Far Cry 3 feels like a rough draft of the Ubsioft formula and I didn't really enjoy my time with it.

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bigsocrates

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Edited By bigsocrates

My experience with the Far Cry series has been pretty limited. I played a tiny bit of Far Cry Instincts Predator on the 360, then a little more of Far Cry 2, and then most of Far Cry Primal. I have no real memory of Instincts, I sort of enjoyed 2 but ultimately found it too frustrating to get very far in, and I really enjoyed Primal’s unique setting and set of weapons but tired of its mission design and storytelling.

The reason I never played Far Cry 3, arguably the series’ critical zenith if you consider the quality of the games at the time they were released, is that the 360 port was said to be bad and I didn’t have a PC that could run it. I assumed it would get a port to the 8th gen consoles, but that didn’t end up happening until May 2018, with the release of Far Cry 3 classic edition. That was the version of the game I played, and I note that because some of my issues may relate to it being a sloppy port. It definitely has some bugs and technical issues, including a “water on camera” effect that persisted a few times well after I passed through a waterfall, quest markers that stayed on my minimap after quests were completed, some physics bugs, and other stuff like that. One of my main complaints is that holding the Y button to heal or put out fire often felt very unresponsive. If you caught on fire and pressed the Y button to early you might heal or you might do nothing, and in general the game seemed to ignore the heal command quite often, leading to frustrating deaths. I’ve read that this existed in the original game and I think that it might relate to your character’s animations (basically if your character is animating in some way, such as falling or vaulting over something, when you press the heal it won’t queue up the action even if you hold the button) but since this is a first person game it’s not always possible to tell when there’s some animation playing if you don’t see your body doing it. Whatever the issue it was frustrating and annoying but not gamebreaking.

The writers of this game think you're pretty stupid and they have to spell out the game's themes for you. Jason's girlfriend is one of the most relatable characters in the game but you spend almost no time with her.
The writers of this game think you're pretty stupid and they have to spell out the game's themes for you. Jason's girlfriend is one of the most relatable characters in the game but you spend almost no time with her.

I write that long preamble because I did not have a great time with Far Cry 3. The game starts with your character and his unlikable rich friends partying, in what turns out to be a video on your phone, replayed to you by your captors. You went skydiving on an island that’s apparently crawling with armed pirates and they’re holding you for ransom and intend to sell you into slavery. The whole slavery angle of the game is, frankly, ridiculous. Of course slavery still exists in the modern world, but this game postulates a slave trade where rich white people can not only be sold into slavery but sent as slaves to Western cities like New York. To the extent there is slavery in a place like New York it is of poor people without access to papers or the knowledge/language skills to access local help. You can’t sell rich white Americans as slaves for the Western world, and their value outside the Western world as slaves is rather limited as well. The game luridly hints at the sexual aspects of slavery but doesn’t get explicit about it because it doesn’t have the courage of its narrative convictions. It makes the topic feel both exploitative and pretty silly, which is not a great combination.

Of course this is a video game and it doesn’t need to be realistic, but the slavery stuff was just part of one of the major things that bothered me about this game, which is its complete disinterest in the actual inhabitants of the island. It cares about the troubles and tribulations of the white people, and everyone else is just backdrop. The game does have some characters who are island inhabitants but three of the major quest givers are all Americans of a sort and the characters who are not American are all truly awful in one way or another. Everyone in the game is stupid in a number of ways, the plot is full of coincidences and improbabilities, and I just did not care about anything that was happening. Even the game’s breakout character Vaas did not interest me. Getting captured over and over so that Vaas can monologue at me made me feel like I was playing an interactive movie where nothing I did actually mattered. Vaas’ repeated dumb attempts to kill Jason even after he knows what a dangerous threat Jason is just made him seem ineffectual and buffoonish, rather than formidable. You’re going to shoot your arch nemesis and throw him in a mass grave without even checking for blood or a pulse? Whatever happened to cutting your enemy’s head off and mounting it on the road as a warning to others? Do any of these villains even care about their craft?

Vaas actually does know how to kill people but he doesn't bother to actually do it to Jason no matter how many times he escapes a burning building or survives a gunshot wound to the torso. Sloppy!
Vaas actually does know how to kill people but he doesn't bother to actually do it to Jason no matter how many times he escapes a burning building or survives a gunshot wound to the torso. Sloppy!

Of course an open world shooter doesn’t need to have a good story to be a good game. Primal, with its characters who only have the rudiments of speech, barely even has a story. Looking at gameplay Far Cry 3 does fair much better than its clumsy attempts at storytelling. At first I was having a pretty good time. The tropical setting isn’t cutting edge anymore but it’s still attractive and at times even beautiful. Open world activities like hunting animals to upgrade your various carrying capacities, climbing towers to open up the map, and taking over outposts are all reasonably fun. I especially appreciated how after you cleared out an outpost the NPCs in the area would be friendly rather than enemies, which really made me feel like I was impacting the island in a way that most open world games don’t. The gunplay is mostly solid and progression is good at the outset of the game.

The cracks started showing before the game was half done though. There aren’t actually that many upgrades to hunt and even mostly going after targets of opportunity rather than seeking animals out I got all the upgrades that don’t require unique missions fairly easily. After that the animals just start being annoying. I know that there have been many words written about the Far Cry predators and their relentless assaults, QTE attacks, and ability to soak up bullets, but that doesn’t make it fun to be doing something and have a tiger maul you, attacking too quickly for you to heal up between and capable of shrugging off an entire clip of ammunition. It’s just irritating and frustrating. Also the driving in this game is awful. It reminded me of the terrible driving in Cyberpunk 2077, but without the motorcycles to make it tolerable. I never enjoy first person stealth and I didn’t enjoy it here (it’s too damned hard to keep track of where enemies are looking when you have such a limited field of view). The first person platforming is also pretty bad, especially on some of the later radio towers where you are expected to stay on tiny walkways that you can’t see your character’s feet to stay on or make difficult jumps with a jump button that suffers from the same inconsistency as the healing. I do enjoy first person platforming sometimes, but here it’s just annoying. Progression slows to a crawl later in the game and none of the late game guns feel like significant upgrades, while you can quickly have enough carrying capacity that you don’t need to worry about it if you make an effort to hunt the relevant animals when you’re close to them.

The base gunplay is good if unexceptional, but it's not enough to carry the game. I kind of wish some of the later game weapons had felt like significant upgrades to at least keep the fighting fresh, but they feel incremental at best.
The base gunplay is good if unexceptional, but it's not enough to carry the game. I kind of wish some of the later game weapons had felt like significant upgrades to at least keep the fighting fresh, but they feel incremental at best.

My biggest grip with Far Cry 3 wasn’t the general gameplay. It was the mission design. Ubisoft must employ the absolute worst mission designers of any major publisher. They’re just abysmal. The first few story missions are mostly okay as they introduce you to the game’s mechanics, but soon the game starts varying its story missions between hyper linear boring affairs and extremely frustrating difficulty spikes of one sort or another. There are a handful of missions in the game that stand out in a positive way (everyone talks up the mission where you burn the marijuana fields, and yeah, that was genuinely fun) but mostly they are either extremely forgettable or memorable for the wrong reasons. There’s a forced stealth mission where you steal an enemy uniform and I probably failed it a dozen times as the game gave me useless tool tips like “hide in the foliage” (it takes place in a cave with no plants) or “throw a rock to distract enemies” (this is the worst thing you can do in that mission; the actual winning strategy is just to wait around until the enemies wander off and you can easily sneak through.) I’m partly to blame for this because of my dislike of stealth and lack of patience, but the actual mission design is just “wait around for a bit while nothing happens and then the enemies will wander off” and that’s…extremely unfun. Thanks for designing a mission that even when played properly is a giant waste of time. Maybe if senior staff at Ubisoft spent more time listening to junior designers instead of abusing and sexually harassing them they could design fewer garbage tier quality missions. At the end of the uniform stealing mission a bad guy NPC encourages his henchmen to commit rape and then burns a nameless indigenous person alive to show what a cruel bastard he is, and it made the whole thing feel sordid, ugly, racist, and gross. The game’s final mission has a long turret section where you have to shoot RPG enemies who are so far away they’re smaller than ants and who can sometimes shoot you before they’re even within the turning radius of your gun. I got through this mission by memorizing the locations I had to shoot and it turned what was supposed to be a thrilling escape into a tedious chore, especially with the turret’s lack of accuracy at range. I could name a half dozen other missions I think are objectively bad.

Burning marijuana fields with a flamethrower is fun and different. Too bad it's one of the few standout missions.
Burning marijuana fields with a flamethrower is fun and different. Too bad it's one of the few standout missions.

It’s not just the mechanics of the missions that are annoying. There’s also a weird interlude where Far Cry 3 essentially becomes a first person Uncharted game except very mediocre. This drags on for like 20% of the game, where you’re raiding a bunch of ancient tombs, guarded by the same enemies you see in the rest of the game, solving some rudimentary puzzles, and doing even more bad platforming. The boss fights are mostly QTEs in backgrounds that are representative of your main character’s mental state rather than literal. I don’t think I actually know how many of the bosses died in the literal story of the game because what your character imagines he’s doing is different from what has actually happened. These kinds of weird digressions and hiding the literal reality make it hard to invest in the game’s plot in a meaningful way. I didn’t really like the story the game was telling, but the choices made in the missions that actually tell that story made it resonate even less for me.

This game can be pretty at times. At least you get a nice view from the towers that quickly become a pain to climb. The Remaster cleans up the graphics but it's pretty buggy in a lot of small but irritating ways.
This game can be pretty at times. At least you get a nice view from the towers that quickly become a pain to climb. The Remaster cleans up the graphics but it's pretty buggy in a lot of small but irritating ways.

Part of why I didn’t like Far Cry definitely comes down to how many Ubisoft formula games I’ve played, especially in the last few years. I’ve played all three Watch_Dogs games, every formulaic Assassin’s Creed title, and I even finished the much maligned but actually not that bad Immortals: Fenix Rising whose name I absolutely had to look up because it’s so generic. Far Cry 3 does a lot of the same things as those games but it lacks Watch_Dogs hacking gimmicks, Assassin’s Creed’s strong settings and twists on the formula (like the pirate stuff in AC IV or the gang stuff in Syndicate) or Immortal’s puzzle dungeons and exploration. Instead it has solid but unspectacular gun play and terrible platforming. Maybe at the time the formula felt a bit fresher (though this was not the first game to employ it) or the performances stood out more than they do today. Regardless, while I had intermittent fun with Far Cry 3 I can’t say that I enjoyed the game overall, and there were times when I even hated it. I’ll probably keep exploring the series to see if any of the later games resonate with me more, but for a game I was really anticipating this one felt like it brought nothing new to the table except the experience of watching a tiger shrug off enough ammo to take out a whole base of humans.

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sombre

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The game goes from a five to a two once Vaas dies

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Topcyclist

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#2  Edited By Topcyclist

@bigsocrates: I wish more people read this...Far Cry was never this amazing narrative it was always silly, yet somehow, now 5 made it bad or 6, etc. Vas was only in it for like 20 minutes in a 30-hour game and everyone says he's soooo good. He's cool just let's not forget he's cool cause he looks cool and the voice actor got great lines, he was not some unbelievable well-done villain. Plus people forget the opening act and how the kids were...kids. The bad ending version where you sleep with some woman etc. Far cry is still fun and mostly cause i love stealth and the let you do it...plus open world and good graphics, but this take that now its bad all rubbed me the wrong way and made me hate the entire series in retrospect.

That said, from my read of your stuff its not that the game is BAD...you really seem like someone who it just wasn't for. Not everything is for everyone, well some things are made to cater to a larger crowd, but usually, popular stuff eventually gets pushed to people who would never like it. The grindhouse gross nature of farcry is on purpose and not meant to offend for example but i can see people taking it that way. Add to that the characters of privileged kids, the foreign savior, etc its all played for in a tongue in cheek thing and I think that's what reviewers picked up on at the time but can't do anymore hence the bad reviews for later entries that are essentially the same game with better shooting.

Overall it's akin to people thinking eh i heard people like dem fast and furious movies...ill go watch the newest one and screaming that it was sooo stupid. Giantbomb laughed at how lame they thought the first one was along with all their fans...by the end of the series, they ate crow and noticed they liked them as much as the so-called idiot brainless people who turn their brains off and watch them. It's an acquired taste but if you dislike the first game people call back to as good...never play the others. lol. That said, the best option from what i read is for you to play blood dragon which is all silly 90s movie jokes with a retro look (watch a review) plus it's shorter and gives you all the powers at the beginning that took you hours in 3 or play primal witch deals with something really different. 4 is just 3 refined to be really good, 5 is really live servicey like missions, protect the church through 3 waves, go hear and take out this, and they get more run of the mill from there. Still ok fun just you always know you could do better.

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apewins

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It's one of my favorite games from the 360 era, though obviously time has taken its toll and by now it's hard to think that climbing towers to uncover the map was once innovative design. I believe it was also the first game that allowed you to see enemies through walls once you had tagged them, which again was a nice trick the first time but having seen it in too many games, it absolutely trivializes taking checkpoints and makes the gameplay boring. They're also really reaching with some of the upgrade paths because they couldn't think enough genuine upgrades, like the ability to shoot from a zipline is an upgrade that I did not use once in the entire game.

As for the story, its defenders (like me) will say that it's supposed to be a take on the white savior complex. Take for example the fact that Jason's brother (who dies in the intro) was a soldier, but Jason is not, to really underline his inexperience with guns, just for him to be wielding heavy machine guns, rocket launchers and sniper rifles a few hours later. But anyway the mixed reaction to the story must have spooked Ubisoft because in every subsequent entry they've been intentionally undermining their own stories which has really hurt the series' identity. It's as if they're saying "we have a story in here, but it's completely optional and if you don't like it, you can buy it anyway!".

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bigsocrates

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@apewins: Climbing towers to discover the map was not innovative design by 2012. Assassin's Creed had been doing something quite similar for years, and Far Cry 2 had radio towers too. And Far Cry 3 was not the first game that let you tag enemies and see them through walls. That's not to say these things had been done to death back then the way they have now because they were less ubiquitous, but they were not innovations.

The game makes it obvious that it's trying to make some kind of comment about white saviors in stories but its message is totally incomprehensible. It sometimes borders on parody and sometimes seems deadly serious and it never actually seems to be making any kind of meaningful commentary. The "bad" ending is more thematically appropriate and I wonder if the "good" ending was added after the fact in order to avoid following through with the intentions, but even with the bad ending I don't think the story is any good and I don't think it actually has anything to say. Meanwhile it engages in a lot of the tropes it seems to want to critique, like focusing on the white characters and ignoring the non-white ones. The entire interlude with Buck is just baffling from a story structure perspective, and the missions it sends you on are bad too.

If people liked the game's story that's fine. People can like whatever they want. But I have looked around and have not found an explanation for how its extremely messy pieces are supposed to fit together into some kind of narrative throughline that justifies all the problems without the addition of a bunch of headcanon.

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Topcyclist

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@bigsocrates: "The game makes it obvious that it's trying to make some kind of comment about white saviors in stories but its message is totally incomprehensible. It sometimes borders on parody and sometimes seems deadly serious and it never actually seems to be making any kind of meaningful commentary. The "bad" ending is more thematically appropriate and I wonder if the "good" ending was added after the fact in order to avoid following through with the intentions, but even with the bad ending I don't think the story is any good and I don't think it actually has anything to say"

Exactly what Ive been trying to tell people for years, these games were always messy and people just realized when 5 came out. Its like 4 people worked on the script. fun but not to be taken seriously and fun in a turn off your brain way.

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FacelessVixen

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As someone who has played most of the Far Cry games, I think it's safe to say that 3 has become a victim of its own success over the years due to homogenization. Replace Vass with Pagan Min, and you're talking about Far Cry 4. Replace white savior with religious cult and 'Merica, and you're talking about Far Cry 5. And I'm willing to bet that the various sociopolitical topics that these games touch on were written by college students who just learned about the headlines said topics though Reddit since they're written with as much tact as Marjorie Taylor Greene. And yet, I'm a part of the problem since I keep giving Ubisoft money because competent shooting makes brain go brrr despite the games being as wide as an ocean but as deep as a puddle.

Thank god that I rarely mix critical thinking with video games.

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sometingbanuble

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For me it's one of few titles that is FPS and has driving that is not on rails. The only other game that comes to mind is Halo and that usually pulls back for a third person perspective, which i do love as well.

Although FPS's seem like they have been around forever it wasn't until the 360 when i played MW4 that I really think the camera sway and the visceral feeling of clicking R3 to knife a guy really took a hold of me. I don't think I've ever really played a FPS to completion on a PC because without rumble giving you the sense of knowing you're taking fire or the tactile one-to-one feeling of clicking in L3 to get away from an enemy there really isn't much connection for me. When i watch streamers that have cameras zoomed in on their hand movements for playing games I am curious to how that is fun for them. For me typing is the realm of creation and using a mouse is for photoshopping.

Also, with the far cry series I think they nailed the platforming, especially with the naturalistic looking animations as you climb or stumble with a jump from height. Most FPS's I'm familiar with might animate a hand at most. Swimming was cool too.

I also like real world collectibles. So many games are based in fantasy. Not too many are asking you to collect paprika so you can make a pipe bomb (not a thing). I think the menus had some very well written collectible and flavor text. I'm a sucker for that stuff. Usually games are running in idle while i bounce from screen to screen so a pause screen or menu text that has something that makes me chuckle is always priceless when you arent just trying to mainline a game.

At this point having played 3,4 and 5 to the end I am not rushing out to buy FC6. For me, it's mostly because I think Ubisoft does a great job with their season pass content however i don't like them dangling all that delicious content for $100 with no guarantees of timetable. Buying at $60 means I'm looking at $49.99 season pass price tag for the rest of time. They'll have sales on the base game digitally for $29.99 and the complete edition for $39.99 a year from now. The same thing goes for their AC titles. I'll probably just pick this title up from GameStop at about $19.99 at some point because I do love my Hollywood actor types (Giancarlo Esposito) in my games. It's part of the reason I'm digging the Jedi Fallen Order (Debra Wilson and Cameron Monaghan). Far Cry's gameplay is staid though and i can get the same thing from 6 that I could get from a replay of 3, 4, 5, or blood dragon.

I think i gave FC3 a chance because of it's drug references and it was a videogame that had cursing in it. I do like my adult content and wonder why there's not much nudity in games when an M rating should proffer that. Maybe I played it through because I thought with the drugs and language they might delve into other adult content. They might have. I can't remember.

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#8  Edited By sometingbanuble

@topcyclist: For some reason i did not like the fact that Far Cry Primal used the same map as Far Cry 4. I felt like someone had besmerched the queen.

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I just noticed you misspelled Ubisoft in the title.

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bigsocrates

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@zombiepie: I did. But in my defense I have never participated in a decades long campaign of workplace abuse and sexual harassment. So I have that going for me. Spelling? Not so mcuh.

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oopsisoft.

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#12 Shindig  Online

You know, when I played Far Cry 2, that felt like the blueprint but without the menu being cluttered with waypoints.

It felt kinda nice.