Thursday, 20 September 2012

Preview: Far Cry 3 (360, PC, PS3)

Island settings for video games have always seemed a natural fit.

The nature of an island, with its defined borders of water, means the action is easily contained with a natural obstacle, an aspect that is so important to any open world sandbox game. That's why Saints Row: The Third, Dead Island, GTA IV, Just Cause, Crysis, and even the original Far Cry, are all hemmed in by water. It's to the island setting that Far Cry 3 returns, leaving behind the savannah of Far Cry 2.

Supposedly taking place in a world 10 times larger than previous Far Cry games, the third instalment features protagonist Jason Brody stuck on the island (or "island chain" depending on who you talk to) looking for his girlfriend amid some kind of conflict between the islands' inhabitants.

Fortunately for Jason, he's a bit of an "every man" survivalist (as you should be able to tell from his mohawk) who will be able to upgrade his skills throughout the game and partake in crafting and, no doubt, form some tenuous alliances with the warring factions, if only to set them more firmly against each other.

One aspect of the game that catches my attention is that the longer Jason stays on the island, the more the island chaos gets under his skin. If you've ever read Dashiell Hammett's "Red Harvest," I'd expect something along the lines of Jason going "blood simple." Basically, I expect he'll start the game in a mad scramble to survive but will turn into an unfeeling, calculating killer, performing silent takedowns with nary a second thought. And I would be surprised if his girlfriend makes it to the end of the game still breathing.

Word out of Ubisoft Montreal is that the game features a separate (up to) 4-player co-op campaign, which takes places six months before the events of the single-player game.

I'm always interested in how developers tie these things together. Will the multiplayer essentially be a prologue to what's happening in the single player game? I'd like to know.

Far Cry 2 was well-received critically and spawned a host of "When I was playing this happened" anecdotes with enemy and animal AI meshing in interesting ways with what was happening in the environment. If Far Cry 3 can refine some of those aspects of the previous game while increasing the world size like they're promising, we could be in for one hell of a island getaway.

Expected Release: December 4, 2012

- Aaron Simmer