The Good A huge tropical world stuffed with fun things to doEcology and unpredictable creatures make the world come aliveStealth and action come together in rewarding waysRole-playing elements and difficulty curve give a sense of momentumGreat structure leads you from one activity to the next
The Bad Some design quirks lead to minor frustrationsCertain story elements break the immersion
The Bottom Line Far Cry 3's intelligent and elegant open-world structure balances exciting action with the joys of free-form adventuring, making it one of the best shooters of the year.
Far Cry 3 (PC)
Far Cry 3 is a delightful and harsh tropical wonderland, crawling with wildlife and threatened by the pirates and drug runners that disrupt its peace. The troubled paradise you explore is colorful and wild, enticing you to investigate its ravines and discover new ways to enjoy the open-world playground sprawling in front of you. This is a game that ignites the desire to complete every last challenge and check out every last icon on your map. You gradually journey across the entirety of two sunny and sinful islands, hunting for rare game, speeding medicine to needy communities, and skinning sharks so that you might craft new wallets with their hides. Far Cry 3 is an excellent game, marred mainly by some irritating design elements and an inconsistent story that often defaults to generic "tribal" cliches to make an impact.
When the story leaves those cliches behind for deeper territory, however, it does manage to communicate ideas of substance. It takes many hours for its themes to come together in a coherent way--yet in certain aspects, the incoherence makes sense. As protagonist Jason Brody, your initial quest to rescue your friends from a chaotic and truly frightful pirate named Vaas turns into a personal journey blurred by drugs, and fueled by the desire to follow a new and exciting spiritual path. Those friends are too shallow for you to care much about them, which keeps the story at arm's length for a good half of the game. But his friends' shallowness ultimately allows Jason to take a guilt-free look inward, as he grows further mesmerized by the customs of the local Rakyat tribe that takes him under its wing. You might see the narrative curveballs coming after a while, but the trippy manner in which certain events unfold effectively blurs the lines between reality and Jason's occasionally drug-addled imagination.