Sometimes in gaming we get the opportunity to fix the error of our ways.
Sometimes we can see the future and can course-correct just in time to avoid falling into the same trap twice.
Well, listen up fellow gamers, for I am concerned we may risk one of these opportunities if we are not fully prepared.
But let’s start from the beginning. Read on fellow shootist for there is a point to all this… promise.
Far Cry was a divisive game. A lot of gamers liked it and a lot of others didn’t. We were right. Both sets of gamers were right.
In some ways the first Far Cry was amazing. Those ways would mainly be visual. It was indeed a sumptuous treat for the eyes and certainly the leading game of it’s time in regards to textures and lighting and all that good technical stuff. A true trailblazer that defined what was to follow and for that each and every one of us owes it a significant debt of gratitude.
In some ways the first Far Cry was actually pretty mediocre. I’m thinking mainly enemy AI and the majority of the game featuring that “trying a bit too hard” pseudo-spooky Scooby Doo-esque mutant nonsense. And not to kick something when it’s down but that voice acting… really? Oh and the overly brutal difficulty at later stages. And don’t start me on the risible “plot”.
Anyway, the purpose of the piece is not to attack Far Cry. I bought it, I played it, and I really enjoyed it. The purpose here demands I move swiftly on to the next game in the series.
Far Cry 2, you see, was… a… divisive game. Some gamers loved it and some hated it. We were right again, every single one of us.
In many ways Far Cry 2 was awesome, gone was the linearity, the Disney colour scheme, and the lush tropical setting yes, but in it’s place came one of the best realised visions of an open-world Africa ever delivered by a game. One has to note that whilst the mighty Crytek developed the first Far Cry ostensibly as a demo of their their awesome CryEngine this sequel was moved to the far less well know Dunia engine, at the time this seemed like suicide, but it worked. It really worked. Not only did it work, it excelled in some areas, mainly areas I love; Open-world gameplay, physics realism, weapon degradation, treasure hunting, a “peril” mechanic (in this case constantly needing malaria medicine), and my favourite of all; “living” fire which could spread, sometimes over large areas, to great effect.
In many ways Far Cry 2 was a let down. Firstly it should never have been called “Far Cry” anything. Completely different setting, character, engine, developer and pacing. It’s actually pretty hard to think of ANY reason why the words “Far Cry” were used in it’s title at all. This is probably it’s only major flaw. It created a totally confused expectation about what it would be from which it very nearly didn’t recover. A shame, because if you ignore the title, and any connection to the previous game, it’s actually a really good game.
Anyway, as I’ve said, I enjoyed both games in completely different ways and, frankly I just kinda wished they had combined the best bits of both games, you know; an open world tropical island shooter with brains and increased character progression / development, ooooh and a bit of cracking co-op and multi-player wouldn’t hurt either while they were at it…
Well, guess what me? It’s your / my lucky day! It’s Far Cry 3 time!!
The reason I tremble with excitement at the thought of this is that Ubisoft have clearly peered into my brain (not something I’d normally welcome) and designed exactly what I was wishing for (something I obviously do enjoy!).
Let’s look at some facts; Firstly it looks awesome and it’s set on a lush but remote tropical island. Secondly it takes place in an open world (across multiple islands no less!) which is purportedly ten times larger than that even of Far Cry 2! Thirdly it features a number of very interesting looking character progression mechanics (including not just experience points and a skill tree but also a crafting system!). Fourthly it has a strong stealth play option with silent takedowns and strategic movement (including the ability to photograph stuff in advance and plan stuff and everything!). Fifthly (sorry!) it’s not only got multi-player, but we’re also talking a dedicated up to 4-player co-op campaign. Now, if we review my wish-list, guess what? It’s a full house!
So, all in all, put aside your concerns and assumptions about what Far Cry 3 is / will be and just join me in being very excited about it. It seems to me this will be what everyone expected the sequel to the original Far Cry to be, but with the benefit of all the good things learnt during Far Cry 2’s development, and subsequent post-release feedback.
I leave you with my favourite Far Cry 3 video so far, directly from Ubisoft, for you to enjoy and immerse yourself in. If you’re not excited about this release having both read this and watched it I have failed not only in my goal, but also you personally my fellow gamer!
Of course we’ll bring you the full (spoiler free, of course) lowdown on this just as soon as we’ve got our hands on previews / demos / the game itself. So keep ‘um peeled for more updates about Far Cry 3 and possibly, if we’re all very good boys and girls, one of our epic newbreview.com, live-streamed, 4-player, 24-hour, co-op run-throughs much closer to launch!
- Richard “Rax” Burley