Videogame: “Far Cry 3”
Pitchforks: 4.5 out of 5
Release: Dec. 4
“Far Cry 3” asks two simple questions: How do you know if you’ve gone insane, and what would you do to save your loved ones from imminent slavery and death? For Jason Brody, a rich Californian in his early 20s, the answers are simple: he isn’t crazy, and anything necessary. He’s partially correct, but beyond the surface layer of Jason’s psyche rests an unsettling tale of what someone can push themselves to do when everything is on the line.
Jason’s fiasco begins when he, his two brothers, Grant and Riley, and four of their friends go skydiving and land on the tropical Rook Island. Unbeknownst to them, the area has been brutally taken over by drug-smugglers commanded by Vaas, a vicious psychopath who enjoys killing for its own sake. Naturally, Jason and his group are captured and separated into different outposts across the island.
Grant, who served in the Army, breaks himself and Jason out of their bamboo cell by killing the guard who has the keys. Upon seeing Grant kill two more people during their escape attempt, Jason has a mental breakdown. He simply can’t cope with what’s happening and tells his brother he can’t bring himself to kill someone. But this attitude quickly changes after Vaas kills Grant and begins hunting Jason like a wild boar.
Jason’s mind and constitution are rattled, but he still has enough sanity to realize Riley and the others need saving and he’s the only one who can complete the task. After escaping Vaas’s clutches, Jason encounters Dennis, a member of the native Rakyat tribe, who teaches him basic survival skills and gives him information about finding his friends.
Although the story’s beginning is cliché, it establishes an interesting point for our protagonist that is explored throughout the game. As Jason becomes more accustomed to killing, his sanity begins withering away. Some of these instances are subtle, a quip in dialogue here and there; others are boldly shown, the tattoos emblazoned on his arm upon learning a new killing technique.
As with the original Far Cry and its sequel, the open world of “Far Cry 3″ is massive and encompasses an enthrallingly lush environment that’s littered with various enemies, wildlife and collectables. Alongside the main plotline are dozens of side quests and pirate outposts to liberate.
As the game progresses, Jason gains skill-points that can be used in three specialization trees. After a few hours, the timid hero who was horrified as his brother threw a knife into a man’s head is executing enemies left and right in various fashions. Sometimes, it’s igniting a marijuana field with a flamethrower and making wise cracks as people inside it burn alive, or by shooting a pistol while riding down a zip line and then ramming a machete through a man’s neck. The more creative the kills, the greater experience gained, and the more insane Jason becomes.
“Far Cry 3’s” freedom to approach every combat situation uniquely is liberating. If you’d like to go in guns blazing and take everyone on at once, go for it. If sitting back in a far-away hilltop sniping people seems to meet your fancy, more power to you. Or maybe sneaking up behind someone and ripping out their throat seems more your style. Regardless of how you want to play, it can be done.
Since an REI isn’t within Jason’s vicinity, with the help of Dennis he learns how to live off of the land and craft upgrades and supplies from animal skins and flowers. Doing so is critical to success. Aside from medical syringes and temporary combat amplifiers, larger ammo pouches, wallets, quivers and rucksacks can be created, all of which will be wildly useful throughout the game.
Crucial detail went into creating Rook Island’s environment. The lighting is spectacular, the sounds are fantastic and the jungle is gorgeous. However, it would have been nice to see that same attention to detail go into character models. Facial animation is stale, and despite what method you use to kill someone, they simply flop over like a soggy pancake. Bullet wounds are not visible, headshots don’t decapitate people and character movement can be sluggish at times.
Conversely, there is intense attention to detail in other parts of the game. When using a flamethrower to ignite grass or a building, the fire actually spreads to consume everything flammable within its area of effect. It sounds simple, but it’s magnificent to watch.
Overall, “Far Cry 3” is an extremely fun adventure, with an enjoyable, albeit at times cliché, plotline that explores wonderfully fascinating characters. The dialogue is excellent, and the voice acting is superb. Its combat system works very well, and each encounter is unique to your liking. If you’re a fan of sandbox shooters, this is one you don’t want to miss.
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