You raise your glass in toast to your friend, it’s the beginning of a party! First you’re jet skiing on crystal blue waters, swimming next to beautiful turtles, having a jaunt around the island with your mates, taking a death defying leap off a waterfall, hand gliding overseas and diving in to swim with sharks and, to top it off, sky diving. Pretty awesome huh? Well no, not really, turns out this is all just a re-cap of how you got to where you are now, and where are you now? Unfortunately enough you’ve managed to be captured by Pirates, but these aren’t possibly the ones you might be thinking of, with peg legs, long black bushy beards still dripping from rum and mountains of gold, no no no. These are pirates who care a lot for “little white boys” only due to the fact you’re being held at ransom – providing your parents love you enough. However you are just a rich kid, partying with your mates, there is no Liam Neeson with a particular set of skills coming to save you. No, no one is coming to save you from your captor who, I nearly forgot to add, is a 100% psycho path who enjoys toying with his hostages – imagine if the joker got a tan but held onto the same sense of humour, then you’re getting close to the mind set of Vaas, the Mohicaned maniac who you are now under the possession of.
Fast forward past your daring escape (no need to spoil the opening), you wake up confused, clearly in some sort of hut with someone beside you. In the time that you’ve spent unconscious the arsehole has decided to tattoo you or rather tatau you as it is called, this my friend is your admittedly somewhat cool way to show how much you’ve levelled up in the game, each new skill you unlock in one of your 3 skill trees adds a new part of the tatau to your arm, the 3 trees are the Heron (long range attacks and mobility) the Spider (stealth and survival) and the shark (first aid and killing), for completionists and those with the want to kill in stunning and sometimes spectacular ways will be able to get a good grasp on most of these, however if you’re just going to run and gun your way through then its best if you just focus on the shark. Anyway this man is called Dennis and appears to be your guide through these new lands, he offers you a machete and essentially pushes you on your now task of finding your friends and possibly killing Vaas if fortune holds.
You are asked first to go up to the top of a radio tower and change it so that you can get an understanding for the lay of the land; imagine the view points in assassins creed and you get the idea. Except instead of Altair, Ezio or now Connor climbing for what seems like forever to reach the top of these structures and then to gaze out over Jerusalem, Rome or Boston, you now get to climb a radio tower that takes forever but is actually sometimes daring as you feel you may fall off as some appear to be rather fragile. Now at the top of the tower you have to break open the control panel and flip the switches but instead are gob-smacked by the true beauty and vast expanse that is Far Cry 3. Away from the dangers of Vaas the islands grand aesthetic magnificence can be taken in, the lush green palm trees, the reflective cool blue of the shimmering sea all stretched out before you, and if you dare to explore you will surely fall in love with the wilderness of it all and the animals that come with it, oh yes there are animals. In fact these provide the backbone to your equipment upgrades, larger ammo backs, bigger wallets and even more vast loot rucksacks, but if you want to get the best equipment to craft then you’re going to have go on search and destroy missions for very rare animals. So rare in fact you can only get them through “Mark of the Hunter” missions, available upon liberation of a certain area, but that’s another issue, one thing at a time.
Now that you’ve finished at the tower you get to zipline you’re way back down, super funsies and go talk to Dennis again who will give you another push in the right direction. However since you’ve just unlocked that radio tower you now have a free pistol, one of the games fun ways to make you do more, each radio tower unlocks more weapons for free, but if you can’t be bothered or you like the idea of not knowing where you are or you are just of the mind set that maps are for losers, then you can simply just buy the guns you want, and this is critical. Obviously the weapons you buy will in part determine you’re play style. I am and avid fan of stealth, not necessarily silent assassin style, more no-one sees me, no-one sees me, shit fire fire! style. Its far more accommodating.
Far Cry is truly fantastic in the way it allows you to tackle problems, for instance that outpost full of pirates, going in guns ablaze might be one way to go but also its easy to get shot to pieces. Personally I like to find some high ground, take out your camera, because despite being a tourist who was captured and nearly killed you still want to capture the moment, but seriously the camera helps out by tagging enemies and their type, so you may come across 3 or 4 just grunts for lack of a better term, and maybe a sniper just to keep you on your toes. Okay then enemies are tagged NOW go in guns ablaze, well the chances of survival are definitely higher however if you want more experience from liberating this area from pirate activity its better if you take the stealthy approach throughout as being undetected gives you 1500XP, and having no alarms raises gives only 550XP.
So what are you going to do? Well if you’re like me you take out your sniper from afar, kill that sniper when he’s out of view, and maybe that patrol if he strolls far enough away. Now all that’s left is the core of the camp, if your lucky they may have captured a tiger or bear, now might be the time to take delicate aim and shoot the cage and sit back laughing as your job is done for you by a pissed off leopard, but as fun as that might be, nothing quite measures up to take downs especially when invested heavily in the skill tree, drop down on two enemies knifing them both, sneaking up on one and chaining it together with the guy in front, pulling the pin out of his grenade kicking him forward and then maybe throwing a knife at any unlucky pirate in your peripheral. Seriously, if you want to feel like Ezio in the jungle then investing time into your kills, stealth and skill tree are a must!
However despite all the free guns, animal hunting and bad-ass with skills at cutting up your enemy like you’re Zoro, the game does, at times, have some flaws. Starting with just the story, you are playing a young American captured by pirates and terrified, like any rational human would be, your brother is in the army that’s it! So why you are able to pick up any gun, literally any gun, I mean I play with a silenced pistol and sniper along with a bow and arrow and for those particular hairy moments a machine gun – best not fired frequently as it does attract pirates from quite the distance. All of a sudden you go from scared yuppie living off mummy and daddys money to gun toting nut job who shoots people in the head, the game doesn’t really deal with your transition, Dennis gives you a gun and you go shoot people, end! However, given that you can choose how to run around the island killing pirates like Leo Di’Caprio in the beach does make up for it a little, its just a slightly annoying flaw that whispers inaccuracies as you squeeze your trigger leading to the end of that unfortunate sods life. The other thing that can be an issue is money, you can craft bigger wallets to accommodate all the money you acquire, but when is it ever spent? You get given guns for free, and your knife is easily your best friend, and given the choice of a bow and arrow, the arrows can be re-collected. The money system seems deeply flawed in the fact I rarely ever have to use money, which means I never really have to get loot. Once again it’s a niggle but not a biggie, it is by far out weighed by the actual scavenging you do in the way of having to hunt animals for equipment, or plants for medicine or hunter instincts or even just to give you a bigger dosage of bad-ass by making you flame retardant or being able to smell your enemies thus showing off where they are even if behind objects.
Far Cry 3 is an incredibly beautiful fun game with a vast expansive land scape, best viewed from a hand glider which they still have thank god! So in summation Far Cry 3, Pirate-Joker, awesome fighting mechanics, even more crazy NPCs, gorgeous island and as ever hand gliders. 10/10
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