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Review

Far Cry 3 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: November 30, 2012
  • X360

Far Cry 3's intelligent and elegant open-world structure balances exciting action with the joys of free-form adventuring, making it one of the best shooters of the year.

Far Cry 3 is a delightful and harsh tropical wonderland, crawling with wildlife and threatened by the pirates and drug runners that disrupt its peace. The troubled paradise you explore is colorful and wild, enticing you to investigate its ravines and discover new ways to enjoy the open-world playground sprawling in front of you. This is a game that ignites the desire to complete every last challenge and check out every last icon on your map. You gradually journey across the entirety of two sunny and sinful islands, hunting for rare game, speeding medicine to needy communities, and skinning sharks so that you might craft new wallets with their hides. Far Cry 3 is an excellent game, marred mainly by some irritating design elements and an inconsistent story that often defaults to generic "tribal" cliches to make an impact.

When the story leaves those cliches behind for deeper territory, however, it does manage to communicate ideas of substance. It takes many hours for its themes to come together in a coherent way--yet in certain aspects, the incoherence makes sense. As protagonist Jason Brody, your initial quest to rescue your friends from a chaotic and truly frightful pirate named Vaas turns into a personal journey blurred by drugs, and fueled by the desire to follow a new and exciting spiritual path. Those friends are too shallow for you to care much about them, which keeps the story at arm's length for a good half of the game. But his friends' shallowness ultimately allows Jason to take a guilt-free look inward, as he grows further mesmerized by the customs of the local Rakyat tribe that takes him under its wing. You might see the narrative curveballs coming after a while, but the trippy manner in which certain events unfold effectively blurs the lines between reality and Jason's occasionally drug-addled imagination.

Nonetheless, narrative oddities stand out. Some of Jason's friends are strangely unaffected by the horrors inflicted upon them. The game quickly glosses over an event that would make most of us emotional wrecks, making Jason's proclamations that the issue was harder to deal with than he expected ring hollow. Some moments seem made to be shocking for the sake of shock alone--not because they develop the world or its characters--but Far Cry 3 isn't so much about story as it is about its world, and the ways you exploit it for your own personal enjoyment. Story missions have you navigating caves and holding off enemies in modern shooter fashion, but out in the wild, you have an entire paradise to tame.

And it's that lush and menacing world that makes Far Cry 3 utterly enthralling. The game is big, certainly, but where Far Cry 2 could feel aimless, its sequel feels more focused without ever losing its sandbox appeal. One core activity may sound familiar to returning fans: you shoot up enemy outposts so that you may liberate them, turning them into safe zones where you can load up on ammo and other supplies. These camps also serve as quick-travel points, lessening the tedium of driving from one objective to the next. Early on, freeing an outpost can be remarkably easy: you shoot down a handful of pirates, and the flag is raised declaring the camp as the Rakyat's. Further in, however, you must put Far Cry 3's diverse possibilities to intelligent use.

Don't let the beautiful sunset fool you: danger is imminent.

One consideration: you must be aware of an outpost's alarm. Should a pirate trigger it, reinforcements arrive in a matter of seconds, so you might want to sneak in and deactivate the alarm system. Or, you could snipe the individual alarms, though shooting one does not deactivate others. Caged leopards and bears can be freed with a single shot, granting you a temporary ally in your quest for vengeance. Consider using a C4 charge and luring a small group of pirates to an explosive demise, or using a flamethrower to char evil henchmen to a crisp. That same flamethrower can lay waste to vegetation and effectively create moats of fire that can keep combatants at bay. (Well, some combatants, anyway.) Near the end of the game, your foes can put up quite a fight, and be great in number, so Far Cry 3 doesn't just give you the tools to be creative; it ultimately demands you use them to survive.

You don't have to conduct your business so loudly and dramatically, however: Far Cry 3 gives you ample opportunity to be stealthy and sometimes outright requires it. Forced stealth, such as that seen in a later-game mission that fails you the moment you are discovered, isn't that enjoyable. Fortunately, sneaking about is usually a blast, because it pays off in a brutal takedown of your unsuspecting target. Such moments are even greater once you have earned certain powerful abilities, such as the one that allows you to assassinate a pirate and toss a blade into another's skull in a single, effortless move.

Liberating outposts is only one of many activities to pursue in Far Cry 3. To reveal more of the map and gain access to free weapons, you climb radio towers and hack their transmitters. The entire concept is clearly inspired by the Assassin's Creed series, and no wonder, considering both games were created by the same development studio. First-person platforming is a frequent frustration in shooters--but Far Cry 3 makes it a delight. The tower creaks and groans as you climb ladders, make a few well-timed leaps, grasp some ledges, and ultimately arrive at the pinnacle. After you make a few hardware adjustments to the transmitter, the camera zooms to several points of interest, and you can make a breathless descent to the ground via zip line.

These flames aren't just for show, but an important tactical consideration.

There's so much more out there: hunting missions that give you a bow and arrow or a shotgun, perhaps, and send you after rare creatures. You can jump on an ATV or behind the wheel of a truck for a timed medicine run that showcases Far Cry 3's bouncy vehicles--and how they respond authentically to the bumpy terrain. Some challenges compare your performance to other players via the game's online leaderboards; others require you to murder a specific target using your knife. These activities are tied together in smart ways, with one task often leading you to another hunting challenge, a vehicle to race, or even a cave to investigate.

Mix in a vast array of role-playing elements, and you have a fully featured single-player game that lasts upward of 35 hours or more, depending on how much you want to do. Kills earn you experience, which in turn earns you upgrades (such as more health bars) and new skills (kill an enemy from the ledge beneath). Corpses and chests can be looted for cash and saleable items; you then buy new weapons and maps, and can replenish ammo at safe houses. Out in the wild, you collect plant life of various kinds so that you can fill syringes with meds that heal you, make you less vulnerable, or enhance your senses.

The face of insanity. Also, the scar of insanity.

Some of those enhancements make it easier to hunt wildlife, which is not only a fine pastime in itself, but also rewards you with skins and hides, which you cut from their corpses in properly squeamish fashion. Expect your quarry to put up a fight, though; tigers apparently don't enjoy being riddled with bullets and set on fire. Wild animals are more than just targets, however: they are also part of the world's ecology. Leopards attack boars, leaving behind their carcasses for you to loot, and scaring off the remainder of the herd. You might merrily waltz into a run-down shack seeking loot, only to have a couple of Komodo dragons wander in and sink their teeth into you. Such moments lend Far Cry 3 an air of unpredictability; you feel like anything could happen--and that whatever it is, you'll probably end up bleeding from it.

A game doesn't have to be great just because it gives you a lot to do, but Far Cry 3 is good at most everything it does. There are a wide variety of guns to shoot, and each weapon feels properly hefty and powerful. Vehicles are fun to drive, but feel just rickety enough to remind you that you're speeding through the jungle in a run-down jalopy, not zooming along a highway in a Ferrari. 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. Far Cry 3 is wonderful when it gives you free rein…but not always when it tries to direct the action.

Your camera identifies target before you engage.

On the PC, the online DRM can also be a hassle, as the game can crash should the servers go down, even while playing the offline campaign. But most of these annoyances are minor blights in a game that does so much, and does it so well. Far Cry 3 is an impressive piece of technology that showcases large portions of its landscape at once, though PC owners need a powerful system to enjoy the vistas at their most glorious. The rolling hills and stone temples invite you onward, yet this modern Eden is defaced by dilapidated shacks and military compounds. The difficulties of this spoiled promised land are reflected in the behaviors of its inhabitants. Vaas' unhinged rants, Buck's dismissive cruelty, and Dr. Earnhardt's hallucinogenic ramblings all speak to the troubles that cloud the sunny skies above.

Far Cry 3 rounds out a sizable and quality campaign with a series of cooperative missions that have up to four players shooting enemies and completing objectives. With only two players, certain encounters can get frustrating, and gunning down bullet-absorbing heavies can be a real slog. But when the action comes together, the impactful gunplay shines, even if the more-structured levels might have you missing the freedom of the open island. Competitive multiplayer doesn't feature many surprises during the course of the match, though the back-and-forth action of Firestorm mode, in which teams try to set fire to each others' supply depots while protecting their own, gives rise to tight battlefield tension.

Outside of matches, character progression is home to some intriguing twists to the usual array of expected features. One twist is decoding, in which you earn electronic objects (CDs, memory cards, etc.) after completing matches, and then decode them--an automated process that takes place over a few minutes or longer. Another is the battle cry, which provides a bonus (such as a health boost) to you and nearby teammates.

Supply drop missions put you in control of Far Cry 3's bouncy ATVs.

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. Yet Far Cry 3's bigness isn't a detriment: you rarely feel that the game's size led to individual elements suffering from a lack of attention or detailing. Stretches of unpredictable exploration and free-form hunting alternate with challenging pirate confrontations, sometimes culminating with a rocket blast to the helicopter hounding you from above. This is an ambitious and finely tuned adventure that gets better and better as you play.

The Good
A huge tropical world stuffed with fun things to do
Ecology and unpredictable creatures make the world come alive
Stealth and action come together in rewarding ways
Role-playing elements and difficulty curve give a sense of momentum
Great structure leads you from one activity to the next
The Bad
Some design quirks lead to minor frustrations
Certain story elements break the immersion
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Far Cry 3

About the Author

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

Discussion

53 comments
Arachnofunk
Arachnofunk

This is one of the best shooters I've ever played, any fan of both open world and FPS games should experience what Far Cry 3 has to offer. 

Conscrumptured
Conscrumptured

It's a great game, to be sure, but it has so many damned problems--and it's been out for as long as it has, it's very disappointing. They never fixed the nonsense phone issue where every time you start your saved file, when you had a call it just replays over and over; the game still crashes on a regular basis. I'm playing the PC version, and I've never had as many problems with a game as I've had here with it crashing randomly; the server continually goes offline and won't come back on for days; and other various glitches that make the game unplayable sometimes.


I like it, but with how often it crashes and its autosave being more or less awful--like most autosaves with the exception of a few games--I wind up playing areas I've already completed more times than I'd care to count, so it'll probably spell the end of playing it anymore.

NTM23
NTM23

This is a rare game that I had quite a lot of fun going through doing all the stuff, though the story wasn't great; the characters were largely annoying; the visuals on console weren't ideal, but after a while you get used to them and they're more than OK; the sensitivity actually took some getting used to, but most of all, when you finish all that you can do -- story and side missions -- I was absolutely done.

There are additional problems as well. I didn't like that after you got weapons that are better than others, it disqualifies the need and want to experiment with other guns. It also felt that for as much as they had shown off Vaas as a villain, they both didn't show him off enough, and (SPOILER!) killed him off too early, leaving other bad guys that are less interesting. 

It was great exploring the islands and shooting guys or sneaking around on your way to gain upgrades so you can do more of that, but better, though once it all was finished, it was done and made me realize that all that I had done, while fun, wasn't really worth it in the long run. One more thing, for having the composer they did, they sure didn't utilize him well; there was really only one great song in the entire game.

slambryan
slambryan

Are critics paid to write so positively about this game and gave it an average 9? If I am to quantify the game with a number, it wouldn't be anything higher than a 6.


The fact that they put a nervy, squeaky, cowardly spoiled middle-class little brat as the protagonist has already killed 50% of the mood of anyone who tried to play it. It was hard to identify yourself with the main charac
ter and immerse yourself into the game if the voice actor, perhaps as the game design intended, sounds like an immature 17 years old. The constant unpleasantness of the voice only becomes more unbearable as you continue to play with the slightest hope that this game has more to offer to overshadow its flaws.

But then the clunky inflexible control which forced sprint command to a toggle as opposed to hold-to-sprint (can you believe that?), and the faster-than-should-be walk speed killed any last hope you might still have for the game. The UI design was so bland and uninspired, you might think the game designers had copied it from games from 1996. At some point you realized, if you tab-out and tab-in again, the mouse function would no longer work and you'd have to restart the game for it to work again. At that precise moment you further realized this game doesn't have a proper, game-friendly save system, and you're forced to work in missions for mission checkpoints, the only thing that saves your game.

The overall game mechanic and graphic style are basically the same as that of far cry 2 or fallout new vegas. You thought you might be getting something big with FC3, seeing how games like Crysis 3 and Battlefield 3 had pushed graphic realism to a ridiculous level. But in FC3 all you get is disappointment through and through. To put things into perspective, Far Cry 3 is like casting Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in an already uninspired, poorly scrambled screenplay.

It's hard to quantify with a number but for a game as broken, unpolished, and mediocre as FC3, this game deserves 5-5.5. And to counterbalance the fact that the game is badly overrated and will continue to victimize consumers who may be ill-informed about the game, I voted 0.

hadlee73
hadlee73

Got to play this finally. Way overrated by the gaming press unfortunately. I wouldn't rate it lower than a 7, but its not a 9 by a long shot. The original Far Cry (which didn't need hours worth of filler crap to boast great content) is still the best in the franchise.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

I sincerely hope Farcry 4 has rare legendary creatures to hunt and be hunted by like Dinosaurs, Giant Crocs, Giant Snakes, Giant Spiders, etc...

mozinciroglu
mozinciroglu

I think this the most overrated game of last 12 months.

-Horrible story (How did we even kill Vaas?)

-Horrible Co-op experience (Developers didn't even put effort to it.)

-Horrible Multiplayer (Nothing knew or innovative.)

Good parts are:

-Driving (It almost felt real.)

-Guns (Huge variety.)

-Fun side quests (Outposts, side missions, relics etc.)

-And outposts again!

Sum it up! It doesn't deserve 9/10


peecee1384
peecee1384

At 6:52 Well developed role playing elements - ha ha !!

B_STATS
B_STATS

Unpolished, full of screen tearing and tonnes of technical bugs. Inferior to it's predecessor.

hihop_ss
hihop_ss

I can't believe the hype this game got, makes no sense for me. Whats the deal with video games these days, were you got a 30 hs game, and 22 of those are side mission. Makes no fucking sense. Stop making all these stupid side-crap, and write a GOOD story with a GOOd fuckin ending, couse this one sucked, come on ubisoft. all your games are starting to look like.

B_STATS
B_STATS

It has a better story than FC2 (not hard) but the visuals are poor in comparison, there are many bugs too. The plants are jagged with no textures and become 2D 'followers' at a certain height, grass can be found floating above the ground on every hill, holes can be found in the map, even found a creek that looks full of water but it doesn't react to you moving through it. It's ugly for a FC game but it's still a hell of a lot of fun.

Abdulrahman1981
Abdulrahman1981

This Game is amazing, I wish I played the 1st two, I might buy them after I finish this one;)

theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

"Far Cry 3 isn't so much about story as it is about its world" Games are slowly becoming that.

lemmy2
lemmy2

I didn't find the game as intense as Farcry 2. I loved Farcry 2 and had no issues at all with it. I agree that once you take an outpost an area becomes too easy to travel through. What killed this game for me is those dreadful load times. I beat Farcry 2 on the hardest difficulty and did all the side stuff and it was brutal but fun. I don't know if I could handle playing this on a harder difficulty because it means sitting through more load times....painful.

Timetraveller66
Timetraveller66

Will you be able to have a ps3 and 360 coop game with Destiny where you are fighting the aliens together the save humans from exstintion ??

Broetof
Broetof

Too bad. It's close to a fantastic game but the difficulty is far too easy.Even playng on warrior level - I've stopped liberating outposts as an area gets very boring once that's done and theres no enemies around any more. That's a shame, as liberating outposts is really enjoyable but now I cant do it or the game gets boring lol. A lot of potential in this game but it's not nearly challenging enough. 6/10 

troyhalo34
troyhalo34

This games is epic. Dub step and burning some pot plants life can't get much better than that.

Synyster102
Synyster102

Great gameplay. Every move you make counts in this game. It feels like going through the Ranger Course all over again. Interesting walkthrough as you craft your medicine, your skills. Skill tree upgrade keeps the whole gameplay exciting. Graphics are good too. The weapons are a little bit cliche, but fun to meddle with each time. The only frustrating part is finding the relics lying around as the mountainous regions are almost impossible to infiltrate. All in all, the game is worth the rating.

Fartman7998
Fartman7998

I wonder...was this game reviewed before the first patch was released?  Stupid question, I know, but I was just reading the version history and it came to mind that they added quite a few things.  I just let my friend borrow this game from me because I beat it, and I'm hoping he doesn't encounter any bugs.  He doesn't play online, so he will be playing the game exactly how it comes in the box.  :(

Phlanxion
Phlanxion

With all the new games out right now it's hard to make a choice on which one to get. My top 5 list of must haves is 1. Dishonored, 2. Borderlands 2, 3. Far Cry 3, 4. Halo 4, 5. Black Ops 2. 

darksoul1968
darksoul1968

I beat the game in one and half day on Warrior difficulty, Why is it not challenging like farcry 2?? OK great open world and stunning graphics...etc. But so easy pirates die quickly and all you have to do is carry the seringes and green leafs and heal everytime you are hit, this bothered me a lot since i finished farcry 2 on hardest difficutly and it was a real challenge and the way of saving was a challenge it self, IMO farcry 3 deserves 7 ot 7.5 maximum and farcry 2 is much much better.

original_elite
original_elite

After playing Far Cry 2, which I absolutely hated, I was hesitant to pick up Far Cry 3. I bought Far Cry 3 anyway after reading the positive reviews it got and I have to say I don't regret my purchase one bit. Far Cry 3 is fantastic and it fixed nearly everything wrong of Far Cry 2. Game Of The Year contender for sure. 

Awkwardly
Awkwardly

Some people are too ungreatful and picky. GAMEOFTHEYEAR.

Agent_47
Agent_47

Decent enough shooter but just a tad overrated - this game is more like a 7.5 than 9.0.  While the game world itself is open and players are free to wander and do whatever they want, the main missions linked to the story are disappointingly constrained i.e. often players are forced to use a particular method to accomplish a mission goal (such as using a knife only for kills) - this IMO, is a bad design choice for a game that sells itself as an open world game and a game that has a history of allowing players to choose their own path to completing a mission.  Really a step backwards - IMO, if you haven't played it already, go back to FC 2 which is a much better game than no. 3.

killa32130
killa32130

Beat the game a few days ago, its good and worth a look but it lacks fun things to do after finishing the main story. The side quests are short and boring, Multiplayer is alright but seems like a missed opportunity, they could have made a large part of the island open to 50-100 people with all the elements of the SP open for use.

 

Looking foward to future Dlc, hopefully for SP.

kingoflife9
kingoflife9

is this a rpg?  is it similar to fallout 3?

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@mozinciroglu it had good graphics and shooting. The story was terrible, you are right about that. The main character was totally shallow unbelievable and the villain Vaas, was extremely lame. The story was all flash and no substance.

danielcliment
danielcliment

@hihop_ss I agree....I got lost after 2 hours of playing, not knowing if I had to skin animals, save someone, go fishing, find mushrooms, buy stuff.... f...it. Visually is very good, and the chances of going pretty much anywhere are great, but, is very tricky to make an open world game like this and get lost in the main objective, I'm usually good at this games, but indeed, you loose track of what are you doing and it gets boring very quickly... I spent like 45 minutes looking for a retarded pig to make I cant even remember what.... I think I'll give it another try and that's it...

DeeMoney19
DeeMoney19

@B_STATS I can safely say that I have experienced none of what you are talking about.

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@troyhalo34 you have no taste. The dubstep and the trendy feminine characters and protagonist were the worst parts about the game. The psychotic jungle tribal drums of Farcry 2 was much better. This game did have cool wild life and great combat though. Too bad everything else was lame.

MetalDragon199
MetalDragon199

@darksoul1968 far cry 2 the game with no hit detection was better and harder
im pretty sure it was harder because bullets don't register

DeeMoney19
DeeMoney19

@original_elite I fully agree with everything you just said. Far Cry 2 fails in comparison to this masterpiece.

WarpedCore
WarpedCore

@original_elite I couldn't agree more. I too, was on the fence with FC3 because of the things I disliked in FC2. I'm glad I looked past that. I have only played 4 hours so far, but loving every second of it. I am going to play through as much as this game as I can and enjoy the whole game for what the devs made it to be. GOTY nominee at the least.

QrGmNcShip016
QrGmNcShip016

 @original_elite i still like far cry 2 though...the only problem i had in that game was probably the guns keep jamming and stuff..a little too realistic but challenging..both games are awesome but this ones way better then second one hands down..a 10 for me...FC2 a 9 :-)

B_STATS
B_STATS

@Awkwardly Some people just have standards. And FC3 did not meet them.

hangman000
hangman000

@Agent_47"the main missions linked to the story are disappointingly constrained i.e. often players are forced to use a particular method to accomplish a mission goal (such as using a knife only for kills) - this IMO, is a bad design choice for a game that sells itself as an open world game and a game that has a history of allowing players to choose their own path to completing a mission.  Really a step backwards - IMO, if you haven't played it already, go back to FC 2 which is a much better game than no. 3."

no no no mate thats bullshit or well maybe just your opinion.

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

 @Agent_47

 and yet halo 4, one of the most boring and repetative games is a 10?

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

 @kingoflife9

 nothing like fallout 3 at all. Far Cry 3 is a fps with some perks that can be unlocked with exp, more like Dead Island. Story wise FC3 is much better than FO3 but I still prefer fallout

outlawst
outlawst

 @kingoflife9 no not rpg,it's just fps open world,there is no choice you can make during the game to change the story line or etc( just like Just Cause 2 but in fps style)the only choice you can make is at the last mission which lead you to another ending that's all.my opinion, it's a good fps with great visual but nothing new.8 of 10.

MelodicMizery
MelodicMizery

 @kingoflife9 yah think of it like a kinda low budget fallout, its a big open world shooter but with the quality youd see from the games in the 10$ bin after a year 

darksoul1968
darksoul1968

 @Crimson_Erskine mmmmmmmm it seems you like easy games and hard games are too tough for you,i bet that you even play on lowest difficulty, if u r a true video gamer u would realize that a good open world game obliges you to explore in order to improve your self and beat the game such as diablo, borderlands, dragon age, divinity, demon and dark souls which are my favorites. Anyway go get educated and keep exploring the island in farcry 3, Good luck

DrTheme
DrTheme

@darksoul1968 @Crimson_Erskine hahaha what was that? "a true video gamer" and who excatly judges as to whether someone is "a true video gamer"?.....what you? haha, I agree with the other guy you really a tool

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

 @Jason210  @kingoflife9

 the story for 3 is you have to turn a water pump back on. Truly epic, if you walk straight there it is barely 3 quests

Far Cry 3 More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    Far Cry 3 has players step in the shoes of Jason Brody where they will slash, sneak, detonate, and shoot their way across the island in a world that has lost all sense of right and wrong.
    8.7
    Average User RatingOut of 4304 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Far Cry 3
    Developed by:
    Ubisoft Montreal,
    Published by:
    Ubisoft, E-Frontier
    Genres:
    Action, Shooter, First-Person, Team-Based, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs