I wasn’t planning on getting Far Cry 3 until sometime around Christmas. I was, however, getting bored with shooters, and frustrated with Assassin’s Creed MP. I needed something that combined my love of open worlds and big guns, which FC3 gives me in spades. I’ve learned quite a few interesting things in the time I’ve spent on Rook Island so far. Not enough for a full strategy article, nor enough for a full review. I decided to combine the two.
My thoughts after ten hours in the jungle
One of the things I’ve always loved about the Far Cry series was the thin line it walks between serious and silly. Our main character is either some kind of mercenary or, in Far Cry 3′s case, a recent college grad. Jason Brody’s only real claim to worth is that he’s relatively handsome and has a lot of rich, annoying friends. Yet here he is, taking out thousands of highly trained killers with weapons most militaries don’t let far from their sight, wrestling alligators and skinning tigers, uncovering continent spanning crime rings, and getting regularly high on substances most dealers would kill ten men to get their hands on. He’s also some sort of conduit for an ancient power funneled through a tattoo, the only man to escape from an insane pirate, and can withstand .50 caliber sniper fire using medicine made from plants he can’t name.
The beauty of exploration
More seriously, Far Cry 3 is a lot of fun. Rarely do I think to myself, “I should go look for some green plans and hunt for goats,” all in the same instant. You’ll need to hunt and gather if you want to get the best gear. So if you want bigger stuff, go kill some animals. Oh, but just so you know, those animals are five minutes away, and you can get to the next radio tower in three. Which will uncover more of the map, and you’ll want to go see what those ruins over there are all about. When you get back to finding that boar to get a bigger wallet, you’ll have explored for an hour and found far more money than two upgraded wallets could hold. And those successive upgrades require rarer, more dangerous game. I think my favorite so far has been the ammo holsters. Eventually you have to hunt a rare Sumatran tiger with a bow and arrow, and those things kill you in two swipes.
Sometimes you just need a little more gun
The guns feel really good too. It takes plenty of shots to put somebody down, but if you go for the head, their done no matter how much health they have. Sniping is rewarding in itself, since if done well, you’ll never be detected. Clearing outposts without being seen is triple the experience of clearing it otherwise, so smart play is rewarded. I know there are more guns in the game than I’ve uncovered, so I can’t go much farther than to say the AK-47 is still one of the best guns ever, and I like sniping a lot. The bow and arrow is rewarding as well, since before you get a silenced sniper, it’s the main way to take down foes without noise. It’s range is limited, and its ammo recoverable, and the feeling of hunting everything that moves without firing a single bullet is beyond compare. I’m a little sad there aren’t many archery upgrades, and that once you get access to said silent sniper, the short effective range of the bow is something of a deterrent. At least for me it is.
Surviving Rook Island for newbies
Soon after finishing the tutorial missions, you unlock the skill tree system. Split between stealth, survival, and attack, I haven’t found a good build yet. However, there are a few tricks and skills to note when it comes to succeeding on Rook Island.
Only the skilled survive
The first skill you should pick up is Horticulturist. This skill gives you two syringe-crafting plants per collection. It’s an early unlock, and it will save you time and get you plenty of healing syringes. You might not need too many of them, or you might need a ton. Either way, as they take only one green leaf to craft, having the ability to acquire two at almost any moment is helpful. From there, I suggest getting the slide to crouch skill, as well as upgrading your health bars. You’ll notice that after just a few unlocks, much of the skill tree remains unavailable. I’d think this is to push you to do the story missions, and while I don’t agree with the decision, I understand it. For this reason, you’ll want to progress through the main story fairly quickly, at least until you reach your allies’ leader in a temple. You’ll know the place when you get there. After that meeting, many more skills unlock and the game lets the leash out. Thankfully, there isn’t much you can’t accomplish with a small skillset, and it’s almost better to do more with less. The skill you gain with just the basics will transfer and make otherwise difficult situations seem effortless.
You need a place to put all your stuff
Another limiter on your progress is the small amount of items you can hold. Until you’ve crafted larger rucksacks, you can’t carry much loot. Each craftable leaf and item takes up one space in your inventory, and you start with just 24 spaces. I hope Ubisoft patches in the ability for duplicate items to stack, but I doubt it. Thankfully, the initial inventory/weapon slot upgrades are easy to do. The animals required aren’t very far from the world’s starting point, and you’ll welcome the additional space. The map designates which animals spawn where, and it’s a simple matter of fast traveling nearby and hunting. The craft trees do get more difficult, and you have to undertake quests to build the best items, but even without the top-notch stuff, you have plenty of room.
After collecting enough animal pelts to make a big game hunter queasy, you’ll probably have an itch to shoot something. There isn’t much to the gunplay in Far Cry 3, sad to say. You point at things and click till they die. Like its predecessor, bullet travel time is instant from any distance, so it comes down to your skill with the sticks/mouse and keyboard. The weapons are satisfying to use and each feels different from the last. Most are fully customizable, and more unlock as the story progresses. But unless I write a “How to improve your aim in an FPS” article sometime down the road, I can’t give much more than that (And just so we’re clear, I actually did).
If you’ll excuse me, there’s a hang glider on that cliff there. I need to go kill a shark from 500 feet up.