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Far Cry 3 (PS3)

Far Cry 3 (PS3) Hot

Editor rating
 
2.8
User rating
 
0.0 (0)


Accessibility At A Glance Far Cry 3 (PS3)

2.8

   
Precision > No You will need precision to play
One-Handed > No Avoid this game
Deaf Gamers > Maybe Ummm, I would read the detailed review
Subtitles > Some You may want to move past this game
Colorblind > No Not so sure this is the game for you

About the Game

Class
Commercial
Genre
Maker
Ubisoft
Release Date
December 04, 2012
Multi-player
Yes
Licence Category
commercial

In Far Cry 3, players step into the shoes of Jason Brody, stranded on this mysterious tropical island. You dictate how the story unfolds, from the battles you choose to fight down to the allies or enemies you make along the way. Slash, sneak, detonate and shoot your way across the island in a world that has lost all sense of right and wrong. Beware the beauty and mystery of this unexplored paradise and live to outwit its roster of ruthless, desperate characters. You'll need more than luck to survive.

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Far Cry 3 (PS3)
Far Cry 3 (PS3)
Far Cry 3 (PS3)

Editor review

Far Cry 3 (PS3) 2013-02-07 21:27:59 Elizabeth Martin
Overall rating 
 
2.8
Mobility 
 
4.0
Visual 
 
0.5
Hearing 
 
2.5
Elizabeth Martin Reviewed by Elizabeth Martin    February 07, 2013
Last updated: February 07, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. Throw-away fun or an intellectual comment on society? Fantasy or nightmare? Either way, by the end of the game I couldn't wait to get off that God-forsaken island. Don't get me wrong, I had a lot of fun with it and I don't regret playing it for a second. But there's only so long you can enjoy playing what is patently someone else's idea of a good time.

The game begins with your puerile American protagonist Jason Brody on holiday with a group of friends on a perfect island where anything goes and everything is an adventure. Perfect, that is, until they get kidnapped by a man named Vaas, who is not only one sandwich short of a picnic, but also plans on holding them for ransom before selling them off as slaves anyway. Luckily, Jason makes his escape, with some help from his soldier brother, and throws in his lot with a mysterious tribe. The group is the sworn enemy of Vaas and their mystical (but also more than a little crazy) leader Citra imbues Jason with the power of a warrior through a tattoo carved into his arm.

Insanity runs as a theme throughout Far Cry 3, sometimes to the point of it being rammed down your throat in an effort to make itself appear clever - but the theme fits the game perfectly. The whole game has something of a split personality, which is the main reason why it's so difficult to decide whether the game is actually any good or not. It's definitely fun, there's no arguing that, but at the same time you get the sense that it's actively trying to be unlikeable.

On the one hand it's set in a beautiful world, which is a joy to explore and contains all manner of ways in which to entertain yourself. The game functions as an open-world FPS and, apart from the main story and side missions, there are racing, shooting and stealth challenges to keep you occupied. There's also hunting; animals play a big part in Far Cry 3 and are one of the things that make it unique. Collecting animal pelts allows you to upgrade your equipment (mainly to the tune of being able to carry an unrealistic amount of junk), but it can be an enjoyable pursuit in itself. If you restrict yourself to a hunting knife and a re-curve bow, it lets you indulge that Crocodile Dundee fantasy you've been harbouring all these years. Or you can just go around shooting cute little deer in the face with a shotgun, if you really must.

The wildlife of the jungle also adds a comedic randomness to proceedings that can be quite entertaining. Approaching an enemy camp with stealth might be rendered pointless when a tiger attacks the sniper in your sights, sending the rest of the camp into a panic that results in them burning the place down with some ill-advised grenade throws. Equally, you might find yourself facing down a black bear when you were just out looking for a handy sniping position and end up pelting down into the enemy camp, hoping the bear will lose interest in you when it sees all the other tasty morsels available.

Even without the intervention of wildlife, the combat in Far Cry 3 is always interesting and varied. There's a good roster of weapons available which includes some more unusual choices for an FPS. They all have a good feel to them and some of the heavier ordinance can result in you wreaking absolute havoc if you happen to be in the mood for it. Stealth can also be a good option and there's a wide variety of takedowns available for the player to unlock which result in instant kills. Some of these let you chain the attack further by, for example, using your victim's knife to kill a more distant enemy. Or you can learn to nonchalantly pull the pin from an enemy's grenade and kick them off a ledge into an unwitting group lounging around below.

Aside from blowing stuff up one of the best things about Far Cry 3 is simple, straightforward exploration. Much of my time with the game was spent simply wandering around: exploring cave systems for treasure, braving shark attacks to swim to a tempting island off the coast, or just hiking up a mountain to see the view from the top. There are plenty of ways to get around, and not just by conventional means. Hang gliders can be found conveniently placed (which also conveniently re-spawn), and are a sensational way of getting around. Nothing beats gliding with eagles, taking in your surroundings, before swooping down to launch yourself into the next mission area.

Swimming is also a high point of the experience, with underwater cave systems and short cuts to be found. Swimming is beaten hands down, however, by diving. Taking a leap of faith from an outcrop can lead to the most satisfying splashvvrwooooooooom sensation that leaves your protagonist flailing wildly as he attempts to reacquire his bearings. Far Cry 3 is simply the best diving simulator I've ever played. Ubisoft are clearly aware of their success in that area and go so far as to provide tempting cenotes to throw yourself into from a great height.

So, there are a lot of good things to say about Far Cry 3, but on the other hand, the game does, eventually, become extremely repetitive. After a time you realise that all that's waiting for you is yet more radio towers to activate, more enemy camps to attack, more foraging and hunting the same plants and animals. Suddenly Vaas's words come echoing back to you: “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the exact same f**king thing, over and over again, expecting s**t to change. That. Is. Crazy.” And at that point you just begin to feel the game is laughing at you.

The problems don't end there. The game has more than a few technical niggles and some of the game play mechanics just don't make any sense. Texture pop is everywhere, which is forgiveable because of the extent of the available world, but the slowdown is really annoying. Auto-saving seems to cripple the game and makes it go into fast forward when it's finished, in quite a comedic fashion I'll admit, while it catches up with itself.

Saving can also be something of a mystery, since on death you never really know where you're going to be re-spawned. In theory you go back to the nearest radio tower or friendly camp. Sometimes, however, it will put you near the enemy camp you were attacking at the time, but sometimes it won't; sometimes it will save you applying your skill points or crafting an item, but sometimes it won't. What the game will do on restarting, without fail, is to repeat the intro to the next mission. However long in the distant past that might happen to be. Re-spawning can become a tedious process as you listen to the same boring phone call telling you to go visit some guy in some bar in some town, over and over until the command finally gets overridden. The game's incessant nagging can get extremely annoying and leave you wondering why it bothered giving you so many things to do if it's so desperate for you to return to the main mission thread.

That's the technical difficulties out of the way, so on to the dodgy game play mechanics. These mostly relate to the hunting aspect of the game, which lets you kill animals, take their skins, and fashion them into useful items. Different animal skins are required to make different items, which makes sense, but to craft a larger version of the same item also requires a different type of animal skin. Which makes no sense. It's just barmy. So, if you want to carry more money around you can fashion a wallet out of pig, but to make a bigger one it must be made from shark. Absolutely nothing else will do. It's either shark or there's no wallet for you. Also, you can sit down and craft yourself something whenever you like. There's no need for tools or all the string or whatever else that is holding the thing together. You can take a breather in the middle of a fight, in fact, and whip up a new holster so you can carry that new weapon you've found. Why not? Go crazy.

There are a number of issues with the game, then. More than I can feasibly write down here without it becoming tiresome. Not only that, but some of the design decisions are completely bizarre and some sections left a distinctly unpleasant taste in the mouth. The game displays some rather archaic attitudes towards certain sections of society that show it up to be the rather tawdry affair that it really is. As much as it tries to be clever, there's simply no amount of Alice in Wonderland quotes that can make up for that. Despite everything, however, there's a great time to be had here. It's just a shame that it's not as easy to enjoy as it deserves to be.

Accessibility Issues

1. Visibility

The game is presented very clearly most of the time. During daylight, the colours are bright and vibrant, making everything clearly visible. There is a day/night cycle, however, and night makes it much more difficult to make things out. Swimming also makes it much more difficult to make out objects in the murky depths and there are a few points where you are forced to escape from a flooded area before you drown.

There are quite a few problems that the colour blind could struggle with. Most importantly your map is mostly green and the areas controlled by the enemy are shown in red. The flags and uniforms indicating your own forces are blue and the enemy's are red so distinguishing between them should be ok. Unfortunately (and inexplicably) your reticule turns green when over a friendly and red when over an enemy. Also, some of the plants are coloured red and some green so these may be difficult to distinguish between. Plants do glow slightly, making them visible against the green grass, but it will be a nuisance for the colour blind if they are looking for a particular colour. Green is for medical syringes and, therefore, often the most useful.

There is little on screen information. The mini map has a grey background with blue or white icons for missions, white for treasures and red/green/white/yellow or blue for each type of plant. How many health packs you carry is written with a tiny white number and your ammo is similarly given in minuscule white writing.

The main menu is also not presented particularly clearly. It's in light blue, or white when highlighted, on a moving blue background. Deeper menus are better, however, with your options presented in white or light blue text on a black box.

2. Hearing

There are a number of visual cues to help the deaf, but there are also a number of important ones missing. Starting with what there is: there is a visual indication of when an enemy is alerted to you, and one showing which direction you are taking damage from. A bar appears at the top of the screen indicating that an alarm has been triggered and how long you have until reinforcements arrive. Your worsening state of health is given by the screen gradually turning red, and your imminent death by drowning is also shown visually with the screen tightening into a narrower field of view.

Missions and tutorials are always given in text and a visual marker shows the location of your next objective. A summary of your current objective is always available in the start menu. The menu also contains a handbook containing all of your unlocked tutorials, a summary of the story and details about each of the characters you have met so far in the game.

One of the main cues that's missing is the animal noises which alert you to their proximity. When there's a tiger nearby it's extremely useful to have some warning. You don't want one of those bad boys creeping up behind you. The barking of dogs is another very useful cue, as they often patrol enemy encampments, and without the audio cues you can easily find yourself attacked with no warning.

Grenades are a bit of a mystery. The most useful cue is the soldier shouting “grenade”, but this is not subtitled, as I will go into later. There is a ticking sound and sometimes a little picture of a grenade appears with a little arrow to indicate direction. Despite wandering around enemy camps trying to get people to chuck grenades at me, I've not been able to work out exactly when this visual cue appears. I believe it appears when the relevant enemy has been tagged after looking at them with your binoculars. It is definitely unreliable and it's not a very clear cue even when it does appear.

I would advise the deaf to use the binoculars as much as possible as it gives the player a large amount of information visually. After tagging, the enemy appears as a grey shape when behind a wall and a symbol appears above them indicating what type of enemy they are.

Despite the missing cues I think the deaf would be able to finish the game, they will just have something of a disadvantage.

3. Subtitles

Subtitles are present, but woeful in their execution. The main dialogue during cut scenes is subtitled but it is small, white and unboxed. They are often difficult to read against the background and there is never any indication of who is speaking. They are also off by default and need to be turned on in the menu before you begin the game.

Inexcusably, the incidental speech is not subtitled at all. This speech is handy to let you know when a guard is nearby and can give you useful information. They might shout “Fire in the hole!” or “I'm going for the MG!” or “I'm heading for the alarm!”. Also, sometimes allies will chat to you amiably or let you know of side missions that have become available. With no sound, however, you just see someone with their mouth flapping at you. None of these bits of dialogue are necessary to complete the game, but it is a gross omission for them not to be subtitled.

4. Precision

Far Cry 3 is a first person shooter first and foremost so a certain amount of aiming is unavoidable. A stealthier approach can be adopted at times, using R3 to activate takedowns when behind an enemy, but the point of the game is to be using more fire power than strictly necessary at every opportunity.

Aiming involves holding L1 to bring up your sights and then aiming with the analogue sticks. When using sniper rifles you can click R3 to hold your breath, which steadies your crosshairs. Upgrades are available to improve this ability and give you more time to fire. There is also an aim assist option which helps a great deal with other weapons.

There are a few sections of the game where you are encouraged to use the sniper rifle and there is one story mission which forces you to do so. This is fairly prolonged and you must shoot a number of enemies within a time limit to succeed. One of the boss battles also forces you to use the re-curve bow, meaning you must not only aim, but anticipate both the fall of the arrow and the movement of the beast.

The game is littered with button mashing and QTEs. These mainly crop up during story missions and are unavoidable. Some do not require much timing and might take the form of pressing R2 and L2 alternately to crawl down a passage Heavy Rain style. Others appear during fights and require timing to succeed. I found the battle very near the end particularly difficult, but fortunately the sequence remained the same on restart and could be learnt rather than having to rely on your reactions.

5. Controls

The controls are complicated and require much of the controller. Sometimes buttons must be held for a period of time before an action is triggered and sometimes buttons are held whilst using others. They're rather awkward to use and it's easy to end up doing something you did not intend which can be very frustrating.

Both analogue sticks are used to move and look around. X is for jump; square is for reload and holding it down interacts with objects; circle is for crouch; triangle swaps to the previous weapon used or holding it down either uses a health pack or lets you pat yourself down when you've accidentally gone on fire (which is easier to do than you might imagine).

Holding down L1 brings up your sights and R1 is for fire (you do not need to aim to fire, but it increases accuracy if you do). Holding down L2 brings up your weapon wheel for you to select from with the right analogue stick. You can choose which weapons go where to make it easier to use, but the game has an annoying habit of juggling your weapon selection around every so often.

The directional keys are used to select your binoculars, throw a rock or use whichever boost syringes you've chosen to have available for quick select. Clicking L3 puts you in to a run.

The keys are not customisable. There are options to swap L1/L2 and R1/R2 and to swap L1/R1 and L2/R2 over, as well as to swap the analogue sticks over, but that is all. It would not be possible to play one-handed with a standard controller.

6. Difficulty

There are three difficulty levels to choose from at the beginning of the game Adventurer (Easy), Survivor (Medium) and Warrior (Hard). You can change between difficulty levels whenever you wish and I would say that the difficulty levels are about normal for a standard FPS. There are options available to upgrade your health bar and foraging for ingredients allows you to make as many health packs as you can carry.

Re-starts are problematic as it can vary wildly where you are re-spawned after death. You can face a long trudge back to where you were when you popped your clogs. On the plus side, missions often contain plenty of checkpoints within them so you do not often have to replay long sections of combat.

Summary

Far Cry 3 suffers from a huge number and variety of issues. Some of the design decisions are bizarre and almost as if they were trying to make life difficult for players. The colour blind will have all sorts of trouble, but the green map with red splodges is just ridiculous. The deaf will be able to finish the game, but with some unsubtitled pieces of speech and important cues missing along the way. Mobility wise, precision aiming, QTEs and button mashing all make unwelcome appearances and the controls are complicated and not customisable. The only positive I can think of is the interchangeable difficulty levels and an aim assist option. So congratulations Ubisoft, you managed to get one thing right.

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About the Author
Elizabeth Martin
When I'm not busy at work (helping scientists do whatever it is they do), or at college studying sign language, I'm at home playing video games, reading about video games or writing about video games.

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