Why Far Cry 3 Should Be Game Of The Year

Far Cry 3 should not be my nomination for 2012 game of the year. I'm not a huge fan of first-person shooters. While I appreciate the technical accomplishment of the first two games in the series I've not felt compelled to complete either. I felt absolutely no excitement leading up to the third instalment's late November release. I expected a visually pleasing shooter that would keep me occupied for an hour or so before I moved on to more compelling things.

What I got was the only open world action-adventure game I've ever loved.

Don't cry for Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. What we had was special — it was just never love. I watched them blossom from compelling ideas into full-bodied games, breath catching with each new screenshot and trailer. As soon as I was able I took them home, carefully peeling away the plastic and slipping them gently inside my game console. I entered their worlds with the best of intentions, listening to their stories unfold attentively. For a moment it felt as if I truly cared.

But as soon as the talking stopped it was all about me. I ploughed pedestrians from their streets with reckless abandon. I rode their trails hard, unloading my weapons on anything that moved. I ignored their pleas for plot progression, instead seeking out random actions that satisfied my carnal nature, repeating them over and over until I was spent. I left them unfulfilled on the entertainment centre shelf, collecting dust with their cases just out of reach.

With Far Cry 3 it was different. It was the friend of a friend (Kirk Hamilton) that I only hooked up with out of courtesy. It was attractive, sure, but I wasn't expecting much more than a brief encounter. I'd hang out for an hour or two and then move on.

It wasn't love at first sight. Beers and bros on the beach isn't my idea of a good time, and the follow-up activity — running through the jungle being chased by maniacs moments after my brother put the "special" in "special forces" and nearly got my head blown off — well that was just awkward.

I soon found myself in another open world, armed to the teeth and given free rein to do as I pleased. There were cars to drive, creatures to shoot, people to kill and plenty of things to set on fire. I was fully prepared to take Far Cry 3 like I had taken so many other sandbox games before it.

Then I made a startling discovery — I cared.

As implausible an action hero as slacker-turned-mercenary Jason Brody is, I found myself invested in his mission to rescue his travelling companions from the clutches of cruel and sadistic pirates. I revelled in the slow destruction of his inner fratboy while feeling the same trepidation as his friends over the darkness slowly consuming him. I felt that same darkness growing in me as I exacted satisfying revenge on the minions of the maniacal Vaas — easily one of the greatest new villains in gaming, even if he's only a mini-boss.

It almost felt like Far Cry 3 understood the sort of gamer I am, with compensation for my shortcomings integrated into the game's design. I am not good at first-person shooters, so in my case Jason Brody wasn't the superhuman commando many players complained he was. Most of the time he was just lucky. I appreciate that.

This is not to say my relationship with Far Cry 3 was all pure and innocent. I strayed now and then, indulging my base nature by partaking of the islands' more carnal delights. I was all over those sexy hills and valleys, leaving burn marks and bodies in my wake. I spent several afternoons shark-fishing with the old boat-mounted chain gun, if you know what I mean. I may have cheated a little bit, dallying with some of the game's lesser quests in-between massive set pieces.

But I always came back. That's what love is. That's why Far Cry 3 is my 2012 Game of the Year.


Comments

    I agree with a lot of this, but FC3 did fall down in a few places. The AI was morbidly bad in quite a few areas, especially when attacking camps. We're talking PS1 era bad here. I was able to snipe encampments, people standing right next to each other, snipe alarm boxes, they'd see their friends DIE, and they'd just stand around doing nothing.

    The weaponry was a little underwhelming until you got the bow and got to the 2nd island tbh. There was also no reason to actually collect money when you realised you just had to unlock the towers? Bullet proof vests were useless with the ever present god option of the Y button + health regen.

    This is not to say I did not like the game, I invested more hours in it than any other game in the last year, why? I LOVED it. But to love a game, one must be able to note its shortcomings. When I went back and played Farcry 2, I noted some things, the foliage seemed better somehow? Grenades had a better effect on scenery (leaves and grass would kick up and blow in the wind with the explosion, it looks far superior to 3), fire in 3 is far better than 2 though thats for sure, but game of the year? No. Top TEN games of the year? Maybe down towards the bottom. If you're talking games that make you care about people then something like The Walking Dead when you're nearly in tears towards the end should have topped your list...

      what platform and difficulty did you play? When I snipe camps they come rushing to me once they see their friends die. Died a few times when I snipe a tiger out of camp and the tiger came rushing to me =.=

      I didn't actually have much trouble with the AI when attacking camps either. Not in the way you described, anyway - if I started sniping guys or shooting alarm boxes etc (with an unsilenced rifle) then they'd all be alerted and coming after me etc. Likewise, if they found a body then the stealth approach was immediately dead in the water.

      I did find them a bit too gullible for the old thrown-rock caper. I.e. you could throw one right in front of them and they'd go look at where the rock landed instead of looking in the bushes right in front of them where it came from.

      Their sight range was pretty poor, too, which is a common failing in most games that have a stealth mechanic to them. You can be close enough to see them clearly but they don't seem to notice you.

    I played my first hour of this last night. I actually thought the jungle chase sequence was pretty cool and the helicopter + jumping in water felt like a little nod to FC1.

    Not quite GOTY for me - nothing could knock Journey off the top this year.

    But FC3 definitely gets runner up. Well... maybe equal runner up along with XCOM :)

    It would have easily been my GOTY if it weren't so messily designed. Ubisoft seem to have a love for making any kind of mechanic they introduce into their game redundant, you can see this kind of design at work in the whole of the Assassin's Creed series. There is no use for money, since you readily get guns for free, no need for health syringes, since after a few skill upgrades, healing without them is just as, if not more effective and I have no idea why they thought the nature boy syringes was a good idea, seeing that plants are visible on the minimap.

    Basically there's a lot of bloat, and I hate games that do that, it just reeks of feature creep and lazy design. And in a year where X-Com: Enemy Unknown and Dishonored (Dishonored in particular) showed that you can make large, deep games without any kind of redundancies in design, Far Cry 3 ends up coming short.

    Also, the story is balls.

    I have to say it is up there as one of my favorite games of 2012, besides some of the glaring problems with it the main thing that stops it from being my favorite of the year is the murderous Cassowaries... not even tigers have killed me as often as Cassowaries have.

      Have you ever seen a real cassowary? Do you realise that they're actually one of the most dangerous animals in the world?

    This'd only get game of the year because there isn't much else to choose from.
    Far Cry 3 is a fun game in regards to the gameplay, but the story and acting for the most part is absolutely shite. Michael Mandos brilliant delivery saves the poor script.
    And what lame-arse tattoos. Since when did tattoos suddenly become 'cool'?

    Last edited 03/01/13 11:51 am

      In a year with Dishonoured, XCOM, Journey and FTL there is plenty to choose from.

    Awesome game. The L4D style 4-player coop missions are good too if you've finished the single player game and want more. However they're much tougher.

    FarCry 3 was heaps of fun the story was predictable (what isn't these days) sound track was great when burning down the weed farm :D its easy my GOTY. Multiplayer is fun as well, even though it is p2p and lag is a bitch. I need more missions though, challangers are good but the online rankings seem to be rigged or hacked because some of the scores are BS!

    I just don't get it.
    I thought FC3 was really rather boring.
    There was nothing new, nothing that stood out, and to me it was just run-of-the-mill sandbox / open world game... and not a good one at that.
    There are really only a half dozen things to do and none all that exciting.
    Climb Radio Towers, take over Stronghold... continue story... hunt creatures to expand backpack and syringe carrying... rinse and repeat.
    The side missions / games are not that good either... Knife Throwing, Target Shooting, Racing... Super creative.
    The story was average at best the only saving grace that helped me take my mind off how ridiculously overrated this game was the rather explicit sex scenes.

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