“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” – Far Cry 3 First Impressions

If you are a professional gaming journalist, you must forgive me for saying this, but there are very few of you who I trust these days. I don’t blame the journalists themselves, since it’s pretty obvious that it’s the game industry itself that supports most gaming journalists (one need only look at the Kane and Lynch Gamespot controversy to see that) and who in their right mind would bite the hand that feeds them?

This means that people (like myself) have to rely on people who actually buy their own games and then review them(also like myself). Now I don’t often write up game reviews or initial impressions since League of Legends takes up most of my gaming (and other free) time, but I managed to pick up a copy of Far Cry 3 yesterday at a sale for R200 ($22). I installed it, thinking I’d spend a short time playing it to see what it was like.

Far Cry 3 ingame
Looks like the perfect place for a holiday

Almost 2 hours later I stopped playing only because I had to go get supper before all the take out places closed. For anyone who’s read any of my previous posts, this is strange for two reasons. One: I’ve mentioned in the past how single player games have become completely uninteresting to me, and how my interest in video games seems to rest exclusively in the multiplayer arena. Two: I’m pretty much a League of Legends addict, so needless to say it takes something pretty special to get me to disconnect from The Fields of Justice.

The protagonist of Far Cry 3 is a 20 something year old college boy named Jason, enjoying a vacation with his friends and family on a set of remote tropical islands.

Far Cry 3
What could possible go wrong?

You seem to be watching their vacation unfold when you are suddenly pulled into the present, only to discover that Jason and one of his brothers have been taken prisoner by a group of pirates, and they are, without a doubt, in a world of shit.

Now it’s not unusual for many games to open like this. Half Life pretty much set this trend of introducing the life of the character that you play, before completely turning it upside down. Many games have attempting to do this, but Far Cry 3 uses specific moments to engage the player and actually have us empathising for Jason within the first few minutes. You are also introduced to the protagonist, Vaas, who is oh so convincingly evil and disturbed that you can’t help but worry how things are going to turn out for Jason and friends. You get to meet a few more interesting and messed up characters within the first few hours and I cannot wait to see who else I shall meet in this tropical hell.

Vaas Far Cry 3
Party is over kiddies.

And who brings this all to life: the writer, Jeffrey Yohalem. It’s clear from the first few minutes that Ubisoft  have clearly brought in someone with a large degree of writing skill to bring the characters in Far Cry 3 to life. It does disappoint me that only it took me a few minutes to see that this will be an incredibly well written adventure, but that others seems to be unable to look deeper into the writing and some obvious hints (such as the Lewis Carrol Alice in Wonderland quotes) that hint there is far more going on that it seems. I would link to one of these articles, but I have already stumbled upon some major plot spoilers and don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t played the game yet. I guess I’ve yet to see the entire story (despite some pretty major spoilers), but I have a good feeling that the story will actually be very good.

Far Cry 3 Crafting
Crafting things! From dead animal skins… RIP Lassie…

The game, like many FPS games these days, successfully incorporates some RPG elements, such as crafting items and levelling up, that really make you feel like you are growing from a completely naive young man whose worst problem was where he was going to spend summer vacation, to a warrior who will do what it takes to save his friends and discover who he really is.

I guess sometimes my lack of trust in reviewers is unfounded, but I’d still rather play it safe than find my wallet lighter. I have yet to finish the game, but even though I paid half price, if I’d had a chance to demo the game I would have paid full price for it when it first came out ages ago.


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