The Steam summer sale has just begun. It’s a good moment to publish a couple of reviews for games I played recently which are now available at a juicy discount. The first one is Far Cry 3.
As you know, I played Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon recently and I really enjoyed it. I grabbed vanilla Far Cry 3 as soon as it was on sale and I played it about a month ago. I think the game is fine, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Blood Dragon.
Technically, the game is quite impressive. Graphics are very nice, even if the frame rate suffers much more than in Blood Dragon, and the open world environment in the islands features varied environments and provides a better atmosphere than the original Far Cry or games like Crysis.
This game gets a lot of things right in the gameplay aspect too. For example, the physical sensations, game mechanics and controls are very solid. The selection of available weapons is very nice, while the game only lets you carry four of them at a time. This dates back to the original Far Cry and it’s very balanced. Games that only let you have two weapons at a given moment are not as enjoyable. Four is a nice number that lets you carry a varied arsenal for different situations, while forcing you to take a few decisions instead of simply letting you carry everything around.
However, Far Cry 3 also gets a few things wrong, more than Blood Dragon. For example, the amount of money available for a completionist-style player like me is totally wrong. There is too much money. It wouldn’t be a real problem if you wallet was not limited, but it is. Most money can be found on enemy corpses and chests all around the islands. If you buy maps, you can get the location for all chests and collector items. Near the end of the game you have so much money it won’t fit in your wallet, so you have to buy things to be able to open chests and get the corresponding chest marker removed from the map. I ended up buying every single thing (including all weapon paint jobs, for example) and I still had too much money and left about 1/4th of the chests unopened. Simply removing wallet limits would’ve improved gameplay in this aspect, in my humble opinion.
I played in hard mode and I was annoyed by the amount of wildlife. Specifically, predators that attack you. You’re supposed to be in an almost remote island, yet it’s very hard to take a walk in the jungle without being attacked by tigers, jaguars, panthers, bears, snakes, komodo dragons, ostriches and whatnot. It surprises you at first but it ends up being mostly annoying. It gets a bit better once you unlock the Bull shotgun. Far Cry 4 is around the corner and we’ve already been told now you have eagles that can attack you from above too. I was not amused by that part.
The characters and the story are not that great. I didn’t identify myself with the rich kid and the way magic and mystical powers are used in the story. I also think the game abuses dream or dream-like sequences for some key moments and fights, and the story feels too directed, and even a bit repetitive at some points (the protagonist is fatally wounded several times during scripted sequences).
Many modern games, I think, abuse that aspect. They want to create a movie-like experience but it ends up being too directed. You’re told what to do at every moment with main quests and the story feels too much predetermined. It does not unfold in front of your eyes. There are other game that get this much better, like the original Deus Ex. I think abusing scripted sequences in which the player barely has any control creates that sensation.
Finally, some abilities are unlocked too late in the game. Blood Dragon got this more balanced.
On the technical side, two main things wrong. The use of UPLay. I won’t comment anything more than what I said when reviewing Blood Dragon. It’s a liability. Second, quick saves. I can live with the game not letting me always save the game. I can live with my position in the map not being saved and instead spawning in the safe house that is closest to the current location. But please, don’t make me go to the game menu, click save, then click yes to confirm I want to save the game every time I want to save. This far cries for a quick save key which is absent. I also don’t think game menus work alright. They feel clumsy and prone to make mistakes. At least they’re not as bad as Resident Evil 5.
All in all, this is a nice game if you can get it for a discount. It’s not amazing, but it’s very good.
Technical score: 9.
Gameplay score: 7.5.