Far Cry 2 was a bold attempt at making an open-world FPS that was ultimately hamstrung by being too sparse and too badly-designed to be much fun at all. Far Cry 3 is a similarly open title, but one that looks to be drawing inspiration from publisher Ubisoft’s current biggest franchise, Assassin’s Creed. As soon as you climb a radio tower to reveal a section of the map, see the camera swing out to reveal the new area, and then zipline back down to the ground, it’s clear that pacing and design have been set by Altair, Ezio and their extended family. It’s probably no bad thing – Far Cry 2 was very much form before gameplay, and the Assassin’s Creed series has proved that it can keep people coming back for more.
Once you know where you’re going, you’re free to interact with the various crazy residents of the island. There are missions like time trial medicine drops and hunting for wildlife, but the meat of an FPS is always in the combat. Far Cry 3 seems pretty strong here, with punchy weapons and a stealth system that works – a world away from the hyperattentive bullet sponges you were up against previously. You can capture bases to use as ammo dumps and fast travel points – again, another touch lifted from Assassin’s Creed. There’s plenty of variety in getting around, too. In the 20 minutes or so that I played, I used jeeps, quad bikes, hang gliders, lost my car, saw a passer-by be dragged underwater by a crocodile (and subsequently shoot high into the air in what I hope was a physics bug and not just a basic failure to understand what crocodiles are) – the world feels much fuller and much more set up or fun rather than realism this time around.
Far Cry 3 seems much more like the open-world playground the second game was meant to be. There were some unpolished bits that I say – graphical glitches were apparent, but hopefully these will be ironed out before release. Far Cry 3 does little that’s revolutionary, but a lot that’s fun. It looks as though Ubisoft have the series back on track this time.
Version tested: PC