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NOTE: I've decided to begin a new series of sorts where I will spend one blog discussing the particular game of my choosing for the topic, without going into extreme detail about the entire game itself. While I could easily write six or seven long blogs about each game discussed, such as today's FC3, I will keep it to half a dozen paragraphs or so along with a few pictures before and after to give some life to the walls of enamored text. Each 'Let's Talk' will feature a new game, and will most likely be games that I either have enjoyed playing (all of which will most likely be new games, with a few exceptions if it's a great title like Majora's Mask), feel is very controversial and wish to discuss, or that I otherwise feel very strongly about for one reason or another. Hopefully these blogs will somewhat open your eyes to the awesome games we've been surrounded by this year and many years previously, especially for those of you who just simply can't find a game you really enjoy. All thoughts expressed in these blogs are subject to bias based on gameplay experience, so reader beware, these aren't all going to be straight-shooting facts...
Let's Talk...Far Cry 1, 2, and 3
Ever since Far Cry 3 came rushing onto my little tiny radar screen for games early this year, much akin to a torpedo rushing towards my theoretical submarine, my heart has beat an anxious beat in anticipation. I must say, I have not been disappointed in the least. The game has been everything that I've hoped it would be, especially since I took the time to pick it up at the midnight launch/release, and for that I am very thankful for these past few days of unhindered off and on play when the time is allotted for me to be able to do so without busy work getting in my way. I should have never doubted Ubisoft in the first place, as they do usually manage to deliver on their promises of great games and graphical acuteness very well, but I must confess- I did have a few doubts, small as they were. But of course, now I am going off on a tangent, because dissecting this game is not the purpose of this particular blog, no- I'll save that for my review I've been cooking up throughout my time with the game... Instead, let us focus on a few of the fun and innovative gameplay perks that make Far Cry 3 not only the best in the series, but one of my favorite games all year...appropriately released at the last moment as well.
The world of Far Cry has always been rich and open, and this newest iteration of the series is no exception, but in many ways offers a greater and vaster tract of land for players to eagerly devour in their blood soaked journeys. The environment is much more believable than Far Cry 1's jungle trope, and the interactions of non-playable characters with both the environment and other characters or animals is the best that I've seen in gaming this year, and possibly for a very long time. While my one complaint would be that the ingenious AI sometimes stoops to it's inferior younger brothers' level by running into your line of fire or taking cover on the easily shot-up side of a building or rocks, that is a very minor issue when you take into account their normal fervor and tenacity when hunting you through the island paradise. The graphics, which I've thought have looked amazing ever since I saw the first reveal for the game, do live up to their promise- as they look amazing and rarely have any lagging issues no matter how many bullets are flying or explosions are ripping a swath through enemy forces. Far Cry 3 is more than just a competent shooter... It is a rich open world adventure, and a lifestyle.
The $59.99 I spent on the game is easily worth the hole in my pocket, because the game has more than thirty hours to be put into it, along with a plethora of content and side quests to be sidetracked by as well. I'll be proud to say I played Far Cry 3 come next year, or five. The amount of content and added excitement that Ubisoft manages to pack into the game is also quite astounding. At any one time on the island, four or more awestriking events could be happening that in some way tie back to you, the player. Your trust fund friends could be systematically tortured, you could be raiding an outpost in order to free a section of the island, your tribal friends could be invading an abandoned temple with personal soldiers holed up inside, and animals could be mauling any poor, unwary traveler such as you yourself once were. While taking great cues from Ubisoft's other flagship franchises, such as the puzzle of climbing towers akin to the Borgia towers of Assassin's creed, Far Cry 3 remains it's own game is only improved by any of these loose interpretations of other wonderful game elements as well, and in no way hindered by them.
NOTE: Far Cry 3 also features an explosive cooperative campaign taking place on other parts of the island for the most part, and assumingly at the same time as (your) Jason Brody's escape and dismantling of Hoyt's drug empire regime. While I only currently have the Xbox 360 edition of the game, plan on getting the PC one to see how it holds up, and don't need the PS3 one for now- the people at Ubisoft have given Play Station owners a slight upper hand in terms of cooperative content, so if you have a PS3 I urge you to check it out and let me know what you think of the additions.
As a last sort of hurrah here in this short little blog blurb, I'd like to take a moment to talk about the rich characters and diverse interactions throughout the jungle world as well. From the player's first encounter with the barbaric Vaas, to overhearing Hoyt's 'kill em all' speech, character interaction plays a tremendous part in carrying FC3's realistic (and at the same time, unrealistic) narrative to you. Every shot is felt, although you'll have fired so many by the end of the game that you probably will have lost count of the bodies you've dropped in the bloody sand and dark jungle floor. The customization of both character and weapons or additional pouches and items is also a fulfilling search process, as every upgrade is well worth the labor put into skinning that tiger or searching around for more supplies. Although the point of the game in one word would boil down to "chaos" every time, you can choose to make it a controlled and tactical strike, or a fit of blind rage and retaliation. That seems to be Ubisoft's greatest gift to us players in terms of meeting other people and dismantling the evil trading cartel on the islands: choice, something you do not commonly see succeed in shooters...