Ubisoft’s “Far Cry” series has long been heralded for its riveting, sandbox gameplay and its enthralling story since the first installment hit shelves in 2004. The sequel left fans aching for more, and the developers worked hard to satisfy that hunger. Although the release was initially delayed, the game was well worth the wait, and it’s always nice to see a developer forgo deadlines for the sake of a better final product.“Far Cry 3” features a riveting campaign, but the moderately stereotypical storyline was greatly overshadowed by the intense gameplay. As Jason Brody, players get to almost step into the protagonist’s shoes, feeling the journey from a pampered tourist into a hardened warrior as Brody has to take control of his life to save his friends. Granted, there’s a “white messiah” feel to the plotline, but it almost seems like it was intentionally used to allow players to feel more in tune with the character. Michael Mando makes an excellent performance as Vaas Montenegro, the main antagonist for the majority of the game. Vaas’ insane power trip was demonstrated by Ubisoft in a mini-series called the “Far Cry Experience,” showing fans a peek at the foe they’ll grow to hate to ramp up momentum before the game’s release.Ubisoft made a point to expand upon the already praised weapons system of “Far Cry 2,” adding weapon customization for a much more personalized gameplay. For even more personalization, this installment features a skill tree embodied by a developing tattoo on Brody’s forearm. As well, there’s a small hunting and crafting aspect to provide a nice aside from the otherwise linear storyline, allowing the player to hunt wildlife to expand inventory space and get away from what could otherwise feel like a bit of a grind. The series has always featured massive maps, and the installment of a fast travel system as well as numerous collectibles and hunting opportunities make the trips much more bearable. Of course, returning fans will be glad to know that the pyromechanics are as beautiful and useful as ever.The only issue to be found with this otherwise perfect game is the multiplayer system. The game modes and gameplay themselves are wonderful, allowing for something that feels just enough like Activision’s “Call of Duty” series to be fun, while being original enough to feel like its own game. Unfortunately, Ubisoft isn’t quite as experienced in the field of matchmaking, so the lobby waits can be long and the games can often be extremely buggy and frustrating. . . just enough to ruin what could be an excellent experience.Overall, “Far Cry 3” pans out to be a wonderful game, falling just short of perfection. Among first-person shooters, Ubisoft still holds its spot for originality and excellence. This is a game certainly worth a playthrough or two. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be the new king of the jungle.
Rating: 4/5 Elephants