Far Cry 3

Continuing my journey through cutting edge games from two years ago (also games I’ve already paid for), I’m finally playing Far Cry 3, previously purchased in a Steam sale.

I enjoyed the first Far Cry. Well, I say that now, but when I look back on what I wrote about it in 2009, apparently I only thought it was “okay.”

I picked up FarCry from Steam for $9.99 a couple weeks ago.  It’s pretty cool, but it’s not blowing me away.

I’m not sure why X-Play gave it 5 stars.  It looks like it’s mostly a demo of the rendering engine, which is admittedly pretty nice.  However the gameplay is quite ordinary, and the acting and storyline is just terrible.  You’ve got your basic running, crouching, shooting and reloading (that always seems to be necessary at just the wrong time).  And sometimes you can drive around in boats and vehicles.

The best feature of the game is the wide open, huge islands you get to run around on.  There seems to be an emphasis on sneaking around, although I don’t see the point since there aren’t any sneak attacks, silencers or knives.  I can’t say I’m fond of sneaking around in the jungle though because you literally can’t see anything – the foliage always blocks your view.  Maybe that’s supposed to be a “feature.”  On the plus side, it’s kind of fun to take out camps of bad guys by popping them off one at a time from the edges, instead of charging into the middle with guns blazing.

I’ll give it a 3… out of 5.

Ah, remember the good old days when I watched X-Play? Well, you probably don’t because you weren’t there. Moving on.

I only played Far Cry 2 on the PS3, one of only a handful of console games I’ve bought in the last ten years. I remember thinking it was “okay” but I didn’t much like the openness of it and I didn’t care for the console controls. Here’s what I wrote later in 2009:

… I’ve also started FarCry 2 for the PS3.  The story is nothing like the original FarCry, sharing only a name that honestly has nothing to do with anything.  This time around you’re running (and driving) around an enormous chunk of Africa.

It’s one of those open-world style games, so you can do the missions in any order you want.  I actually find this style of game a little annoying – I get a better sense of accomplishment from linear games.  With open games I usually feel like I’m wandering around aimlessly for no particular reason.  FarCry 2 is not so bad, though – it actually feels a little like an MMO.

I tried some multiplayer but I was not impressed.  The lag was pretty intense so it felt like playing on a dial-up connection (maybe nobody was running servers near me).  Plus most of the maps that came up were user-generated, which means they pretty much sucked.

Much later I bought Far Cry 2 in a rock-bottom Steam sale so I could compare the PC version. Naturally I’ve never even installed it on PC, let alone played it.

Which brings us to Far Cry 3, nearly five years later.

Honestly I feel like the game is virtually identical to what I remember of Far Cry 2: Running and driving around a jungle capturing control points. It’s just that now we’re in a South Pacific jungle (I think) instead of an African jungle, and now we can hunt animals and rip their guts out to make things. All the NPCs sound like they have a weird mixture of African and Australian accents. The story is still stupid and uninspired, but I do enjoy roaming around capturing the Bad Guy outposts. I associate Far Cry with stealth tactics more than running-and-gunning, but I feel like I’m doing even more stealth in this version than any previous version. I hardly ever charge into any situation with guns blazing. I mainly use a silenced sniper rifle, a bow, and “takedowns.”

I started out playing with a controller just for simplicity of it, but I wasn’t happy with my inability to hit anything. (I haven’t played a shooter with a controller in ages.) So I went back to the ol’ mouse-and-keyboard setup.

Also, to prove to the world that I’m still a “real gamer” and not just some dirty casual old man, I am playing on the Hard setting. So there. Suck it, people-who-thought-I-wasn’t-a-real-gamer! Not that anyone ever did. (Actually I’m playing on Hard because the gameplay is more fun than the story.)

I doubt that I will “finish” the game. Like Far Cry 2, I’d be fine putting it away without finishing the story. One day I will simply not want to play it, and I’ll pick something else from the library.

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