Cheap Game Tuesday: ‘Far Cry 3’
With the sequel rolling onto shelves in the coming months, nows a good a time as ever to go back and revisit (or check out) this must-play title from the previous console generation. It can be nabbed cheaply from Steam or the PSN, and there’s more than a couple of copies floating around the pre-owned piles, and it easily sits alongside GTA V and Red Dead Redemption as one of the absolutely unmissable games on the PS3. It’s got stunning graphics, tight gameplay and an overall polished feeling that sustains the game over the long play time.
If you haven’t played any of the previous games in the series, do not be afraid. This is a completely isolated story and with unique characters. And in a break from the usual super-powerful one man soldier who often inhabits first person shooters you play a privileged white boy on vacation with his wealthy buddies and brothers. In between the nightclubs, water sports and jet skis you and your cohort are abducted by white slavers, which is where the game begins. You escape captivity with your brother (who doesn’t make it) and are taken in by some of the locals. With their help you set out on your path to becoming a true warrior in order to save your friends…but at the end of it all, can you really go back to your old life? You’ve also got an interesting villain behind it all in the batshit crazy Vaas, who dominates the cover art for the game. You’ll meet him in the prologue, and you’ll not likely forget him.
The concept is fresh enough to be interesting, and it does a reasonable job of putting the player in Jason’s boots as he embarks on a journey that teaches him how to kill, hunt and survive amid rituals and enough drug trips to fuel burning man. In addition to the shooting and driving you have to gather plant life to fashion into drugs for health and boosts and hunt animals for survival and to craft new items. You unlock a trove of weaponry ranging from machetes to flamethrowers and grenade launchers. For the stealth and awesomeness aspect we tended to favour the recurve bow for creeping through the undergrowth, picking off the guards as we make our move to take over an enemy compound. Molotov cocktails and flaming arrows proved a bit more effective than the usual ‘plus damage’ they usually offer in gaming by sending flames spreading across the area putting everyone at risk.
The living sandbox environment can contain quite a few surprises for unsuspecting players. Komodo dragons lurk near the ground, threatening to take a chunk out if you’re not paying attention. I wasn’t aware that there were tiger sharks in the game until I was halfway across a lagoon and one appeared before me, giving me the biggest shock I’ve ever had in twenty years of playing video games (close second being the discovery of crocodiles later in the game). Sometimes they can be played for the advantage, such as shooting the lock of a cage housing a tiger in an enemy compound and letting it do some of the hard work.
Throughout the game you’re given ample opportunity and equipment to take the stealth route or the guns blazing route, or switch back and forth as the mood takes you. Progression is made with a skill tree rather than a karma metre, so you’re not restricted to one play style over another for the bulk of the game. Each approach has its pros and cons, so you can let each individual scenario play out as you see fit. If you want to work through the skills quickly the island is littered with collectable items including letters of WWII Japanese soldiers, relics of an ancient tribe and memory cards containing a recipe for meth (Breaking Bad easter egg included). Plenty of optional side quests, mostly involving hunting a unique animal or dispatching of a troublesome pirate using a knife, dot the map as well. Between the missions and collectibles there’s plenty of reasons to wander around the place enjoying the scenery. You’re unlikely to visit a place this spectacular in a virtual world any time soon.
If you haven’t upgraded to the newest console yet, give Far Cry 3 a whirl.