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35 Reviews

Far Cry 3

No man is an island

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And what a fantastic range of scenarios there is. Letting go of the zipline, you could hop aboard a quad bike to kickstart a helter-skelter race to deliver medical supplies, or plunge into a cave to scour the island's underbelly - a Blackreach-esque tangle of winding caverns, crocodile-infested lagoons and crumpled temples. On the way, you might spot a jeep turning the corner below and take a moment to mine the road, or delve into the jungle in search of the dingo pelts you need for your latest backpack upgrade. A tempting hang-glider or a likely-looking relic hidey-hole might catch your eye atop a nearby mountain. The sound of gunfire on the breeze might persuade you to make a short, violent detour. Trios of goons patrol the island's roads, and there are clumps of lethal wildlife to manage besides the enemy outposts, but providing you're savvy enough not to charge directly towards the sound of a hungry bear, exploration carries no penalty.

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The game's generosity of scope often exceeds what Ubisoft's impressive engine is capable of, admittedly. To pass through Rook Island at speed (pro tip: wear a wingsuit) is to witness a ferocious battle between draw distance, texture detail and object complexity. The more visually intensive setups drag their clothes on as you approach like couples caught in the act. The frame rate mostly escapes the carnage, though it can fall over a bit during large-scale infantry battles - and particularly once you start taking advantage of the returning (and enormously satisfying) propagating fire system.

The latter comes in handy during attacks on outposts - capturing these unlocks another safehouse where you can re-arm, plus another tier of more demanding quests - as do the massively improved stealth mechanics. Foes are now all but blind to your presence providing you're crouched behind a decent sized shrub, enabling a degree of calculation that the second game's laser-sighted goons made impossible. You can now easily distract guards with thrown stones, mapped to the D-pad, and the AI has a better-distinguished series of alertness states, which creates a more gradual escalation from Predator-style stalking to balls-to-the-wall blasting.

The new takedowns, however, are the crown jewels. There are a dozen or so of these XP-rich finishing moves dotted around the game's three upgrade trees, and once you've unlocked half you'll be the wrath of God. Assassin's Creed's DNA is visible, again, in the way kills can be chained - you might stab several men in succession, stab one and throw his knife into the next guy along, or whip out your victim's pistol and put a round through the nearest unwisely placed oil drum. If blood and guts aren't to your taste, you can always hang back and let local fauna take care of business instead - shooting the lock off a tiger's cage is an elegant solution to the problem of enemy reinforcements.

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If those takedowns justify Far Cry 3's introduction of RPG-style customisation, not all the subsystems are worth the trouble. Syringes confer short-lived bonuses like fire retardant skin, extra-sensory perception or bigger lungs for underwater exploration, but these benefits are optional to the point of being ignorable. Stitching together new gear from animal hides, meanwhile, is essential only because you'll soon be in need of a larger rucksack, and the gun tweaking is limited to basics like scopes, expanded magazines and suppressors. It's not the most cumbersome set of outfitting options we've run into, but there's a definite sense of going through the motions.

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