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Far Cry 3 Preview

I've got jungle fever, she's got jungle fever, we've got jungle fever, we've gone mad!

You know those trippy sequences in movies that come out of nowhere with no real explanation or warning? Like the pink elephants in Dumbo or the weird tunnel sequence in Willy Wonka? Far Cry 3 is basically filled with stuff like that. Want a lap dance from a tribeswoman with painted breasts? You got it. Want to walk around on TV monitors while your adversary Vaas is doing a pole dance one minute and pushing you to shoot him the next? Here you go. Insanity is the reoccurring theme in Far Cry 3 and if it's successful, we'll all be in for a psychological thrill ride.

If the game's trailers, screenshots and gameplay footage is to be believed, Far Cry 3 is shaping up to be a beautiful title. Lush foliage abounds and landscapes sport a diverse color palette, a welcome change from the recent FPS trend of brown, grey black and more brown. Character models are also rendered quite well and faces look emotive and expressive, maintaining a sense of realism and but remaining stylized.

Far Cry 3 tells the story of Jason Brody, who is attempting to rescue his friends but gets caught in the crossfire between warlords and rebels that have barely any facet of humanity left. Vaas is a pirate with little to no sanity left and is the main antagonist. He'll poke and pry at you throughout the game and will influence Jason and vice versa. Citra (the aforementioned lapdancing tribeswoman) is the leader of the opposing resistance as well as Vaas' sister.  Story may seem inconsequential to many FPS players but the developers of Far Cry 3 are determined to make it a crucial component to the tone and mechanics of the game.

Not all is as it seems in Far Cry 3. In fact, nothing ever is. Just like the series itself, what you think you're doing and where you think the game is taking you is always changing, keeping you on your toes. Next to the possible insanity of James, secrets are the recurring theme behind the story and atmosphere. What better place is there to hide dark secrets than the middle of a jungle, after all? Vaas may seem like the bad guy here, as he takes pleasure in manipulating people like toys and seems to be out of his mind. However, the motives of both Vaas and his sister are shrouded in mystery. In many ways, the only real shade of grey in this game is not in its color palette but in its characters. Remember: at the end of the day, evil is a point of view.

In order to convey these concepts, the game will have many perception altering sequences I mentioned at the beginning of this preview. Whether due to pain or drugs or something else, Brody will fade in and out of the real world. Hallucinations will be prevalent in the game and this will be due in large part to another character in the game, Dr. Earnhardt, who abuses medications and other drugs and apparently won't Bogart his stash. You'll see rocks move on their own, angelic gardens complete with multicolored butterflies, and translucent mushrooms. These will break up the gameplay as they seem to be fairly linear, in contrast to the rest of the game.

It'll be interesting how they'll tell this involved narrative while maintaining its open world gameplay. Like the previous Far Cry, players will be able to roam the island at their leisure. This will actually reward players in many ways and they will have to adapt to the island as it changes. Problems with Far Cry 2 such as respawning enemies and bus routes have been rectified as Citra's forces can occupy areas you clear out and a fast travel system is being implemented. You can still drive around in trucks to get to your desired location on the giant map but you can also just quick travel to camps you've taken over as well as other locations.

So we're on an expansive jungle with two factions fighting each other. The story includes a homicidal maniac and a half naked temptress. We have the entire island to explore but how is the gameplay? It's exactly what you think it would be. From what we've seen, Far Cry 3 plays like your standard first person shooter with a relative emphasis on melee kills. Players will have bow and arrows at their disposal as well as your usual assortment of rifles and pistols. Stealth is also an important part of the game and your abilities can be upgraded. Although no supernatural powers will be in the game like in Far Cry Instincts Predator, stealth kills will be improved upon with experience and can result in taking down an entire group of soldiers.  These aspects will allow players to approach missions in different ways.

Guns can be customized thanks to the presence of wildlife on the island. In addition to soldiers, animals will also be on the attack against both you and your enemy. Resources can then be gained from animals once you've put them down and used to improve your gun's scope, ammo belt and more. You must first find them as some animals will only be on certain parts of the island and some may need to be lured out. Sometimes, you need to be careful as to who you attack and where as the commotion can alert other enemies. Killing soldiers at an encampment may draw the attention of a nearby pack of tigers and hunting animals may attract a gunman at a close by base.

It seems like the man Jason Brody was when he first reached the island won't be the man Jason Brody becomes when he leaves the island. If he's able to at all. By the end of the game, it's implied that Brody will become that which he was fighting against. While we'll need to see if Ubisoft is able to meld a compelling psychological narrative together with the freedom and non linearity an open world game, the single player campaign is looking incredibly exciting. Which brings us to the multiplayer, specifically the four-player co-op campaign.

The co-op comprises of up to four basic characters shooting at random people who are shooting back at you. There are objectives to complete, such as blowing up a bridge, and its implied - not subtly - that communication will be important while playing. While all of this is okay, it's difficult to say at this point if Far Cry 3's co-op can do anything to set itself apart from the pack.

Competitive multiplayer is looking a bit more in the style of the single player campaign. Players can utilize a power called Battle Cry that gives allies nearby a perk, such as a boost in health. Psyche Gas is also a unique addition as it will allow a player with enough points to drop vials of the stuff onto a quadrant of the map. Those caught in the fumes will experience hallucinations, hampering their ability to play and enabling friendly fire for a small period. Other players, friend or foe, will appear as black silhouettes with glowing eyes.  Using these abilities as well as getting kills and reviving players will level up your character. At the end of matches, you can show your enemies mercy or punish them and be treated to an entertaining cut scene as a result. A map editor will be included in the game, as with previous Far Cry games. 

Two modes are known as of now. Domination is your basic capture-hold-conquer multiplayer while Firestorm is something quite inventive. Both teams are racing to reach the other teams two "nodes" which comprises of a canister filled with gas. Once reached, you must hold down a button in order to cut the canister open, douse the enemies' area with gas and set the whole mess on fire. You're vulnerable while doing this but if you manage to do so, you then must set the remaining canister on fire before the first fire is put out and thereby, resetting the game. The area on fire will destroy camping areas and compress the gameplay area. Once both canisters are cut open, a radio will spawn at the middle and if the dominant team can reach it first, they can call in a plane that will drop gallons of gasoline on the opposing team, ending the game. If the other team gets to it, they can call for a plane to drop gallons of water, effectively starting the game over. It looks to be an interesting way to play online, especially if rushing in guns blazing is not your preferred method of play. Traps can be made with explosives and working as a team is essential here.

Far Cry 3, if anything, looks to be a very expansive game.  An engrossing single player mode along with an inventive competitive multiplayer mode makes this a game to watch with the co-op being the only weak point in the game based on what has been shown so far. Be sure to check this game out when it's released on December 4, 2012 and PS3 owners will have "exclusive" DLC to look forward to.

Are you ready for Vaas' sister to make a warrior out of you? Comment below and let us know!



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