Far Cry 3 is set on an archipelago of small tropical islands somewhere between the Pacific and Indian oceans. You play Jason Brody, an irresponsible party boy trying to escape from the islands after he and his friends are kidnapped by pirates. Far Cry 3 is a first person open world shooter that also features a number of RPG elements such as XP, talent trees and a gathering and crafting system. It was mainly developed by Ubisoft Montreal with help from Ubisoft Massive, Red Storm, Reflections and Shanghai Studios and is published by Ubisoft. It has been released for the PC, XBox 360 and the PS3 and is the sequel to 2008’s Far Cry 2.
Reasons to play it
“Far Cry 3 nails the sort of cascading mission structure that so many open-world games miss. Doing one thing almost always results in several new opportunities, rewards or results, which ripple outward. It’s easy to get lost on the island without ever going back to the main story, because the loop of radio tower to outposts to hunting missions to contracts to better gear to new weapons and back again circles back so tightly and so effortlessly. For anyone with even the slightest hint of OCD, it’ll be a constant struggle between clearing objectives on the map, hunting new animals for new skins to make new gear and advancing the story to unlock new skills to purchase.”
“…the most innovative features, however, was the crafting system. Collect plants and animal skins to create pouches for holding ammo, loot sacks for holding money and objects, holsters for weapons and more. The recipes are easy to follow and the map helps you easily spot the animals or plants you need. If you have little patience like me, you might just craft what you need to survive (I, for instance, quickly crafted a holster that would allow me to hold three weapons). If you love open worlds, however, you could get lost in the world of Far Cry 3 for hours just crafting things—it’s that fun.”
“The good times are even further extended by Far Cry 3’s impressive multiplayer map editor, which makes it relatively simple to bring your ideas to fruition. You could lose many hours to this one feature, let alone the game’s other facets, all of which make this one of the most robust shooters on the market.”
Room for Improvement
“Far Cry 3 includes the obligatory competitive multiplayer modes expected of a AAA title with guns in it, but don’t waste your time. Despite some interesting variations on the standard objective game types — like Firestorm, where each team has to sabotage the other side’s fuel dump in order to seize a radio to call for further support — Far Cry 3’s multiplayer isn’t very much fun. Maps don’t feel very well suited to team play, spawning feels arbitrary and it’s entirely too easy to get caught and stuck on random level geometry. I didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time with the cooperative campaign, but what I did play took some of the worst mission types from the single-player game and repeated them ad infinitum. Far Cry 3 relies on the breadth of play options in order to meet its potential. Co-op removes that kind of decision-making in favor of more or less straight shooting, and it suffers for it. While there is a unique story behind co-op, it’s hard to recommend given how much content is present in the much better main campaign.”
“Jason Brody is not an Assassin. His thirst for power and quest for vengeance is strong, but his descent into darkness (and back out if you choose the “good” ending) doesn’t always ring true. He’s a tough character to be emotionally invested in, especially when Vaas turns in the best villain performance of the year.”
“Various quirks can get you frustrated, though. Certain missions feature respawning enemies, which can put a damper on things, especially when you see a small crowd of pirates spawn in plain sight. Dying and respawning at a checkpoint to find all the enemies you killed still alive, yet all the ammo you used to shoot them depleted, is frustrating, as is the game’s occasional failure to sense that you’re holding down the button that heals you. A phone call that drives you to the next story mission might repeat again, and again, and again.”
Photophobia (Light Sensitivity)
Migraine, autistic spectrum disorders, cataracts, colour blindness, dyslexia or traumatic brain injury are common causes.
There are several portions of the game which get both very bright and dark, most notably in lightning storms and in caves, but there is little on/off flickering. There are several areas and cut scenes where Jason is injured or drugged when things react more brightly, however Ubisoft have kept flicker quite low. Caution should still be taken as this is an openworld game and there are all the light conditions you would expect from that.
Far Cry 3 is played from a first person perspectives and as such motion sickness can be a problem. In addition to walking and running Jason has multiple other sorts of simulated movement including driving on terrible roads, boats which bob and rock realistically, swimming and using gliders, parachutes and flight suits. In vehicles your viewpoint is not fixed allowing you to look one way while you move another which could offer a welcome reprieve for motion sickness if you look into the far distance.
Low Vision and Visual Field Defects
The menu systems in Far Cry 3 are of a low contrast with a light blue or white text on a dark blue background or white text on a black background. The font is legible and of a large but fixed size. The in game UI is generally white text and appears and disappears depending on context. A higher degree of visual precision is needed to make longer range shots but if you specialised in melee combat this would be less of an issue. One of the key storyline aspects is taking control of radio towers which requires precise jumping to points that can be be difficult to see.
One visual aid that is supplied is the return of marking from Far Cry 1. If you inspect an area from a distance using your zoom equipped camera enemies will be marked with icons. These icons are persistent in all light conditions and through physical objects. It you carefully scout before attacking you should be able to see the enemy clearly.
Colour Blindness (Colour Vision Deficiency)
There is little reliance in the game on specific colour and those with color blindness should experience no problems. There is no dedicated color blind mode.
There are a number of options in the graphics menu including:
- Display resolution
- Windowed mode – from Windowed to Borderless to Fullscreen
- V-Sync On/Off
- GPU Max Buffered Frames – the amount of frames your GPU buffers ahead. Try to keep this low.
- Widescreen or Letterbox
- DirectX – changeable if you have more than one version on your systemm
- MSAA- MultiSample AntiAliasing On/Off
- Alpha to Coverage – On/Off – AntiAliasing for specific textures such as grass
- SSAO Method – HDAO or HBAO or SSAO. Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion, and High Definition Ambient Occlusion. These are different rendering modes and which is best will depend on your particular setup.
- Field of View – The ideal for this setting depends on the apect ratio of your monitor. For example on a 16:9 screen around 70/75 would be standard.
- Subtitles Off / English / Francais / Italiano / Deutsch / Espanol / Norsk / Svenska / Dansk / Nederlands / Portugues/ Polski
There is also a separate Calibration screen which allows adjustment of
Third there is a Video Quality screen which allows for control of the quality of in game graphics.
Subtitles & Closed captioning
There are audio subtitles available for the game but not closed captions. Subtitles are turned off by default so you will miss them for the first cut scene, but if you turn them on then restart they are available. In the multiplayer and co-op sections there is voice and text chat available. Cut scenes often have background noise, but none that I watched had it to the point where it was overwhelming.
Reliance on auditory cues
The game has some audio cues that are important. It can be played without sound but it is more difficult.. In particular some animals are very difficult to pick up in the undergrowth without the audio cues. Playing with sound you learn to hate the hissing of the Komodo dragons but it does give you a little warning before they swarm on you.
There are a small number of audio options built into the game:
- Master volume
- Music On/Off
- Incoming voice On/Off
- Language English / Francais / Italiano / Deutsch / Espanol
Fast reaction time is needed for the bulk of the combat. It is possible by specializing in stealth or sniping to reduce the requirement but these will still need good reaction times at some points. There are several timed missions in the game, notably the medial resupply missions after each radio tower is unlocked and a couple of main storyline missions. As individual missions can be restarted at any point you have the opportunity to practice and repeat until you get it right. The NPCs involved will spawn at the same point but will not necessarily move the same way although they do react to stimuli in somewhat predictable patterns.
If you are using assistive technology such dwell clicking with a headmouse you will have problems with the reaction time required.
Precision (Manual Dexterity)
A fair amount of accuracy is required for combat. An aim assist is available but only for when you use a gamepad, not mouse and keyboard. If you hit the enemy you will do a differing amount of damage depending on where you hit so more accurate headshots are usually preferable.
Far Cry 3 can be paused at any time, including in combat, by going to the in game menu or the map. Once at the menu you can carry out some actions such as crafting or allocating skill points. Crafting has the advantage that if you run out of health stims in combat you can pause and craft some more (as long as you have the materials required) . There is no specific in game help for disabilities but some of the stims that you can craft do speed up your reaction time and the likelihood of hitting with shots. There is a cost in materials to use these but there is nothing to stop you gathering the materials required to do so, it will just take a little time.
Far Cry 3 supports keyboard and mouse or a Gamepad (and Xbox 360 controller). Keys are re-mappable in game. There are several points in game where button mashing is required such as when you catch fire. These are somewhat predictable and always use the same key for the same trigger. For example when you catch fire you need to mash Q to pat it out. Mouse acceleration can be switch on and off and if on, the level of acceleration can be set. Gamepad vibration can be switched off.
- Key mapping: This is available for all in game actions including movement. The only thing that is not readily available is remapping aiming and the direction you look in. I was able to remap this using GlovePIE from the mouse to the keyboard, but it was not very smooth.
- Windowed mode : Available
- Pause Options : Pausing possible at any point in game, including in combat.
- Save options : Saving possible at any point with three slots for manual save. There is also an auto-save which triggers whenever you achieve anything notable such as completing a story element or liberating an outpost.
The game uses a reasonable amount of text to explain missions and objectives but also displays a graphical element. For example on a hunting side quest you would receive two lines of text initially – Go here, do this. At this point the location to go to would be marked on your map and a small arrow indicating the direction appears. One you arrive at a quest area its bounds are shown on the minimap and if you leave the area you are given a text warning to move you back.
Far Cry 3’s storyline is essentially quite simple – find your friends and rescue them but that quickly becomes more complicated. The main storyline is always available to you when you are ready to take it up but there are often a multitude of other options, quests and hunts that you can go on. These can be ignored to a degree but if you do so you will miss out on a number of ability and equipment upgrades that will assist on the main storyline.
There is little in game jargon, the nearest being the available weapons and even these offer a verbal description of their strengths and weaknesses along with a graphical option in an extensive glossary that can be accessed at any point.
The game does clearly designate what your next move should be, but as it is open world you do not actually need to pay any attention to that. There is a relatively low number of keys to remember and the game will prompt you for anything out of the ordinary. There are no combo moves beyond things like forward (w) and jump (Space).
There is an extensive map which clearly marks quests, enemy concentrations, animals and anything else notable. It uses symbols to do so but provides a complete key for them. You can set check points to any point which produce an arrow in game pointing towards your destination.
Information given during cut scenes is not reproducible in its entirety but a summary is available and any location information is automatically marked on the map.
Calculations and Currency
Calculations do form a part of the game. There is an in game currency (Dollars) which is needed to buy items and customizations in the shops. Selection of weapons is made easier by a bar chart showing its relative strengths
The crafting system is straightforward and most recipes use only one type of item. Some of the more advanced consumable syringes use two. It is clearly indicated what ingredients you need for a recipe and when you collect a new ingredient Far Cry 3 notifies you what you are able to make with it.
Complexity and Support
The game mechanics are straightforward, but as an open world system you often have an excess of choices. When you first start the game you are taken through a simple tutorial showing how to move, how to distract enemies and the basics of weapons usage. There are a number of in game tips that are available throughout the game (they can be turned off, but the default is on). The first time you enter the multiplayer and co-op separate tutorials are triggered, but these assume that you have played the single player game.
In game interactive elements are marked on the minimap (and the main map if you buy this in game) and will prompt you when you get within activation range “Press E to Open”. The player can set checkpoints via the main map to any point in game they choose and a small arrow will appear on your HUD displaying the direction to your objective.
Far Cry 3 has separate single, co-op and multiplayer sections. The game is clearly designed to be singleplayer with the multiplayer and co-op being an extra add on and as such they can be ignored if you choose to do so.
If you do choose to play multiplayer or the interaction is by voice and by text. In my experience the level of interaction is relatively low – the co-op missions having clearly defined objectives which do not require a large amount of interaction. This may change in the future as a world editor has been released which will allow players to design their own area and hence objectives may be unclear. It is possible to join public or private (friends list only) co-op sessions. Multiplayer is public only and auto-matches but will fill from your friends list first.
In the single player game the level of interaction with NPCs is relatively low. When in cut scenes you do not generally get choices as to your responses and if you were to ignore the entire cut scene and only pay attention to the objective afterwards the game would lose a lot of storyline but would still be playable. Out of cut scenes there is little interaction with NPCs.
Far Cry 3 was not a game I approached with particular expectations as I was new to the franchise. It has turned out to be one of my favourite all time games and I am seriously considering playing the previous installments as well. The game manages to walk the line between giving you the freedom of an an open world experience and guiding your progress with a clear and compelling storyline. For a first person shooter it is surprisingly accessible with completely remappable keys and the ability to take a slow, careful approach to almost any problem. The developers have been active in releasing DLC, like the extensive user level editor and combined with the scope of the original material should provide replayability for a very long time. In short, highly recommended.
[stars rating=”5″ type=”Game”]