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Far Cry 3 Review

  • First Released Dec 4, 2012
  • Reviewed Nov 30, 2012
  • PC

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.

Best to deactivate the alarm before engaging.
Best to deactivate the alarm before engaging.

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.

On the islands, being a drug dealer has its benefits. A big fancy house is one of them.
On the islands, being a drug dealer has its benefits. A big fancy house is one of them.

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.

Earning XP means gaining cool new skills.
Earning XP means gaining cool new skills.

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.

In Far Cry 3, a drive down a dirt road can turn dangerous in a hurry.
In Far Cry 3, a drive down a dirt road can turn dangerous in a hurry.

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.

Online play is solid but unspectacular.
Online play is solid but unspectacular.

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.

Back To Top
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
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Far Cry 3

About the Author

Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play bass in Rock Band.
268 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for Aekar

Bought it because of the gamespot and other reviews.

Played it on PC... on january 2014.

I have been dismayed. My feelings were opposite of the current review.

Stealth and weapon accuracy, or gunplay, did not feel enjoyable at all.

Visuals also didn't look that great, and did not behave that well, even on high details. I had absolutely no lag on High Details (but could not play on higher details that than, or I would have); but the game, for the visuals, do not look as well made as other free games like Skyrim, or other storydriven FPS with large levels like Tomb Raider.

Although the game provides freedom, the visuals do not help that feeling, as landscapes and paths still feel a bit virtualized.

Spawns and spawn rates are illogical, and looting looked even broken (finding 2 bullets on enemies who could not even fire once their AKs? and being unable to loot their weapons?). Interactions is slightly awkward as you have to get very close to the corpses/weapons/elements you want to interact with.

But it's the gameplay, and gunplay, that really didn't feel that good.

The bullets don't look like connecting realistically to the targets.

Of course, when you play games like Hitman etc, you understand the gunplay is sometimes a bit "helped", and that you easily connect to critical areas. But here it is the opposite. The gunplay feels flawed.

Another major flaw is that we really do not feel related to the people we try to save. We don't know them, so we have a hard time caring about them. It is as if we should force ourselves to feel things.

Story-wise, also, voice acting is unequal among versions.

I had to switch to english voice acting, because french voice actors really felt dull.

English voice acting feels better, but then, people are just limited there to the f*** word, which is quite different than in french.

With a few exceptions, Vaas also didn't feel like anything else than an average punk. Sometimes I appreciated his acting, sometimes I just felt it dull and standard.

Far Cry 3 impressions to me when playing it on PC, was of an unbalanced, not so immersive game, with visuals that do not contribute to the gameplay, and one of the worst gunplay I've had in a FPS.

Note that I played it on Warrior (hard) difficulty.

I suppose I'd like an easier difficulty later, as it might fix the very bad & unrealistic spawn, ammo and enemy health issues that were encountered as well. This is especially true regarding wildlife for spawns and soldiers for enemy health.

This was a rather bad experience, thus far.

Avatar image for jok3rxfear

@Aekar There is a reason why Kevin Vanord is an official game reviewer and you are not. And you just proved with your mediocre analysis. Good day sir.

Avatar image for DiverseGamer

Bought this because of the great reviews. Far Cry 2 was OKAY. Hoping this will be better.

Avatar image for se007

Didn't like this game much at first but it's definetely a grower! The gameplay, aside from few stupid quirks, like main hero who is over sensitive to drops (you could literaly kill yourself by jumping from 3m height!), is greatly balanced overall, and enemies while not all that clever, feature pretty believeable AI. Stealth is also very tense and compelling. While multiplayer is not all that innovative and pretty much a COD clone, aside from cool features like decoding and finishing scenes at the end of the match, is still very fun and engaging, because of nicely balanced gunplay and refreshing tropical setting, and thanks to map editor, there's a bunch of truly excellent, professionaly made maps from players, that gives an incentive to play the game further! Overall there's many hours of fun to be had in this game, and while there's some flaws at the gameplay department, and some performance issues on consoles, this is still a great value compared to other shooters which are offering much less bang for the same buck!

Avatar image for dipdish

Well, I've just finished the single player campaign. The story is top-notch, with a couple of memorable characters. Yet, there are some flaws in the gameplay mechanics. Moreover, you cannot save your progress, unless the game lets you between main missions. Some missions are long and tough to survive through, and saving after checkpoints would be superb for the players.

By the way, this is NOT an easy game, even if you change the difficulty level to Survivor (Easy) on the options menu. Thus, if you're new to shooters, you may want to start with an easier game.

Avatar image for Dredcrumb9

@dipdish this game is very easy. There are no memorable characters, unless snobby, rich, trust fund babies are memorable to you.

Avatar image for Libor0711

So, just started a 4th walkhtrough... a year after release. Taking my time, exploring, planning, setting higher goals, now that I know the story, I am just purely enjoying the experience. This is the ONLY single player FPS that's worth it's money, even a year later. Especially when compared to some of the recent "next gen" legends releasing the same cr*ap again... Crysis 3, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty 156, etc...

I still love Far Cry 3, btw with all this maxed out approach, after 20 net hours of playing I am still only half way through the game...another value for money point. :-). Here' s hoping for an even better FC4...asap, please.

Avatar image for bowchicka07

free roam shooter... hunting animals in the jungle, guns and attachments, liberating outposts or just going with the story mode. There is a lot to do in the game which to me makes it worthy of a 9/10.

Avatar image for Pooyagharagozlo


Avatar image for blackroommate

awesome game...i love it..

Avatar image for teodore15

Ma fffffuuuuuuuuuuuutttttttttttt pppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeee jjjoooooooccccuuuu vvvvvvoossssssssttttttrrrrruuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for Berserk-GR

One of the best games i ever played. I hope to make no. 4 BIGGER.

Avatar image for mixalisss13

awsome!!!much better than 2

Avatar image for JasonBroady

this pc game is insane dude.

Avatar image for bowlingotter


Avatar image for Tiwill44

This game is cancer. It FORCES you to use fast travel when you could just drive back to where you got the quest, which wasn't even far away. When I tried to go there using my car, it said the quest failed because I left the quest area. I laughed and closed the game. Even GTA 1 felt more open-world than this piece of trash. Also, the game spams you with tutorial messages every 3 seconds, and you can't disable them or just close the notification box thing, you absolutely HAVE to see the tutorial if you want the box to go away. It takes forever. Also, you can't even skip the cutscenes. This game doesn't deserve anything higher than a 8, and that's only if you somehow really liked it. But no, shiny graphics = 9.0 nowadays.

Avatar image for iskandarzul

@Tiwill44 i love this game. the crafting and wildlife system really excite me till the point i rarely use vehicles for travelling unless it's too far away. walking the field while running/shooting/sabotaging is pure fun. about the tutorial...yes i kind of agree but i think it does not necessarily need you to open read the tutorial (just don't press esc button).

for me, this is the best RPG Shooter/SHooter ever. Feels so different compared to the Farcry 2. Feels so fresh with the wildlife and crafting idea.

Avatar image for Practice

Uplay kills this game.

Avatar image for pcostix

Got this game for free with my new Graphics Card but... it requires me to install Uplay, so although I have a legit copy, I still downloaded the pirated version.

Other than that the game is great, but seriously Ubisoft should stop with those DRM's

Avatar image for bradscool123

this sucks my mom and dad say i cant get this game because it has sexual content and nudity same thing with GTA i think there a little over protective

Avatar image for aniket93

@bradscool123 Looks like a 12 year kid here

Avatar image for basangicu

@bradscool123 I don't know how old you are, but this really does have some inappropriate scenes, more so than Grand Theft Auto.

Avatar image for PowerDingALing

@bradscool123 I think they're right. Go play with your Barney The Dinossaur doll.

Avatar image for Sagarsmith

Awesome game....Just Some Changes it Should be Applied Described Below...

(1) Weapons should nt offer free by activating Radio Towers Because after all this all the purchase thunder smaches and we can not use our money and wallet remains full all the time which suffocates the game adventure...

(2) Afetr wearing soldier uniform we can freely explore the island which becomes game easy or it is only for wandering on. There lives no danger to be explored..

(3) There should be facility to wear any type of uniform and leave any uniform...

(4) There should be less Loot Spots Because there is lot of loot money then we can spend...

(5) Island shold be big and loot and Other Collecticle items should be far so it will be fun to explore the island...

(6) And also here there is lots of Types of weapon so make space to carry more than 4 weapons...Because we can't utilize flare gun, Machine Gun, flamethrower, Rescue Bow, Repair tool and Pistols...

(7) Posts which we free makes our safe house...that is gud but still area around this post should be danger like before post being free...Only free to post belongs to Safe house...

Avatar image for kumar3666

Fentastic Story and 1st Person Gameplay i hav ever played on my pc. and that adventures music bring us to the new world. 8.5/10

Avatar image for alok08

Ubisoft ...Why cant we use human skins for crafting?

Avatar image for aniket93

@alok08 and why does Jason remove the bullet from his hand if he is hit in the leg......

Avatar image for DiverseGamer

@aniket93 @alok08 And why does Joel wrap his arm with a bandage when he's shot in the chest...?

Avatar image for VETERANOS997

One of the best games!By Ubisoft

Avatar image for bokisa303

My favourite PC game, EVER!

Avatar image for Konviktion


Avatar image for pavioc16

Thanks @Lyon111 for ruining a major plot point for me...

Avatar image for tcapristano

Liked it a lot.

Yes, the interface sucks (I liked the map), a lot of "cant pass through the the door because floor is a little higher" issues and there's not enough power ups. The boss "special?" scenes are completetly useless and boring, not rewarding enough.

And still, loved it (PC version).

#42 and playing since games where B&W#

Avatar image for Lyon111

After many hours of playing, I can se that I am completely addicted to far cry 3. However, many things shouldhave been improved and changed if the creators had competent people in charge, namely: Jason does not know Citra that long in the course of 10 hours in order to kill his friends and have sex with her - this is just stupid; When Jason goes to kill Vaas, he plunges a nife in his chest, and then Jason magically gets up and kills Vaas on a LSD trip, then wakes up with Citra on the other side of the "island" - this is ridiculous; When Jason goes to kill Hoyt, the guards that were beside them disappear during and after the fight. Where did they go??? - this is extremely stupid; What happens after Jason kills Hoyt??? I mean, if you continue on the islands, and that is a big if, everyone else disappears???!!!! Producers, please start doing things right.

Avatar image for Kolimako

It is unclear why in Far Cry made RPG? That killed the second part, the first was a pure 3D action from the first person in the Doom and Half Life. Third part went in the footsteps of the second, just not interesting travel around the world, look for a job to run them constantly to view the map, instead of running around and destroy your enemies with a weapon.

Avatar image for tweet7

There seem like a *lot* of weaknesses for a 9.0. I suspect that any other reviewer would get flamed for this apparent disconnect.

Perhaps when a game achieves something so close to 'perfection' in score, there's a temptation to highlight disadvantages to give the impression of balance (or perhaps the illusion?).

That issue sent me straight to the user comments. And sure enough...a slew of disappointments and other downsides seeped out.

Avatar image for chitosan87

Its weakness were covered by its stunning Graphics.

But remember nowadays's Entertainment Formula: Great Graphics doesn't mean Great Content

Avatar image for shanethewolf

Most overrated game of the year! I was really looking forward to this one, but I'm finding it so repetetive and anti-climactic and not that much different to Far Cry 2...except for inferior graphics and physics.

Avatar image for super_rider

the shooting mechanic and graphics of far cry 3 are way better than any other game.. it's definitely better than far cry 2..

Avatar image for mstph

it's very goog but how downloeding

Avatar image for Warmuro

Leaving mission zone feels like not so free in such a open world fps game, strange. Great game though.

Avatar image for ZOD777

To all of you that complained about enemy respawns at observation posts in FC2:

You got what you wanted, now the game is boring once you liberate areas in FC3. Especially if you complete the game and want to explore further. Thank you for your complaints. Ubisoft took you guys a bit too seriously. I understand the frustration when you double back in FC2, only to find that the enemies are back, but with sniper rifles, fast travel, unlimited ammo on mounted guns, not to mention the plethora of ammo pickups, what is wrong with enemy respawns? Too fast, maybe, but why are you doubling back so soon anyway? Go around, or take the rivers.

Avatar image for ZippyDeth

Was I the only one that found this game sorely lacking? Horrendous graphical issues (pop up, crap draw distances, tearing and shoddy animation), awful AI, rubbish, unbelievable characters and convoluted menus. I wanted to like it, I really did, but after persevering for several days I just couldn't get past these issues and sold it.

Avatar image for shanethewolf

@ZippyDeth It doesn't get any better. It's just the same crap over and over again, fetch this or that, kill this or that army, and the final encounters with the big bad guys are massive anti-climaxes.

Avatar image for anakvunky

Farcry environment graphic was great back then. Farcry 2 was awesome too, and its africa. Farcry 3 back to the tropical lush like in the 1st one but for me Farcry 3 is at the same level with Farcry 2.

But still love this game as Farcry series. Don't bother buy this game if you hate Farcry 2.

Avatar image for mattacuk

Im really tempted to purchase far cry 3 if only I can pull myself away from counterstrike....

Avatar image for philMcCrevis

I'm still shocked this ended up being the players choice game for 2012. its good maybe arguably even a great game but there are just simply too many amazing games out there this year for FC3 to sit on top. "you have left the mission zone" if i see that one more time, reminded my of gaming circa 1994, i'm going to burn my copy of the game

Avatar image for alien33

@philMcCrevis Battlefield Bad Company 2 (2010) also shows this message.

Avatar image for Lyon111

Far Cry 3 is not much better than Far Cry 2, first of all, and I was looking for it, only to feel frustrated. Far Cry 3 is a great game nevertheless, with CPU hungry graphics and a worthwhile vilan, but several things in the AI quickly bore me too much after a few missions. Also, the fact that the whole game is done in an island is not engaging after a few missions. No gamer wants to be playing in the same set for 8 hours. I mean, do you? This is enough to think twice to buy the game, trust me.

Far Cry 3 More Info

  • First Released Dec 4, 2012
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 3 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    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.
    Average Rating4580 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Far Cry 3
    Developed by:
    Ubisoft Montreal
    Published by:
    Ubisoft, E-Frontier
    Shooter, 3D, Action, First-Person
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs