As 2012 winds down, the release schedule of major titles for the year has begun to gradually taper off before exploding again in 2013. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing worth playing coming out, however. In fact, this week sees the release of one of the most highly acclaimed shooters of the year in Far Cry 3.
Ubisoft’s romp into insanity has claimed a lot of top honors from critics around the globe, and for good reason; the game looks amazing and promises much in the way of gameplay and substance. But for your previewing convenience, we’ve gone through and selected the five biggest reasons why this game should be on your radar.
A DARK, TWISTED NARRATIVE
Far Cry 3 is a game that tackles heavy and dark themes in its story. During the game’s main campaign, you play as Jason Brody, a man stranded on a dangerous tropical island after seeing his friends get carried off by pirates. From there, Jason teams up with a local tribe and starts to culminate a literally “killer” personality, using weapons to survive and bring vengeance on pirates scattered around the island as he tracks down the game’s villain Vaas in an effort to save his friends.
The story of Far Cry 3 is a dark but compelling one that sees a great amount of voice performance and excellent character development. At the start, Jason is crippled with fear from the use of weapons and the sight of death, but as he descends into madness he eventually becomes so desensitized to it that it is a satisfying means of victory for him. It’s a believable angle that justifies the typical FPS protagonist in a new and interesting way that is all too human.
DON’T CALL IT MINECRAFT
There’s a heavy emphasis on survival in Far Cry 3′s story. You’ll track animals, hunt, collect plants, and practice some pretty wicked gunplay in order to survive the insanity on the island.
Hunting in particular plays an important role in the game, as you use the hides of animals to make items such as wallets, rucksacks, and holsters. Crafted items serve as quasi-upgrades, allowing you to carry more weapons, ammunition, money, and items.
Hunting’s no easy feat, however, and works well to set up the dangerous nature of the island you’re stranded on. Much like Red Dead Redemption, you’ll encounter dangerous animals in the wild that will see you fighting for your life against the odds.
A BEAUTIFULLY REALIZED ENVIRONMENT
At the end of this generation of consoles, we’ve seen some games that deliver some truly impressive graphical fidelity. Far Cry 3 is no exception to this rule. Featuring a lush, beautiful tropical environment, Far Cry 3 has some impressive visuals that will test even the beefiest of PCs in order to run on its highest settings. Lots of color is used, landscaping is varied and unique, weapons have a unique look, things like fire and water have a realistic feel to them, and visual effects like shifting landscapes and warped environments are used to emphasize the main protagonist’s drug usage throughout the campaign. It all seems to work together well to deliver a unique and impressive visual experience.
A WIDE OPEN WORLD
Far Cry 3 is said to have some linearity in its story missions, but the world itself takes on a very Skyrim-esque feel in the sense that you can travel anywhere and encounter any number of random events throughout its expansive open world. There are many, many side quests to complete, towers to claim, animals to hunt, and havoc to wreak all over the place, leaving you with a meaty game that will take a long, long time to get tired of.
CO-OP AND MULTIPLAYER
It’s always fun to hook up with friends and play through campaigns a la Borderlands, and developers have taken note of that in Far Cry 3. Cooperative missions allow you and three others to work together in order to complete various mission objectives as you work your way around the island. It’s said to have a very Left 4 Dead feel to it and offers some ability to build your characters.
And of course, no first person shooter would be complete without online multiplayer modes, in which Far Cry 3 aims to not disappoint. Multiplayer modes see you jumping in on familiar FPS multiplayer territory, running around maps and shooting guys in frenzied, fast-paced combat. But it’s still looking to keep its own identity in a very crowded sphere by allowing map editing, modes, and conventions new to Far Cry 3. It’s a prospect that’s been used before, but remains exciting nonetheless.
Far Cry 3 releases on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on December 4th. Will you be picking it up?