It comes as no surprise that this game makes it into the top ten of our game of the year chart, although I personally believe that if this title had been released a few weeks earlier it may have managed to reach the top three. Of course, I’m talking about arguably the biggest release of December 2012, Far Cry 3.
Far Cry 3 took a lot of people by surprise this year, myself included. With one of the finest opening sections, huge game world in which to explore and plenty of collectibles and hidden items to satiate even the most fervent collect-a-holic, this game packs a lot of punch for a title released so late in the running.
So what qualities is it that brought this game to the top ten of our community choice awards?
I wouldn’t be doing this title justice unless I mentioned, first and foremost, the incredible voice acting. Each titillating utterance from the mouth of Michael Mando, gave credence to why Vaas is the ultimate pinnacle of villainy, the guy we love to hate. His manic, unpredictable but entirely believable performance entranced us all, and sucked us into his world all the more. But the game is not carried on Mando’s performance alone. With sterling performances from Stephen Bogaert, Gianpaolo Venuta, and Steve Cumyn as “Uncle” Sam, Jason Brody and Hoyt Volker respectively, each added a unique character to the story that truly made it feel extraordinary.
The gameplay itself is a solid first person shooter, but with true open world dynamics. As you traverse the islands, you can encounter numerous random events, from firefights between patrols of Vaas’ pirates and the native Rakyat, watching nature take its course as a predator encounters and tracks its prey, to those same predators attacking anyone who strays too close to its territory. These events occur without your participation, not scripted by your proximity in a way used by so many more linear titles. You will frequently arrive to find the aftermath of one of these random occurrences whether it be the ravaged corpses of an unfortunate patrol who tangled with the wrong bear, or the scattered bodies from both sides in one of the many struggles for dominance occurring across the island.
The development and crafting system in the game is pitched to perfection, without it feeling too easy to become overtly powerful and negating the grind heavy approach that traditional RPG’s tend to take. Collecting materials as you progress through the environment from one mission to the next can easily get you through the majority of the crafting requirements. That said, if you decide you don’t want to undertake the hunting/gathering required for the crafting, you will not be overly penalised. At the end of the day, the crafting system will expand your carrying capacity for all types of ammo, as well as money and items collected in the wild, and as such the only crafting item that you cannot truly do without in my opinion is the upgrades to you weapon holsters, expanding you from your one initial weapon slot to the maximum of four. Even the healing vials are not required, given that you character can heal a certain amount without any medical equipment.
Finally, the icing on the cake, are the co-op and multi-player modes that Ubisoft have included alongside the single player. With the co-op taking you through an isolated, linear but thoroughly enjoyable side story that is reminiscent of Left 4 Dead, and the multi-player having an extensive creation mode to design your own levels. Even when the main campaign is completed this is a game that you can come back to frequently for the occasional blast.
All in all, a competent, compelling single player game, with a wealth of multiplayer options that should have you returning for more, and truly deserving of the sixth place spot on this years Top Ten Games of The Year list.