Gamescom 2012: Far Cry 3 Hands-On Preview – Roadkill!
Written Thursday, August 23, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
During the course of our third hands-on with Far Cry 3, we witnessed a wild dog trying to eat a fleeing goat, shot two grizzly bears in the face and ran over a tiger while riding a quad bike. That's exactly what an open-world jungle should be like, right? This is the first time we've been properly let loose in Far Cry 3's expansive tropical paradise, with a whole one twentieth of the game's map completely open to us. Fully aware that there's not nearly enough time to explore the whole thing, we quickly set to work trying to see as much as we can within the allotted demo period. Go go go!
Starting with a fogged mini-map, we need to head out to the nearest radio tower to unjam the pirate signals being broadcast across the island. Each radio tower is a navigational puzzle (some will be in complete disrepair, requiring some smart climbing), sort of like the towers in Assassin's Creed that you climb in order to synchronise and reveal the map in the surrounding area. As you'd expect, there's a few AK-47 packing pirate guards to take out first, which is nothing a few bullets can't handle. A nearby friendly village is home to several shops, including a gun store where you can stock up on ammo and upgrade your weapons.
With some cash in our account, we decide to fit our Magnum revolver with a scope and an extended barrel, which comes in handy for blasting pirate scum from afar with Magnum force. Accessing the weapon wheel, we also have an assault rifle that we can bust out, and purchasing an additional holster means we can also carry a bow and arrow for quiet pirate murder. Once we've scaled the tower, it's just a case of fiddling with some wires and hey presto. Mission markers galore pop up all over the place, and we're directed by the Ubisoft rep to go ahead and try clearing out one of the pirate outposts to transform the region into friendly territory. However, the entire map is shrouded in red indicating that this is pirate dominated land. For now...
Deciding to adopt the stealthy approach with our newly acquired bow and arrow, we head into the outpost by sliding down a grassy slope on the outskirts and sneaking onto the compound unseen. Scoping out the area, you're able to take out your camera and mark up enemies on your HUD. Each enemy is marked with an icon denoting their class, so you know exactly what you're dealing with. There are 'normal', 'charger', 'sniper/RPG' units, 'heavy' enemies and 'animals', yet quite why you need to mark up an animal as an enemy is anyone's guess. If you don't know that you're staring at an animal when it's roaring, barking or bleating at you, perhaps you should give up playing games altogether. Or just give up, period.
Creeping up on patrolling enemies, you're able to take them down by clicking in the right stick for a takedown when you're close enough, while a directional indicator on your HUD means you can keep tabs on the positions of any other nearby bad guys and assess how much danger you're in. Stealth is consequently a far more viable option than it was in Far Cry 2, where we'd invariably opt for the 'blow all the shit up and set it on fire' option. Speaking of Far Cry 2, the third game won't torture you with endlessly respawning enemies once you've taken control of a region, so digging entrenched enemies out of their outposts is a sound strategy. Executing every enemy in the area using our bow and arrow and machete, we earn ourselves a stealth bonus, which translates to a nice little XP boost that goes towards unlocking new abilities like the sprint slide skill, extra life, toughness or abilities like aerial takedowns, the 'death from below' move that enables you to execute baddies from out of water, or conversely the ' death from above' skill that lets you shoot from ziplines.
Having taken back a chunk of territory, we offer our services as a hunter, accepting a side mission that sends us off on a sojourn to shoot some bears with a shotgun. Jumping into a car, we whizz towards the mission marker and find ourselves entering a dark cave. Flashlight on, we tackle the first bear at the entrance, with a few blasts to its furry hide, before skinning it and taking a lump of bear meat. The second bear is deeper in the cave, and just as easily dealt with as we strafe around a stalactite to flank it. We encounter more of the island's fauna between missions, such as goats, water buffalo and wild dogs, and there appears to be an ecosystem at work, as the dogs will attack the goats and tigers will attack...well, pretty much anything in sight. Oh, and if you rile up the water buffalo, they'll attack you too, so play nice.
Taking on a 'supply drop' side mission from a flyer posted on a shed in one of the village hubs, we jump on a quad bike to deliver some medical supplies to a needy party. As the weather dynamically changes and the heavens open, we take the dirt tracks, ramming a tiger that happens to wander into our path. Random occurrences like these will be commonplace in Far Cry 3, as we stumble upon some pirates escorting innocent holidaying tourists to their encampment. Naturally, we heroically step in and save the day, thumping some arrows into the pirates' craniums, leaving the tourists on their knees screaming. That's gratitude for you.
Our final mission sees us assassinating a commander in another outpost, with yet another stealth bonus up for grabs if we can take the marked man out with a silent knife kill. Isolating the commander, we manage to slit his throat, then sneak around stabbing jugulars without raising any suspicion whatsoever. Of course, it helps that we disabled the alarm beforehand. More XP accrued, we're shown the upgrade menu in more detail, with each skill tree connected to a section of the tribal tattoo on protagonist Jason Brody's left arm that relates to an animal. Divided into 'The Heron', 'The Shark' and 'The Spider', each tree has its own range of skills to learn, transforming Brody into an even more proficient killer and survivor.
Racing events, poker dens, knife-throwing mini-games, relics and treasures to collect are just some of the other activities you can expect to engage in when you play Far Cry 3, and with a sprawling open-world covered in markers and areas of interest, it's clear that you'll have plenty to do when you're not following FC3's narrative in which you're on the trail of the psychotic Vaas. The hang glider makes a comeback too, alongside the ziplines and other methods of traversal, while there's a range of wheeled modes of transport that can be used for more than just turning endangered species into roadkill.
Far Cry 3 looks like it's going to be absolutely massive, and without the inconvenience of malaria pills and respawning militia, it looks like it'll be a lot more fun than its predecessor too. In short, we can't wait to go deeper into Far Cry 3's jungle later this year. And no, that isn't a dirty euphemism.
Far Cry 3 will be released into the wild on November 30th in Europe and December 4th in North America.