I admit that I almost never play a first person shooter just for the story—after the install is complete, I immediately hop into multiplayer mode and start fragging some noobs online. With Far Cry 3, however, I decided to take a different approach and played in story mode to assess the first person shooter genre not only from a different perspective, but to find out whether first person shooters can also have the engaging storyline that tends to be more prevalent in action/adventure and role playing games.
Far Cry 3 is set in the Rook Islands, which are said to be at the intersection of the Indian and Paci c Oceans, and the player character, Jason Brody, is on vacation with his friends. They decide to go skydiving and end up on different parts of the territory, and are taken prisoner by Vaas, one of the game’s antagonists. Jason escapes captivity and ends up having to save his friends while, at the same time, helping the Rakyat—inhabitants of the island—reclaim their territory from Vaas and his employer Hoyt Volker. In the process, Jason becomes a sort of hero to the Rakyat, gaining tattoos every time he learns an ability. Jason is able to level up and learn abilities as you gain experience from killing enemies and completing missions. Along with the story missions, you can do “Path of the Hunter” missions, where you have to find and kill a certain animal with the additional challenge of using only a certain weapon, which helps the player learn how to use the different tools the game gives you. There are also “Wanted” missions, where you have to kill certain human targets, also with the additional challenge of only using your knife, so trigger-happy players will be forced to use stealth tactics to take out enemies. “Supply Drops” are basically courier missions—you have to deliver something to a destination within a set time limit. Then there are side-missions—those that are not part of the story line, but can also be done for experience. You can also gain more experience than you would from a normal kill if you dispatch an enemy a certain way—for example, headshots are worth 2.5 times more experience.
Skills fall into three trees: the Heron, which specializes in long range takedowns and mobility—great if you’re a sniper. The Shark is for those who like to burst in with guns blazing, and it specializes in assault takedowns and healing. The Spider is for people who want to be a little more discreet, and specializes in stealth takedowns and survival. It is possible to gain every skill in the game, but it will take a while to do so. If you’re aiming for 100% completion, gaining every skill in the game will help.
Your in-game arsenal includes handguns, shotguns, submachine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and rocket launchers, along with special weapons such as the flamethrower and the crossbow, and melee weapons including a machete and even a Japanese tanto. All the guns can be customized, and some guns can be used even in certain situations where guns usually aren’t usable. The Skorpion, for example, can still be red while on a zipline.
Fans of online play will be pleased to know that there is also a co-op mode, where you can team up with friends to achieve mission objectives, such as
surviving waves of enemies, while using booster shots and battle cries to increase your health, accuracy and speed. In the regular multiplayer mode,
there’s your basic Team Deathmatch mode, which involves killing all the players on the other team, and Domination mode, where you have to work to secure certain points on the map. Unique to Far Cry 3, however, are Transmission and Firestorm modes, which are also similar to Domination, but with a twist. Transmission mode requires you to capture radio towers that will sometimes change positions. On Firestorm mode, each team has to set re to fuel dumps held by the other team, while defending their own. You then have to fight over a radio control point to win, while not getting caught in the res, making it a lot more di cult than your traditional Team Deathmatch or Domination modes. Players can also unlock encrypted data in multiplayer to gain new bonuses and perks, but the process is rather long and irritating, which is the last thing players of first person shooters want to encounter in such a game.
For people familiar with sandbox games such as Minecraft, Far Cry 3 also has a level editor, so you can create your own maps and scenarios. For those who like to dabble in programming, the level editor can give you a chance to test out your skills, and even if you don’t dabble in programming, you can use it just to mess around.
Far Cry 3 was interesting to look at from a single-player perspective, and from someone that just dives into multiplayer modes and starts trying to rack up as many frags as possible, that’s saying quite a bit. The storyline keeps you at the edge of your seat, making you wonder what will happen next. With a big world to explore, and with a combination of shoot-em-up that makes one reminisce about Doom and the stealthiness of games such as Metal Gear Solid, Far Cry 3 is an interesting specimen that throws some features of other genres into one that people only get for multiplayer action.
First published in Gadgets Magazine 2013
Words by Jose Alvarez