The Many (Minor) Missteps of Far Cry 3

Posted by whatisdelicious (1215 posts) -

Guys, I'm hooked on Far Cry 3. Seriously, somebody pull me away from this thing. I've beaten the story, cleared out all the outposts, and collected all the relics, letters, and memory cards. And now I'm considering starting it all over again because there's no one left to kill.

But when you spend this much time with a game, you really start to notice all the minor flaws. After spending dozens of hours running, swimming, gliding, spelunking, and parachuting over every inch of Rook Island, I'm starting to notice the seams.

Even great games have little niggling issues, and this one is no different. They don't detract significantly from the overall experience, but they're there nonetheless. Here are all the things that have been bugging me while playing Far Cry 3.

Constant Notifications

Every time you pick up a relic. Every time you pick up a letter. Every time you pick up a memory card. Every time you fill up your loot rucksack. Every time you get a skill point. Every time there's a new objective. Every time you harvest a new plant. Every time you skin a new animal. Every time you meet a new person. Every time you go to a new location, drive a new vehicle, or use a new weapon.

Far Cry 3 is always bugging you to read something, manage something, or spend something, and it all totally breaks the flow. I don't care about the description of a bear while it's mauling me. I don't care about the description of a hibiscus flower when I'm just trying to make a healing syringe in the middle of a firefight. And good lord, I don't care about the descriptions of any of the relics ever because they're all the same description.

There's no option to turn any of it off (yet) so for right now, you'll just have to endure all the nagging pop-ups.

Mountain Climbing

How am I even supposed to scale this? I'll tell you how: by going all the way around and finding the developer-designated pathway up. Sometimes you can finesse your way up by continually sprinting and jumping, but it feels really clunky and you might end up sliding all the way down to the bottom.

For a game that gives you easy access to cars, ATVs, jet skis, hang gliders, infinite parachutes, and eventually a badass wingsuit, it feels a little prudish that you don't just have a grappling hook or some climbing pickaxes.

Context-Sensitive Buttons

In the middle of a chaotic firefight, this can mean a swift (and frustrating) death. Sometimes, when I'm low on health and I start holding triangle, the game thinks I'm trying to switch weapons. Sometimes, it decides that I didn't actually want it to do anything at all, that I just wanted it to know I'm still here. But no, game, I'm trying to hurry up and start the long heal animation so I don't die.

It's even worse in co-op and multiplayer where you'll launch into a reload animation instead of reviving a downed teammate and end up dying yourself as you just stand there over your friend like an idiot, reloading.

Lack Of Healing Options

In Far Cry 3, you heal yourself with medical syringes you craft from specific green plants you can harvest around the island. If you don't have any syringes, you'll launch into a painful-looking animation like the one above.

Now, when I'm embroiled in a hectic shootout with a dozen guys and a tiger on a burning hilltop, I don't mind burning one of my syringes to heal quickly and get back in the game. But when I'm alone and safe and have plenty of time for a long animation, I shouldn't have to waste a syringe.

For whatever reason, the medical syringes are the only type mapped to a face button instead of to a customizable spot on the directional pad. Two spots are reserved for your camera and for rocks. If I want to, I should have the option to swap one of them out for a medical syringe, which would make healing in a pinch easier and would allow me to heal manually outside of combat.

The Frame Rate

I'm playing the PlayStation 3 version of Far Cry 3, and for as fun and engaging as it is, it's not so hot on the technical side. After you've seen how gorgeous and smooth the PC version is, it's hard to look at the console versions the same way.

I can deal with a game having a paltry presentation because it needed to simplify geometry and remove effects to maintain a smooth frame rate, but Far Cry 3 on consoles doesn't have a smooth frame rate. Mind you, it's not nearly as bad as the atrocious Assassin's Creed III, but it still holds the game back.

Far Cry 3 makes some pretty major missteps too, and I'll be covering those as well, but these minor ones are what stick with me because they're always there. It's unfortunate that the game has these little flaws here and there, but it's still a fantastic experience overall.

#1 Posted by whatisdelicious (1215 posts) -

Guys, I'm hooked on Far Cry 3. Seriously, somebody pull me away from this thing. I've beaten the story, cleared out all the outposts, and collected all the relics, letters, and memory cards. And now I'm considering starting it all over again because there's no one left to kill.

But when you spend this much time with a game, you really start to notice all the minor flaws. After spending dozens of hours running, swimming, gliding, spelunking, and parachuting over every inch of Rook Island, I'm starting to notice the seams.

Even great games have little niggling issues, and this one is no different. They don't detract significantly from the overall experience, but they're there nonetheless. Here are all the things that have been bugging me while playing Far Cry 3.

Constant Notifications

Every time you pick up a relic. Every time you pick up a letter. Every time you pick up a memory card. Every time you fill up your loot rucksack. Every time you get a skill point. Every time there's a new objective. Every time you harvest a new plant. Every time you skin a new animal. Every time you meet a new person. Every time you go to a new location, drive a new vehicle, or use a new weapon.

Far Cry 3 is always bugging you to read something, manage something, or spend something, and it all totally breaks the flow. I don't care about the description of a bear while it's mauling me. I don't care about the description of a hibiscus flower when I'm just trying to make a healing syringe in the middle of a firefight. And good lord, I don't care about the descriptions of any of the relics ever because they're all the same description.

There's no option to turn any of it off (yet) so for right now, you'll just have to endure all the nagging pop-ups.

Mountain Climbing

How am I even supposed to scale this? I'll tell you how: by going all the way around and finding the developer-designated pathway up. Sometimes you can finesse your way up by continually sprinting and jumping, but it feels really clunky and you might end up sliding all the way down to the bottom.

For a game that gives you easy access to cars, ATVs, jet skis, hang gliders, infinite parachutes, and eventually a badass wingsuit, it feels a little prudish that you don't just have a grappling hook or some climbing pickaxes.

Context-Sensitive Buttons

In the middle of a chaotic firefight, this can mean a swift (and frustrating) death. Sometimes, when I'm low on health and I start holding triangle, the game thinks I'm trying to switch weapons. Sometimes, it decides that I didn't actually want it to do anything at all, that I just wanted it to know I'm still here. But no, game, I'm trying to hurry up and start the long heal animation so I don't die.

It's even worse in co-op and multiplayer where you'll launch into a reload animation instead of reviving a downed teammate and end up dying yourself as you just stand there over your friend like an idiot, reloading.

Lack Of Healing Options

In Far Cry 3, you heal yourself with medical syringes you craft from specific green plants you can harvest around the island. If you don't have any syringes, you'll launch into a painful-looking animation like the one above.

Now, when I'm embroiled in a hectic shootout with a dozen guys and a tiger on a burning hilltop, I don't mind burning one of my syringes to heal quickly and get back in the game. But when I'm alone and safe and have plenty of time for a long animation, I shouldn't have to waste a syringe.

For whatever reason, the medical syringes are the only type mapped to a face button instead of to a customizable spot on the directional pad. Two spots are reserved for your camera and for rocks. If I want to, I should have the option to swap one of them out for a medical syringe, which would make healing in a pinch easier and would allow me to heal manually outside of combat.

The Frame Rate

I'm playing the PlayStation 3 version of Far Cry 3, and for as fun and engaging as it is, it's not so hot on the technical side. After you've seen how gorgeous and smooth the PC version is, it's hard to look at the console versions the same way.

I can deal with a game having a paltry presentation because it needed to simplify geometry and remove effects to maintain a smooth frame rate, but Far Cry 3 on consoles doesn't have a smooth frame rate. Mind you, it's not nearly as bad as the atrocious Assassin's Creed III, but it still holds the game back.

Far Cry 3 makes some pretty major missteps too, and I'll be covering those as well, but these minor ones are what stick with me because they're always there. It's unfortunate that the game has these little flaws here and there, but it's still a fantastic experience overall.

#2 Posted by DeathByWaffle (633 posts) -

I agree with all of these. I burned many syringes when I was not even in fights, it was really annoying. The frame rate is really dodgy on the 360 as well, but by the time I was a decent amount of the way through the game I had stopped noticing. Mountain climbing was also a total bitch. Still, I love this game and it was one of my favorite games of the year.

#3 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1730 posts) -

I agree with all of this. There are some other UI features that really get in the way, too. The radial menu is very unresponsive at times and ends up choosing one of the throwables or C4/mines when I'm trying to choose a different gun, even when I'm very clearly pressing directly up, down or to the sides on the stick. Also, having only two slots for quick mapping items to the d-pad is utterly pointless. Out of all the different syringes and the two special arrow types, they only let you equip two of those things at once. Switching arrows should've been mapped to another button entirely. As someone who liked to use the bow almost all the time, it was a pain in the ass switching arrows when I had syringes mapped instead. However, late in the game I realized that most of the syringes are totally worthless and that it would just be easier to fill both slots with the arrows.
 
Even still, hell of a game.

#4 Posted by whatisdelicious (1215 posts) -

@OneKillWonder_: Yeah, seriously, that was why I rarely used the different kinds of arrows or syringes. I'd use them in very specific scenarios and it was really awkward having to literally pause the game, craft one, equip it in the start menu, then go back to the game. I get that rocks and the camera are both super useful, but I bet there are plenty of people that either didn't want to stealth it (and therefore didn't need rocks) or didn't want to tag people with the camera. Kirk Hamilton over at Kotaku had a pretty great article about why you should turn the HUD off (if you're on PC and can mod it) and I'll bet he didn't tag people while doing that. But yes, still, fucking awesome game.

#5 Posted by hbkdx12 (779 posts) -

I didn't mind the notifications. I actually found them quite useful when it came to crafting and skinning as i would pretty much skin whatever animal i killed, so it was nice that it would pop up and tell me when i could craft a new holster or whatever
 
I find the mountain thing to be a bit annoying but its more or less a problem with all video games so it's easy to give it a pass. Plus its' easy to distinguish what's scalable and what isn't. 
 
The context sensitive stuff is a bit annoying. It's a minor nuisance when i try to loot a body only to end up switching guns but it's really aggravating when i'm in a firefight and i hold triangle to heal and the action doesn't take/kick in and i end up dying. This happens quite often and it's really aggravating. Health syringes should act as a "tap to use"  as oppose to hold or you should be able to assign it like regular syringes as a quick select. I agree with the dichotomy of being able to use syringes or seeing the self healing animations. I've seen maybe 2 of them and i find them cool but i'm too paranoid (and money and green leaves are too abundent) for me to not have any health syringes so i'll probably never see them which is a shame.
 
As someone else mentioned, the weapon wheel and directional quick select is just abysmal. The weapon wheel issue could be easily rectified if tapping triangle cycled through all your weapons as oppose to just 2. You can only hold a maximum of 4, why not just let us tap triangle to be able to just quickly cycle through them? Seems like a silly oversight. 
 
The quick select just seems stupid that it ultimately limits you to two slots. As handy as the camera and rock is, we should be free to swamp them or for anything else. 
 
Also, since the camera is contextually useless outside of tagging enemies, i should be able to swamp to a weapon or whatever else, without having to holster the camera. So many times i find myself tagging a group of enemies and then pressing triangle to bring up my last gun or something and nothing happens. Hate that.

#6 Posted by whatisdelicious (1215 posts) -

@hbkdx12: The only time I liked notifications were when it was telling me I could make something, though usually I already knew I could make that thing; it just cuts out a step in navigating the menus.

You should try going without the syringes for a while. I actually really like going into battle without them because it makes it feel more real in a way. If I get hurt too badly, I need to figure out a way to take a long enough breather that I can rip out a piece of shrapnel or tear out a bullet. Sometimes I have to do it while people are shooting at me. The problem I run into is just when the button doesn't work. That's super frustrating.

As for the camera, the whole thing seems dumb anyway. Have it be an optional thing, and let me just tap select to tag guys with a normal gun like in Battlefield or even in Far Cry 3's multiplayer modes. There's no reason to burn a slot just to let me reliably tag guys when I could just do it with my gun. Sometimes it auto-tags guys when you're aiming at them anyway.

#7 Posted by rahulricky (212 posts) -

fully agree with all of the complaints here, but it's also worth saying that I wouldn't have noticed most of them if the game wasn't so good that I wanted to spend hours upon hours in Rook Island!

#8 Posted by SharkEthic (1043 posts) -

Most annoying thing here is the mountain climbing. I'm a motherfucking sniper, just let me get to my vantage point without going on a 2 hour trek!

#9 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5820 posts) -

The thing that annoyed me the most were the notifications that popped up when you found a relic. All of them had essentially the same description, I'm not sure why it was so important to make you read it each time you found one.

#10 Posted by whatisdelicious (1215 posts) -

@FancySoapsMan: Yep, those relic notifications were the ones that inspired me to write this. It just makes no sense to bug me to read it each time when there are three descriptions total for like 100 items.

#11 Posted by Stealthmaster86 (650 posts) -

I said this once, and I shall say it again. No Carry Over. I wish I can transfer my gear, weapons, and skills to a new game. This should be the Norm by now.

#12 Posted by Andorski (5290 posts) -

About climbing: I thought they did a pretty good job of giving you visual hints on what was and what wasn't a climbable part of the mountain without breaking immersion. Patches of grass was a great indicator of more horizontal parts of the slope. Seeing this allowed me to determine if that particular side of the mountain could be traversed with one good look.

#13 Posted by Vinny_Says (5700 posts) -

Once you level up, you never ever need syringes again. No matter what you'll heal all your health by popping you thumb or some shit.

As for the rest....one step at a time. They had so many issues to fix from far cry 2 and they went above and beyond (I like Far Cry 2 btw). I'm sure we will get NG+, mountain climbing, better UI, better skill trees, better AI routines, better frame rate (new consoles amirite?) and more once the next far cry comes out. Right now I can only give them props for how they improved the series. If they learn nothing in FC4 then I'll have this conversation.

#14 Edited by Capum15 (4884 posts) -

I agree with the mountain climbing, probably just because I'm used to Skyrim. I never really noticed the notifications after playing for a while, and medical syringes get so insanely easy to come by (whether you make or buy them) that it's never bothered me much. I do agree that it would be nice to do the no-syringe heal when you're out of combat, though. I do dislike how you have to be in specific spots to loot dudes or skin animals, and sometimes the game just really wants you to pick up his gun instead.
@Andorski said:

About climbing: I thought they did a pretty good job of giving you visual hints on what was and what wasn't a climbable part of the mountain without breaking immersion. Patches of grass was a great indicator of more horizontal parts of the slope. Seeing this allowed me to determine if that particular side of the mountain could be traversed with one good look.

I noticed that too, but sometimes the "non-climbable" part on it is low enough that I attempt to try anyways.

And New Game+ should be a thing.

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