on 30 November 2012
Since Farcry instincts on the xbox when it was less known, it has evolved into something bigger and better each time whilst also learning from past mistakes.
4 years ago we had Farcry 2, a brilliant and realistic game, that with it's brilliance was marred by frustrations and chore like gameplay coupled with a nonsensical storyline or dilemmas with no consequence.
Now we have a somewhat anticipated Farcry 3 to top the year off, you may have read some reviews already giving it 10/10 and saying it's the best shooter ever made. They aren't far off.
FC2 was a chore to play, vehicles were slow and would need repairing every few yards, enemies could withstand a full clip before dying, enemies would somehow drive round a corner and attack you, enemy checkpoints would always respawn. The controls were a little sluggish and death meant suffering all of this again to travel to an objective again!
Thankfully Ubisoft was made aware of these problems, now the controls are more fluid and sharp. The vehicles are faster and scarcely break down. You don't have to worry about malaria. Enemies die if you shoot 1 bullet in the head. They don't magically spawn round corners from you or at checkpoints. Overall the game is a lot more fun to play.
There is now an intuitive cover and fire mechanic, where if near a wall your character realistically holds his gun upwards so it doesn't go through the wall like a ghost gun. If you press RT you will do some erratic shooting and holding LT makes you pop up to shoot, you aren't locked onto the wall and thus makes it the best cover/fire system I've used. Especially in comparison with perfect dark zero and Resident Evil 6's versions.
The AI in this game don't just magically respawn and no longer take bullets like The Terminator, but also don't magically appear near you to attack. They make their own patrolling rounds on the island or sometimes get into their own gun battles with the islands Natives (The Rakyat) or might simply be getting attacked by animals, and chancing upon such scenarios makes the world feel more realistic. If you attack them on the road backup will come and search for you in the area, it's nice. You can also use stealth to evade them, hiding behind bushes etc.
The game now has a perk system in single player, but not Call of Duty, you have 3 types of skills, the Heron, the..Bird, and the Spider (I forgot the 2nd) The perks you get are pretty good and feel quite useful in the game. From different takedowns, and health/stamina attributes to the running slide and dragging bodies. There are also perks in multiplayer more akin to Call of Duty.
Unlike the last game, they are faster and stronger. They also come in slightly more variety such as jet ski's and now the readily available ATV. They handle nicely too and you can handbrake with B, even jump out of the moving vehicle with a nice rolling animation. For those who don't know, you can use hang gliders too which handle better and are perched in places you won't be able to resist gliding from. Vehicles are all first person view and some have an unchangeable radio station, the music suiting the games theme perfectly. The only big problem is Ubisoft made the near fatal error of removing Vehicles from mutliplayer, more on this later.
Farcry 2 did certainly get one thing right, the guns, they were nice to look at and most realistic to use than any other game. They would over time get worn and rust before jamming and simply breaking in your hands. I think this game may have removed the weapon degradation and jamming? I don't particularly mind this. But the guns look even better and they sound fantastic, if fired in a WWII bunker it sounds the part. There are a good number of weapons too, from bows to heavy machine guns and of course the flamethrower. I should mention fire propagation is back.
The game still has the cool and painful looking healing mechanic. If your health dips into the last bar, rather than waiting for it to slowly regenerate, you can hold Y to regain the bar via healing yourself in a context sensitive fashion to however you were injured. Drop from a height and watch your dislocated thumb be snapped back into place. Get fired at? Watch the bullet be pulled out with your teeth then spat out, scratched by a crazy big bird? you'll wrap up the scratch wounds on your arm. Stand next to a grenade? a piece of shrapnel will be pulled from his hand. This mechanic is unique and fun to have. You can otherwise heal yourself with a syringe should you have some. Sometimes the healing animations do get muddled up, how crashing my car off a cliff would result in biting a bullet out ones arm I don't know. And there are fewer animations than Farcry 2, still nice to have though.
The game now has a crafting system like Skyrim, it factors in near everything, a wallet for how much money, a loot back for, loot, holsters for how many weapons you can carry (4 max) all different types of ammo pouches. They are made from skinning various animals, and it adds a nice new depth to the game, as you brave an area rife with tigers and rabid dogs. Plants and such can also be harvested for different syringes and effects.
You have a camera now which can be used to scout the area ahead and tag enemies or even take pictures, I presume you can view these. You will tag enemies upon aiming at them I believe but this is bad for a immersion and any challenge so I recommend turning it off in the options.
The animals are the level of depth Farcry 2 lacked, African savanah and no Lions? To be fair Lions and tigers etc don't need to be killed in a videogame but it isn't real after all and doesn't represent peoples disposition towards those animals. So it's a joy to see this game has realistic pigs, goats, dogs, crocs, tapir's (with ant eater trunks), large birds, tigers, cheetah's, panthers, turtles, sharks, jellyfish, manta's, vultures, monkeys, crows, the list goes on.. Without these mostly dangerous animals, the game would be standing on 3 rather than 4 legs.
Sadly this didn't work for me, and others, Ubisoft chose P2P servers rather than dedicated, and look at the result. Hopefully this will be resolved. You can however get all the weapons via ranks and several attachments/perks/equipment/special tier weapons like psyche gas and barrel bombs, also a somewhat basic tattoo editor.
You play as 1 of 4 characters, all different and thrown together in their same goal. But out for revenge after their money stolen by a boat captain. This mode is somewhat linear goes along set routes, it's ok though for a extra bit of content with a friend or two.
I loved FC2's one, so couldn't wait for this one. It does have some more content, like Thematics such as WWII and Chinese Temple pieces. It feels a little restrictive thanks to Ubi Massive including AI, Wildlife, and Vehicles that can't actually be used in the editor (it won't validate) Other than this annoyance and having to be careful with memory, you can make near anything. I'm currently making the area behind my flats, will run up and down the garden paths shooting my friend.
Gorgeous visuals, your tv/monitor will look like you could jump inside it and being in a once in a life time holiday. The trees/foliage and grass, the views and everything inbetween. The lighting effects are rather nice, the water looks lovely and froths as it contacts the edges of structures. The guns all have nice design and the muzzle flash is great whether close or far (real looking battles from afar) The character modeling is decent and lip sync too. The reason not a full 10 is sometimes you turn and see objects materialize, all large games will do this to handle memory (a fully loaded world that's always visible would screw performance, but if you're facing one way, why have the things behind you rendered?) However other games don't allow you to see things materialize at like a group of bats swarming together. Also the draw distances in this game aren't as good as Farcry2, at least they don't seem it. Down a path about 200 meters, walls and tree's tops won't be visible, yet large rock/mountain set pieces will be.
The game has a mini map (no more switching back & forth between physical map like FC2) However a lack of options to configure the HUD and turn off tool tips etc is a shame for such a visually nice game, hopefully Ubisoft add this soon.
SOUND EFFECTS: 10/10
This game has very good sound. The guns mostly all sound wonderful and change if fired in a certain interior type. The dialog is great, most notably Vaas (the sure to be memorable psycho and antagonist of the game) The script is well written and enjoyable, but delivered in equal measures.
The music is great, somewhat tribal yet mixed with a "lost world" feel and pieces of dark/insanity. Though you won't hear it a lo as the game opts for a more realistic exploration.
You play as air head Jason Brody, he and his girldfriend, 2 brothers and friends go on this once in a life time holiday to party and be typical annoying tourists. But things end up tragically wrong, and you end up alone and hunted.
Thanks to the great antagonist Vaas I think the story will be enjoyable to play through. But The premise of the game is freedom and you must reveal more of the map via climbing and removing scramblers from radio towers, plus doing side missions and exploring. So the main story would be rescuing your friends etc. There probably isn't a big revelation lying in wait but I've not completed it so can't say.
For a brilliant game it has some niggles to iron out.
- Firstly there's a lack of HUD configuration which can affect immersion.
- Secondly Ubisoft removed vehicles from multiplayer to opt for more COD style team play. Bad move as vehicles are a staple of the Farcry series and differentiate it from most other games, it added unpredictability and much fun. 90% of fans according to a poll are angry with this choice and want them to not be restricted in the editor (you cannot publish maps with them in it)
Whether or not Ubisoft will make that change is anyones guess.
- The multiplayer is a bit off, the pre-made maps, the lobby, I can't put a finger to it. They did remove the new cover & fire system which is beyond me, removing such features will make it more linear and boring.
- Finally the game has some bug issues, the map editor is prone to freezing meaning SAVE OFTEN! to avoid frustration. Also the multiplayer isn't too playable at the moment, Ubi changed from Dedicated servers to P2P, this could be to do with it. I sat in a lobby for 5 minutes, only 2 people joined but they left with frustration, and me and my friend played firestorm for 20 minutes, no one joined. Patches are in the works however.
The game offers what Call of Duty, Halo and Battlefield cannot or do not.
A large and addictive RPG-esque singleplayer.
Crocs, tigers, bears, gliders and more.
A big map editor for endless multiplayer fun.
Hopefully these bug/multiplayer related problems will be fixed and vehicles added as they stop it from being the perfect game experience.
But otherwise brilliant game, and perhaps game of the year narrowly ahead of the great Hitman Absolution.