A mind is a terrible thing to waste
The Far Cry series is known for offering up an open-world alternative to the rail-based experiences of most mainline FPS titles, but the third installment takes that sense of differentiation even further by distancing itself from the militant main characters of iterations past, focusing instead on the plight of stranded tourist Jason Brody, who finds himself thrust into the middle of a violent struggle for control of a remote tropical island—a shift as abrupt and intriguing for the franchise as it is for the genre itself. But with change comes risk, leaving the EGM crew with one question: Can Ubisoft Montreal deliver on this novel premise, or will Far Cry 3 end up as yet another bad trip in the action-gaming arena? Editors Brandon Justice and Ray Carsillo have the deets.
Brandon Justice, executive editor: First off, let me just say I’m beyond pleased that Ubisoft Montreal’s going out on a limb with the plot on this one. I’m admittedly tired of the whole “insane” schtick at this point, but more because that element seems far less sincere than the game itself, which just seems to look better and better with each new glimpse. For starters, the plot looks like one helluva ride. Not only that, but the tale of a smartass kid who’s forced to become the monsters he’s hunting is a narrative we see often enough in movies, but games seem to shy away from this type of stuff. Then, here comes Far Cry 3 with competent themes, amazing in-game storytelling, and more mature themes than I can shake a stick at. I can’t wait to dive in.
Ray Carsillo, reviews editor: Seriously, Brandon, the whole vibe Far Cry 3 gives off is something we don’t often get while holding a controller in our hands—it happens while holding a bucket of popcorn. And it’s interesting to see how videogames are really starting to mimic Hollywood in instances like this, orchestrating some sick head games for the player. Far Cry 3 looks to jump in and trash your mind like a rock star does a hotel room after a bad acid trip. But the reason why this one stands out so much—aside from the risks it’s taking and the boobs in our face during the E3 trailer—is that the controls, at least from the couple of hands-on sessions we’ve had, are smooth and effortless.
Brandon: Yeah, it isn’t just that they’re being risqué or ridiculous—it’s that they’re doing so with the type of style and grace I’d expect from someone like Naughty Dog, but I’m honestly surprised to see it from this group. More than that, the variety presented here is flat-out amazing, whether it’s tripping balls on magic mushrooms or escaping a sinking tanker amidst a swarm of sharks. There’s just so much to see and do on this vacation from hell, and you hit the nail on the head by pointing out how immensely playable it all is. The progression system looks like it’ll be much more than window dressing, helping define the way we use Jason as he becomes the warrior badass we saw in the E3 demo. It actually reminds me a lot of the survival stuff we’ve seen from the Tomb Raider reboot, and when you couple that with the story and the characters we’ve been exposed to, it’s enough to get me excited, for sure.
Ray: And speaking of progression systems and leveling up, Far Cry 3 includes both competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes. Admittedly, I spent most of my hands-on time with these modes, and though the competitive mode was your standard deathmatch fare—save the fact that it’s set on a gorgeous tropical island—the cooperative mode was almost another game entirely. There’s actually a plot—and a whole slew of objectives you must perform with your friends in order to advance and escape the almost never-ending onslaught of insane natives. And if you don’t work together, you’ll almost assuredly be overrun and taken down. Especially on harder difficulty levels, as the enemy AI is off-the-charts good.
Brandon: Yeah, given my general hatred for tacked-on co-op, it was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. It all adds up to a ton of playable content, and given the amount of fun we’ll undoubtedly have exploring the vast open world and all the quirky sidequests, Far Cry 3 looks like a great way to kick off the fall “shooter season” when it finally drops in September. I love the types of stories we see in games like BioShock and Mass Effect, but it should be cool to finally see a game more rooted in reality take some chances and really swing for the narrative fences while avoiding the whole “Robo-Marine” bit. The rest is just icing on the cake—and I, for one, cannot wait to take a big, fat bite outta this one.