Published on September 30th, 2012 | by ~G~0
EG Expo 2012: Far Cry 3
Available to play at Eurogamer was a small section of the Far Cry 3 world and I think fans of the franchise should feel at home here. Gone are the dusty plains of Africa seen in Far Cry 2 and back are the tropical, colourful islands similar to the original Far Cry. However, not everything from Far Cry 2 has disappeared, if anything (other than looks) Far Cry 3 seems to be more like Far Cry 2.
The demo available didn’t give any inclination of story or, indeed, what you were meant to be doing. Instead it was basically an open sand box, with enemies to kill, vehicles to drive and hidden treasures to find. So, as I can’t divulge any direct story/mission details to you, here’s what happened on my trip into Far Cry land.
When I sat down, I found myself astride an ATV and the first thing the game told me to do was follow some checkpoints, in the allotted time… for some reason. I actually don’t know why, because after tearing through some of the tropical undergrowth I wasn’t really rewarded with anything – I just found myself in front of two huts, with a friendly NPC to greet me.
Well I say ‘greet me’, he did nothing and when I approached to speak to him, out of the undergrowth came a couple of enemies, which I happily dispatched in a few seconds with my SMG. I turn around to see where my friendly NPC guy has gone and well… he’d gone. Either dead or just run off. But it’s then that I noticed that between the two huts was an awesome view of some of the surrounding islands and the blue sea below and just next to me here was …oh a hang glider!
I had bad experiences with hang gliders in Far Cry 2, always crashing them straight after take off – they just seemed too twitchy to control. Luckily in Far Cry 3, well the demo at least, the hang gliding was fantastic. Very easy to steer and fun to fly above the islands and see enemies driving vehicles below you.
After seeing and then promptly crashing into a cave situated above a small waterfall, I soon discovered what makes this game a bit more like Far Cry 2. Some enemies drove by and jumped out of their jeep and started attacking me. After scrambling out of the water-logged cave and getting to solid ground, I was able to take the bad guys on. However I was injured and, just like in Far Cry 2, you are able to heal yourself on the fly with bandages, injections and cracking broken limbs back into place.
I also discovered, just like in Far Cry 2, the game features hidden treasures, signified by little gems on the map/radar. After finding the treasure, I then stole the jeep my attackers had been driving and the familiar feel of Far Cry 2 came back again. The vehicles feel very similar, you can look around your surroundings as you drive, but only as much as your head will let you turn. You can also bail out of the vehicle while it’s in motion, just like in Far Cry 2.
After driving off up a mountain path I was greeted by a road block and three men standing by their vehicles. Accelerating as fast as I could, I aimed at one of the men, jump out and found myself rolling in the dirt as I heard my jeep crash into the road block.
Slowly getting to my feet, I found that I had managed to hit my target, one of the guys was dead, but now had two more angry enemies running around to attack me. After killing off these guys, I was surprised to find myself being attacked by a couple of angry dogs. I’m not a fan of animal cruelty, but these two hounds weren’t letting me jump back in my jeep and I sadly had to put them down.
After driving around a bit more, avoiding more enemies on the road and accidentally flying off a small cliff in my jeep, I found myself back on the road to the two huts with the hang glider. And by the magic of the video game gods, my previously crashed hang glider was back.
This time I flew the glider over a small settlement I saw when I previously used it. Unfortunately I over shot the settlement and when I turned around I sort of got lost and accidentally ejected from the glider, falling into the sea below.
The animation of landing from a high fall into the sea was pretty impressive. Unlike most games, you hit the surface of the water and are swept under, hard to really control yourself for a few seconds; just like in real life.
Luckily I didn’t seem to badly hurt from the fall and I hit the water near a boat. This time I rode the boat to the settlement, which was right on a peninsula. The settlement turned out to be a make-shift enemy base, with corrugated iron as the walling around it.
Seeing multiple enemies on my radar I, naturally, run into the base and start firing. They weren’t too happy to see me however and I was soon being outflanked by the men, retreating back were my boat was, taking down most of the enemies. But, as the last enemy ran round the corner he shot up a flare.
I killed him, but then suddenly three more jeeps, with mounted machine guns came tearing into the compound and I found myself low on health and ammo. I dove into the water, trying to swim back to my boat, but was ultimately defeated.
Now there was a lot that I came away with from Far Cry 3. Visually, the game is good and colourful, but it was suffering from a huge amount of pop-up and a mixture of high-res and low-res details.
That said, I couldn’t get a definitive answer to what build of the game I was playing. And judging from the screens and videos Ubisoft has released, I think that it was probably an early build – so, hopefully the visuals are something that the developers have sorted out. Ultimately what I played on didn’t look bad, but it just wasn’t what one would expect at this point in the current generation of gaming.
That said, aside from the lacklustre visuals Far Cry 3 was incredibly enjoyable. The enemy AI was suitable enough to be a challenge, but unlike the previous Far Cry’s it wasn’t ridiculous. In previous Far Cry’s the enemy’s accuracy seemed to border on the impossible – taking pot shots at you from miles away and hitting with pin point accuracy.
You can easily see enemies approach via the radar, so any ambushes through the undergrowth don’t feel cheap.
The nature of the demo unfortunately didn’t give me much insight into the overall game story or real experience. But it did give me an idea of how it will play and how much fun the shoot outs can be.
It’s hard to say just how good Far Cry 3 will be. The demo didn’t give quite enough insight into the final game, but I had a hell of a lot of fun playing in the mini open world available.
I think fans of the franchise will definitely have fun. But we’ll have to see just how good the final product actually is.