Far Cry 3 Review

Screenshot of Rook Islands in Far Cry 3
Island paradise or hell?
  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: 29 Nov 2012
  • Time played: 21 hours

What is it

Games in the Far Cry series have evolved over time to the point where Far Cry 3 has served as the model for every other Far Cry game going forward. But the original Far Cry was quite a bit different in terms of gameplay. Released in 2004, the first Far Cry was developed by Crytek on the CryEngine. After the success of Far Cry, Ubisoft decided to not only publish the Far Cry games but develop future games themselves by acquiring perpetual rights to use the CryEngine and assigning Ubisoft Montreal to the task. The original Far Cry was mainly an open-world First Person Shooter without the side quests, crafting, mini-games that you would normally find in open world games of today. Ubisoft Montreal would take steps to change this with the release of Far Cry 2.

Far Cry 2 (released in 2008) had you playing the role of a mercenary in an African nation during a civil war. Your goal is to eliminate an arms dealer called "The Jackal" but you can choose to do so by allying with one or multiple factions and you can choose to progress towards the objective at your own pace, giving you time to explore the savannah. The game also added some realistic elements such as a dynamic weather system and weapon degradation. Far Cry 2 was a critical success despite having a lot of technical issues and draconian DRM.

When developing the next Far Cry game, Far Cry 3, Ubisoft examined what players found annoying in the previous instalment and decided to rectify the issues, such as the removal of weapon degradation and malaria infections. The developers fleshed out the story, created side quests and tried their best to make the player feel like they were in a living, breathing world that reacted to their choices. Far Cry 3 is set in a fictional archipelago called the Rook Islands which seems to be somewhere in the western Pacific as it incorporates elements of Maori and Malay cultures. You play the role of a young man named Jason Brody who while holidaying with his friends are kidnapped by pirates. The objective of the game is to find a way to survive, save your friends and escape the island.

Far Cry 3 was a critical success, holding a Metascore of 88 for the PC version and a Steam Rating of "Very Positive" based on 89% of the 57,773 Steam user reviews being positive. The game won several awards including a Best Technology Award at the 2013 Game Developers Choice (GDC) Awards, a Best Action Game Award at the 2013 British Academy Games Awards and a Game of the Year Award at the 2013 Canadian Videogame Awards. The game also performed well commercially having sold more than 10 million copies by October 2014 despite Ubisoft being disappointed about pre-order sales.

How I got it

According to my Steam Licences and Product Key Activations history, I received Far Cry 3 Deluxe as a gift in early January 2014. It looks like I received the gift from an old contributor to Choicest Games, Choona, so thank you Choona for getting me this game so I can review it! Despite never really being enamoured by either the first Far Cry or its sequel, I've always been willing to give the series another chance, especially considering its popularity, so I wouldn't be surprised if the game was actually on my wishlist prior to Choona purchasing it.

Screenshot of Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3
Michael Mando did so well on his audition the Far Cry 3 team changed the villain to be modelled off him instead

What I like:

Trippy plot

While the trope has been exhausted to death in other mediums, you don't actually see it being explored too often in AAA titles: what I'm talking about is where the protagonist is unable to tell the difference between fiction and reality, where they somehow space out switching between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, where they're having to wrestle with an insatiable appetite for killing. The only game that I remember in recent history coming close to these themes is the indie game Hotline Miami. So, it was kind of out there for a AAA game, especially in 2012.

Graphics still hold up

Despite the game being about 8 years old now, the graphics are still passable. Sure, the draw distance is a bit on the low side when you consider what video cards nowadays are capable of, but I didn't find it too detrimental.


Nothing like hearing a few Kiwi accents here and there which is what you'll hear whenever the Rakyat people speak. I'm just surprised they never comment on your character being "beached as bro"


One of the most convincing villains you'll find in a computer game, the character of Vaas Montenegro and the man who portrays him, Michael Mando, is praised by many critics: in fact, Michael Mando's audition was so good that they changed the original villain for Far Cry 3 from a huge, bald and muscular man named Bull and transformed him into a character based off Mando's own poryrayal of the character. The emotionally volatile Vaas is described as charming but menacing by the Far Cry 3 team and having a similar presence to Darth Vader from "Star Wars" and I tend to agree.

Stealthy base captures

I'm not usually a fan of many gameplay mechanics in open world games, but going around capturing enemy bases without alerting any guards are some of the most satisfying moments I've had with this game. And you don't need to be a super stealthy Garrett from Thief in order to be successful either. Just using some commonsense and patience is usually enough.

"Ride of the Valkyries"

Why is it whenever there is a sequence involving a chopper causing wanton destruction that a reference has to be made to"Apocalypse Now"? Yes, that's right, you get to hear Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries play while dishing out some punishment with a chopper's minigun late in the game.

Two endings

I like games with multiple endings and Far Cry 3 has two you can choose from. You get to pick them right at the end, so it's not like you have to work towards one ending or the other throughout the entire course of the game.

Co-op mode

The game actually includes a co-op mode and while it doesn't hold a candle to games built from the ground up for co-op (e.g. Left 4 Dead) it's something extra that you can sink your teeth into with friends.

Open world but with guns...

Another saving grace about this particularly open world game is that it has a variety of real-world guns you can use. I tend to prefer modern or sci-fi settings when it comes to games and have usually found it harder to get into open world games that aren't first person shooters (I find that most open world games tend to be third person shooters or third person melee combat games which don't appeal to me). So at least that's something.

Screenshot of a base in Far Cry 3
While I enjoyed the base capturing parts of the game, the rest of the game involved a lot of grind

What I dislike:

... But it's still an open world game

There are still many aspects of Far Cry 3 that I do not like that are common to most open world games such as grinding to get your way further in the game (you have to complete a certain number of missions and clear certain areas before you can make any progress in the game). You also have to go around hunting for animals so you can craft items, even some pretty critical items like bigger bags to store loot and ammunition. There's no way to just use money all the time which means I have to go out of my way looking for these particular animals to hunt, just so I have half a chance at beating the bad guys in the main missions. It's basically grind, and I don't like it.

No Steam Achievements and Trading Cards

Sadly the game has no Steam Achievements or Trading Cards.

Score – 8/10 (Recommended)

I'm not a big fan of open world games and in fact I actually got bored of Far Cry 3 half-way through playing it since like many open world games, there's a lot of grind that is imposed on you in order to make any progress: you can't just depend on your skill as you would in a normal story-based FPS. However, Far Cry 3 is at least an FPS open world game (not a Third Person Shooter) and it has an awesome villain, trippy plot and some gameplay features that elevates it above the monolithic scrap heap of forgettable AAA titles out there to something that's actually worth playing.

Is the game worth $29.95 AUD?: Yes. The game obviously wasn't this cheap when it originally came out but now this seems like a fair price for an old AAA game that still holds up pretty well today.

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[ LINK: Far Cry 3 Official Website ]