Eurogamer Expo 2012 has closed its doors for the year, boasting over 50,000 attendees, a brand new home console showing and almost every major upcoming release being playable. Over the next 2 weeks expect to see Previews and coverage of the latest and greatest titles from the Parable team!
Far Cry 2 was a technically astounding game that fell extremely short of expectations by being too technically good, often forgetting that accessibility and pure enjoyment often place above fancy effects in a hierarchy for rating a titles quality. Alongside the majority, I expected Far Cry 3 to follow suit by being a technically excellent game but lacking that “wow” factor, but upon playing it at Eurogamer Expo was pleasantly surprised to find out that Ubisoft Montreal have learned from their past mistakes and put their game faces on for this next iteration.
The demo that I tested was an extremely open ended one, providing a real showcase of the setting, side missions and exploration elements without providing any insight or spoilers in regards to the overarching storyline. I begin by being dropped into a small derelict village, with only one instruction: “Get to the Radio Tower”. As the demo is timed I waste no time in pushing forwards up towards the objective through tight underbrush and trees, winding my way up the hill towards the poorly fenced hulking Radio Tower. Movement feels tight and reactive and I have little difficulty getting to the objective and making my way up to the top of the tower, before a tap of X allows my to deactivate the fuse box and render the tower useless. It’s then that I begin to pay attention to the environment around me, to take in the rolling hills, beaches, cliffs and caves that sprawl for massive lengths around me. Far Cry 3 looks absolutely stunning.
A zipline is next to the objective as a clear indicator for the next course of action, but I can’t help but spend a few moments turning on the spot and looking at the island itself. I may have been playing on the PC version of Far Cry 3, but that doesn’t change how incredibly impressive this game looks. I’m now able to draw my weapons and check menus, which reveal an in depth character and weapon progression and upgrade system, allowing players to spend money and XP Points to upgrade different capabilities for both their player and their weapons, as well as purchasing new attachments and equipment. It’s nothing revolutionary but I feel it’s much more accessible than the shop based system that we saw in Far Cry 2 and was really necessary to cut down on the endless A to B travelling.
For the purposes of the demo I was equipped with an upgraded MP5 sub machine gun complete with Reflex Sight, as well as a Crossbow with a variety of different bolt types. Standard metal bolts, fire bolts and explosive bolts were all available and I resigned myself to creating as much havok as possible as I finally latched onto the zipline towards the second forced mission in the demo: a short courier mission through the previously mentioned tight hilly forest on a Quadbike. This served as an extremely awkward introduction to vehicles, as the quadbike was difficult to effectively control and disappointingly struggled to make through the forest in one piece.
Following my swift completion of the mission I was left with a simple objective: “Explore!” and a conveniently placed hang-glider on a cliff right next to me. What more could a man want? Once I was up in the air, quest markers, collectables and various points of interest began to pop up around me on the Mini Map at a frightening rate and I picked my target. A small fortified militia encampment laid near the edge of the island and I quickly made my choice, releasing my grip on the hang-glider and dropping into the shallows before making my way to the shore covertly. War was declared by a well placed explosive crossbow bolt, which lodged itself deep into the inattentive guards’ chest before sending him and his partner to their early graves. Weapons feel heavy but very good to use and are extremely responsive in combat, with just enough recoil to post a challenge. It felt like the combat was over all too quickly as I absorbed myself in dispatching my foes in imaginative ways, utilising explosive barrels, my weapons and fire to cause as much mayhem as I could.
With the rest of my allotted time I went exploring, managing to find a plethora of interesting things to do. I hunted wild pigs and got chased by a pack of rabid hyaenas as a result, scaled hills to check out the outcropping, ventured into a valley and found an abandoned encampment with cases full of blood money, and ventured into a cave there containing wall paintings, voodoo dolls and some rather eerie noises coming from deeper in. I barely scratched the surface of the title and felt like I was going to drown in the possibilities, there’s just such a massive supply of interesting locations and side content present in the game even in demo form.
Far Cry 3 looks absolutely incredible and this time brings the gameplay to the table that may well be able to match its aesthetic. I was impressed beyond belief with how well it played and how this time round it felt genuinely fun and immersive throughout every second. The island feels packed full of interesting content and I didn’t even get a chance to touch the main campaign or multiplayer. Needless to say, I’m excited to get to grips with the full title and it’s being notched very high up on my priorities list for when it drops in the UK on November 30th.
We tested the PC version of Far Cry 3, using both the Xbox 360 controller and the original Keyboard and Mouse inputs.
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