Friday, December 7, 2012

Far Cry 3 review not the game for me.

    Far Cry 3 was a game I was ecstatic about getting when it first came out. I shelled out sixty bucks to pre-order it when I usually wait for things to get reviewed first. This policy rarely does me any favors like when I purchased the Game of Thrones video game or discovered I didn't much care for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

    Far Cry 3 has many interesting and wonderful qualities. The setting is absolutely gorgeous, superior to Skyrim, and is probably the most impressive creation I've seen in video games. The storyline is dark and disturbing, highlighting the contrast between modern live of privilege with the romanticized view of the past. The stealth gameplay is fascinating and this is a game which replaces typical monsters with amazingly well-realized animals. Hunting here is much better than in Assassin's Creed 3 and I loved it there.

     It's just everything else I hate.

Hang-gliding across the island really let's you know how well-made this place is. I'd love to live here if not for the pirates, local religious nuts, and slavers.
    The premise of Far Cry 3 is you're playing Jason Brody, and deliberately generically named Millennial Baby and over-privileged twit. While the rest of us have been suffering from economic decline and struggle, he and his friends travel around the world having a good time. I can't be too upset at the guy, however, because he and his friends are kidnapped by pirates. Jason escapes by the skin of his teeth and decides to learn how to become a warrior from the local Indonesians to rescue his friends.

    Unfortunately, the games premise made me very uncomfortable for reasons other than its nihilistic violence. A strong element of the story is that Jason Brody is being tempted by the "Noble Savage" life of the islanders. He's got a meaningless life of suburban pleasures waiting for him back home but he can be a godlike Burroughs hero on Rook Island. In short, we've got whites representing civilization and the colored folks representing savagery. This isn't sub-textual either, it's more or less said directly several times.

    Racism is something that needs to be handled delicately because it's pervasive and subtle in its manifestations. Portraying an all-white group of suburbanites as the centers of peace and civilization while putting all the coloreds in the group which is savage and mystical is bad enough. Making the hero white and able to become more savage and more mystical than the natives themselves is just plain wrong. This could have been offset in a number of ways but, unfortunately, Ubisoft didn't choose to do this.

    The unfortunate implications get worse when the game sensationalizes the abuse yje captives receive at the hands of their captors. While this may be what actual hostages endure, it seemed like the game went places which it didn't need to. There's also a scene involving rape, which is a trigger for many gamers and needlessly sensationalized. In short, I'm going to say this is not the game for me and I think I'm hardly alone.

Pretty but disturbing is the best summation.
     Another issue is that the storytelling is thrown off by is the violence of the game. The story Ubisoft is trying to tell is how Jason Brody is forced to become a ruthless killer. This is a fine premise and was explored well by competing title Spec Ops: The Line. The problem is the adjustment period lasts ten second before James starts attacking strongholds to kill pirates by the dozen.

    Not even the gameplay was a saving grace here. I enjoy stealth-gaming and I enjoy first-person shooting but I can't say I enjoyed either here. Learning how to use them in the game was difficult and the tutorial sections overlooked the parts I most needed help with. I felt the inventory interface and maps were ugly and difficult to use. Finally, I didn't enjoy using the vehicles, either, finding them jerky and difficult to handle. In short, after eight hours of play, I decided I was not having fun.

    The ultimate sin in gaming. In short, I didn't like this game but your mileage may vary.


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