Far Cry 3 is a really, really good game. One of the year’s best, I’d wager. I’ve had so much fun with it that I’m playing it again, just for the heck of it, and shooting for 100% completion.
One of my big gripes, however, is the unfortunate amount of screen clutter. The problem is even worse on a second playthrough, when I’m already familiar with the rules, objectives and mechanics.
The game’s invasive, pestering heads-up display is one of the most annoying in recent memory. My annoyance is doubtless due in large part to the fact that the game itself is so good, its world so lovely and immersive, that I wish it’d get out of my way. Far Cry 3 is a game that demands to be documented with screenshots, but the invasive HUD stymies every attempt.
Rare is the moment when there isn’t some sort of message on screen, either a note nudging you on towards your next story goal, a tutorial for a skill you mastered the first time through, or a tip on how to overcome your current obstacle. All of these are perfectly helpful for some players, but unfortunately, more experienced players can’t turn any of them off. Not the tips, the tutorials, the objective reminders and waypoint indicators, or the info-stocked mini-map. (And by now I hope we all know how I feel about mini-maps.)
This image up top is from a hunting mission in the game, and I think it sums up how annoying the HUD can be. Here we’ve got not one but two text boxes on the left-hand side, as well as the mini-map in the lower-left. Not only that, but you’ve got to do this mission with an RPG (which on its face is awesome, since you’re hunting rabid dogs… with a rocket launcher), so the right side of the screen is filled with a huge weapon.
The result is greatly reduced visibility, a problem that would’ve been greatly mitigated by giving players the ability to turn off or minimize the HUD in the options menu. Alas, the game allows for none of that. All that’s left now is to hold out hope for a patch. Given how deep, unpredictable and flat-out fun Far Cry 3 is, I can see myself playing it for months and even years to come. It’s a shame the game will always treat me like a newbie.