For my first week of playing through every game I own, I’ve decided to go through the 9 games my partner has bought for me over the years. First up: Far Cry 3.
Having never played a Far Cry, I wasn’t exactly familiar going in, but I recognized the Ubi formula right away. It’s weird how some aspects of the game already feel dated - I didn’t enjoy climbing the towers one bit, particularly coming off Breath of the Wild. The outposts though, they were a different story. Every single one was a joy to deconstruct, ambush and stealth through.
The story, while not necessarily the number one draw of the game, is solid. In 2017, it seems a bit obvious in a sense, but I can imagine in 2012 it might’ve been a revelation. It’s a testament to how far games have come even in this relatively short space of time - Far Cry 3 seems like one of those games that succeeded in pushing gaming forward, both narratively and in open world design.
The cast of characters is also pretty great, and really, excellently directed. The characters native to the island were all well portrayed and intriguing, the main character’s friends were crafted in just the right way to give you enough doubt in the final moments of the game, and Jason himself was both likeable enough to play as, yet unlikable enough to keep a slight disconnect between him and the player. Vaas was a particular standout - I always feel enamored with characters who aren't all there, and boy, does he pull it off well.
Warning: spoilers below.
I love the exploration of the themes Far Cry 3 lays out. A lot of games involve death at the hands of the protagonist, but few manage to grapple with what that means effectively. While I don’t particularly play many shooters, the ones that allow for more realistic characterization and consequence are the ones I’m drawn to. I’m a big fan of Spec Ops: The Line for that very reason, and I now see how people put that and Far Cry 3 in the same category.
Jason’s enjoyment of the situation he’s in really shines throughout the story missions involving the rescue of his friends - the driving sequence during the scene where you are saving his girlfriend was the standout for me, where Jason is borderline laughing maniacally at the destruction while Liza is suitably freaking the fuck out. These moments are what lead me to make the decision for Jason to stay on the island during the final moments of the game. I got the feeling that “save your friends” was the fantasy choice, the choice for those that treat the game as a cautionary tale; whereas “join Citra” seemed like the realistic option, the affirmation of the path that lead Jason to that moment, the "true" response to everything as it were. I had no problem with Jason being stabbed in the end, as it seemed a fitting end to the destruction he had wrought.
Far Cry 3 is, weirdly, a game that has already aged somewhat. I almost wish I had have played it at the time of release, because I feel like it might have become one of my all time favourites, but through playing a decent amount of games between then and now that also tackle similar themes and house mature stories, it feels a little like the product of its time. That’s not to say it isn’t a great game! I enjoyed the story and characters, the outposts and the destruction. It would still be sitting on my shelf right now if I hadn’t decided to go down this pile of shame path, and I’m already glad that I did.
Games left to play: 119
Current game: Code Name STEAM, (maybe) Until Dawn