The multiplayer feels rather by the numbers too - Call of Duty conducted at a snail's pace, with one laborious unique objective mode in the shape of Firestorm (set two objectives on fire simultaneously, then defend a third), plus some unadventurous head-to-head. It's got all the bulk you could ask for in terms of unlockables, however, and the presence of a well-stocked map editor could give the online serious legs, given a community of willing architects. Those taking a break from Black Ops 2 may be pleasantly surprised.
Co-op, meanwhile, is a real highlight, a comic love letter to Left 4 Dead which sees four caricatured roughnecks racing around the island in search of a traitor. The locked-off co-op environments are home to an engaging interplay of mission criteria - defend this, attack that, collect X of Y before the clock runs down - the radio chatter is genuinely funny in places, and the presence of splitscreen that actually goes the full width of the screen is a nice departure from the norm.
Far Cry 3 isn't too much of a departure, once you actually get to grips with the landscape that stretches behind that fidgety, histrionic exterior. It is, however, handily the best game in the series so far, and deserves to hold its head high among this winter's noisy crowd of sandbox offerings. If madness is repetition, this is one reworking of a formula I don't mind losing my mind to.
Here's a Far Cry 3 Q&A tackling some of the issues raised by the OXM community. If there's anything else you want to know, throw us a comment.
A sizzling open world tour de force
- Glorious, vibrant world
- No penalty for exploring
- Honed stealth and takedowns
- Serviceable multiplayer
- Technically inconsistent, with some dud subsystems