Have I ever told you the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
The junior entry in the Far Cry series, Ubisoft’s sophomore release, is about a group of complete frat-bros and gals who, as Americans are wont to do, go on some basically xenophiliac vacation to the middle of fuck-knows-where Pacific Ocean, to do what Americans obviously can’t do in America – what they want. Like gratuitous amounts of drugs, drinking and fucking around in public.
Unexpectedly their journey takes a turn for the worst, as they are captured by pirates and smugglers and overall just totally criminal guys. Who would think such a thing could ever happen in the South Pacific or whathaveyou? Everyone. Everyone would think that, actually, assuming they’ve ever seen the news even once in their adult lives. It’s almost racist in a subtle way – going on an “exotic” vacation to the nether regions of the world as if the people there are special because they’re “new”. Maybe not, who knows. Racists, they would know.
Thus after being captured, everything goes to shit and the protagonist has to escape and rescue his friends. At which point he decides, after all the trauma he and his friends and family have already suffered through in this journey, nah – fuck it. I’m going to stay here a while longer. Again – I can do things here, like shoot everything that exists. Besides, just saving his peeps isn’t enough. He needs some revenge. Some pirates must die.
Jason Brody, the protagonist – his name even has bro in it – gets a tribal tattoo of some sort on his arm before the shit hits the fan. It turns out, this tattoo is magic, given to him by the locals. In combination with the portrayal of some characters – which is a result of game design and not intentional – this tattoo and everything else have led to the “community” labelling the game as racist. Kotaku told them to, because oh my god the games story is just “the magical negro trope” !
Just as any other game ever made would do, Far Cry 3 has a lot of NPCs. A lot of NPCs who will give you quests to do because that’s literally the only reason NPCs exist in a game. Their only other function is to provide immersion, and developers fail more often than not when they try to use NPCs to do so, as you can see in instances like Imperial City in Elder Scrolls 4, the decorative NPCs who crowd the streets in Witcher 2, 3, GTA3, Vice City, San Andreas, 4, and 5, just to name a few. So these people, at Kotaku and elsewhere, posit that Far Cry 3 is somehow uniquely racist because the protagonist is tasked with doing basic chores for NPCs who are otherwise incapable. Yes. They are incapable, because they’re fucking NPCs, and without their existence to give you quests, the game would have no content.
Far Cry 3 upholds the series traditions of exploration, item collection, killing wildlife for the hell of it, and exploring a beautiful open world that you can wreck with your weapons and shenanigans. Flamethrowers and molotov cocktails will set entire fields ablaze, as will exploding vehicles. You can fly around the islands in a wingsuit like an action movie, or take a more traditional route by using a hang glider. If the water if your thing, you can jetski around the islands or swim. And of course, you can drive the various ATVs and motor vehicles around.
While some of the more hardcore mechanics from Far Cry 2 are missing in action – like dying from malaria or the fact that you can’t ever clear out an outpost permanently – this entry in the series does a fairly good job at maintaining difficulty while still being enjoyable. As for realism, no. There’s none of that here. In a game where you can literally pull a bullet out of your arm, or unbreak your own finger while running away from the guys shooting you, I don’t think realism was a word ever mentioned even once around the Ubisoft offices.
In addition to the existing gameplay one would expect from a Far Cry title, Ubisoft controversially added a lot of game mechanics from their other games. Collectibles, crafting, stealth mechanics, and an upgrade system that changes your sprawling arm tattoo are all standard here.
Far Cry 3 also has a co-op campaign that spans four chapters, where four people can play together online or locally, although only two can play on the same screen. The cooperative campaign is roughly six hours long and a totally separate story from the main game, although it takes place on the same islands. Generally it involves a lot of shooting and escorting, and completing some fetch type objectives.