Ubisoft’s been hard at work, after months of its release being constantly pushed back and delayed, we are finally able to travel to the Rook Islands & experience insanity for ourselves. Now that we can get our hands on a copy, we’re able to go to the tropical landscapes and understand its brutally dark story. So is this gorgeous getaway the tropics you’ve been waiting for or is it just another horrible trip waiting to end?
So instead of the typical Euro trip, you’re backpacking through Asia with your girlfriend, brothers and close friends. Eventually, through certain circumstances, you’re taken to an island where you’ll soon find out that its inhabitants are some local friendly natives & pirates who cultivate, distribute & intake narcotics, buy & sell people, kill anyone and anything that opposes in a range of cruelly brutal ways. This game is rated M for a reason and Ubisoft has created an intense fps action adventure open-world game. The game will delve into your psych and as well into some dark themes but it’s all well made and coexists with the island and its colorful cast of characters. Your friends have been taken captive and your brothers have been killed. You play as Jason Brody, a nice sympathetic, adventurous and open minded 25 year old. The game starts with Jason being innocent but as you escape from an enslavement camp, he is ambushed by a helicopter while crossing an old rotten bridge that collapses, as Jason falls into the river he is rescued by a man named Dennis who helps Jason learn the tools of the trade to surviving on the island. Jason is on the search for a power called the Tatau to gain the abilities to save his friends by becoming a warrior of the local tribe called the Rakyat.
As the game opens up, the player is given the opportunity to explore the vast environment at will to be able to gain new abilities and learn how to adapt to the insanity on this island. The player will be able to experience how Jason’s personality and perspective on life changes. The personality of all the main characters that Jason meets throughout his experience have an incredible cast of voice acting. It’s no surprise that Vaas, the main antagonist that we’ve been shown these past couple of months takes the stage for the most impressive and thrilling personality. The moments the player experiences with Vaas are memorable. This can be said for the rest of the characters who also show deep emphasize in their emotions, facial and body gestures as well as how they express their feelings towards the situations that they are in.
The islands are filled with lush green vegetation. Makes me want a greek salad for lunch.
First to take notice is the beauty of how the Rook Islands look. The vibrant landscapes with lush wildlife create a vivid and believable environment that surrounds the player. There’s a wide variety to the floral life & each one is easy to detect as they glow in the distance, which goes the same for every crate, animal or human corpse. The ways each animal move act accordingly to how animals would react while thriving in their own habitat. Its better than a zoo, you’ll get to meet each animal individually as well as enjoying the horizons. The mixtures of tones for green, blue & darker colors like brown or grey make a perfect match for the setting and never seem to look dull. The surrounding open world game is vast & players will not recognize many areas the 2nd time since everything is usually trees, ruins & water. The player however may experience a slight jungle fever after exploring the surrounding areas for hours on end. The way that Jason reacts to how he is maneuvering around the jungle is realistic in the sense that Jason moves organically, he has lumps, he falls, he heals himself, he hunts and he narrates his thoughts and begins to grow a connection with the player.
The campaign takes around 25 – 30 hours to complete and apart from all the side quests and exploring the secrets of what the Rook Islands holds will add more than a couple of days to complete entirely. The game as well has a separate 4 player co op online and offline split screen campaign. There’s another multiplayer that doesn’t necessarily add nor take away from what most common FPS multiplayers are these days. However, the way the gameplay is, is different while also including a map editor where the player can customize literally every aspect of the level involving weather, textures & objects. The package is neat and can take a couple of hours to understand but it adds to the overall accessibility Far Cry 3 lets you have.
The game progresses through certain acts where a quote from Alice in Wonderland appears on the screen to explain the similarity on the events in the story. The player begins with a map in black and with no direction necessary, the player is given the option to tackle mission objectives or run around to explore the jungles. To be able to have a map, the player must climb up radio towers, each one has its own separate design and specific way of climbing, the difficulty changes as the player climbs more. Once at the top, Jason is able to break the safety locks and configure the signal to be able to access a visible map. On the map, the player is able to locate the nesting grounds of animals, stores & villages as well as the game collectable such as the plants, loot treasures, relics, lost letters & memory cards. The pirates control the island, they control many outposts as well as the surrounding area, on the map it appears as red. As Jason slowly takes control of each outpost, the Rakyat then controls the areas, which makes them safer to explore. The game progresses as Jason completes missions handed to him by the people he meets and as Jason perfects his skills with his survival techniques & on his way to becoming a warrior. The designs of the levels are varied and always different when given new quests that add to the suspense of the game.
There’s an awesome mission where you burn marijuana fields while listening to Make it Bum Den by Skrillex. Makes me want a greek salad for lunch.
The game is visually attractive and its typography sets the tone for the environment but in some circumstances the legibility of the lettering can be difficult to read. The styles for the menu are mirrored. The idea seems interesting at first but then since the screen looks divided, it feels like its just taking up space. The layouts of the spread in which the texts and imagery are contained are organized and the margins have enough air between elements so that there isn’t any visual contamination or disturbance. The way the menu is presented as tablet Jason owns and contains all the necessary information the player needs to understand the environment surrounding the island and is the gateway to access skills, options and other statistics. The chromatic colors are very passive and contain movement throughout the background on the menu and is interesting to see how the save icon are two revolvers simulating a butterfly flapping its wings. Objectives such as Supply Drop missions contain flares colored in violet & white, which helps visualize where the player needs to go, although a red would’ve been more attractive it would’ve also confused the player from the enemy and the destination. Most other objectives are marked with a yellow icon on the screen but as the over world map is large, the player will take multiple trips to the map screen to be able to understand which roads to take to get to the initial destination, otherwise the player might get confused and find himself lost from time to time.
There’s no denying that the lush and vibrant horizons that the player will experience are an awe capturing one. It’s the attention to detail when either climbing up a radio tower as the sun sets or rises and how the lighting sets the tone perfect, how the sounds of the wind upon the leaves hear while rustling through the jungle, how visually attractive it looks and feels to hang glide over oceans and hills or even how the horizon on the screen looks out of focus until you walk outside a cave. There’s a certain depth to the creatures of the environment and the wide variety of options the player is given to complete his objectives & overall improve his management of weapons, items and medicines. It’s a pleasure to be able to swim in a game where the view of the screen is blurred as it would in real life. Surfacing up water and noticing the reflection of the sun rays adds to the depth & experience of the gameplay.
It’s an enjoyable journey even when you take a couple of minutes to put down the controller to view how the conflicts between the characters evolve. Their facial gestures and expressions add to the realism but at times, the script isn’t always as well written in some areas, some suspenseful moments turn out to not be taken as seriously, other villagers that you’ll find will give you quests to complete but those villagers don’t seem to have taken the same amount of time and quality as the rest of the most important characters, it’s a detail big enough to notice and doesn’t make those quests as interesting or as involving as the rest. The game supports and interesting feature with fire, in which the area in where the fire starts will spread and rapidly engulf an entire area, taking enemies as well as yourself if you’re not careful. It’s a great detail to add to the realism of the game, however the way the flames spread doesn’t look organic, the frames on how it moves and looks visually isn’t as impressive.
Wherever the flames occur they leave a scorched area afterwards but it’s a shame that when you’re able to burn houses that surround the vast island, they aren’t able to explode even when you light a box of ammunition on fire. With this, the depth is diminished and takes away all of the potential the element of fire would have an affect on the game. As Jason learns to survive in the jungle, he is able to hunt down animals and skin them to be able to improve and enlarge the capacity of the items he is able to carry. His arsenal of items splits into 4 sections: Medicines, Equipment, Ammo & Arrows. This is where the game takes elements of RPG. Jason is able to craft an assortment of items to improve his health, enhance abilities & create bigger equipment. The only way to doing so is by either acquiring a certain amount of plants to create syringes or by hunting down different animals and obtaining a required amount of skins to craft the desired object.
The game allows you to tag enemies and animals to be able to see them through objects so you’ll be able to execute a stealth attack or go completely postal. You can tag enemies by pressing the up diagonal button to take out the camera and zoom in to check the surrounding environment. If you press the right diagonal buttons, Jason is able to throw an unlimited amount of rocks. Anywhere. This helps distract enemies and is used to enhance the stealth throughout the game. The game only gives you the left and bottom diagonal buttons to assign 2 types of syringes. So if you want to switch it with another one, you’ll have to drop what you have to replace it in that slot.
Jet skis are my favorite mode of transportation around the islands. I do love the beach life. Just be careful with the lurking sharks!
The ways to get around Rook Island are all interesting to do. Besides running, swimming or taking lines, you can drive types of jeeps, quads, or trucks. On water, Jason can travel with boats or jet skis & yes, they all explode. You can’t walk up hills that have moss or seem too inclined; you’ll slip very quickly. Going down the hill is easier though; the slipperiness of it will get you to the bottom quickly. On the top, you might find some hand gliders. You’re able to enjoy the view from the skies and get to your destinations quicker depending on how you want to get there. To top it off though, Jason gets his own wingsuit later in the game. The gunshots hear and feel great, you can customize your weapons by adding attachments, give them paint jobs & with over 40 weapons and different ways to kill enemies, there is always never a dull moment. You can only carry up to 4 weapons with an added 4 more types of explosives. You’re able to takedown enemies with your machete and do an assortment of combos such as pulling off an enemies grenade and kicking him away, pulling him under water, taking various at a time, from above & so forth. The way to do this is by enhancing Jason’s skills with the Tatau, which can be seen on his left arm. The skills are divided into 3 sections: the Heron, which houses long range & mobility, the Shark that contains assault takedowns & healing. The last is the Spider, which grants stealth takedowns & improves survival techniques.
Jason basically doesn’t have a level but every time the player completes an objective or kills, he is granted XP. The game rewards you more for stealth takedowns rather than run & gun. There are over 50 skills and you’ll acquire each one rather quickly. As the island is controlled by pirates and there is no law, no order. Anything goes. Don’t be surprised if you see some brutal acts committed in front of you. This game isn’t for young children. The amount of drugs, sex and alcohol that is portrayed in the game is high, just as you get to be in certain scenarios in the game. These scenes are by far the most awe inspiring and visually attractive moments in the whole game & it helps the player delve deeper into the insanity of the island.
Using stealth reduces enemy encounters. Take your time to plan your strategy before attacking enemy camps or go all out rampage style.
Being the third in its series, it’s the type of game that defines the franchise and separates its unique qualities and characteristics into being one of this generation’s top successors that brings together an intense and thrilling story with an immersive environment and a variety of ways to explore & conquer. While the game fails with some details, glitches & other technical designs that could be improved or have not been used to their full potential, it still brings something completely different than the more modern First Person Shooters. Its offers the players their bang for their buck with all the content Ubisoft has smashed into a large amount of time & effort to bring a quality game that has an enjoyable ride and an unforgettable experience throughout the beginning to the end.