Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review: Farcry 3 (2012)

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft

“Don’t you see,” said the turtle, “it’s what is unseen that defines you.”

“Can’t you hear,” said the hare, “your screams fall on deaf ears.”

The man looked at the turtle and the hare and replied, “alas, you are my madness, you do not know me.”

Farcry 3 is all about insanity, loss and trying to find yourself. As Jason Brody, you are thrown down the proverbial rabbit hole and in the midst of the bloody playground you find there, reality starts to crumble. Alliances to friends and loved ones are tested and a character that is very much a spoilt brat learns what it means to take control of his life. Take away the gameplay and there is a vibrant story underneath that really dug its claws into me.

Thankfully, story themes interwoven into the gameplay never derail what is a fun, action packed first person sand box game. Taking the first few steps into the island you soon realise that there are many opportunities to be had, and that simply picking a direction and walking can yield an adventure. Along with every collectible and side mission giving much needed experience to make Jason a better survivor, it has all the ingredients to be a highly addictive game.

Yet while I’m in total awe of this game and loved every minute I spent playing it, it’s far from a crowning jewel. Farcry 3 deals with many issues and ideas, yet never delves too far into their depths - it’s a lot more fun to burn a marijuana farm to the ground with a flame thrower than contemplate the societal reason behind the farms’ existence. Story wise we are also kept on a very linear path and are never given a real choice in what to do. Instead we are asked to go along with Jason’s journey, albeit a very fun journey.

Shoot the bad guys, buy some fish for dinner.
Visually the island is a lush playground that does house different environments that still hold together as a collective whole. Also while not completely over flowing with inhabitants there is a sense that this island is alive. Numerous times I saw animals tracking each other down or fleeing for their lives without giving any attention to me. It was like a mini story was happening that had nothing to do with me.

I was over the moon with last years Dishonoured, but I think in retrospect Farcry 3 probably pipped it at the finish line. It’s not the greatest game in the world, the story would have to be a lot more closely tied to the gameplay, but it deserves a place in anyone’s top ten of 2012. If this is what the future of the Farcry franchise is then sign me up because I’m ready for more.

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