Happy New Years everyone! Hope you had a fun and safe time. I spent my last few hours of 2012 playing Card Against Humanity and confirming that I am indeed an awful person. So we can look forward to more of the same in 2013!
I went through this whole weird arc of being super enthused about Far Cry 3, losing interest after its disastrous E3 demo, not giving a shit for a long time, then remembering why I cared in the first place in the weeks after its release. When some reviewers and friends I count on for sage advice started singing its praises of emergent gameplay and absolute pandemonium all I heard was "yo, you should get this game."
You have to go "all in" to really enjoy Far Cry 3. Don't worry about dying, or wrecking a car, or doing a mission "wrong" – the only thing that matters is HOW FUCKING INSANE everything is. And I don't mean the cheesy allusions to Alice in Wonderland or the super intense marketing blitz, or any of that crap. I'm talking about a Komodo Dragon chomping on your leg just as you were about to attack an outpost, causing you to panic toss a Molotov cocktail, set the entire field on fire, accidentally killing everyone in the shanty-fort. I'm talking about man-hunting through the jungle like you were Katnis Everdeen with a deadly silent bow and a backpack full of landmines. I'm talkin' bout stabbing a dude, ripping the pin out of a grenade on his belt and kicking him into his buddy for an explosive hug. The game is wonderful. You do things, more things happen, everything ends up on fire. It's the game you always wanted.
You can waste a lot of time just wandering around and getting into trouble without ever touching the actual story missions. Which might be a good call, because when you do the story missions you have to see the story. An awkward try-hard plot with some seriously creepy "White man's burden" overtones. I'm not sure if it was tone-deafness that led to the game's plot, some kind of attempt an a tongue-in-cheek self-awareness that misfired, just plain racism or what. I'm not the first person to say it, but I feel like this is a game that was trying for parody and somehow missed it, coming to rest on cliche and uncomfortable.
- "Privileged white doofus becomes serial murderer when separated by his friends during a tropical vacation." That is my basic mental framing for the game.
As far as pure gaming goes, Far Cry 3 is one of the best experiences I've had all year. 2012 was an odd year in gaming for me. I spent far more time with odd indy titles like FTL, Isaac, Hotline Miami and (less indy, just odd) Mechwarriorthan I did with any big budget games. Most of the "major" releases this year were either ones I wasn't interested in or disappointments. The major title I spent the most time on was Dark Souls for the PC for goodness sake! So Far Cry is kind of a nice surprise at the end of the year. A big flashy technically polished violence-fest of the variety I spent the whole year avoiding – and I couldn't be having more fun with it.
I also picked up Don't Starve for my and my girlfriend on some douchebag's advice and its... its something! I played exactly 5 minutes and realized that I might need to read an instruction manual or something before going any further. Loving the Tim Burton-esq art and goofy sense of humour.