The Thin Line Between Far Cry 3 and Skyrim

Ubisoft's upcoming shooter is blending genres one shark hunt at a time.

'

Spend an hour with Far Cry 3, and it feels like a first-person shooter. One where you can hang glide from a mountaintop and hunt sharks with a grenade, mind you, but a shooter just the same. But spend a few more hours with it, and Far Cry 3's influences from the role-playing genre begin to creep in. It's not quite Borderlands or Deus Ex, but there's a sense of openness and adventure here that doesn't feel too far removed from a game like Skyrim.

Far Cry 3's open world--a tropical archipelago overrun by pirates--is a scavenger's playground. There's an entire economy built around finding items, selling them off, or crafting them into more useful pieces of equipment. On the most basic level, you're constantly finding little bits and bobs that you can pawn for cash to put toward weapons and ammunition. The archipelago is also full of plant life you can harvest and mix into various types of concoctions, from basic medicines to a mixture that makes animals less likely to run away from you while hunting.

That last mixture can come in pretty handy, because there's a lot more to Far Cry 3's hunting system than running over a deer who got in the way of your jeep during an especially reckless joyride. Every animal you kill can be skinned, and those hides become the leather you use to upgrade all sorts of equipment. You can upgrade the size of your wallet to carry more cash, craft new weapon holsters for carrying more guns, and make all sorts of arrow quivers and ammo pouches.

It's one of those systems that don't sound terribly sexy on paper, but in my experience it somehow managed to entangle me in a compulsive scavenger hunt across the gameworld. Say you're planning a raid on a pirate camp, and get to thinking just how nice it would be if you could carry a backup gun, or a few more assault rifle clips. What do you do? Well, you take a look at which animal skins you need in order to upgrade a specific holster or pouch, and before you know it you're after the next upgrade beyond that first one, scaling the crafting tree one expedition at a time.

There's a difficulty curve built into it. A basic wallet upgrade requires only a few boar hides; boars are dangerous animals when they catch you by surprise but don't pose much of a challenge when you're the one searching them out. But if you want the biggest wallet you can carry, well, that's when you'll need to start hunting sharks.

Yes, shark hunting. I don't think I got caught up in anything more dangerous or more exciting during my hands-on time with Far Cry 3. Snipe one from the beach, and you'll need to swim out and find where its body has sunk down to the ocean floor, making sure that (A) you return before you run out of air and (B) you don't run into any of his shark buddies along the way. Eventually I discovered that cooking a grenade and tossing it in the shark's general direction was an effective tactic, though that meant bearing the guilt of killing a few innocent sea turtles along the way. It wasn't exactly my finest moment, but I got my shark skins.

But that's the beauty. The crafting system feels like an open-world role-playing game in the way it sends you off on your own wild journeys and expeditions through the gameworld, bringing back tragic stories of dead sea turtles. Whether you're sitting on the beach thinking of the best way to kill a shark, hiding in the bushes debating whether you can kill a buffalo with the two shells left in your shotgun, or just wandering through the wilderness picking flowers to stock up on medicine, Far Cry 3 really seems to capture a lot of that emergent exploration that people love about open-world RPGs.

Where Far Cry 3 gets a little more overt in its RPG leanings is in its skill tree system. As you complete quests and pull off especially skilled takedowns (headshots, stealth kills, and so on), you collect experience points, which unlock skill points at various thresholds. These skill points let you purchase new active and passive abilities along three different animal-inspired skill trees: The Heron (long-range takedowns and mobility), The Shark (assault takedowns and healing), and The Spider (stealth takedowns and survival).

Each of these trees bears a different focus. Dumping your skill points into The Heron unlocks abilities like reduced fall damage, shooting with one hand while on a zip line, or staying underwater longer. With The Shark, you get things like more health slots and the ability to quietly pull the pin from an enemy's grenade before kicking him away. And with The Spider, you unlock stuff like faster reloads, quieter sprinting, and selling scavenged items at a higher price.

Combine these skill trees with the focus on exploration, and you have a game that really does feel like it has taken a page from Bethesda's portfolio of expansive, exploration-driven RPGs. Of course, this is still a first-person shooter first and foremost. There's no leveling, no class system, and no dialogue options. But in that one specific way, where you're wandering this world searching for interesting items to gather and mix together, Far Cry 3 really does feel like an RPG. Exactly how much is something we'll find out come Far Cry 3's December release.

'

Written By

Want the latest news about Far Cry 3?

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3

Discussion

0 comments
Tinytacohead
Tinytacohead

The biggest thing this game needs is a better co-op/multiplayer side.  I mean, it's got a wicked map editor, but as soon as ya put AI in, you can't play them online.  WTF is that all about Ubisoft?!  In a sea of FPS's where the only real online play is running around frantically shooting @ eachother, (or zombies, because they haven't been over done!), FC3 could have shined, but it didn't. :(  What I want most is the above and/or ability to turn up the AI's strength & open-world co-op play the whole map. (preferably with more than 4 players if I want, which seems to be most games co-op cap these days for some reason) 

Lyon111
Lyon111

Ubisoft does know how to create an action/adventure game that engages the player for hours and hours until he falls asleep but continues playing...

jcis44
jcis44

I see many more  things in common with Assassins Creed series than Elder Scrolls, examples:

 

- Tower climbing to reveal new areas on map

- Race against the clock, the same thing than in AC but using vehicles

I-Am-Alive
I-Am-Alive

This is a magnificent game - however - my system takes a pommeling when I run it too long, my baby heats up like a egg omelette.

My new AMD Radeon 7870 should do the trick when I get it!   

LeoLex_
LeoLex_

THIS GAME IS UBER!!!!!!

Zeussa
Zeussa

About 16 hours of single player, in one review.

And there's a Sandbox Map Editor... ewe!

We can cook up an endangered species BBQ village, trade hallucinogenics for Bengali Burger!

 

0mega3FattyAcid
0mega3FattyAcid

white Bengal tiger tastes great when paired with a merlot

BlindHorse
BlindHorse

To all those people getting riled up over the inclusion of hunting endangered species, and claiming (by implication) that this encourages the same behaviour in reality: I find it odd that you are all considerably less concerned about the other kinds of behaviour that this game might be seen encouraging - namely, excessive brutality towards other humans, murderous vengeance, etc, etc.

GreyWolf217
GreyWolf217

I can just image one of those sharks thinking"Jaws ain't got nothin on m-" BOOOOOM!!!

SkyChat
SkyChat

Enjoyable and interesting read, Thanks Shaun.

hollywood1
hollywood1

Shark Hunting?!?!?!?!! SOLD!!!!!!

xGarrettThiefX
xGarrettThiefX

I 'd like to see see pools of piranha's and hand crossbows in this game ! (and maybe some curare tipped bolts as well ! )

modigy
modigy

far cry 2 is one of the best first person shooters i've ever played, not like some of the games now a days that are over in 4hrs, hopefully far cry 3 will be just as good and in depth as number 2, cant wait !

mooooo99
mooooo99

im so excited for this, just over a month to go..

CaesarIIII
CaesarIIII

Looks great... I truly enjoyed playing Far Cry 2, and this one looks even better.

I hope they have improve the history line a bit do...was definitely not the best thing about Far Cry 2.

The_GooBear
The_GooBear

The other FarCry games were terribad. Seems like they're actually trying to make it interesting this time around.

Vitex2003
Vitex2003

After this article I can't wait for this game realease !

Powerwalk
Powerwalk

Whats with all the PETA comments its just a game who cares. I am super keen to hunt some animals it's not like I'm killing them in real life so it docent matter.

toshineon
toshineon

I'm actually looking forward to this game alot, the open world elements as well as the managing of skills and equipment sounds quite fun, have always loved those kinds of games.

Tych0_legendary
Tych0_legendary

Dude Lyon tour crazy i could play far cry 3 until I drop

DeKuip
DeKuip

 @modigy Far cry 2 was the worst shooter i played in years. The combat system sucked. There was hardly any story and the world felt empty.There was not much you can do expect fight bad guys with no brains. The AI was so bad it felt like i was fighting a bunch of idiots.

Maybe i was dissapointed because the first FarCry was so good but still farcry 2 was the flop of the year. 

 

KENNYKENNEDY
KENNYKENNEDY

 @modigy I think two serious flaws really held it back, those being the damage model,  and that enemies respawned so quickly. Otherwise it was fantastic. 

igorskiubica
igorskiubica

 @Venatorcruiser

 why wouldnt be able to drive cars in multiplayer? Far Cry 1 had that in multiplayer, and all other sorts of transportation.

igorskiubica
igorskiubica

 @CaesarIIII

 i guess u have never played far cry 1 if you can like garbage like far cry 2....

vsnake48
vsnake48

 @FuriousHamst3r ha, just reading the below conversation, boy did you open up a can of worms xD  I take my hat off to how well you handled it sir!

alienmonkeycult
alienmonkeycult

 @FuriousHamst3r yet for some reason your problem is not with killing other humans. Let alone with tactics like "pulling a grenade on their belt and kicking them away." No... totally went too far with the killing of animals. Boycott Oregon Trail too!

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @FuriousHamst3r Also, where do you thing those boots, belts and hand bags of yours come from in real life??? Just saying, people excuse the day to day things they never thought of while labelling hunters as these horrible, inhumane people, all while snacking on a Big Mac and wearing leather shoes, probably after a greasy Breakfast... (Fried eggs and bacon???)

 

Unless you are a vegan you are a hypocrite...

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @FuriousHamst3r Are you a vegetarian?

 

If so, OK!

 

If not, I can guarantee you that hunting is A LOT more humane than the way beef, lamb and pork are slaughtered, not to mention how chickens are "farmed"... AKA pumped full of hormones and grown super fast... 

 

Just the opinion of a humble hunter.

toshineon
toshineon

 @FuriousHamst3r This reminds me of PETA complaining about Pokémon encouraging violence to real animals, lol.

FuriousHamst3r
FuriousHamst3r

 @alienmonkeycult @Venatorcruiser @NickPunt636 @toshineon Ok, it seems that some of you went outside the subject of my initial post and started talkin about fake leather, about the very cruel slaughtering methods used on animals (and I am a semi-vegan, meaning that I chose to substitute different food products with vegan food) in order to prepare food for different parts of the global population. In my initial post I included a link to a very small article about shark-finning in relation to the option presented in the game, option that let's the player acquire more wealth by skinning a shark and selling it. The player does not hunt the shark for it's meat but for the value of the skin. This is similar to what shark finning, in real life, is all about. Sharks are being overfished not for their meat but for a specific part of their anatomy so that it can provide a bigger income to the fisherman, but most likely to the poachers. Therefore, I am not trying to condemn hunting of animals (if the point is to provide food for the hunter and his family, and not to acquire huge amounts of money by illegaly killing animals in order to acquire different valuable parts) nor am I saying that other predatory beings should not be alowed to hunt other animals (it is quite natural and it helps balance the ecosystem, both terrestrial  and underwater). I am trying to underline the atrocious way the player has the choice to rather kill and skin sharks rather than any other animal (which is equaly wrong) only to get  faster a greater amount of money. I would like for you to think what exactly I am trying to say and not just jump to conclusions. I agree that this is a video game, but even games, unmistakably, have an influence on gamers and I would rather hope that games have a positive impact on players than a negative one. Unfortunately, when it comes to humans killing eachother, our nature is more perfidious than that of any other animal on this planet and conflicts have multiplied from ever since hunter-gatherer groups decided that hunting and fishing for more than what they needed at that specific time could come to their advantage. Surplus is what caracterises humans and explains their evolution but also why they are slowly menacing other species and the entire planet. I'm sorry if I went outside the subject while talking of the prehistoric needs of the human being, but I have learned to look to the past in order to comprehend the present.

Marlower
Marlower

 @FuriousHamst3r I would say it's more condescending than arrogant. I agree that is annoying there are other wallets because it pops you out of the fantasy for a split second as you go "why can't I just use this one" and the willing suspension of disbelief is broken. But man, I would never go hunting and think it's incredibly stupid to get off on real violence against animals in that way but weren't those 10 hours stalking animals with a bow crazy primal fantasy fun? Incidentally, in Toronto the courts just overturned a council decision to ban shark fin. RIDICULOUS.

FuriousHamst3r
FuriousHamst3r

 @Marlower After reading your comment I do believe your tone is more arrogant than it needs to be, and for the record I didn't want to prove anything that isn't already obvious. I do admit having played about 10 hours into the game just for the exploring and story part and I was pretty astonished to figure out that in the game you have to kill animals to make a freaking wallet to hold your money but when you actually find a wallet in a chest or on a human corpse you can't use it. How is that realistic? You say I can't fathom pure fantasy, and you have the right to your own opinion, even though I consider myself to be more open-minded than most of the people who play this game.

Marlower
Marlower

Everyone gets your point, dude. You don't have to get arrogant about this great historical perspective you have that lets you see that killing animals you don't need is wrong. It's just ridiculous that you would decide that shark finning is the moral point to get huffy about in this game. Yes, many companies make financial gains by producing games that include all sorts of conduct (such as the mass killing of humans) that are immoral in every way. WHO KNEW! Taking a hot button issue like shark finning to get on your high horse about is just grandstanding and beyond the point. And you're wrong about the game mechanic being sharks for quick money -- it's all animals being skinned for clearly defined uses. If you really must get philosophic about it, this is one of the only games where you actually (rather grotesquely) use the skin of what you kill as we used to in nature instead of just getting some arbitrary credit for killing it. If you want to talk about lessons being learned by people who aren't able to process pure fantasy, at least FC3 goes out of it's way to show how brutal and unpleasant killing a real animal (or human) is instead of desensitizing it with a red dot and the thing falls over, you get a credit, done. 

rad8045
rad8045

 

 I don't think people are going to start hunting sharks after playing this.

 

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @FuriousHamst3r  @alienmonkeycult  @Venatorcruiser  @toshineon At the end it goes back to the fact that it is just a game... It's another levelling system. It's the same as giving better achievements for shooting someone in the head, than shooting them somewhere else. I don't feel the need to go out and shoot people in the face, I also don't go steel cars and out run the cops after playing sleeping dogs.

 

Illuvitarmb
Illuvitarmb

 @FuriousHamst3r  @alienmonkeycult  @Venatorcruiser  @NickPunt636  @toshineon its a f*ing game dude. they aren't real animals. If this was a real life thing im all with you on the cruelty and wastefulness of it but its not real, its a game. And if u say about how games influence people to copy them I call bulls**t. The game is about hunting down and killing an island full of pirates, leave your real world morals about killing animals in the real world.

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @Venatorcruiser  @FuriousHamst3r True. But most of the time, a decent quality belt/shoes is genuine leather. That fake leather peals and cracks and doesn't last almost as long. As for the veggie products, I agree, the chicken style nuggets, schnitzels and patties are the bomb...

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

 @Demiser_of_D  @Venatorcruiser  @FuriousHamst3r HAHA TOO TRUE!!!

 

I've been there myself. There is actually nothing worse than injuring an animal on a hunt. You feel terrible. Specially when you DON'T find it.

 

Had the unfortunate experience of that happening on my FIRST HUNT! Never made that mistake again.

Demiser_of_D
Demiser_of_D

 @Venatorcruiser  @NickPunt636  @FuriousHamst3r Heh, when you're hunting I'm pretty sure one shot is the ONLY way you want to kill something. Nothing is worse than chasing a wounded animal 10 miles before it finally dies and rolls about 300 feet down a hill...that you have to carry it back up >.>Trust me, personal experience.

toshineon
toshineon

 @FuriousHamst3r My point was, it's annoying when people can't seem to draw a line between reality and video games.