Far Cry 3

Genre: Open World, First-Person Shooter

Original Release: November 29, 2012

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platforms: Windows (Steam with UPlay DRM, or UPlay), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Played on: Windows (Steam)

Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies.

You know how there’s a joke that every Ubisoft game is identical? How every game has radio towers that need to be activated to uncover the map, and how there are outposts that need to be freed?

As far as I can tell, that started with Far Cry 3. Possibly earlier, but Far Cry 3 is definitely one of the most noteworthy. Who’d have thought so much can change in eight years?

I wanted to like Far Cry 3. I remember picking it up shortly after it came out and watching Jesse Cox’s Let’s Play of the game. I was into it and I wanted to explore the island at my own pace and just immerse myself.

Then a UPlay notification popped up and took me out of it completely. Fast forward to maybe last week and I finally started it back up, but I was never able to immerse myself that same way. Thanks Ubisoft.

The facial animations are decent for 2012 (man we’ve come a long way since then), but here it looks kinda like Grant’s trying to hold back a really nasty fart. Really changes the tone of this scene.

Anyway, Far Cry 3 has…aged. Not particularly well, either. Vaas is still an excellent antagonist, but that and the gunplay are about all it has going for it anymore, and even the latter is questionable. The writing’s not great, the faces are kind of uncanny (see above and below), and the map is too large and littered with collectibles that don’t really do much after a point.

120 relics, 20 memory cards, 20 letters, and more loot chests than anybody would ever feasibly need. The only reason to collect most of these is experience and that eventually becomes useless.

I don’t know, maybe open world games just aren’t my thing anymore. A lot of them just feel like filler with little if anything of real substance to do. From a developer standpoint, it’s not good design. You are literally wasting your players’ already valuable time for the sake of keeping them hunting for useless trinkets. But I also don’t know if this is one of those games where it was designed by committee or the team was 100% on board with the idea. Like I acknowledge that it’s older, but it still feels empty compared to Yakuza 0 where the map is a fraction of the size but filled to the brim with interesting things to do. And if I’m going to play a game, I want to have fun rather than aimlessly wander from radio tower to radio tower, occasionally smacking an errant leopard with a knife or my gun. It’s fun at times, but after a while, why bother?

There are some neat ideas though: the memory cards are found in outposts you have to liberate and net you a small chunk of cash along with a little bit of background on the Rook Islands’ drug operations. Similarly, the Letters of the Lost give you some insight for the islands history circa World War II. Most of them. The last four have nothing to do with the Japanese occupation of a fictional island and everything to do with some guy named “Hurk” and his confessing to teaching a macaque how to pull the pin of a grenade and throw it. To tell you the truth, I would have much preferred those letters to cover more of the Japanese troops during the war. It just feels like wasted potential to change them up three quarters of the way into your collection.

As for the story…I mean it’s there. I can’t say I got invested in it. You’re Jason Brody (you look a little like JD from Scrubs), you and your friends were kidnapped by human traffickers, and you get a mystical tattoo that grants you additional skills to survive on the islands more effectively. It’s a really neat way of visually representing character growth, but it’s also kind of wasted because you hardly ever see your left arm where the tattoo is located. You meet some weird characters along the way, including Doctor Earnhardt:

Like I said, the faces are…uh…

He’s not a bad guy, but I don’t know that hard drug use and island living are a good mix. Seriously, he looks like he’s considering mugging you just because he can.

I don’t really know what else to say about the game. It’s just kind of…there. And if I can’t say much else, I can’t honestly recommend it. It just doesn’t hold up all that well. And it’s kind of weird to think about the fact that games like Banjo-Kazooie haven’t aged nearly as much despite being out for much longer.

I dunno, maybe I’ll cover Banjo-Kazooie next just to cleanse my palate. If you’re going to get Far Cry 3 regardless of this post, do yourself a favor and pick it up on console. DRM nesting is annoying, to say the least.

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