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10 Years of Far Cry 3

10 Years of Far Cry 3

Yes, you are reading that right, it's been 10 years since the great Far Cry 3 arrived. Far Cry 3 is still a great game and I thought I’d have a bit of a reminiscence to celebrate its 10th birthday. I’ll try not to spoil anything throughout this article, as anyone interested in playing this game should be able to go in blind and experience the characters and story without prior knowledge.  

It's very typical of Ubisoft these days to find a formula for a franchise and stick to it almost religiously (that can even be said for Far Cry). However, all those years ago, it was nice to see that Far Cry 3 was a genuine improvement on Far Cry 2. It is clearly visible that 2 laid a foundation, as plenty of its formula made it into Far Cry 3, but 3 does so much more with it all. I know it has its nostalgic fans, but in my opinion, Far Cry 2 has aged horribly, whereas Far Cry 3 remains a great option to pick up and play all these years later.

While you can easily see a lot of the influence of Far Cry 2 spread throughout the game, there are still a bunch of interesting new additions worthy of note — one of them being the unique perk system. Jason Brody, our main protagonist, can gain a variety of abilities and players can guide their build to suit their personal play style; there is a combination of stealth, assault, and general endurance-based perks. Far Cry 3 certainly wasn't the first game to introduce a perk mechanic, but it was one of the earliest to set the trend we see today; the idea of player choice is rife currently, and a perk system of some kind is quite often featured unnecessarily in games nowadays. A second interesting point is how with each perk gained, Jason's sleeve tattoo begins to form. It's something that’s not been revisited in a Far Cry game since, the idea of a visual representation of one's acquired skills, which is a shame.

Far Cry 3 10thAnniversary 3

The downright bizarre healing mechanic in this game also greatly set it apart from other games at the time (and even games now, really). Health bars in general had pretty much died out in shooters at this point, leaving only that "hide behind a wall and wait for the screen to stop being red" health recovery technique. Far Cry 3, though, decided to retain the traditional health bar. Whether you're digging bullets out of your arm, snapping a broken finger back into place, or just using an actual medical kit to heal up, there are a plethora of visual aids to indicate a heal-up in this game. Strictly speaking, there are only two distinctive methods: using a proper kit to heal a good portion of life, or (when you're out of backup kits) start patching yourself up. Quentin Tarantino's duct-taped hand in From Dusk Till Dawn is a good representation of Jason’s ludicrous first-aid capabilities. Once your health kits are used up Jason can still heal, the only problem is that it's considerably less efficient than a real health kit — it's slow and only heals you a tiny amount. You essentially have infinite healing potential, which I think is why Ubisoft either tweaked or straight-up removed it from later entries. However, I'd actually argue that it was fine how it was as, due to its limitations, it already feels balanced.

Far Cry 3 10thAnniversary 1

Something else that set it apart from games at the time is that it isn't a cover shooter; a fact I greatly appreciated. Far Cry 3 came out during the Xbox 360 era, a time when cover shooters and Gears of War clones ruled the shooting roosts. There were other traditional first-person shooters around, the Call of Duty series for instance, but at this time the genre as a whole ultimately wasn't as popular; everyone wanted that over-the-shoulder, snap-to-cover gameplay. However, I feel that you just can't beat a traditional first-person experience when it comes to shooters — the action is always right up in your face. 

This game is also delightfully colourful. Action games have begun to open their colour palettes recently, but for the longest time they were nothing more than a variation of dark brown, grey, and green — or even a gross mixture of them all together sometimes! Dark and gritty games for adults were still very much the norm in 2012, and that translated primarily for many developers as a subdued colour scheme. Far Cry 3 (and arguably following entries in the series) showed that your worlds can be vibrant, and the story can still be brutal; the two aspects are not mutually linked. Even by today's standards, it's still very colourful.

Far Cry 3 also features a bunch of (what I would consider) unorthodox characters. The Far Cry series has gone on to create many memorable characters — ignoring Far Cry Primal of course — but it was here in Far Cry 3 where that trope began. A lot of people remember Vaas, and for good reason: he's a great villain! However, there are also countless other memorable faces; those that have played it will know what I'm talking about. Whether they're used as a source of humour, to advance the plot, or inject some brutality, they are numerous and varied but never feel unnecessary. They all seem to have their place and they fit into it perfectly.

Far Cry 3 10thAnniversary 2

Now, I can't wrap this up without going into detail about Vaas Montenegro, as he is easily the best bad guy the series has had. While Pagan Min from Far Cry 4 is a close second in my opinion, no other villain has quite cracked the Vaas code. The guy is a complete nutcase, often acting on impulse rather than reason. However, like all great villains, he has a broken half. He is clearly plagued by past traumas, and now uses this immense pain to fuel his rampages; well, his pain and copious amounts of unspecified narcotics anyway. He doesn't seem to care about death, and this only allows him to pull off the unthinkable — he has absolutely nothing holding him back, and he grabs life with both hands.

Far Cry 3 10thAnniversary 4

Arguably, a lot of what makes this game so great is how original it was when it first came out. However, considering just how mainstream gigantic open-world games with perk systems have since become, I think it's a testament to Far Cry 3's unique elements that it's still a stand-out option in a now cluttered genre. Outside of Far Cry as a franchise, some of its unique and interesting mechanics have never been revived nor explored, further making it a solid choice for someone looking for a new and unique action game to tackle.

Niall Cawley

Niall Cawley

Staff Writer

Fighting gods, but also sometimes not

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