I’ll come out and say it right now – I really didn’t enjoy Far Cry 2. It’s not that I didn’t give it a chance – I kind of missed the boat on the original, so I thought I’d get stuck into the series with the newest entry and bought the special edition with the wooden box and flask and everything. I just didn’t enjoy an open world game where simply driving from point A to B would see you rammed off the road at least three times, by gangs who really shouldn’t hate you as much as they did. With that qualifier in place, I have to admit that the demo I played of Far Cry 3 at E3 this year was really fun, and it’s made me look forward to the final product.
The underlying theme of Far Cry 3 is very clearly insanity. The apparent antagonist, Vaas, has already been seen in one trailer giving a speech about the nature of insanity, and at various points in the demo he took advantage of player character Jason to mess with his mind. In one room, a pile of TVs not unlike something you’d find in Arkham Asylum showed an image of Vaas, surrounded by crazy graffiti. This was shortly followed by a hallucination sequence where Jason has to traverse some pretty trippy imagery, including seeing a man (possibly himself) holding a gun to his head.
The actual gameplay of Far Cry 3 is not quite as insane as the story, but it is very fun. Taking place on a tropical island similar to the first game, there are numerous ways to approach any situation you find yourself in. My demo started on top of a cliff, overlooking a hut near the water, guarded by some nasty looking fellows holding a lady captive. The big new weapon that every game this year has, as well as Far Cry 3, is the crossbow, so that’s what I decided to use out of sheer desire to look just like Jeremy Renner in that low-budget indie film that made a little money at the box office lately.
Obviously, one of the unique things about a crossbow are the different kinds of arrow heads you can use, so I immediately set about using flaming heads and setting fire to as much of the cabin and jungle as possible, killing the enemies and possibly also the captive as well. Whatever, moving on. Eventually, I came to an outpost-area that appeared to be controlled by the island’s hostile inhabitants. This next section played out a little more like a standard shooter, as the bad guys were alerted to my presence and I had to fight my way through them.
Far Cry 3 is very graphically impressive, one of the series’ trademarks, but it’s the animation that really sells the experience. Launching myself from a balcony onto a raised walkway underneath, I just barely missed the jump. However, in first person view Jason realistically caught onto the ledge, pulled himself up somewhat shakily then rose to his feet to allow me to keep fighting.
Using a mix of arrows and bullets, I managed to get through most of the crazies, before finally reaching a sub-boss of sorts with a flamethrower. A few well-placed specialty arrows were enough to sort him out before getting access to his flamethrower for my own twisted uses. This may all sound like a pretty standard experience for a first person shooter, but that doesn’t stop Far Cry 3 from feeling fun and fast-paced.
The demo was short, but it was enough of a glimpse into Far Cry 3 to tell me that the finished product should be a very fun experience. The impressive visuals, fun gunplay and cool surreal focus on insanity are all things that make this game stand out from the crowd, and it’s definitely worth watching out for, come September.