Far Cry 3's Biggest Questions

Far Cry 3 looks terrific. But it's not a sure bet.

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Last month, I posted a preview of Far Cry 3 that covered what I half-jokingly called the game's "split personalities." It was a subject that I found really interesting: the way this game is trying to find harmony between seemingly contradictory game design ideas to establish a unique experience. One thing I didn't mention in that preview, however, was that seeing Far Cry 3 for the first time landed that game right near the top of my list of most anticipated games of 2012. It's a game I'm very much looking forward to…despite the abundance of questions I still have about it. Here's what I've been asking myself about Far Cry 3 ever since that chilly afternoon in Montreal when I watched a virtual backpacker go to town on an armed militia:

Is Jason Brody really an everyman? Does it even matter?

Ubisoft wants us to believe that Jason Brody, the game's backpacker-turned-hero, is just a normal guy caught in a nasty situation. They're very keen to stress that he's someone we can all relate to, not some Navy SEAL or SAS operative. But look at footage of Jason planting a throwing knife in an enemy's head from 10 feet away, and you can't help but think that this guy is an awfully quick learner. It makes me wonder whether Jason's everyman status is a genuine part of the gameplay experience or just a dash of backstory that ends at the opening cinematic. I'd love it if Far Cry 3 let us play through the learning process of someone unfamiliar with firearms or advanced survival techniques, but I'm not so sure that will end up being the case.

At the same time, though, how much does that really matter in the end? I certainly couldn't relate to Gordon Freeman's Ph.D. in theoretical physics from MIT, or the BioShock guy's, umm, whatever it is the BioShock guy was. Being able to relate to the main character is nice, but it's certainly not the only path to a great game.

How has the new blood affected Far Cry 3?

Ubisoft Montreal is a massive studio with the luxury of moving big chunks of staff from one project to another. A lot of the talent working on Far Cry 3 came over to the project after work wrapped up on Splinter Cell: Conviction and the various Assassin's Creed games. That's why the makeup of the Far Cry 3 team intrigues me. I'm curious how much influence will be carried over from those projects. Splinter Cell's stealth mechanics and Assassin's Creed's fluid controls are a few pie-in-the-sky potentials, but more likely those influences will show up in relatively subtle ways. It's going to be interesting to see how this turns out.

If everyone on this island is crazy, is there an anchor to reality?

One of the interesting hooks about the setting of Far Cry 3 is the island's maddening effect on its inhabitants. Everyone there is just a little bit off, and even Jason looks like he's not immune to the occasional descent into madness. You kind of get the sense that no one can be trusted, and everything you see has to be taken with a hefty grain of salt. But if that's the case, is there any sort of anchor we can latch onto to maintain our sense of what's real and what's not? Our own little totem from Inception? After all, there's a fine line between a good plot twist and just stringing players along, so hopefully Far Cry 3 gives us a way to put all that craziness into perspective.

Does the multiplayer stand a chance?

There's a long list of great first-person shooters saddled with throwaway multiplayer modes that are clearly tacked on as a back-of-the-box selling point. In fact, that's probably most first-person shooters these days. And then there are games like Far Cry 2 that offer a really well-made, feature-rich multiplayer component (even the console versions had a map editor!) in addition to an already great single-player campaign. Yet for as good as the multiplayer was in Far Cry 2, you'd be hard pressed to argue that it ever really took off in a meaningful way. Why? Well, go to GameStop and look at everyone picking up copies of Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Halo. There's your audience of online shooter fans.

If there's one thing Skyrim showed us last year, it's that the market for single-player games is far from dead. And while Skyrim and Far Cry 3 are different genres, they do share some similarities in their massive open-world landscapes. Far Cry 3's multiplayer could very well end up being great--but does it even need multiplayer to succeed?

How long will the novelty of exploration last?

When it comes to the thrill of exploration, every open-world game has its own distinct shelf life. Twenty-five hours into Grand Theft Auto IV, I was still driving myself to each mission instead of fast-traveling via taxicab because that game's version of New York City was so richly detailed that it was simply a pleasure to traverse its streets and alleyways. But not all open-world games maintain the novelty for so long. With most sandbox games, you eventually hit that point where there are no secrets left to discover or hidden details waiting to be found--you've seen it all during the first half of the game, and you spend the second half fast-traveling at every opportunity. Or in the case of Far Cry 2, the world offers much to see and explore, but it makes the act of driving around such a hostile endeavor (thanks, militia checkpoints!) that you wind up fast-traveling even though you don't really want to. At least that was the case for me.

I have no doubt that Far Cry 3's lush and beautiful tropical island will be a pleasure to explore at first. But how long will that last? It's impossible to predict the level of tedium that sets in with these sorts of games until you've spent five or 10 hours engrossed in their worlds. Here's hoping this game gives you reasons to get off the beaten path whether you're in the first act or nearing the final mission.

Far Cry 3 is due out on September 4. Click here for more coverage.

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Discussion

163 comments
RAMENN00DLE5
RAMENN00DLE5

I can't stop playing this game. I love it and don't care to think hard enough to go into detail why. It is a lot of fun and I smile inside while running over pirates and endangered species. ESPECIALLY YOU TIGERS!!!!!!

TheEpic3
TheEpic3

can not wait for this can be attacked and eaten by wild life and while planing your attacks on a base from the edge of the jungle watch your back because that's not the only thing watching them because its also watching you. (tiger) when your in the water it isn't much safer there ether (sharks) its a dog eat dog world in FARCRY3.

 

i think it will be fun to see how all this plays out i'm a HUGE Ubi fan and Farcry3 will be EPIC.

rahmie0789
rahmie0789

this wont get under an 8.5. dont even care if it does, If its better than far cry 2 (which was epic) then I'll be a satisfied customer 

Corey1987
Corey1987

I can't wait to get this game. It looks fun and endless possibility. Do the weapons jam on you like in farcry 2? Will there be a diamond locator on a radio or marked on your map after u unlock that erea? Can u kill a poisness animal and tip the arrows with poison?

CrippledPoet
CrippledPoet

Quite excited to see how this turns out. PLEASE BE GOOD.

plaintomato
plaintomato

Will the community have the tools to fix broken parts that Ubi won't fix? That's what hurt FC2, so that's what I want to know.

Wild_666_Child
Wild_666_Child

there's a typo at the end "far cry 3 is due out on december 4"...not september 4

holidaysins
holidaysins

far cry 1 was all around better than part 2 ... yes it was a halo rip off .. the buttons were exactly the same ... but thats what made it great ...

Snyper22
Snyper22

I enjoyed the far cry 2 quite a bit and It looks as though they've made the game even more realistic now, I mean c'mon komodo dragons, sharks, and tigers? What more could we have asked for? We even got a co-op thrown in the works. A definite buy I say.

RVP_182
RVP_182

All of these are valid concerns, but cmon, a level where you're on acid! If that dosen't get you hooked (!), i don't know what will.

JACOBDRAGON666
JACOBDRAGON666

hnn il rent it im afraid i still have a bad taste in my mouth from buying two sucky games.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

I know I'm late to this party but just wanted to agree that I loved the open world exploration of Far Cry 2, including the gorgeous, varied environments.  And then I want to also vigorously agree that they then totally ruined it with the damned respawning checkpoints.  I never wanted to fast-travel, but eventually killing off the same vicious checkpoint for the 31st time was more than I could take.  And then shortly after that I quit the game for good.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

I'd like the island or island(s) to be fully explorable, without the stupid "funneling"  they did in Far Cry 2, where most of your paths were constricted to a tight corridor space like the rivers and grassland paths between the mountains and hills.  I hated that you couldn't climb them.   I'm pleased with the return to island like setting of Fr Cry 1.    I hope the multiplayer returns with the map editor.

MikeRobe867
MikeRobe867

Oh God im already insaine this island is going to ruin me..............

 

IamNick2k11
IamNick2k11

I hope this turns out as good as far cry 1. Just love jungle settings with amazing detail :) !

brian_13un
brian_13un

It feels like it's not Far Cry anymore without Trigens or something similar. I miss Trigens :(

S0mEGuY12
S0mEGuY12

@ElFlechero Yes I've played Far Cry 2 so of course I know. It seems people are misinterpreting my comment.... What I meant by a similar open world system is by Skyrim's seamlessness. Far Cry 2 IMO was NOT fun to explore, and it was tedious to drive all over the place. The "random" ambushes by pickup trucks were way too frequent, and enemies respawn in camps when you step no more than a few miles away from the place. Stuff like maybe being ambushed by a merc group randomly in Far Cry 3 like the way in Skyrim maybe would be cool. Lots of possibilities. I understand the games are different genres, I'm not ignorant. It's just me rambling anyways so don't take it too seriously.

mhaed
mhaed

Looks pretty promising. I have to admit I wasn't too interested in this game but it's growing on me. The original Far Cry was one of my favorite shooters. I hope Far Cry 3 has some kind of scientific experimentation involved with it. Fighting mutants in Far Cry was intense!

ZOD777
ZOD777

Although I thought it was silly that some college kid (or whatever his deal is) was able to pick up any weapon and be proficient with it, not to mention the throwing of a knife was a bit of a stretch, I still don't think that it detracts from the overall experience. As long as the gameplay is good, and the world is a beautiful place to explore, I am all in. Games like this don't need a multiplayer mode to be successful. I would rather a game decide what it wants to be, and execute that to its' utmost potential than to have a game be conflicted and have one aspect or the other suffer.

deadmonkey76
deadmonkey76

loved fc hated fc 2 was a waste of 10 bucks in a bargen bin hopefully fc 3 will live up to hype and ill pretend fc 2 never was

hitman047m4
hitman047m4

I am a fan of the first FC, and I do remember that I needed to upgrade my PC since at the time it could not support some elements in the game, like the water :P. The game looks really good on all the videos, demos I have seen. But, unfortunately looks are not everything in a video game, and unfortunately (again) game developing studios have taken a path of beauty and looks before substance... and that it is extremely shallow and saddening.

WarGameJunkie
WarGameJunkie

Loved the original FC. I really, really wanted to like FC 2 but the save system was just horribly broken. I don't want to drive for 10-20 or more minutes to get to a mission, die, and then be forced to drive most, if not all, of the way back. If the save system gets fixed in FC3 or the island is smaller I'll buy it but Far Cry has gone from a definite purchase for me to a "wait and read the reviews first" game.

minivirus2
minivirus2

The game looks good, so why lace it with an air of scepticism? I have NO doubt in my mind that it will not be a perfect game, but those only come around every now and then, so why tear into the game, based on a trailer or two, with an attitdue that sounds as though you won't be happy with it unless it's the "next big thing?" I'm looking forward to this game and with this article, along with the ludicrous one about BioShock, I will not be looking at ANYTHING to do with it until release, at which point I'll check the reviews and decide whether I should wait for a price drop before picking it up (ME3, RE, etc). You can't expect perfect games.

AkhilAnilkumar
AkhilAnilkumar

Island's maddening effect??? Sounds Interesting!!!

matok1
matok1

**Yawn*****.......

jsonaut
jsonaut

Loved 1, loved 2, and I'm sure I'll love 3. Each is a different experience, and each is brilliant in its own right.

Hunterjuggz
Hunterjuggz

I can't see how most didn't like Farcry 2, what did ya's expect. Conflict + many factions + money for anything for anyone = lots of people who want you dead. Totally loved the grind of travel, the danger in exploration and the FIRE! Combine the best elements from the last 2 titles, garnish with a few modern touches (don't over do it!) and release something the fans of the series will tell their grand kids about...

Cataclysmm
Cataclysmm

i like what i am seeing so for,i like part one not so much part two,hope if this is a blend between one and two they do a good job,like i said what i am seeing now is looking good.

sorin_ro
sorin_ro

please tell me this game is going to be like Far cry 1 and have monsters in it and not like Far Cry 2!

KO1029
KO1029

i love how you say the game might not need multiplayer to be a sucess, but im positive that if they didnt include it into the game you guys at gamespot (and everyone else) would complain so much about it. its almost madatory for a FPS now a days to have some form of MP put into the final product

NickyWithATicky
NickyWithATicky

The most interesting and important question is the last one imo. There needs to be significant rewards for exploring rather than just collectables - they give me no motivation. Interesting NPCs are more my kind of reward, or mysterious items that trigger new events with other NPCs you previously met.

NbAlIvEr10000
NbAlIvEr10000

 @Richy_Krimmel I agree 100%!!!  I give this game a 98% and thats only cuz you can't fly helicopters, but everything about this game is superb!!  Definitely should be game of the year cuz no other game has come close as of now.

SuperLOLZ
SuperLOLZ

 @Wild_666_Child It's not a typo, if you check when this was written, it was written on march 21st, you see at the time far cry 3 was meant to come out on september 4th but they delayed it in june or something to the current release date.

RAMENN00DLE5
RAMENN00DLE5

 @RVP_182 Drugs arent that cool bro, trust me. The game is great without any dumbarse drug scenes

moc5
moc5

 @jimrhurst lol or worse yet, accidentally going the wrong way, only just a short ways in fact,  and after backtracking not only to find new guards, but that they rebuilt the entire camp.  That for me is where lack of realism has compromised fun factor.  It seems many are worried about this title because we all really want to like it.

Super_Nerd55
Super_Nerd55

 @brian_13un My thoughts too. I got the shocks when I knew I'm up against mutated apes/monkeys then it slowly got into mutated humans. That was the x-factor experience for Far Cry 1 on PC. I so did not expect that, it wasn't just typical mercenaries after all. I hope they'll be a few unexpected surprises for FC3.

Super_Nerd55
Super_Nerd55

 @hitman047m4 Your comments seem like they can also relate to the Transformer films. If you've seen some other reviews of FC3, there is a strong notion that the game will focus on certain characters as this will add substance to the game experience. I certainly like games that give you that emotional hatred as you witness shocking events and you get so fired up you want to finish the game in fury!

RAMENN00DLE5
RAMENN00DLE5

 @minivirus2 What the fuck is scepticism bro? I think your not saying what you want to say here

Super_Nerd55
Super_Nerd55

 @sorin_ro Those monsters were mutated apes/monkeys and humans alone. FC1 was hell! Do you remember that level where you were left in the jungle that was infested with dozens of  trigens and you were only left with 1 gun with a few bullets?

holidaysins
holidaysins

@IamNick2k11 the story is different yes but the gameplay is the same ...... this was during halo 2 maybe 3