Platforms: PS3 | 360 | PC (version tested)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
After sitting through so many presentations at Gamescom, it was a relief to see that I'd actually get to play Far Cry 3. The recent E3 singleplayer stage was available as was a round of multiplayer. I'm eager for something a little different than another military shooter and Far Cry 3's tropical paradise setting is one hell of a place to start. Console gamers missed out on the first game and the dull African setting of the last game left a lot to be desired for many, so expectations are high for Ubisoft's title.
Single Player Demo
The start of the stage began on a cliff-top across from an island. Using the bow, I took out the guard far in the distance. The arrows realistically drop over longer distances, so it took a few attempts as my first shots landed in the water just in front of him.
A quick dive into the sea and a swim to the island later and I was ready for more stealthy arrow kills. This wasn't to be though and I was soon swarmed by guards. They made clever use of the dense jungle around me and were quick to attack my flanks, firing through the trees on all sides. Thankfully they don't require too many bullets to take down.
There's something so satisfying about the weapon handling in Far Cry 3. The aggressive feedback from an AK was challenging enough to force some concentration, but firing in short controlled bursts, yielded steadily improving results as I dared to fire longer bursts as I got used to adjusting my aim once the gun started to dance madly in my hands. Then I got a flamethrower and ran around like a barbecuing maniac.
Using the bow would have been a bigger part of my demo if I'd have managed to maintain a degree of subtlety. One botched kill meant that most of my approach to the enemy base was spent with assault rifle fire pinpointing my position to the enemy. When arriving at the base I was able to attack from a high vantage point before taking on a flamethrower-wielding grunt. A few grenade blasts were needed to spin him around so I was able to fire at the fuel tanks on his back. A familiar FPS staple, but fun nonetheless.
Entering the warehouse triggered a cutscene with the new face of insanity, the villain of the show, Vaas. Now this guy was nuts enough from the previous footage we've seen. But factor in a German dub and he sounded twice as fucked. I've no idea what he was saying, but if there's an option to have German audio in the final game with English subs, then I'm all over that.
The locked German audio, subtitles and instructions made my first few minutes of the multiplayer match somewhat chaotic. This team based mode was something of a territory match. Various fuel supplies were spread out across the map; when I managed to approach one a button prompt would kick in a lengthy animation that involved kicking over a barrel, ripping a hole in it with a knife before setting it on fire. Yes, this takes quite a lot of time when defenceless to fend off attackers. Fortunately for the first few sites I was left alone. If I was interrupted and taken out I'd find a barrel still overturned on my return making progress a little bit easier next time.
What was more exciting about ripping off these bases were the repercussions related to the stage itself. The resulting fires would be big, big enough to alter the accessibility of the map itself. Narrow pathways in this jungle-based mini shanty town became blocked by walls of fire. Familiar routes after a respawn would need to be rethought. This map was quite small leading to increasingly varied routes to my next objective and the flames helped to keep players closer to each other and helped the action increase at an exciting rate.
As more and more bases were stolen, the fire continued to spread. Molotov cocktails seemed to be the most prominent form of grenade, which made things all the more infernotacular. Molotov fire would wear itself out though, while the fire from the fuel barrels was permanent and expanding.
After the bases were aflame, holding onto territory seemed to be the final objective. Sitting in the middle of a destroyed building on a hill, the two sides took turns in storming the area. Stealing the turf was quicker with team-mates nearby, but still very achievable on your own which meant the match was very close right until the finale.
As you've probably already gathered, I love the way Far Cry 3 uses fire as a map manipulator during this match type. Having to rethink a route during play and adapting to a changing environment is something I'm looking forward to experiencing over multiple maps. It's great to see something genuinely different from a multiplayer game in such a generic genre. Couple this with co-op multiplayer and an enticing single player campaign and Far Cry 3’s future is looking bright.