E3 2011: Far Cry 3 First Impressions Preview

Ubisoft's Far Cry 3 marks a return to the first game's tropical island setting, while introducing a brand-new protagonist.

Open-world shooter Far Cry 3 takes us not to Africa, like its predecessor, but to an unnamed jungle island. Of the mysterious island, creative producer Dan Hay tells us only that it has a "dark secret" and that "everyone [there] is absolutely crazy." Hay unveils his game to us in the shape of a short demo here at E3 2011, and though time will tell regarding the nature of the dark secret, the island's particular brand of crazy manifests here as a band of swarthy militia soldiers brutalising and executing native villagers.

As the demo begins, our first-person protagonist is atop a cliff, stealthily photographing the militia at work in the nearby village. He is Jason Brody, says Hay: a specific hero, in contrast to the selection of international mercenaries offered up in Far Cry 2. When Brody is discovered on his hilltop perch and captured, he ends up in the clutches of Vaas: a mohawked, mad-eyed militia leader. We suspect Vaas will be set up as a key adversary, corresponding to the previous game's arms dealer foe, the Jackal--where that guy spouted Nietzsche at you while you sweated out your malaria, here Vaas paraphrases Einstein while you await execution: "Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? It's doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting different results."

The thing Vaas has been doing over and over is trying to kill you. On this occasion, he shoves you over the edge of a ravine into a river below, with your hands bound and your feet tied to a rock. Underwater (where we spot Vaas' previous victims, anchored and floating eerily), Brody slips his bonds and, unseen, escapes to the cover of a nearby waterfall.

The waterfall looks and sounds convincing, as does the island environment as a whole: the vegetation is lush, the lighting is striking, and there's movement everywhere, with light and shade playing convincingly on the swaying greenery. The environment gives you contextual combat opportunities, too--from within the waterfall, Brody seizes and dispatches a passing guard with a stealth kill, snagging an assault rifle in the process. Shortly after, Brody jumps onto a militia type from a ledge above, earning an experience point pop-up for a contextual takedown. Later still, Brody knifes one soldier in the chest and then flings the blade at another across the way, in a nifty contextual double kill.

As Brody navigates the river area towards a helicopter on which to escape, we glimpse river islands and groves just off the beaten track that invite exploration. Hay tells us that exploration is as important to Far Cry 3 as it was to Far Cry 2 but that here there's always "a new experience around the corner"--that is, close by, not tens of minutes of driving away. We see no vehicles in the demo, but Hay hints strongly at the presence of a time-saving fast travel system.

After fighting his way through a post-massacre village, Brody gets to the chopper and seemingly a friendly pilot, and there he switches his assault rifle for a pistol. With it, he dispatches soldiers attacking the helicopter as it lifts off, but not fast enough--it's hit, and it crashes spectacularly. Near the smoking wreckage, downed but miraculously not dead, Brody watches as Vaas approaches, asking: has he ever told him the definition of insanity?

The E3 Far Cry 3 demo is a brief but impressive slice of action and spectacle. That, plus more compact, exploration-friendly environments and the apparent addition of a fast travel system, hints at a pacier follow-up to 2008's realism-focused Far Cry 2. We'll be hoping for further such hints in the long run-up to Far Cry 3's 2012 release.

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143 comments
vadagar1
vadagar1

I want zombies too :P that's crazy too right!

nate3031
nate3031

man all you little teenie boppers do way too much pissin and moanin i fully agree with zonum420 and hes right because i too am a old school gamer that grew up on the atari and nes platform. legend of zelda link to the past was one of my all time favorites, so for those of you who are complaining because of minor petty technics or game mechanics are too damn spoiled lazy for your own good. appreciate what developers are trying to achieve these days in the gaming industry whereas the accel for something better is always a concept in the making. i personally think this looks friggin awesome since i recently started playing FC2 and lovin it!!!

hammertime1080
hammertime1080

"everyone [there] is absolutely crazy." Basically that means there won 't be any bystanders in this one either but THIS time we're making it make sense.

TheReproducer
TheReproducer

There better be some trigens or this won't be Far Cry.

codename-60091
codename-60091

wow, farcry 3 seriously? i cant even complete the god damn farcry 2 game ! i guess i am not buying any of this series till i finish farcry 2, oh wait, how long does it take to complete the game? 15 hour? no no, 30 hour?

c0mmanderKeen
c0mmanderKeen

I couldnt get myself to enjoy Farcry 2 although I really wanted to. The respawning checkpoints and the repetitive enemies really ruined it for me... I mean 99% of the game is the same enemy type. The first one was loads better, despite of inferior tech it had better atmosphere. The second one is stunningly beautiful but I prefer the first one anyday. I hope they get back to that. The guy in this interview didnt appeal to me at all ^^

Gunkeeper2006
Gunkeeper2006

They should add wild life to the mix haha crazy big cats roaming around and monckeys n stuff

vadagar1
vadagar1

wow sound great :D hope we get more fantastical secrets this time and not just endless driving to nowhere-vill

matconnor
matconnor

I will be getting this game when it comes out. The graphics look to be kickass and I'm glad to see the title returning to it's island setting. Won't be missing the lame trigens that could kill you in two swipes, or the fatboys with their endless supply of rocket ammo that we had to deal with in FC1, though!

Cybrian
Cybrian

Will watch this one. Totally enjoyed blasting through Far Cry, was less taken with Far Cry 2, though it was impressive in scope and scale...hopefully they can extract the winning elements of the first two games and combine them for this release.

madgame23
madgame23

@crazy0ace1 dont forget Bioshock Infinite!

crazy0ace1
crazy0ace1

i was extremely disappointed to find out that rage was going to only be a loose corridor shooter without an rpg elements to it. i was really hoping that rage was going to be more like fallout 3 in that respect. i need another good rpg shooter to fill my time, maybe far cry 3 can do that for me :)

terminator661
terminator661

i got a bit worried when i read contextual kills, but if this is done right it could be a great addition to combat.

jjmonster2006
jjmonster2006

i wish they'd give a month with the release date. that way I could add about three months to get the real time. My money is a fall release at the earliest.

Himuton
Himuton

I do not mind driving a long way on some set pieces of gameplay. Better not to go gun-blasting from start to finish like Call of Duty.

rogerseagle
rogerseagle

I used to like driving buggy cars in Far Cry 2, but it was only fun while it lasted. Fast travel system seems nice, but vehicles add more fun to exploration... Without it, would only be another fallout-like game only without the story...

Fowsed
Fowsed

@Caboose_1989, Ok... if not Best game of year than best shooter thats for shure if it wold come out 2011. But overtaking Battlefield would be tuff, and it would be also tuff if gamespot would be paid to say Hitman is best again...

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

I gotta admit this looks promising, specially after Far Cry 2 that was a let down to me. The games had good ideas and everything but it was tedious and the constant pointless firefights every 2 minutes made me drop the game before finishing it.

Caboose_1989
Caboose_1989

@Fowsed The game does look fantastic but to say that it would win goty if it came out this year is really pushing it. With Battlefield, MW, and Gears, Rage, Batman, and lets not forget Skyrim coming out. It wouldn't wind goty this year.

ihateds2
ihateds2

I gotta say, I loved the ideas that Far Cry 2 put out, in the first hour of playing, I was already completely sure that it would be an awesome game. My biggest gripe with the game(and the thing that kept me from playing beyond the first few hours) were the constant checkpoints EVERYWHERE. I just couldn't stand getting into a tedious, pointless firefight every 10 minutes. If they remove that, or add in some sort of system that lets you pass through the checkpoints peacfully, I'm definitely going to be getting this one. Oh, and I know you could use fast travel but that wasn't very fun and it doesn't avoid checkpoints altogether.

JJB03
JJB03

I don't like the fact that there kinda saying that its smaller i liked the feeling of being lost in the game and i liked that desperation i had to get back yes they needed more a fast travel element maybe and maybe it was a little to empty at times but i think it needed just balancing out i hope thats what they've done not just made the mape very tightly put together o that everything feels like a stones throw away

Fowsed
Fowsed

Bad its gona be out in 212. If it would come out 2011 then for sure it would win the the best game award this year.

kael_159
kael_159

I'm a musician... and a lot of my musics were inspired by that gorgeous landscape of FC2... I literally stopped to watch the sunset... It was sooo beautiful! I can't wait to play FC3!!

boxterduke
boxterduke

I stumbled on Far Cry 1 one day and bought it not expecting anything at all and it was such a great game. I heard about all the travelling back and forth in Far Cry 2 and that turned me off a bit however I bought it a couple of weeks ago at a steam sale and I'm having a blast. I love it even more then Far Cry 1. If they keep Far Cry 3 open like Far Cry 2 then they earned themselves a customer :)

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

This looks great, i wish they would allow you to set 'Tree Traps' etc ala Farcry Predator, whereby you could pull branches back which would then whip around killing unsuspecting targets, that was brilliant.

the_requiem
the_requiem

I HOPE they add in certain spooky pseudo sci-fi element of Lost. Not many games that throw one WTF moment after another at you. Funnily, only other game I can think of happens to be a Ubisoft game.

DeadSarow
DeadSarow

Vaas, the new villain, looks absolutely awesome. I can't wait to kill his ass!

Rjs01007
Rjs01007

Far Cry 2 was all hype and no substance. Sure, the world was open beautiful. Hooray. But the gameplay was a terrible as the voice acting. Over the past few years, Ubisoft has consistently failed to deliver quality games - with the exception of, perhaps, Assassin's Creed 2. They're pandering to the casual non-gamer console crowd, churning out uninspired release after uninspired release.

stonhengehill
stonhengehill

far cry 2 was really good i cant wait to play far cry 3

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

I wouldn't mind longer travel in the cars, jeeps or boats, exceot that in Far Cry 2, you had to stay pretty much on a set path, road or river most of the time. The only parts of the map that were open were at the ends. If Far Cry 3 opens up the map more it would be great. But some form of fast travel would be nice, too.

zonum420
zonum420

Umm, a Jungle takes a long time to go through. It’s amusing to me how people are lazy even with gaming, says a lot about the society we live in today, minimal effort minimal return. I personally don't mind that, adds more to the realism. I am an older gamer and was lucky to see the evolution of Pong and Coleco all the way to FarCry which was the breaking point IMHO of the industry. I am looking forward to this game and can see the commercial appeal of catering to the masses by jumping to a certain section of the world. Let me ask you this? Does anyone remember when Zelda came out for NES and it had a battery in it so we could actually SAVE OUR PROGRESS? That was a big step forward for what you all take for granted today. It’s kind of like turning a faucet expecting water to come out or flipping a light switch on and the light comes on. YOU EXPECT IT, and people, human beings like us all work their asses off to provide that for you. Think about it and be thankful that these developers are still pushing the envelope and making games we WANT to play. 10 years from now this game will seem just like skate or die or double dragon does to me today. Just my two cents, and just be happy. If you don’t like it don’t buy it, just don’t download it for free! :)

thuban
thuban

Love the melee/body cover/throwing knife move. I hope that wasn't just a scripted attack u can only do under certain circumstances but something u can do to anyone if needed(say if they didn't have a knife, u could use urs, or even their gun? The choice would be cool.

shadow551991
shadow551991

looks great, but it somehow reminded me of Crysis. so smooth and fluent too. nice to have the great FC back.

THA-TODD-BEAST
THA-TODD-BEAST

This game looks VERY promising. Far Cry 2 got a lot of hate, but this game looks significantly better and I love the story of the game. I can't wait to play this one.

Xx-BTK-xX
Xx-BTK-xX

Very nice interview, i love long interviews like this, i like this guy he seems like he actually cares about he's game i like seeing that

isshiah
isshiah

every time i hear about another great game coming to the shelves in 2011/2012, my wallet cries for mercy. why, why do you tease me so?

azn_elf
azn_elf

Vaas, have I ever told you the best way to end insanity? A bullet to your brain.

ShrkBay
ShrkBay

AWESOME!AWESOME!AWESOME! I am buying this game!

VercettiTommyy
VercettiTommyy

This really looks promising, they seem to be making it more of FarCry with a lot of attention to small details, which is great really. I can't wait for it, it seems very interesting.

greyhulk2
greyhulk2

Do you know the definition of insanity? (pushing people off cliffs?) Cant wait! Looks amazing, they've really thought about the elements.

Skyblue69
Skyblue69

Also the cheap AI spawning in FC2 was a big no-no from a company who have being doing this for a long time

Skyblue69
Skyblue69

Far Cry 1 was awesome but Far Cry 2 was a soul-less piece of garbage made to cash-in on a well established title and it had nothing to do with the original Far Cry in name nor spirit. Ubisoft should buy the current Crytek engine for a start and then implement the weapon handling from the original FC and make a true successor to a game that stole Doom 3's thunder and, graphics aside, played better than Half-Life 2.