Far Cry 3 is Ubisoft's latest installment in the eclectic "Far Cry" series. One of the biggest things that's baffled me throughout the years is the near constant shift in premise among the main titles and numerous spin-offs that it bares no need to start with the original. However, Far Cry 3 is the most coherent, character driven installment and to be frank, one of the most interesting games I've ever encountered.

The game follows the first hand account of rich brat Jason Broody who finds himself in a living hell after skydiving with his companions onto an uncharted island. Things go eyry when a band of ruthless pirates kidnap them and plan on selling them into slavery. Fortunately, Jason escapes and begins on his epic quest to reclaiming his friends and family, maybe a act of revenge here and there.

From the first prison escape you can tell this shooter will be unlike any other out there. The sandbox environment gives you a multitude of attack options and the awesome arsenal is no short of impressive. Jason, whom starts off as a whiny baby slowly becomes a predator, and much like "Special Ops: The Line" dialogue and actions progress along with the story making the character arc that much more impressive. While the entire cast is amazing, Micheal Mando's portrayal of Vaas Montenegro is equally interesting as is haunting, easily beating Heath Ledger's Joker any day. Each encounter with Vaas brings so much more to the game offering a deep mature psychological narrative that asks the player the very question of violence and insanity.

Asides the great voice acting, the RPG elements in the game shines far beyond any other FPS out there. As you progress, the tattoo on Jason's arm grows revealing a much more savage ink. This is a nice touch and immerses you further into the game. Another great thing about the upgrades is that they are totally noticeable and as you progress you convert from prey to predator.

When you're not killing pirates or slaying mercenaries there's plenty to do on the island. From hang gliding to hunting the game offers plenty of side missions to keep you preoccupied since the main story is sadly a tad short. No complaints, after all it's quality over quantity, but the story truly holds you.

The only downsides I see in this game is the loading times and mandatory "Blank" Leather needed to upgrade certain equipment, I mean why the hell would you need shark skin to make a better wallet? But in the complaint department I really see no problems.

Besides single player Far Cry offers a great multiplayer option regardless if it's a niche market compared to COD or Halo. Map Editor is more robust than ever and has always been a favorite of mine. You can dive into countless hours making the most insane of maps and sharing it with friends. While you won't find many people playing this online, there's plenty of fun to be had if you know people who play it as well.

The overall verdict for Far Cry 3 is astonishing. For a long time I've craved for something as fresh and new as this game has been, not only are you emotionally invested in damn near all the characters, the game is so robust and abundant you'd be crazy not to pick it up. This is hands down the best game of last year.