Paradise, or indeed the search for the illusive paradise, is a strong theme within a lot of fiction. This unattainable world where everyday stresses and lifelong asks are just melted away by blue seas and clear skies. The perversion of such a paradise has also become a key concept in many works of fiction – such as The Beach, Paradise Lost and even Lord of the Flies – so with Far Cry 3’s take on paradise, it has a lot of clichés to avoid, something that it seems to have done all to well so far.
Sitting down at Rezzed and going hands on with what I assume is the exact same build of the game found at E3, the Far Cry 3 demo was both promising and entirely disappointing. The disappointment came only because of Ubisoft’s desire to please the bulk of the general population by throwing titillating action at them. So much action in fact that I only got to experience about 5 minutes worth of gameplay whilst the rest was bookended by around 10 minutes of cut-scenes – not something I want to be experiencing when playing an anticipated game.
Putting the awkward tit filled opening aside, along with the run and gun paint-by-numbers firefight that occurred at the end of the demo, Far Cry 3 definitely seems like it’s going to deliver the experience people want to see. Tasked with taking down the only antagonist to have been shown off so far, I set off over to Vaas’ island to deliver swift justice to the man who the game continually tries to hint at is actually me (he isn’t though). It’s here where we really see how incredible the new engine under the bonnet is. Vegetation and the clear blue waters are superb and mind-blowingly impressive to see. You want to sneak through the under bush and take foes out slowly and carefully, the return to this isolated island paradise provides a great juxtaposition for the incredible levels of violence you’re going to be dolling out.
Exploration seems key, the demo seems to encourage you to explore – placing a hidden laptop for you to obtain as well as giving you multiple ways to dispatch your first few targets. Annoyingly though it wrenches this glorious idea away from you so it can wave its ‘me too’ explosions and gunplay that wrap up the demo. Going about things the way I would naturally tackle them – i.e. sneaking through the back of the compound – resulted in the demo breaking as I had to proceed down a prescribed route of a Vaas filled cut-scene and then escaping a burning building. While it was still enjoyable firing from cover on the roof of a burning building before dropping to the ground and firing off arrows into heads with a bow – and avoiding the jaws and claws of a rather angry tiger – it didn’t feel like it represented Far Cry 3 very well.
To me the Far Cry series is about slinking through the shadows and stalking your prey. Making calculated moves that lead up to the rather enjoyable dispatching of your foe. Far Cry 3 does show these scant moments, and the fact that I know it will feature an open world and open-ended gameplay means that while the preview time I got with the game was on the disappointing side, I’m still very much looking forward to what’s coming.