Open world shooters can be an incredibly testing genre to nail for some developers. Far Cry and its follow-up were both admirably crafted examples of what was possible with a little thought and a lot of work: easy on the eye and boasting a nifty game engine and some solid gameplay structure.
Enter Far Cry 3, Ubisoft Montreal’s second stab at the series since taking over from Crytek in 2008, which has somehow managed to elevate the genre to stratospheric new heights. In fact, this writer would be so bold as to suggest you’re unlikely to find a finer example of the genre this generation.
Set on the fictitious Rook Island, the game thrusts you headfirst into a deliciously dark and twisted world populated with lush foliage, hostile wildlife, random acts of violence and one of the most unbelievably convincing digital villains of Generation Xbox, Vaas Montenegro. Ubisoft Montreal’s über-villain is a truly horrible bastard, a wondrously crafted maniacal character with a penchant for delivering skin-crawling monologues on the nature of insanity before committing stomach-churning atrocities against fellow islanders. Exploring the island as American student turned survivalist, Jason Brody, you’ll have to eradicate Vaas’ soldiers, liberate the island and seek vengeance for the death of your Army-trained brother who is mercilessly gunned down at the outset of this deftly woven tale.
As with any open-world title Ubisoft Montreal encourages to veer off the beaten track and explore Rook Island’s extraordinarily realised world, in order to gain additional XP and unlock the myriad of side stories Far Cry 3 has on offer. Throw in four-player co-op and a handful of pleasing multiplayer modes, and you’ve got yourself a real contender for 2012’s Game of the Year.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson