Top critical review
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Nothing like Far Cry 2, in case you liked that one.
on July 21, 2014
This is a very different game from Far Cry 2. Some love one and not the other. I loved 2, but 3 is not really my thing, although I am trying to like it. It is basically elements of Skyrim mixed with Red Dead Redemption on a modern-day tropical island. Things I dislike about it:
* total lack of immersion. There are so many pop-up reminders and cut-scenes any time you do anything that you never allowed to forget you are just playing a game. Each reminder wants you to dive into the menus and do something, taking you further from the game. If you like fussing over inventory and skill levelling then this may be your thing, but it is a very different approach to FC2, where NOTHING breaks the immersion (OK, except the odd save dialog and, for some reason, bus rides).
* the mini-map. Why do I need a minimap? Why can't I turn it off? I don't need a display showing me the enemy locations (and you can't stop yourself from looking at it). And why do I have to pause the game to look at a larger map? The in-game map system of FC2 is way better: driving along and glancing down at the map in your lap is vastly better than pausing to bring up the map screen.
* fast travel is just a button press away, basically anywhere, any time (except in missions; more on that later), which is silly. You can even fast travel out if a fight is going bad. What's the point of that? Aside from a few widely separated bus stations, in FC2 you are stuck where you are, which forces you to plan and choose your fights. Everything you do matters in FC2, not so much here.
* the main character is a whiny, entitled white boy. You are that boy (so much for "first person"). You have to listen to yourself moan about everything. In FC2 you are the main character. The only sounds that come out of your mouth are sounds that come out of YOUR mouth! YOU are crouching in the jungle looking and listening for patrols before you dare cross that road, YOU are the guy who will die if you get it wrong. This is very effective in FC2.
* death is meaningless. It's not you anyway, the whiny boy just respawns at the nearest safe location and life goes on. In FC2 any time you are in trouble, YOU are in trouble. You do have buddies who will generally save you if your health runs down, and you sometimes have to save them. But sometimes you do actually die (as do they), and that hits harder in that world than in the FC3 one. You can still reload your last save and continue, but you know you screwed up and you died.
* infinite enemies. Seriously, people complain about being attacked by vehicles with bad guys in FC2, but it is way worse in FC3. Engage one vehicle with a couple of pirates, and by the time you are done half a dozen other cars have showed up to help! This seems worse to me than the one or two you might have to deal with in FC2.
* collectibles are plentiful but largely useless. You find lots of cash and random items that you can't do anything with except sell for more cash. Ammo and weapons are basically the only thing to buy, but you get free weapons by unlocking radio towers and free ammo from dropped weapons, so you rarely need to spend much (just on minor weapon upgrades, like extended magazines and better sights). As a result, you quickly fill both your rucksack and your wallet, even if you craft bigger ones, and find yourself wasting ammo just so you have to buy more to make some room in your wallet, so you can sell the junk you found and make room in your rucksack, so you can loot more chests to get more useless items and more cash you don't need. Or just accept that the zillions of collectables are just not worth collecting (so why have them in the game?). It would be nice it there was a purpose for at least some stuff you found, and a real reason to have money.
* speaking of crafting, it is time consuming and pointless. You spend too much time crafting medicines because you can only carry a few syringes, but can carry many ingredients. But once you have crafted all the ammo bags there is nothing else left to do, and if you are smart you will craft them first so you always have plenty of ammo, which then removes a lot of crafting and hunting from the equation.
* which brings me to hunting. The animals are too easy to see (some of them seem to almost glow), and you soon learn that anything you target shows up in silhouette even if it is out of your sightline, so you always know where it went. This built-in wall-hack also applies to enemies, and can be turned off, luckily, but why is it there at all? After you have crafted everything there is no point in hunting anyway, unless you desperately want more money you don't need.
* graphics are a huge step down from FC2, both in quality and physics. Everything seems less real, and for some reason there are weird dark halos around objects, giving it an almost comic-book feel. Fire is a joke compared to the living beast that it is in FC2. The plants don't seem to notice your passage as they do in FC2. The weather is superficial. The only upside is that the colours are better (the weird brown cast on everything in FC2 was a bit much).
* too much hand holding in general. Aside from the mini-map there is an intrusive HUD by default (although - unlike the mini-map - much of it can be turned off). But you still get told when you should to climb, because a prompt tells you instead of you having to figure it out, and so on.
* the worst is that the mission levels are all like a separate world from the free roam, very much "on rails" where you have to do the right thing at the right time in the right way or you fail. FC2 let you carry out missions any way you wanted.
OK, it is not FC2, but I do think they could have added to the good stuff that FC2 had to offer rather than strip it all away and add pointless game-iness that it did not need.