenes.
  • The powerful and easy-to-use Far Cry Map Editor is back, with new and improved features. A community of mapmakers ensures a constant stream of all-new content with the very best being showcased for the whole world to enjoy. Using the included tools, you too can make amazing maps, quickly and easily.
  • Far Cry 3 is being developed by the world-class game designers who brought you such critically acclaimed titles as Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and World in Conflict.

  • To top